Saturday, October 25, 2008

Frustrating, cranky day

Rumors of the north branch of the southwest LRT trail are greatly exaggerated. Got ready to go for a bike ride this morning. I wanted to explore the rumored north branch of the LRT trail, supposedly more scenic than the south branch I'd been on many times. This fabled north branch is supposed to go out to Victoria, and is supposed to be very scenic this time of year. Of course it's all rumors, because no official map exists of this trail. However, I do take it as far as Virginia Ave. on my way to work, so I figured I'd start from there. It's all paved until that point, so I figured I'd drive to that point, so as not to ruin my cyclocross tires getting to the rumored crushed limestone part.

Of course getting ready to ride at this time of the year is a bit complicated. It was cool and windy this morning, so I had to dig out the shoe covers, the long sleeve jersey, the tights, etc. from deep in their respective hiding places. Then load up the car and drive out to "real America." Conveniently there was a little trailhead at Virginia Ave., so after parking, I headed out further west that I'd been until that point.

I was hoping for the rumored crushed limestone trail to start soon, but I went for quite a while on asphalt. All the while, I was reminded why this is called "real America": they don't like cyclists and pedestrians out there. In fact, safe exercise is actively discouraged in St. Louis Park, and the city has gone so far as to REMOVE the crosswalks along the trail and try to give full right-of-way to cars. The former crosswalks are painted over or ground out, and signs spell this out very loudly at all intersections. Nice. It's even doubtful that St. Louis Park has the legal right to do this, according to this article on the very subject, plus it's doubtful they even have juristiction over the LRT corridor. But I digress.

The trail ended up putting me at the south branch of the trail near the coffee house where the limestone section starts. WTF? Clearly I'd missed a turn somewhere. So I turned around and went back. No turn. Went back and forth again, looking for an old gnarled tree with a secret branch lever that would reveal the north branch trail. No such luck. Frustrated, and not wanting to ride the south branch again (which has been under construction for a while anyway), I went home and decided to go running instead.

By then I was pretty cranky. So when a trailer from the promoters of this morning's "Monster Dash" or something was parked squarely on the running path around Lake Harriet this afternoon, with hamburger buns strewn all around, I wasn't pleased. The next lap, there was even more cardboard and debris left on the trail (not to the side, but rather right in the middle of the trail), and no one around. Nice. To top it all off, driving home I was almost hit by a driver failing to yield to the vehicle on the right (me) at a controlled four way intersection that we'd arrived at at the same time. Not only that, he kept honking at me all the way to Nicollet, setting a wonderful example for the 10 year old child in the back seat. Wonder how that kid's going to grow up?

Isn't it nice to have blogs to vent? I doubt anyone's read my whining all the way to this point, but I sure do feel better now! Time for some coffee and a shower.