Saturday, January 28, 2012


My dive buddies and I got a lead on a shipwreck in lake Minnetonka that isn't identified. It is reported to be 75 feet long and maybe 20 wide in less then 40 feet of water. So about now you're probably asking yourself if it's an urban legend. It's not for a few reasons.
  • The finder has reported it as a possible historical site.
  • Tonka has many large wrecks from the early 1900's when Big Island was a park for the wealthy.
  • I've seen a side-scan image of the wreck.
  • I've dove wrecks in Tonka bigger then 75 feet long.
We cut 7 holes today and spent a total of about 2 hours under the ice searching moonscape silt without any luck finding the wreck. It's a big place and our charts didn't match the depths we were finding so maybe next weekend.

Left - Robert tending the line attached to a diver. Yes, someone is actually under the ice.
Right - The divers and some land owners out for some show and tell. The sticks will mark the hole when we leave before it freezes closed.

 The second hole is open and waiting for dives to finish up on the first hole. Ice diving is gear and time intensive so every effort must be made to move things along.

 It was a nice day, too bad we didn't get to see anything but mud. Oh well, the hunt is better then the wreck. We'll find it one of these days.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Minnehaha Creek is frozen well enough to ride on, well mostly but you have to get wet feet and a

very icy bike. It's about 20 miles of whitewater riding. Yes, I know that's not correct but it's close; Let me explain...

It's obviously white and it is a waterway so we're working with the correct components.

It's rough and difficult to ride in places. With the groundwater springs, drains, runoff and fast moving water making holes and thin ice and exposing rocks, it's whitewater.

I expected an easy but fast ride. That wasn't the case. It was technical, and slow much of the time. We had to chose our course well or suffer the consequences.

An urban creek has many crossing in 20 miles. This is a pipe about 75 feet long with a bend in the middle so its dark.
We just started the ride and you can see the ice from a dozen slush crossing.

This is the best we'll get for a road sign.
Bad ice. We had a lot of this. Much of it deeper and wetter. You'd hear it crackle then it would explode around you. We were lucky to not get this over deep water.

Break downs. The ice is already causing problems.
Fat bikes are awesome!

Dude! What happened to your hat?
 This hat!
 I'm mad! I dropped it in the slop.

I'm happy! I have a new hat!

Ice and more ice. My bike probably had 10 pounds on it and the rear wheel was rubbing so hard it sounded like a bass boat. You can see I couldn't shift to high gear because it's encased in ice.

We didn't make our goal to get to tonka but we got back before dark. It was touch and go at points with the water and break thoughts. I had to pin a busted chain and we both had frozen gears. I had wet feet from riding water up to my hubs. A testament to wool, my feet were comfortable yet I left foot prints on my wood floors when I got home.

On long personal challenges the last few miles are where you learn about yourself. Your tired, your gear is failing, your will to push is gone, the desire to quit is high. It's what separates adventure from the illusion of adventure. If your broken and want to quit and your mind is talking against you, don't quit.

It was a real good time and an great use of winter Whitewater even if it hurt.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Drains II

I don't have a story today. It's a storm drain and it's not old or great but it's still a little cool. My buddy and I went for a ride late one night when it was 3 below with windchill's well below that.

I have some gear issues and Pete catches a fishing lure with double treble hooks in the neck of his wool shirt. We discover it when we get back and I cut it out with side cutters.He had to have pulled it out of a tree on the way in.

The drain had a lot of water in places up to a foot and it was slippery. We both came close to taking a knee or worse. Something about smelly storm water that makes you a bit stronger and faster.

This is the end for us for tonight. But as least it's warm in here. We go on foot a few hundred feet in each. One has a huge angry raccoon and what sounds like a monster behind it making a horrible roar. I get a case of the creeps and back out. The other goes to a surface drain and we can see cars pass near so we get out before attracting attention with lights shining out of drains in the street.

This is what you see for a mile or so. It's kind of exciting. Whats past the darkness?

Locals paint the walls. It's good stuff. Watch for it on HGTV. Some C list celebrity will be hosting Drain Makeover any day now.
Underground the temps are moderated by the earth so it's wet but 40 ish. Most of this flow is ground water that forced it's way in from hydraulic pressure over decades creating small water spouts.

Fresh air but its -5 F. His pack contains spare lights and other gear you carry when an overhead environment is not habitable.

Why is there always a Smurf? Really! You have nothing better to do then paint drains and you can only tag Papa Smurf!

I guess I had a little story and some fussing about bad painters to get out of my system. I'm not in a great mood, I had to ride miles back to the car with a frozen mask and hands so cold they turned to wood all in the dark. I guess it all Drains me.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Songlines:  also called Dreaming tracks by Indigenous Australians within the animist indigenous belief system, are paths across the land or, sometimes the sky, which mark the route followed by localized 'creator-beings' during the Dreaming. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting.

Not to trivialize the Australians but to learn from and adapt my own song-less paths through the government allocated tracks of nature that are allowed to exist between massive expanses of cement (left).

I have to admit the sounds my internal voice makes while trotting around in the woods, is me at about 12 years of age. We camped a lot when I was young so the woods and I have always had our Songlines.

Here I find a drain. I must have ridden over this drain dozens of time but the Song today told me it starts at the end and this is the start of another post.

This is 1 of 4 drains I find today but the only picture and it's not a missed chord. 


Now that I'm older I still feel like home in the woods and that's one of the reasons I like riding off the beaten path. Before I learned of trails, I'd take my ordinary mountain bike into the woods. So it's surprising that I've not explored my own backyard!

Here I find railroad tracks that are clearly abandoned yet I've never found them until today. It's a switch for two tracks and a control box.

 I follow the tracks to the water and have an stroll on the beach. It's an obvious line of weakness through the heavily wooded parts of what I learn is a peninsula or better 'byland' ...

 ...and I'm not alone! This is a campsite of hobosapian and his primitive tools, the yard rake. They use it in a complicated nesting ritual when the wine runs out before the body.

I would not make a good Hobo, I would have used this tree about 600 feet 
 away. It was enourmous and if I had camping gear and a little better neighbor, I would have stayed the night.

For those that read this; For those that tend to take the bridges to nowhere; I encourage you to go over the top by going under. The views are better, I promise.

 Get a bike and go for a ride! This is a humiliated bike but it's still better dead then trapped in your garage. RIP: Cannondale

Isn't this better for you as well?

I'm just preaching to the choir at this point. You already know your Songlines.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fat Camp

I'm what I consider lean in build but I still went to Fat Camp only it's not me that's fat but my bike and I camped out with the best group of guys I've ever had the pleasure of sharing a fire with.

Me and 4 other Fat Friends went for a night ride and a morning ride that precipitated a camp out in the middle. We strapped gear to our bikes and backs and started putting the mile down. It was as much a social ride as a camping trip. I got to talk to what I came to learn was "The Legend" and I'm sure to remember all the wisdom he shared with me but what you learn at fat camp, stays at fat camp. Those of us that are not legends managed to have shinning moments of story telling and other good-natured cheer making for a lot of humor.

We arrive at a special location.

quickly stoked a fire and got into dinner which meant an hour of discussion on camp stoves, fuel and btu's all the while jazz streams from a cell phone.

Morning was cold but we re-stoke the fire, have a bit of breakfast and use any tool we can find to remove the frozen mud from the gears on the bikes. With limited means most of us limp home on a gear or two.