1st Annual "Bursch Biker Bakeoff" - Eating My Way Across Minnesota
submitted by Fred Bursch, June 24, 2009
I left home yesterday morning to sunshine and cool weather. One of my favorite roads is Douglas County Rd 5 which winds its way along the Long Prairie river to the city of Long Prairie. The road curves through the hillsides passing an occasional Amish farmhouse with draft horses in the field; quite the contrast to a modern motorcycle rumbling through the countryside.
When I got to Little Falls I was greeted with some rum. Lois had baked a rum bunt cake which she swore would not get me arrested. I don't know if she was right, since I never got pulled over, but the cake was delicious.
In most offices I have been taking pictures of the employees and their entry into the Bake Off but in Little Falls Lois was busy with a customer going to Disneyworld. I didn't get a picture of Lois and the cake but instead I took a picture of Lois and her customers â€" three little girls complete with Disney tattoos. They had recently attended a birthday party and each of the kids was so proud of the different tattoos they had collected.
Then it was down the road to St. Cloud where the office lunchroom was roped off with yellow police tape. Spread out on the lunchroom table was a road-map of my trip. There was black construction paper, complete with yellow strips, representing the road well-traveled. Along the way were a number of stops demarked by plastic cups filled with M&M's and a road sign labeling each branch office. Additionally there were a few additional yellow signs. One was labeled "Detour for Cheese-cake.â€
What a detour that was. Jessica had baked the world's best cheesecake. I am told it was only her second time doing it. The first had been tried out on the staff the week before to make sure it was Fred worthy. It was so moist and the crust was terrific. All of this accompanied a picnic lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches, potato salad, chips and several other desserts, including cookies made by Mozelle that contained crushed potato chips. They had to make sure I got my daily quota of fats.
I don't know who all was responsible for this display but apparently the whole office had taken the week off to prepare. Actually. Mozelle said she got up in the middle of the night to bake.
And then there was the contribution from the group department. Last week when I was in STC Marcia Ring from the group department came in with her mother. Marcia has worked for me for over 30 years but I have never met her mother, who recently moved to an assisted living home in STC. When Marcia's mother came shuffling in with her cane Marcia asked me to meet her. I stood up from my computer and reached out my hand to greet her. The first words out of her mother's mouth were "I guess you could lose some weight.â€ So for their contribution the group department gave me a bowl of celery and carrots, which I washed down with more cheesecake.
Gretchen, one not to miss out on any social activity, was in STC for the day. She gave a bag of "Gretchen's Extra Fancy Motorcycle Trail Mixâ€ complete with cashews. I packed that away for dinner on the road last night.
The cheesecake had been such a hit that I was asked to take 2 pieces to Monticello, my next stop on this "Dine Around.â€ Keep in mind that I am on a motorcycle and it does not have air conditioning, so Gretchen packed the cheesecake in Tupperware and then set the Tupperware in a plastic bag filled with ice cubes which I had to pack in the motorcycle. It was 91 degrees when I got to Monticello but the cheesecake was intact and the ice cubes did not leave a deposit in my luggage compartment. John and Krisha were thankful for the delivery.
When I arrived in Monticello it was starting to get overcast and there were severe storms to the south. I watched the radar and decided to wait a couple of hours for the storms to move east. I was so full from my prior stops that we delayed any eating until late in the day. While John and Krisha did not enter the Bake Off, John had barbequed a 170 pound hog in my honor. (Actually, it was leftovers from his son's graduation party last weekend.) John told me how he wrestled this greased pig onto the spit and then roasted it over coals for 9 hours. It was delicious.
When I left Monticello it was almost 95 and sunny. I drove about 20 miles but then had to ditch my jacket and ride in a t-shirt. I took back roads around MSP, ending up in Chaska, Shakopee, Mystic Lake, Prior Lake and eventually Lonsdale. I broke down and took out my GPS to figure out the rest of the trip to Rochester. I still so full from all my stops that I had only an orange for dinner.
Once of the great things about just setting out on this road trip is discovering some new roads less traveled. My father and nephew attended St. Olaf College but I think I had only been in Northfield once in my life. I drove through the shaded streets of Northfield, past St. Olaf and Carleton College, and ended up on a road to Stanton. I had never been there before but I had once seen a TV report about an airport glider base in Stanton, and here it was. A small grass strip with a few hangers and many gliders awaiting flight. Now I have to check this out on another trip, perhaps flying down to take a glider lesson.
Driving through the river valleys of SE Minnesota the weather cooled down dramatically. I pulled over to put my jacket back on and continued on to RST, listening to the Twin's game on the radio.