****If you scroll down, you will find 5 entries about Minneapolis. Right now I am in Milwaukee. My focus isn’t going to be the blog. I have just two weeks left on the road. I’ll check in, but I won’t have time to write the longer pieces. I hope you can help spread the word about the trip. I will arrive D.C. 8/8/08.****

Sunny skies were with us again on Sunday, fortunately, because we had more riding planned.

Kate typed up a press release for me and I sent it out to a few people. After boring admin stuff we left the house.

There was a meet up at Pizza Luce and then a rehearsal ride for the Twin Cities upcoming rally. Nathaniel needed to be there early since he is a blocker. If you don’t know, a blocker is a designated scooterist who helps control traffic so that the formation of scooterists can all clear a light, or turn.  They literally block the intersection, with hands out, until the scooterist pass. They are crucial in a group ride. Nathaniel hasn’t been into scooters all that long, but it’s impressive to see how he has delved deep into the pursuit.

IMG_1668He’s very knowledgeable and he’s just so smart that his passion for scooters is like everything else he does, he does it well. I’m going to miss riding around with him and Kate, for sure. A respectable number of people were at Pizza Luce,  I had a chance to meet some new people and pass out postcards and stickers. I even sold some keychains. They are almost all gone at this point. It was nice to hear the favorable response. People understand why I’m riding. They are thankful it is happening. I’m honored.

Joe said, “Hey, I’m a government official and I couldn’t be happier about what you are doing.”

We rode about two hours and then I had my awkward collision into Nathaniel. Not his fault, the guy in front of him slammed on the brakes. Ironic that before the ride I had been asked if I’ve ever crashed. Also ironic was that during the ride Kent had given me a nice, quality sticker that says, “Start Seeing Scooters.” I don’t suspect it’s meant for scooterists, but the joke was on me later.

But once I battle rammed Nathaniel, we were there, right in front of our destination- the Bryant Lanes Bowling Alley, Theater and Bar.

IMG_1698The little establishment sure had some noble aspirations, but seemed to be pulling it all off quite nicely. Kent took over seating us and we settled in for some food, gags and conversation. In honor of my wreck they bought me a Surly beer. Lots of breweries in the Mid-West.
Really laid back crowd. Kevin and the guys seem to have been friends for awhile. There really is never an awkward silence with them around.

Rochelle, Joe’s wife met us at the bar, arriving in a Smart Car.

Or as the guys dubbed it, “a 600cc scooter with windows.”

IMG_1692I asked if there was a Bob’s Java Hut. Jak from San Fran wrote it on my scooter, but I couldn’t remember if it was in Minneapolis or Milwaukee. Everyone enthusiastically decided we should go and off the flock went. Bob’s is a cool place, with a motorcycle theme and strong coffee. Strong like crude oil. IMG_1693Delicious stuff, although my ice coffee was $3.75 and that’s just too much. That’s the price of a gallon of gas in Minnesota. But it was tasty.

We sat around and joked some more and two bicyclists had an accident in front of us. Much like the one I had an hour before. Eerie. Gravity wasn’t working right that day. Kent joked on me a little bit more. Then I got to drive the Smart car! I have some video of that to upload, at some point, as well as group ride footage.

It’s a tough call, between the Smart Car or the Prius. For my family needs, a Prius offers more space. For couples or solo driver, the Smart car is perfect. Brilliant, even.
Cool feature-You have the option to change it from automatic to manual.
It’s pretty cool to see how consumer trends are now demanding the kind of technology we’ve had for awhile. And to see the bar being raised. We are quite capable of some amazing technology.

IMG_1679Stephen pointed out a guy who drove a moped to the Black Hills. That’s about 1,200 miles! On a moped! Going 45 mph, with none of the sweet suspension that I have! I went to day a quick HI before leaving. The old timer monopolized me for a bit and I didn’t have the chance  to say a proper good buy to Lora. Kind of a bummer. She was another Scooterville employee that made the visit exceptional.

We didn’t get back home until 9:30. We watched a movie and I had a sense of disappointment that the visit was wrapping up. Kind of awkward sometimes to instantly click with people and then have to quickly click off and move on. Nathaniel made a large donation and I didn’t want to accept it, because they had refused to let me pay for anything when I was there. He compared it to tithing. You know, I’ve heard that idea discussed before in some of my college classes. The idea that even if you don’t belong to your church, saving 10% of your income and donating it to charity helps out your community.

My two hosts signed the scooter and offered to ship home the fender, so I can have the souvenir. It has a lot of signatures on it….

Never enough time, I was up very late trying to contact people on the remaining route. It looks like I’ll be able to ship home my tent soon, I have places to stay almost every stop ahead. That will surely make a difference in the scoots handling and clear up some needed space.

Thanks to everyone in the Twin Cities who showed me how great your cities are, and your character. More peace per capita!