“Hi everybody, Ken Burns here. Greg’s back with another damn documentary. It almost didn’t happen, but he was encouraged by a couple of people who offered words of assurance that his films aren’t all THAT stupid and boring. Boy, are they going to be sorry after seeing this.”

Wow! I must be doing SOMETHING right when a man of Ken Burns’ stature agrees to write a blurb introducing my new work of documentarialistic art. Thank you, Ken.

I know it’s becoming pretty obvious that I don’t really come up with any ideas on my own. I just read what other Cycle365-ers write and then turn those things into my own personal challenges. In this case, the originality came from Old Grumbleface. He, his beard, and his grumbly appearance have been the inspiration for a few of my posts in the past. But THIS recent idea of his is so weird and so brilliant at the same time that there was no way I could resist digging into the subject — discarded Covid-19 facemasks.

Old Grumbleface indicated that littered facemasks were getting to be as ubiquitous in his part of the country as long strands of recording tape ripped out of 8-tracks and cassettes used to be all over the country in the 1970’s. My investigation into the matter spanned about six hours — over the course of two days — riding my bike and searching for evidence of this mass-mask-disposal problem in MY State.

As you will see, [spoiler alert] I didn’t have a whole lot of success.

Day One

Nothing enhances the landscape like a couple of discarded tires. No facemasks yet though.

On the horizon, in the middle of the picture, are some vultures picking at either a carcass or a discarded facemask. Too far away to tell for sure.

That garbage bag MIGHT have been filled with facemasks, but maybe not. I didn’t look.

I sure did pass a lot of litter on that gravel road. The top three varieties seemed to be beer cans, McDonald’s cups, and plastic WalMart bags. I also saw a chair, a half-eaten chicken leg, a garden hose, and a certain undergarment that women wear for support. But no facemasks.

Eventually I got back to a paved road and I remembered something interesting. Only a few days ago, The Feeshko told me she saw an article on the internet about a woman who made facemasks out of the cups of a brassiere. “Why didn’t I remember that two miles ago” I wondered? I can’t tell you how tempted I was to turn around, try to find that bra again, and make a hilarious video of me acting all surprised at my amazing double-facemask sighting.

I kept my composure though and pedaled forward — mainly because going back would have required backtracking into the wind.

I hoped that litter ahead might be a facemask, but it was only a banana peel. I carefully went around it because I didn’t want to slip on it like cartoon characters always do.

When I got back to town, I thought I’d ride around the hospital. There are probably more facemasks in there than in any other Hastings, MN location. Surely some doctor or nurse carelessly tossed one aside after a long day of surgery. NOPE!

Day Two

This morning I was feeling a little guilty about wasting all this webspace for nothing. I didn’t find a single mask — not even a yellow rubber band from a mask. Yet, I resolved to search again today

Yesterday I covered some territory south and west of MY Town. Today I decided to go north and east. It couldn’t be any worse, could it?

I’ll answer that: No, once I crossed the bridge things got much better.

Seriously? Paint?

I’m going to fire my cinematographer for filming that scene sideways. UNACCEPTABLE!

If ya want something done right, ya gotta do a selfie video.

In Conclusion

My in-depth investigation led me to conclude that discarded facemasks are very rare in Minnesota — so far. But what is the reason for our relatively small population of roadside facemasks? Based on my extensive research, I have a few ideas. I’ll break them down into six bullet points:

-Minnesotans haven’t really taken the facemask thing to heart. I admit, I haven’t been wearing a mask either, but now that I’ve seen our “Very Stable Genius” say he won’t wear a mask, I might start wearing one on principal.

-Minnesotans are intruding on facemask habitat by building more and more roads and housing developments. As a result, facemasks are forced to go into hiding.

-Minnesota predators, such as coyotes, bald eagles, squirrels, white squirrels, and gophers, are hunting the defenseless facemasks into extinction.

-Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (aka: 3M) is the nation’s largest maker of facemasks. It would be disrespectful to throw out the product of one of the state’s largest employers.

-Minnesotans have found more exciting things to litter — like tires, bras, fast food containers, liquor bottles, banana peels, and paint cans.

-Climate: Minnesota’s sub-zero winters are tough on a poor little facemask. Throw in high humidity and record-high summertime temperatures caused by global climate change and, well, those little things can’t survive out there.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.


  1. By: The Navigator Posted: April 12, 2020

    I love the cigarette air filter approach ๐Ÿ™‚ I think there is one more possibility on the lack of face masks. Maybe they are migratory and it is just still too damned cold in MN for them to return yet?

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 12, 2020

      I agree with your migration theory and I wish I had thought of it myself. Indeed, the facemasks are probably still wintering in California before beginning their long flight back to the north country.

  2. By: Rocky Posted: April 12, 2020

    Great post again but Iโ€™m surprised you found a face mask and a glove. Arenโ€™t you suppose to keep wearing the same mask and gloves over and over again!

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 12, 2020

      I don’t know what the mask and glove wearing etiquette is. With either of them, I’m guessing it could get kind of gross after a wearing them a few times.

  3. By: NancyG Posted: April 12, 2020

    You inspire me to consider wearing a mask for the same reason you might ;โ€™-).

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 12, 2020

      What would the Prez do? Whatever it is, the opposite is probably a good choice.

  4. By: Bill Stone Posted: April 12, 2020

    Well, heck, anybody coulda told ya that the closer you got to Packer-land, the more detritus you’d find along the road! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • By: gregblood Posted: April 12, 2020

      I could not have said it any better. (You might want to prepare yourself for a sarcastic message from Led.)

    • By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: April 13, 2020

      Well who didn’t win the superbowl?, (apart from us of course) and those Viking losers. nah nah na nah nah.

      Don’t know if that was sarcasm, but it’s late and my brain ain’t working

  5. By: Hopkins Escapades Posted: April 22, 2020

    You are hilarious!!!!!!!! Another fun post. Oh, and thank you for protecting us with your bandana mask while filming your selfie video portion. Safety first.

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