Day Two: Flats, Chats, and Nice Warm Hats

Uh Oh: The Flat Tire Fiasco

We set out from the refuge of Rebecca Otto’s alternative energy home into the brisk chill of the Minnesota autumn morning. We travelled for about half a mile and everything was going well until I started to hear a “thu-thunk, thu-thunk.” Oh, no, a flat tire, and not just any old tire, it had to be the rear one. I’ve changed a front tire before, but I realized (a little bit too late!) that I’d never learned how to change the back tire of a bike.

For hours, Maia & I worked on our quest to fix the tire. Many thanks to Amy Sabrina @ the Sweetgrass Farm and her friends for telling us how to actually get the tire off! After working “tire”lessly for a couple of hours, we put in a new tube, figured out how to fill it up and hit the road.

Karen Clark & The Women’s Environmental Institute

We stopped for conversation (and tasty brownies!) at the Women’s Environmental Institute north of Almelund. Up a large hill, the brick building of the center stands like a part of the landscape, surrounded by a beautiful organic orchard.

We sat down by a warm, crackling fire with Karen Clark, the Institute director and were joined by a couple from the U of M who were spending the weekend on the farm. Karen talked about how the Institute focuses on issues of environmental justice in both the Twin Cities and north of Almelund. Karen believes that we need to prepare for climate change in ways that are fair and do not disenfranchise those who are poor and already struggling, and that it is an issue of environmental justice

After a short hike and bike down a stretch of dirt road and paved highway, we arrived at the Hauan’s farm house on the outskirts of North Branch. We owe them many thanks for their hospitality, warmth and food. They talked about how they are considering building a wind turbine, and are interested in learning more about how a family can put one up. Kathy Hauan is an amazing cook too! After a chilly day on the trail, we were fed a welcome meal of pasta and apple cake.

Posted: 2009-10-12 06:28:00

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Author:Reed Aronow


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