24 September 2009

Signs of Beer 2

Last time we looked at Hamm's and this time we'll look at a rival beer brewed just a few miles away from the Hamm's brewery- Schmidt.
I forgot where I discovered this sign, but I think that it was on Wabasha St S in St. Paul just before it collides with Ceasar Chavez St.
Note the ghost sign that this Schmidt sign covers. I think it looks like Hamm's.
Schmidt was brewed out West 7th Street, not far from where I spent the earlier years of my life. The brewery is sort of a landmark these days. Some of my relatives lived in the neighborhood behind it on the Mississippi river. My father claims beer used to be stored in the caves by the river.
The beer is still around but it is brewed in Wisconsin.

Tour de Valli: Stage 8 return home

KVLY Mast in distance
At long last the final installment of the bike trip I took in July.

Not sure when I awoke in the Hunter park, but I did and embarked to points north. Points north, you ask? Yes.

North is not the way home, but I wanted to add more mileage and the world's tallest structure was just along the way south of Blanchard. The tough part about seeking this tower out is that it is pencil on the horizon and only a few miles removed from the 2nd tallest mast in the world. Yep. The 2nd tallest tops off at 2060. So the masts can be hard to identify especially if you don't know where Galesburg is compared to Blanchard. (answer: Galesburg is SW of Blanchard.) I snapped a few photos and road onward. Moreover, as I now discover, the KVLY mast no longer holds that distinction of tallest structure. Some skyscraper in Dubai beat the tower's 2063 feet by a little over 600 feet recently. So now it is just the tallest mast I guess. However, when I saw the tower it may have still been the tallest structure because the Council on Tall Buildings would not count it until the entire structure is complete, which is around now, September 2009.

At Blanchard I veered east on Alt 200, which reminds me of a Jayhawks album. It is sort of a gap filler to connect the similarly named MN 200 with ND 200, however I fail to see the logic behind it. There is a stretch of non-alt ND-200 8 miles ahead. I think most northern tier riders must avoid Alt-200 at all costs. I saw nobody this time. I did however suffer a flat in the afternoon just as the heat began to make the mercury crawl up the scale. The tire had been punctured. I patched the tube and re-enforced the tire with duct tape on the inside. In a half hour I am back on the road.
train tracks to Kelso
Another half hour later, I reached the Interstate (and real ND-200) and pondered my food options. Hillboro was north a few miles and had the most options. I passed it up and headed south on ND-81 adjacent to the railroad. Every 6 miles a town straddled the tracks. Kelso, Grandin, Gardner, and Argusville offered little to me. They may have had bars but I did not stay long to find out. Most, however, had water at the city park and I took advantage of that as the heat returned.
Sel potrait at NDSU Finally, in Harwood, I found nourishment besides Gatorade and PowerBars. I sat inside the local convenience store and ate cheddarwurst and something else but I cannot remember. I got back on the saddle after perusing the newspaper. At the corner I saw a couple on a bicycle built for 2. The appeared to be heading my way. I gave a friendly wave but put it into high gear going onward towards The Go.
Before riding the last leg, I stopped at NDSU to purchase a monster cookie. After devouring it, I got on University and imagined it as the Champs-Elysees. My final lap.
There was no cheering except in my mind as I mingled with rush hour traffic. It was exhilarating as I cruised down the boulevard, under the railroad and across Main. I raised my arms truimphantly as I completed the final meters.
The journey was done. The clock had stopped.
I put the bike away, cleaned up, and went to the Texas Roadhouse.
I'm not Lance Armstrong but all tough journeys should end with steak.

16 September 2009

Art of the Deal 8

I was at the St. Cloud Saver's just perusing the stock on hand. In particular I was looking at golf clubs when I saw a blue tent bag. I picked it up and noticed it had embroidered on it - Sierra Designs Meteor Light CD. Hmmm. I checked the price. $4.99!!!! I took it immediately.
It set it up back at home and the tent proved to be a championship purchase. Nothing missing and practically new.
Moosejaw has the new redesigned one for $269.
I think this is one of the best deals I've had this year. It also increases my the number of tents I own. So if there are any interested campers for this fall- I've got plenty of tents to share.

The Signs of Beer 1

Martin Luther thought the brewed beverage was a way God showed us he loves us. Not sure of the accuracy of the quote. Here's an historical account of beer which Martin Luther would have imbibed.
Here's a new feature for the blog- which I think Phil would wholeheartedly approved of- Signs of Beer. I hope to use this to display some odd or unusual or other stuff pertaining to the marketing of beer.
Our first installment comes from an antique store in Hastings, MN. It is a a Hamm's Beer Sign. I remember seeing plenty of these as child before the demise of Hamm's. These type of signs have become highly collectible. This one was around $800. The one next to it was even more expensive and had the ever rare moving background. Hamm's tended to use woodsy type scenery to promote the brew. There was even a Hamm's song which intoned-"From the land of sky blue waters...."

15 September 2009

Royce Files Digest 2

It has been about 2 weeks since I last updated you on what's happening in my part of the world. With such a full August, September should be reserved for resting. It could be a great national mandate to go to a 25 hour work week. But, alas, the government is more interested in paying for our health care which mean we need to work, and work possibly more. A State Fair post is in the future. And the long promised finale to the bike adventure should go up soon. For now enjoy what I have to say in this digest.

In this digest- The Place Where Dylan Slept, BisonTurf Soccer, Melrose Place, Deal Update, Gardening.

The Place Where Dylan Slept
Big hole where the ore isBob probably slept many places in his journeys around the globe. Those of us in the northland know the place where he grew up was not Poughkeepsie but Hibbing, Minnesota. I last stopped in Hibbing over a decade ago and found it a decent place. Last month I had the opportunity to stop through the city on Minnesota's Iron Range a month ago. Although I sought the home of Dylan, I never found it. Instead I found myself at an enormous open pit mine. The Hull Rust Mine is quite a spectacle. It is like the Grand Canyon. Due to the staggering economic conditions, mining operations have ground to a halt in the mine. A lady told me about 500 miners were made redundant in the spring. Still the mine looked--well very large.

Originally the city of Hibbing was platted near the center of the present mine. When iron ore deposits were discovered under the city, the entire town, buildings and all, moved south. There are still a few remnants near the edge of the mine indicating a city once existed there.

A Hupmobile started Greyhound Lines
Moments before a storm arrived I hiked from the mine interpretive center to the Greyhound Origin Museum. This museum details the history of the famous bus company that got its start in Hibbing. Using Hupmobiles, the Mesaba Transportation Company ran lines between Hibbing and Alice, and Hibbing and Duluth. In 1929 after acquiring other regional bus lines, the company was incorporated as the Greyhound Corporation. The museum is home to numerous restored buses from Greyhound's past in addition to other articles from the bus line's history.

BisonTurf Soccer
It was an awful season for decent soccer. We were winless the entire season and had a few games get out of hand for discipline. This is all very sad because we actually had more practices than all the previous season put together. Not to be all down on it- there were a few good games. And we did enjoy a few post games at the Bison Turf. Still, at times it began to be less fun and more stressful. I enjoyed playing with the gang from work at Centennial School gym much more.
Melrose Place
En route to the Twin Cities for Labor Day weekend, I camped for a night at the Sauk River Park Campground in Melrose. The town is right on 94 and the park is situated about a mile from the freeway. The park has about a dozen campsites on the Sauk River- some with utilities and some without. It cost only $6 for tent camping. The bathrooms had running water. I pitched my Eureka Timberline and had a good night's rest. Nobody else camped there that night.
The next morning I saw a Great Blue Heron.

Deal Update
Leaving Melrose I headed into St. Cloud to check out Big Lots, Savers, and another thrift store, all in the same strip mall. I came out with plenty of deals which I will discuss in another post. Actually, most of my Big Lots purchases were of the edible and drinkable variety. I miss having a Big Lots in town.
In the afternoon I finally got to revisit Val's Rapid Serve, a popular independent quick serve burger joint. I attempted a visit a few months ago but was stymied by their hours. Val's closes at 7PM. This day, I arrived just at the peak of the rush hour lunch. The shanty sized place was crowded but fortunately they had A/C. I placed a typical order at one of the computer terminals and waited for my order. I was not disappointed. The Food Network show Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives needs to cover this place.

After lunch I stopped through Albertville in search of Crocs but found none to my liking. I purchased nothing at any of the outlets. I am saddened that Keen shoes never plunge into the sub $50 level. I proceeded to Maple Grove to stop at REI, Guitar, Center, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Marshall's. I almost bought a Silvertone guitar for $50 but passed on it. Before making it to Lehigh I stopped at the Maplewood Savers and Marshall's. I picked up some cheap golf clubs at the thrift, including a pitching wedge that has eluded me. Next door at Marshall's I bought an odd tasting gourmet cookie amongst other things.


I've been working in a community garden during the week. Harvest time came late this year. Usually one could expect to be harvesting in mid-July. The cooler summer has moved ripening back almost a month. Broccoli and cabbage lasted into well into July. Sweet corn didn't mature until nearly the last week in August. Cukes did not fare good at all. There were plenty of yellow squash and peppers but zucchini bit the dust early.

At the Lehigh gardens it was just as bad if not worse. Maturity was later than usual. Cukes and squash failed. However, there was surprisingly good crop of sweet corn. When at Lehigh that weekend I harvested many onions and salvaged what I anticipated to be lost potatoes. The potatoes were OK. Onions were of average size. Red onions were smaller than average. Then there is a number of pumpkins in the back field which are doing well.

02 September 2009

RedHawks in the Playoffs 2009

a bench clearing brawl approached but was sustained.
Haven't found time to write about the last leg of the bike trip but I did manage to take in a baseball game. The Red Hawks took on the Goldeyes at Newman Outdoor Field in the Northern League Playoffs. The RedHawks didn't do so good. It was a well fought game and there was even a point where it looked like both teams would be fighting in the middle of the field.
Jeremiah Piepkorn and Carlo Cota both hit solo homers but it wasn't enough to erase Winnipeg's powerful 7th inning. With a little more offense and some consistant pitching the RedHawk could have won. Eventually the Goldeyes won 7-3.
On and there was a condiment race, too! Ketchup won by a whisker. It appears Hawkeye, the RedHawks' mascot has tackled mustard.