Our intrepid staff just returned from a fact-finding mission to Iowa's Norse northern neighbor, Minne-SOH-tah. Fact: There are a lot of lakes up there. We weren't quite intrepid enough to determine if there were 10,000, though.
Nothing terribly bikey to report during our trip up yonder. I did hit a couple of the larger (and more dull) sources of bikestuff during some downtime, as those were the locales that I could manage with my pathetic navigational skills (to update one of my dad's favorite sayings, I couldn't find my arse with both hands and a smartphone). During said journey, I came away mildly/partially impressed by the REI house-brand Novara Verita, so I'll give that a mini "eyeball review" in another post.
One mini-plug to throw in: At a family get-together, I did get to sit and chat with cousin-in-law Banning, the owner and namesake of Banning's Bikes in Fullerton, CA. I've never set a physical foot into Banning's joint, but I keep a drool-shield on the abovementioned smartphone in anticipation of the shop photos he occasionally puts up on the Facebooks. This ain't your grandpa's Schwinn shop in the corner of a hardware store. Stunning, stunning stuff. And you can tell he's one of those shop owners who still gets little-kid excited over bikes. In fact, the dude was up at the crack-o-dawn putting in miles on a borrowed bike while yours truly was in an (ahem) "recovery phase" (translation: Zzzzzzzz...) So if any of my half-dozen readers find themselves in Fullerton, Banning will treat you right. If he doesn't, report back to me -- I have some pull with his cousin, and I have it on good authority that she will bite him if provoked.