Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Renewing old acquaintances

I consider myself to be a fairly adventurous person. I love new experiences, I embrace the unknown and I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone whenever possible.

It's the reason I decided to bike to Lanesboro this past summer instead of relaxing around my apartment with a few days off. It's also the reason I opted to run in the Warrior Dash instead of any of a number of 5Ks that were cheaper and closer to home.

However, as cool as it is to experience new things, it's also good to revisit old ones from time to time. Incidentally, this post represents a renewing of two old acquaintances for me: the Red Jacket trestle bridge and my blog in general.

As most of my regular readers have probably noticed, I've been relatively absent from the blogosphere lately. There's a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, I signed up for classes at Minnesota State University this fall and have been devoting much of my free time to schoolwork.

The other reason relates to employment status. The harsh economic times forced the Free Press to resort to layoffs recently and tragically, I was one of the casualties.

The Red Jacket trestle bridge is back!
Aside from going through the other processes related to being out of work (job searches, resume updating and applying for unemployment), I've also been grappling with the notion of continuing this blog. The original intent of it was to provide supplemental material for the health & fitness readership of the Free Press, and since I'm no longer an employee of the Free Press, that purpose is now moot. On the flip side of that, the blog does not run through the newspaper's website (it's through Blogger) and my readership has expanded to an audience well beyond the Mankato area (I got an email from a cyclist in Copenhagen this past summer about my experience of grocery shopping on a bike).

So in an effort to maintain my sanity during unemployment, I've decided to revive my blog. I figure there's a reason people enjoy reading it and I think the writing will be therapeutic as I contemplate my next step in life.

Therapeutic use of free time is also what led to reviving my relationship with the Red Jacket trestle bridge. I used to make a regular habit out of biking on the Red Jacket Trail. It's scenic, it's relatively flat and the Dam Store's delicious pies are mere minutes away from it.

The new support pillar of the trestle bridge 
was completed earlier this month. 
According to the Free Press, It will be
stained to look like the other pillars next spring
However, with the trestle bridge being out of commission due to last year's flood damage, like many cyclists, I turned to other routes for leisurely rides. Red Jacket users could still ride the rest of the trail by crossing the Le Sueur River on Highway 66, but it was inconvenient to do so (steep hills) and the historic trestle bridge was a major reason why the trail was so appealing to begin with.

I figured the trestle wouldn't be ready until next spring, but while getting my bike repaired yesterday, Flying Penguin Outdoor Sports owner Jon Anderson told me that the final deck boards have been installed and the bridge is up and running again. Ecstatic over the news, I rode the Red Jacket Trail this morning, stopped on the bridge and took a few minutes to admire the view.

I never used to stop on the bridge during bike rides. After being on it so many times, it simply became another part of the trail to me. However, after being without the bridge for so long, it felt good to bike across it again and feel those wooden planks clatter against my bike tires.

And after being absent from the blogosphere for so long, it feels good to be back.

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