Yesterday I was driving down some side streets near Chester Creek Cafe with my family when we watched a soccer ball cross the street in front of us. At first, it just seemed to be out on a walk, or a roll, I guess, as it headed down the street and on its journey toward the lake. A few seconds later a young man appeared from behind a fence and ran — looking for cars and being careful — after his ball. It was a close contest but the ball was finally intercepted a couple of blocks down the hill.
It got me thinking about the other hill-related events I’ve witnessed over the years and thinking serious work should be done in documenting such events. (Plus, I’m procrastinating on a big project I should be doing.)
I remember driving down Hawthorne Road in Duluth following one of those psycho longboarders as he picked up more and more speed before deciding he needed to abort the ride. He steered toward the grassy on the side of the road and ejected, rolling faster than he thought he would, toward a street sign that he T-boned with his body. He quickly jumped to his feet, suggesting that he was just fine and still had all of his cool in tact.
My son will never forget the day we were driving down Fourth Street near the Coop when we saw a car “parked” on a steep slope with its front end wrapped around an old oak tree. At the top of the slope, standing in a parking lot, you could see the owner of the vehicle staring down at the car that apparently didn’t have its emergency brake on. A small evergreen was also tucked up under the car — or at least the top part that had been taken out on the car’s trip down the hill.
I remember walking out of the Salvation Army downtown once and hearing sirens and walking to the side of the steep hill and seeing people standing outside all along the street. At the top, there was a bent stop sign. Another place, more damage. And, at the bottom of the hill, a car smashed into an electric pole.
I know that cyclists in Duluth have celebrated the hills by spending one day trying to ride up every single one of them. But maybe we should have some events that celebrate going in the other direction, like these people do in Chile.
So, got any hill stories?