Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fabulous food, great hills in Harmony, MN

Saturday The Mike had a bike race with a start/finish in Spring Valley, MN.  For those of you who are Little House on the Prairie fans, you'll probably recognize the name.  I didI watched the show as a kid, but never read the books. I think I need to remedy that!  There are several races occurring this day, the Almanzo 100 named for Laura's hubby, and the Royal 162 (which was 150 miles this year).  In addition, they have added several endurance running events, too. I decided there will be other years to check out the happenings in Spring Valley including the museum (and I've driven around the town in years before) after I read the books, so I headed to Harmony, MN for my run.  

There's a fabulous paved trail from Preston to Harmony that includes several nice hills for a great workout. It's a good 4 feet across and has some coverage with trees and other areas wide open.  I came into town, parked at the Visitor's Center and the trail started just North of this location.  Had a nice chat with the woman at the VC who asked me to be careful out there and I put the VC's number in my phone for her. :-)  I went out for the run about noon--after I put on my sunscreen SPF30 and got all set with the hydration system.  I knew I'd be out for a couple hours at least with the mileage to run and the 20mph plus faster gusts of wind.  The trail is funded by the state. 

View from the Visitor's Center
Harmony, MN

The first part of the trail takes you past a few buildings of yesteryear and a fun little shack with giant hobos made from tree--to honor those of  history who use to "ride the rails" for free.  I'd post a picture, but it'll be so much more fun for you to see them in person the first time!  

FUNgi-s out in the woods. 

Sign near the gravel road before heading back to Harmony.

Then you get out in the open as you run along a gravel road, before it turns into the square mile system.  Nice on a hot summer day, bad on a day with strong wind gusts.  I was surprised with the turns on the trail and this is mainly as I figured the trail was created from a train track that no longer exists. Some turns were more curves, but most were closer to a 90º angle.  I was headed to mile marker 12, to get in the distance.  Towards mile marker 15/14 the trail starts to get a little hilly with the map saying "relatively steep hills in this area".   I looked at this as excellent training for the upcoming Hospital Hill Run in KC, MO. I run on "flatlander" terrain and I'm always doubting my ability. While I did do some walking on the hills, I trudged further up each one than I thought I would when I started each--and that was saying a lot with the wind gusts. 

Plenty of signs to show who has set up the trail. 

When I finished with the run, I discovered my phone was DEAD, so I plugged it into the car, and left the car running while I was able to freshen up/change at the Visitor's Center and then I armed myself with the visitor brochure book and drove down town.  I decided to turn around and found this fabulous restaurant Quarter/quarter Restaurant and Wine Bar

I figured I'd have better luck at this restaurant for a Gluten Free meal than at the fabulous looking mom and pop place on the main street.  I know, I judged a book by its appearance--it's something you tend to do when food has issues with your body! 

The full menu paired with the allergen menu

My fabulous entree of the day, Salmon atop Yukon Gold mashed potatoes (very buttery/creamy naturally if you've never had), asparagus and topped with a glaze and some Tarragon..

It was VERY good. 

The only downside to the meal? They only had one GF dessert and I didn't feel like Gelato. I recommended they make their cheesecake without a crust in the future :-)  Don't know if they'll take me up on it, but the crust is just fat calories that I generally just do without.

The phone was still dead when I came out of the restaurant, so every place I stopped I left the car running to get a charge going.  I intended to stop at the angora goat farm, but it was closed. Instead I stopped at a great Amish farm and purchased a fabulous blue and brown tulip basket and an amazing fly swatter ($7) that I think will last my lifetime---All leather swatter with a metal rod inside the leather handle!!!!

I checked out the furniture store too on the edge of town.  R & J Wood Goods and they have some quite amazing stuff. I think I need to bring The Mike with me back to this neat town to check out all this place has to offer--coat racks and jewelry armoires to dining room tables, buffets, dressers and bed frames and deck furniture too (the latter made from the plastic deck material).  

As I headed out of town I sighted another buggy. It's amazing how people just buzz right past the horse. Sure there's a good paved shoulder there, but I can't believe other drivers don't give them a little more room. . .then again, no one seems to give bicyclists room so I should not be surprised. 

As I headed back into Spring Valley I spied The Mike's cycling kit and was surprised. . . I pulled over to take some pics and realized it was NOT The Mike, but rather another man, Rob.  At the finish, Rob asked how Mike was doing and I said I had no idea as the phone was still dead. Rob let me use his phone to Text The Mike and it was discovered that about the time I was out touring the Amish countryside looking at baskets and canned jelly that he had given up the ride and needed a ride.  EEEK.  The worst feeling in the world for a Cheerleader.  A quick "thank you" to Rob and I was running for the car and dashing to the town for The Mike. Thank goodness he was able to stop at a town with a nice park that included shelter, shade, and electricity. He had to journey to the truck stop for a phone charger as his phone had died too! Oooh, the FUN of technology.  . . . 

[edited to changed didn't to did! in first paragraph]


  1. Sounds like an awesome run! You were right about the intestinal bugs - I just found out today and that's what caused my wheat allergy!

    1. Oh I am so glad they figured out what was up with your body! You'll be able to do so much more now!