Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cycle 30 Miles for Lunch at Kickstand Coffee House Cafe

Wednesday, March 24, I'm up at 7:00 after sleeping like a baby due to our cycling. It is cloudy and warm with a low of 53 degrees. The wind is out of the southeast so it feels much warmer. The high gets to 68 as the sun makes brief appearances. I nix breakfast at Sunrise on Second like we talked about. Instead we have Crispy Thingies at home and hit the trail at 11:25.

Bob at the Mandeville Trail Head

We go west, making it through the State Park all the way to Mandeville, LA. Just before the State Park I see a deer on the equestrian trail that follows the bike trail. We cycled out 15 miles one way. There we encounter the next trail head and the fanciest renovation of a depot that we have seen on the National Rails to Trails Network. After buying a Gatorade for $1.25 (it wouldn't take my crinkled dollar bill but I persevered and dug up five quarters out of my panniers) and climbing the stairs to the tower, we rode to the end where we thought the restrooms were located. I almost had a wall-eyed hissy fit when the doors were locked. I was ranting and raving about spending $1.5 Million on the freaking trail head train depot and then locking the facilities.

R2D2 rests on USA map at Mandeville trail head

We crossed the street to .Kickstand Coffeehouse Cafe and Bike Rental. The cafe is upstairs; two flights--they need to rethink that for us ancient cyclists. That was tough on the knees after 15 miles. The bike shop is downstairs but I was on a mission for a restroom.

Part of million dollar facility at Mandeville Trail Head

The lady behind the counter seemed thrown by our bike helmets. She thought we were looking for the repair shop downstairs. She seemed shocked that we wanted lunch. I know this place is fairly new but they must not get a lot of tourists riding the trail here like they do on the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota.

Balcony where we enjoyed lunch at Kickstand Coffee House & Cafe

We sat out on the balcony to keep an eye on the bikes downstairs in the bike rack. We didn't chain them up in our haste to find facilities. There are two tables of ladies playing cards inside. We browse the menu and decide to split and Egg Salad and Avocado Sandwich on 7-grain bread with spouts and spinach--it was heaven! We also each have a cup of White Bean and Cabbage Soup with corned beef, cheddar cheese and caraway seeds. I was eyeing Breakfast Banana Split for $5.69 on the breakfast menu but I restrained myself. This place is great and the prices are reasonable. I'm so glad we found civilization at last on the trail. We had to cycle out 15 miles to find anything. Most of the trail runs through bayous (a fancy word for swamp) and the State Park.

Bike in lobby of Kickstand Cafe

What a nice break. We filled our water bottles at the depot and at last found an unlocked restroom. It made me feel better about the local community's investment. At last we head back about 2:10 p.m. It is a real slog on the way back against the wind the entire way. We had to take a few more breaks than we did on the way here. We're not so tired that we can't take a wildflower picture on the way back however. Shortly after that we're taking a break and I sprawl out on the trail. A Trace Ranger comes by and I snap a picture of his little cart. He's an older gent and he pulls up next to us and asks if everything is okay. I said "Yes, I'm just resting." He says "Whew, I'm glad." Maybe we would have been his first emergency case.

We made it in five hours (including our lunch break) for a total of 29.9 miles. We're both tired and wonder how we ever made it over 70 miles in one day in Minnesota. Actually, upon further reflection we both know how we did it. By adding five miles per cycle for the entire summer!

Poster at restored depot City of Mandeville

We head home in the frightful traffic here in Tammany Parish. Tonight we park the truck in front of The Titanic and leave the bikes on the rack. I go for a walk so I can stretch. While I'm out I finally see Shirley and Tim from the laundry the other day. I tell her Bob and I found her sock. She laughs and is so happy. She runs right over to retrieve it. Babs and her husband come out to join them to grill burgers. We all chat for a bit. They tell me about their two days of sight-seeing in New Orleans; Haunted History Tour, Honey Island Swamp Tour, City tour and Natchez Steamboat. They ate at Huck Finn's and Babs really liked the Fried Oysters over spinach salad. They asked me about our hybrid bikes and how to find bike trails. I told them we rode 30 miles on the Tammany Trace Trail and Tim asked "TODAY?!"

Trace Ranger to the rescue!

I went home to stretch, read the paper, work puzzles and watch Human Target. We're both tired tonight after two days in a row of cycling a bit higher mileage. It's 8;20 p.m. and 62 degrees.

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