Early Morning Ride to Flooded St. Paul

I didn’t really spend enough time in Minnesota’s capitol to give it justice, but an 8am train meant I had like fifteen alarms set for every minute surrounding 5:30am and severe anxiety about missing my return train as well. So, I said goodbye to my still-sleeping friends (5:30am shouldn’t really be allowed to exist when you stay out until 2am) and hopped on the greenway for a beautiful morning ride to the twin city.

As an adopted Midwesterner, there’s nothing I appreciate more than good weather. We deal with extreme cold and heat each year, making it rare to see a nice day not taken advantage. It was a long weekend everywhere (wooo pride weekend), but the quaint side-streets were already active.

I mean yeah, I was pretty exhausted. There wasn’t time to stop for food if I was going to get my bike boxed up and on the train with me. But pedaling through the two cities with that morning light showed a lot of the unique character I had barely scratched the surface of in the past two days. It’s becoming pretty common for me to feel this weird mixture of sadness and contentment when I leave the places I visit. This time it hit while sitting in St. Paul’s gorgeous, new Union Depot admiring the details around me and watching with tired curiosity as people go through their own versions of pre-boarding activities.

I started giggling actually, when I caught a familiar smell. I didn’t notice it at first, maybe because I had been so used to it the past two days, but I definitely smelled like a muddy river. Prior to getting on the train I hopped some sandbag barriers/fences and explored what was left of the flooded parts of downtown St. Paul, and the floodwaters had left their mark on me— guaranteeing, it turns out, that I’d have both coach seats to myself for the ride home.