Weather: 65Â°F (18Â°C)
Road Conditions: Dry and crowded with urban rush-hour traffic.
Some of you may have seen Sidewalk Dan’s comments in both “The Baron in Winter” blog and RHR. Dan has been a friend of mine for a few years now, since I became active in the local KLR scene. He is a bright fellow; a professional civil engineer with several bridge designs to his credit. But he also has a wild side, as his nickname attests, and his background as a former Marine demands.
His nickname derives from the fact that, when faced with heavy State Fair traffic in the rain one day, he decided to bypass the gridlocked cages and take to the empty sidewalk in order to get where he was going.
“Improvise, adapt, overcome.” – These were the words that Clint Eastwood used to describe the Marine Corps approach to obstacles and opposition in one of his better films. It is an attitude that both Dan and I have taken to heart, in dealing with local traffic on our KLRs.
But enough of this jaw-jackin’. Dan wrote up his version of our Ramble Plan, and it’s time to see what he has to say. My comments will appear in italics… Those of you who watch “Mail Call” on cable will feel right at home.
Ramble Plan Kilo: The Bulldog N.E.
How fitting it is for Gary and I to begin our ramble from an establishment named “The Bulldog.”
For those of you not in-the-know, the bulldog is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps. Currently this post is filled by Sergeant Chesty XI. Alas, I’m starting to hear Springsteen sing “Glory Days” somewhere in the background – so I don’t think I’ll go down that road today.
My past life in the Corps is, well, buy me a beer and I might tell you a story or ten…
The Bulldog N.E. sits on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis, just
across the Mississippi River that divides Gary’s beloved Saint Paul – and
his not-so-favorite Minneapolis (a/k/a the other place…).
Near Nye’s, another favorite establishment that Gary has mentioned previously on his blog, the Bulldog is situated along Hennepin Avenue, a fairly busy road that carries the thousands of downtown workers to and from their homes to their various places of employment. I am one of them.
Be that as it may, I rarely stop once mounted on my bike during my commute home. I pass the Bulldog going home – but never stop to take a gander. A few of my coworkers gave me the thumbs-up; plus the local newspaper had a pretty good review too. I was liking our odds more and more.
We stopped in about 1630 – catching a window seat to do some people watching and hopefully catch some decent light for Gary’s well known dinner plate shots. The restaurant is known for their hamburgers, serving Kobe beef pretty much any way you like.
Gary chose a plain burger, cooked rare, with a topping of a truffle. Yes, that is not a misprint, a truffle.
Whoa there, Devildog! Truffles normally sell for between $400 and $1000 a pound. They wouldn’t bury something like that inside a cheeseburger, certainly not for ten measly bucks. What The Bulldog uses on their Truffle Burger is truffle oil. Big difference! Carry on… =gc=
I asked for a plain Jane bacon cheeseburger, cooked medium well. Your host was very pleased with his burger, as was I. There were no sauces, no drowning in tomatoes, onions, pickles, relish and the like. Just a plain slab (and what a great slab it was) of beef, topped with a truffle. Gary will have to chime in on his taste buds and his topping, but my bacon cheeseburger was simply outstanding. I believe he got some decent photos of his burger – maybe he will put one (along with his review) in here.
Ah, the Truffle Burger… only ten-dollah, Joe. Did you ever think you would see the like? Oh, but this one is a doozy: They trim the fat off Kobe chuck, season it with garlic, thyme, salt, and peppercorns, and cure it overnight. Then they run it through the grinder twice to make it super smooth and tender. Grill it in truffle oil and top it with pure Wisconsin Brie, and present it on a fresh English Muffin. Hey, why is that olive staring at me? Let me give a special shout-out to our server Rachel. She was very patient with us jarheads and our uncouth table manners. =gc=
Well, now that chow was over (man, sounds like an Alpo commercial?) – on with the ramble. I had yet to reveal my route tonight, as I was going to try to get Gary in some local mud pockets that I had found in the days past. But he was weighted down with his traveling load as well as running his street tires – so he opted out of the mud. I did not.
It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t deep. But it was still fun. Ask your kids (or even hark back to when you were a young lass) why they play in the mud. The exact same reason I ride in it (but I can neither confirm or deny these allegations at this time).
Don’t let him fool you, folks. Dan is only barely removed from the kid stage. He’s been to college, and learned some fancy language, sure. But deep down he is still a curtain-climbin’ rugrat at heart. Thirty-three years old, and still playin’ in the mud… Oohrah! =gc=
Our route from downtown Minneapolis towards Saint Paul where we both live took us along the same Hennepin Avenue for a few miles of dreary rush hour traffic, to a couple quite sedate feeder roads in some of the local neighborhoods. This began a brief notion of supermotard. I found a nice, small steady LH curve – very doable at just a bit over the speed limit, followed by a hard RH turn that got us back to some main line routes.
It wasn’t much – and I never lost sight of his headlight in my mirrors. Keep in mind we were both on our KLRs – that had to be one heck of a sight. Not quite so cafe-racer-esque, but I did my best.
Exiting our motard event, we headed for the mud where Gary took it easy and I played for a bit. Next time we’ll get some pics okay Gary?
I was just coverin’ your six, Junior. Yeah, next time we’ll get some pics of you getting busted by the railyard bulls. =gc=
Then it was on to some uneventful riding to a lake near my house where my family and I walk and bike. I believe there were some more photos taken here. See the top of the page. =gc=
It was at the lake where Gary and I parted ways. He had a bit of ride to his hacienda – whereas I just live a few short miles away. I rambled here and there for another hour or so, as I had the kitchen pass tonight, which I was going to take full advantage to be sure.
Well, this is the end of Ramble Plan Kilo. I hope you have enjoyed my rambling as well.
And once again, many thanks to your kind host, Gary Charpentier.
Semper Fi brother.
Sidewalk Dan out.