459 (5/20/09)

     There must be something with Trail Guard bike trips and the weather.  Would there be something wrong with sunshine and air that’s not moving violently in one direction?

     As many of you may remember (I know ten kids who have not forgotten), last year’s bike trip to Willmar and back was done in 40 degree weather with a steady, driving rain, and a stiff north wind.  We peddled 48 miles under those conditions on that Saturday, and the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” took on new meaning.

    Last Friday afternoon I stood in my garage with trip co-leader Chuck Nyberg and watched the pouring rain.  We had gear to sort, bikes to pack, and four young Trail Guards coming after school to strike out on another adventure.  It just kept raining--harder, it seemed, every time I looked out.

     The rain did quit by four o’clock, and, despite the heavy, cold, northwest wind, we donned rain gear, mounted up, and left the Nature Park with tents, sleeping bags, food, and personal gear, all attached to our bikes in panniers.  And, as things go, our optimism paid off.

     We made up for the blustery weather with great food, two nice campsites, warm campfires, wild asparagus, wild turkeys, deer, a friendly crew, and flying a kite the kids found in the road ditch.  We made our objective at the trail head in Willmar just after lunch on Saturday, and  turned for home.

     By late Saturday evening, the weather took a big turn, and reminded us again why we love Minnesota.  Sunday morning was perfect biking weather as we finished up our last twelve miles.

    Thanks to Renee and Matt Swanson, Jeff Stork, and Chuck Nyberg (all from the Twin Cities area) for bringing their various skills; to Matt and Renee’s kids, Claire (age 3) and Adam (age 5), for adding entertainment; and to our young adventurers:  Megan Wolters, Crystal Roberts, Katie Schwalbe, and Brianna Stang.

     Thanks also to Sheri DeMars, Richie Gottwald, and Rhonda Fangmeier for supervising as 20 other Trail Guard kids braved the wind for a another fun morning at the Nature Park.