Sunday, August 17, 2014

Minnesota Moto Guzzi Rally - 2014

A perfect summery August weekend for a rally, once again at Money Creek Haven Campground near Houston, Minnesota.  I had Friday off, only hours before having gotten off a flight from L.A. so I was definitely ready to get on the bike and head south for the rally.  Dave and I had decided to meet in Alma for lunch and it just so happened that our friends Bill, Gary and Terry were headed to the rally as well and had the same lunch plans in mind, so we sat together at one of the big tables.  After lunch they took off in a different direction than we did, neither group taking the short way to the rally site.

I rode the 250 KLR this time, its first rally weekend and my choice was based on both the close proximity to home of this rally as well as my intention of heading out for some gravel exploration on Saturday.  Iowa Steve's Guzzi was next door to Dave, Justin and I.


We mostly had a lazy afternoon, watching rally attendees arrive.  There was some excitement when Kathy and Tom rode in, both of their machines only days-old. J.U. had the coffee on, the Lemonade and Water ice cold.

Kathy's brand new bumble bee V7 and Tom's Stelvio.



We were sitting down to our Friday dinner when John finally came rolling in; abnormally late based on his expected arrival time.  I saw his spark plug.  I saw his spark plug cap and had never ever seen anything quite like them before.  Luckily for John, he had some spare parts along.  The RS made it, trailer in tow, just in time to join us for the meal.  Ernie didn't make it, never saw Paul; both were expected.  Dave did make it and that was good, hadn't seen him for quite some time.  Louie's new Honda hasn't been set up yet, so it will most likely be next spring before I get a chance to see his latest and greatest.

Friday evening was lovely, a light breeze and cooler for perfect sleeping.  Saturday morning bright and early we all enjoyed our pastries and bananas with coffee; the timers and almost-overloaded circuits had the pots brewing while still dark. 

Dave made plans to lead Lloyd and Bev out for a tour of local sites they'd not seen before.  I elected to seek out some gravel to really give the little KLR a chance to show its mettle.  Taking the back way to Whalan, Peterson and Lanesboro made a very good start to the day.  First, I had to get up and over the hill to drop down into Rushford for a later, more hearty late breakfast.  The fog was thick enough in the campground, even thicker 'up top' and as it turned out, very sluggish in dissipating.


I passed these guys and felt absolutely obligated to pull over and await their catching up to me.


Stopped for gas in Rushford and saw these girls doing their level best to occupy the towed horses while stopped.


Just west of Peterson, MN not far from the Root River, the fog still heavy, even in the valleys.


A common sight in this area of the driftless region; gravel quarries into the limestone bluffs.


Whitetails are big down here......habitat set aside for their sustenance.


Soybeans up on top, ditches of grass to slow the run-off and the deep Root River Valley just beyond.



The Root River Valley once had a rail line that is now a recreational trail, hosting bicyclists from all over the place.  Canoeing, Tubing and pedallers are everywhere in the valley.



Whalan, right on the river and bicycle trail.


Nearby Lanesboro has done very well hosting all of the tourists.



 Emil Farqart's, "A Slice of Paradise"......I didn't go in and managed to go without.


 This really caught my eye for some reason....a rarely seen phone booth next to the modern digital communication building.  I can't imagine this scene would be very common.


 A river town catering to water-loving and bi cycle trail tourists.  Bicycles, kayaks, canoes, tubes, etc.


"Hillside Pet Farm" was offering on the sidewalk, pet petting opportunities.  There were huge crowds here, mostly young women, which forced me to wait for an opening.


I had to laugh when the proprietor was answering someone,"....there are 4 of them here someplace...."  There was great disarray as the pups mobbed him while he searched.


 The Slant Avenue Mercantile on a very slanted avenue.


Done with my town walk-about, I headed west to Preston for some lunch and then found more gravel.  The narrow wrap around the cliff road out of Lanesboro, one of the finer examples of Minimum Maintenance.  Ox Trail/Grit Road depending on which map you're referencing.



There was dust.....no rain along this ridge and others like it.


Last year, Dave and I stopped here only to find it washed out from that summer's flooding rains.  This year the slab is so fresh that passage wasn't yet allowed.


As Saturday afternoon's overcast left and the sun got bright, I worked my way back to Money Creek for 'chat' time.  That went well.  Our steak dinner was prepared by the camp hosts, seemed especially good this year and our roughly 50 rally-goers shared some door prizes and awards for Youngest, Oldest, Furthest, Closest, etc.  I was not a winner this time.




Rod did his level best to entice me with a Twist Cone but I stood firm (had one earlier) and resisted desert.  We worked our way back up to the campground after the meal and awards for campfires, discussion and a relatively quiet, no-rain evening.

Just under 300 miles for me and the KLR this weekend, this rally location only 75 miles or so from home.  Again, thanks to J.U. and his gracious Mrs. for their efforts and hard work.