It seems like every city has something special, a place where you can escape from the busy city life, relax and slow down. A place in which the city, or town or village for that matter, puts its heart. A place in which the city takes pride. The bike trails, walking paths, connected parks along the lakes and Mississippi River of the Twin Cities are the heart we found. Of course it rained and was cold for days. The temperature was 22 degrees below normal and so we bided our time until it finally warmed up and we could enjoy the cities places. Two such places were the bike trails along Lake Nokomis and the new trail along the Mississippi river in St Paul. The trails around Lake Nokomis are an easy ride. While they combine in places most of the bike and walking trails are separate. Starting near Minnehaha Falls we rode by Lake Hiawatha and then around Lake Nokomis. A boat launch on Lake Nokomis seemed to say, "Bring the canoe", but we continued on hoping it would warm up more so we could enjoy some water sports. Well traveled and enjoyed, the trails were busy but not crowded, it was a weekday. We planned on riding further but it started to rain and so we rode back to the truck before seeing Minnehaha Falls. As we drove home Jenny, our daughter, pointed out the new section of trails along the Mississippi river and we definitely wanted to ride it! The next day Renita and I loaded the bikes and headed to a parking lot along the river, where we unloaded the bikes and rode upstream. Our goal was to ride to Crosby Farms Regional Park. Along the way we passed new condos and apartments. Statues and fountains graced part of the trail, as did flowers on a balcony, which Renita pointed out to me. I did notice the Schmidt Brewery, a landmark place. A barge moved up river as did a replica paddel wheel steam boat. We reached Crosby Farms and rode into the park. Huge cottonwoods lined the trail but stinging nettles kept us on the asphalt. The forest here was dark and had a smell of deep woods and earthy loam that reminded me of childhood morel mushroom hunts in Iowa. While there were several hills they were pretty easy and we rode and stopped and pointed out sights. Returning to the truck we checked our gps and saw we had rode 12.25 miles. We were both surprised as it didn't seem so far. We have been blessed to retire early and visit such a beautiful place and blessed to be able to hike and ride in such a place. Thank you Twin Cities! Clear skies.