Biking the gravel to Murphy-Hanrehan and back

Griff Wigley, Bill Nelson, Jerry Bilek, Ben Witt On the gravel: Bill Nelson and Griff Wigley. Photo by Ben Witt. Jerry Bilek and a crop duster. Photo by Ben Witt. On the gravel: Bill Nelson, Griff Wigley, Ben Witt. Photo by Ben Witt.
Bill Nelson, Jerry Bilek, Ben Witt, and I took off on our mountain bikes from GBM at about 7:30 this morning, riding primarily gravel roads to the mountain bike trail in the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, just south of Savage.

Murphy-Hanrehan mapJerry Bilek at Murphy-Hanrehan. Photo by Ben Witt. Ben Witt, Jerry Bilek, Bill Nelson,  
After riding the 7 mile advanced loop at Murphy, we chowed down at Chipotle in Apple Valley, biked through UMore Park in Dakota County, and arrived back in Northfield in time for dinner. About 85 miles, 9 hours. Whew!

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did…

I went to take photos of two of my sons, Tyson and Graham, doing a tandem skydive yesterday near Baldwin, Wisconsin. When I got there, they surprised me with an early birthday present: "We’re paying for you to go, Dad." I needed no arm twisting. As I wrote back in July, I don’t have a bucket list. But as a bit of a thrill seeker, my list would likely have more than a few adrenaline rush experiences, skydiving among them.

 Wigley boys in the skydive plane Griff Wigley Tyson Wigley 
Tyson paid the extra fee to have them video his jump. The above photos are actually screenshots of the video. Yes, they’re poor quality, but they’re enough of a teaser until he gets the video posted.

I love extreme roller coaster rides but nothing I’ve ever ridden compares to this. Dangling your feet out the door of the plane for 15 seconds at 13,000 feet is thrill #1. A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n. The first 15 seconds of the plunge is thrill #2 and it was the biggest rush I’ve ever felt. Nothing else comes close. The next minute of free-falling is thrill #3. Weightlessness rocks! Add spins to it for an extra kick. The final 10 minutes of turning and spinning after the chute is deployed is thrill #4. They hand you the steering straps so you can experience how easy it is to control the chute. Landing is thrill #5.

Graham Wigley, Griff Wigley, Tyson Wigley  John Bucsko, Griff Wigley 
John Bucsko, co-owner of Skydive Twin Cities (with me in the right photo), was my tandem guy. He said this has been their best year ever despite the recession. It’s a first-class operation. The staff was fun and friendly, the plane was top-notch, and all their preparation routines smacked of a rigorous approach to safety. I watched them pack their chutes. It was like a prayer service. Complete silence as the focused completely on the task at hand.

Podcast: Mary Ho on H1N1 flu preparations

Griff Wigley, Mary Ho, Ross Currier

Our radio show/podcast guest on Monday: Mary Ho, Rice County Director of Pubic Health, talking with us about local preparations for the H1N1 flu season. Ross and I did the proper virus-preventive fist bump upon her departure though now I see that we may have to graduate to elbow bumps.


Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

Continue reading Podcast: Mary Ho on H1N1 flu preparations

Whither the Locally Grown podcast/radio show?

lg-banner-triumvirate-poster-x 
Although no one has asked (sniff!), we have to assume y’all are worried sick about the status of our weekly show since we’ve gone two weeks now without a new one.  Well relax. Wednesdays have proven to be a scheduling challenge so it’s looking like we’re going to make a move to Mondays, starting June 1. Until then, stay tuned to the new KYMN 1080 AM.

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