Mike's Peugeot was the first "one that smokes" though I had arrived a few minutes before him, me on a "isn't supposed to smoke." My guess is that it took Mike just a wee bit longer to suit up today than it normally does, usually we take turns being the first to show up.
Rod a.k.a. Mr. Majestic arrived only minutes later, the 3 of us now needing absolutely the hot coffee to warm up after our 40 degree, 6:45AM rides in. Hearing what sounded to me like a chainsaw, we all swiveled our heads up and down Central Avenue, expecting to see another arrival but there wasn't a vehicle in view. Then Jeff's modified Hodaka Trials bike peeked around the corner of the building (not a street legal machine), he standing on the pegs like Trials pilots are intended to do as he slowly rode up the sidewalk to where we were seated.
The People's Choice vote was taken and the People's voted for BOTH the Hodaka and Arie's H1 Kawasaki Triple. A coin toss went to Jeff's Hodaka, both 2 strokes conveniently near each other......
Jeff gave a fine speech, direct relatives were thanked for everything he is today, more distant relatives eluded to.....
I left right after the official results were in, spent time at mom's house sorting and stacking. After 2PM some time, I was home, changed and on Tran Zalp.
Best first gravel was Tushaus Hill Road in the Zumbro Bottoms State Forest.....
Are these real flowers or dainty yellow leaves opening up??
I stopped for dinner at the Wabasha Dairy Queen, a place the Coop's once visited fairly often when we were out and about exploring. Today I was there solo but memories came back to me as I ate, memories with the family, the kids going back for ketchup, using their Tokens for ice cream, etc.
One memory was especially strong however. Back in the summer when Ben was 14, he accompanied me down to southern Indiana to bring the ST2 home. We rented a van in early June, drove down to Terre Haute on a Saturday, spent the night and then early Sunday were in rural Vincennes to pick up the bike, making it back home that same evening. Away from riding and motorcycle ownership for 20 years while the kids were growing up, safety and behaving oneself on a motorcycle somehow was a common point of discussion that summer in the Coop household. This was going to be a big change from baby lambs and an ornery goat. After all, there was a very impressionable young man present, soaking up everything.
Later that summer we were in this very Dairy Queen, long tables here just to my right with a very expansive view of Highway 61 which is 150 yards or so in the distance. While we were enjoying our Chicken Finger Basket meals, Ben and I facing the highway, Ben's mom and sisters with their backs to the highway, a couple of large Sportbikes were headed south (left to right) At a point on the 4 lane highway, maybe centered in this photo, both bikes lofted their front wheels and kept them high for about as far as we could watch them without us jumping up and spilling our fries.
The highway transitions just a bit to the north from 2 lane to 4 lane but there's another half mile or so to the south before the limit bumps up to 65 (72 the the low end of average actual). I could literally feel Ben's head turning to keep watching the bikes head south. My head turned just like his had and when I saw Ben turn back to me with his eyes wide, I knew that there would be something he had to say, most likely more than one something.
With great care and subtle though quick determination, I brought my finger up to my lips and saw a very large and most wonderful smile appear on Ben's face.
We did it.....message sent, message received.
Together we'd just had a very precious father-son moment.