Weather: Sunny skies, but gloomy outlook.
Road Conditions: FUBAR (Look it up…)
By now, everyone who reads this blog must know about the horrible tragedy of the I-35W bridge collapse. It has been on the national news almost 24/7 for the past couple of days.
Before I go any further, let me extend my heartfelt sympathy to the families of those who lost loved ones, or are anxiously visiting hospital patients, or are still waiting for news on somebody who is suddenly missing from their lives.
This was a horrible disaster, and it happened right here in my home town. So I have got to temper my frustration at losing my favorite route to and from work with an understanding that others have lost so much more.
Ramble Plan Alpha was my lifeline. It was the calm, slow route along beautiful parkways, down by the Mississippi River, that made commuting on a scooter during the Winter possible. The scenery was gorgeous, and the traffic moved along at speeds between 25 and 35 miles per hour.
It took me exactly one hour, plus or minus a couple of minutes, to complete Ramble Plan Alpha, almost every single time. On evenings when work had taken everything I had to give for that day, I welcomed the tranquility that this green corridor offered on the ride home.
But last Wednesday, something horrible happened. Now West River Road is buried under tons of concrete and steel, and the remains of who knows how many vehicles… and worse.
The City of Minneapolis put out a map of road closures, in response to this disaster. I faithfully downloaded it, and printed it out, to place under the clear cover of Frogwing’s tankbag. In these days of uncertain road conditions, I have elected to rely on the multi-surface capability of my old faithful companion to get me to and from work.
But that map doesn’t take into account the whims of civic so-called “leaders”, and their desire to keep any unauthorized imagery from getting into the public domain. Roads are blocked off far from the published locations, to block any possible sightlines to the collapsed bridge, and the activities going on there. Only those with corporate press-passes are allowed access, because their imagery will be carefully scrutinized before publication.
I’m seeing badges everywhere. Police reserves, and even retirees are being imported from the surrounding suburbs, to man roadblocks and deny access to as many people as possible. I’m sure I could get there on foot, or even on a mountain bike, but there is no way to infiltrate the Authorities’ battle lines on any kind of motor vehicle.
So tonight, Frogwing and I were funnelled into the worst traffic we have ever seen. Hennepin Avenue was an absolute nightmare. We had to resort to guerrilla tactics in order to get anywhere. Let’s put it this way: we only took to the sidewalks when there were no pedestrians present.
To that guy in the big 4×4 diesel pickup truck who tried to run me over… Be glad it was only your mirror I amputated! I’m on a motorbike, asshole! I’m GOING to get ahead of you! GET USED TO IT!!!
(Note to Ride to Work(tm): This might be good bumper-sticker material. Oh, motorbikes don’t have bumpers… never mind.)
So, we are now defaulting to a modified Ramble Plan Bravo. This takes us past The Sportsman’s Pub, home of that wonderful chili that I reviewed last year.
The streets we use to get there are choked with the traffic overflow from I-35W, but so far I haven’t been able to figure out a way around them. It’s going to require an extra measure of patience, creativity, and maybe outright lawlessness to make my job worth the commute in the future.
I mean, we can’t move. Housing near work is WAY higher than where I live right now. Our house is not ready for sale anyway, and it would take several years of hated labor on my part to bring it up to spec.
So, I am going to have to discover new Ramble Plans to get around all this craziness. When the Repugnican National Convention comes here next year, I’m gonna have to leave. There’s no way I will grant Right of Way to Rich Bastards in Limosines… and they will have plenty of armed mercenaries willing to take me down.
Better to choose my battles….