Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Red Wing & Biking the Cannon Falls Trail

For our 32nd anniversary, Roberta and I wanted to go someplace close to Saint Paul where we could bike and sketch. We also wanted to give our Bromptons a fairly long test-ride approximately the distance of the longest stretch on our Bemidji to Brainerd trip at the end of the month. We decided on staying a night in Red Wing and bicycling the Cannon Valley Trail to Cannon Falls and back. We booked a room at the historic Saint James Hotel and bought two round Amtrak trip tickets.

Monday, we boarded the Amtrak Empire Builder (it was two hours late) with our Bromptons folded up and stored in the luggage compartment. It's a short trip to Red Wing from Union Depot and there's nice scenery along the way. At the Hastings Lock & Dam # 2,  we saw pelicans and turkey vultures waiting for lunchtime fish meal to come swimming over the dam.

It was real hot when we arrived so we ate sandwiches and tried to sketch, but both of us were too hot to sketch, so we gave up and had dinner at the Staghead just a block from the Saint James. The Staghead has good beer on tap and the food was good with fresh, local ingredients. We did a few sketches:

Roberta's sketch of the Staghorn.

My sketch of the Staghorn.

The next day was cooler, so we bought trail passes at the front desk at the Saint James after eating breakfast at Bev's Cafe where a lot of the locals go. We got on the trail and biked up the gentle grade to Cannon Falls. We ate lunch in Cannon Falls at Nick's Diner (a favorite of bicyclists). After lunch we sketched the falls. It was hot again and we didn't bring our chairs, but we did pretty good in spite of the discomfort:


Roberta's sketch of the falls.

Roberta sketched these kids swimming in the river.
My sketch of the falls and the cave.

We rode back to Red Wing and had dinner on the Saint James Hotel's veranda overlooking the river. Good food and drink and excellent place to sketch Barn Bluff:



The Amtrak train was an hour and half late. We love Amtrak, but it is so shameful that our nation has such terrible train service compared to other countries. If we can send a spacecraft to Pluto, why can't we fix our passenger rail service? It was so discouraging to read the following notice in the Red Wing train station:

















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