Miles: 65.8

Total Elevation Gain (ft):  498.8

Weather: Mostly Sunny, Warm

Hillbilly Insults: 1

Roadkill: 6 (2 Birds, 2 Chipmunks, 2 Unknown)

Bugs Swallowed: 2

Mean Dogs Chasing: 0

Animal Rescue: 0

Sometimes,  I like to bite the heads off gummi bears and make believe I'm Godzilla.  I've been a big fan of the radiated, giant Komodo dragon my whole life.  My  home office/game room is adorned with several Bandai vinyl figures depicting "Gojira's" changes over the years.

Second only to Godzilla, I've had a fascination with giant robots popularized by Japanese cartoons like "Battle of the Planets" and the live action "Johnny Socko."  This is the stuff I grew up with before "anime" was in our lexicon. 

When I was in junior high a local television staton in Kansas City, KCTV 5, would showcase "Monster Week" every few months.  The title was a misnomer, since it wasn't horror they were broadcasting, but Kaiju movies
Monday through Friday.   "Kaiju" is the Japanese term for a strange beast or giant monster.  

I had a problem because the movies would start at 3 p.m. but school wouldn't let out until 3:15 p.m.  I just hated missing the set up of these masterpieces.  So, I'd ignore my teachers all day and toiled at drawing crude apocalyptic scenarios with Godzillas, King Kongs and atomic weapons in my Mead composition book. 

I'd  race home, flip on the television and impatiently wait for it to "warm up" for an eternity.  I'd marvel at guys in rubber suits smashing Toho movie sets.  This was the pre-DVR era and Betamax was considered legitimate. So, every moment of these movies was a treat for me and the memories are probably more vivid than the actual film. 

Video games had not yet crippled the imagination in the early 1980's.  as a late bloomer and no athlete, I had a lot of time to create elaborate shag carpet battlefields replete with plastic soldiers cowering behind Lincoln Log defenses while under attack by cheap K-Mart toy dinosaurs and a large rubber shark. I imparted the shark  with death ray laser vision by shoving a pen flashlight in his innards. 

All of this childish play was abandoned during my  "Dungeons and Dragons" era which was ultimately abandoned for my goal of getting on the varsity debate team. How did I ever get a date or lose my virginity?!  It's a miracle of miracles. 

I'm chewing up the pavement and put nearly all of Minnesota behind me in three days. I did this, in large part, to fulfill a guilty pleasure.  I wanted to be in Minneapolis on my birthday, July 13th, so I could treat myself to a big movie theater with an eardrum busting sound system.  See, it appears that I wasn't alone in my prepubescent fascination with Mechagodzillas, Planet X, Rodan, Ghidorah and the destruction of Tokyo.  A chubby Mexican guy, about my age, wrote and directed a much anticipated film about giant robot Jaegers versus alien Kaiju.  

Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim" opens in wide release on Friday and I believe he did this just for me on my 46th.  This might be the best birthday present since my first girlfriend, Michelle, took me to see "Tron" when I was 13.  It was her birthday too.  It was perfect until she tried to make out with me and I was mortified.  I knew from my Jewish mother that it might lead to heavy petting and then "mono," which might as well have been AIDS to a guilt-ridden kid like me.  

If anyone is still reading, don't let my glee and wistful reminiscence prevent you from going to see this summer blockbuster.  Del Toro is no lightweight.  A true auteur, he made "The Devil's Backbone,"  "Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy" and "The Orphanage."

A Minnesota Kaiju!

took a leisurely pace today and stopped in St. Joseph for lunch at a great little diner.  This is where the Lake Wobegon Trail pavement ended. I had to brace for my reentry into traffic and went back to battlefield mentality mode.  Highway 10 has a wide shoulder and will take me straight to Minneapolis, but it might as well be an interstate with all the trucks and speeding cars. 

A couple of items about Minnesota: too many Catholic Churches and no one can articulates distance in miles.

As I passed one small town after another, the first thing I'd see above the tree line was a water tower followed by a Romanesque church.  No matter the size of the town, the churches were huge.   I'm amused when the Holy Apostolic Church preaches the virtue of poverty from gilded altars. 

I asked several people how far it was to "this town" or "that town" and the universal response given was in minutes, such as, "Oh yeah, ya know, eh, that's about 45 minutes."  Minnesotans measure distance by the time they spend in their cars. II guess it makes sense since they travel West to North Dakota all yhe time. The landscape is a blur and the mile markers are meaningless. 

Dakota at Thee Buffalo.

Stopped in Big Lake, MN and ordered a fine pulled pork sandwich at Thee Friendly Buffalo.  Dakota was my server and chatted with me about the ride.  I used all the pedaling as my excuse for inhaling my food and swilling excess amounts of iced tea and diet soda. 

Tomorrow, Minneapolis and Kaiju!  

My first day in the Fightin' Sioux jersey.