The big rush was to be on the road, arriving at the Richland Center campground could happen when it happened. Lovely countryside to drive through, even in the rain, the trip was an easy one. Even avoiding the Amish travelers along Highway 61 in the dreary and late dusk was easy this time. A couple of years ago, it was all I could do to see them traveling on the wide shoulders. This time, bright LED head and tail lights. Six carriages in as many miles and one lone horseman to cap it off.
In the campground just before 9PM, I opened a cold beverage and sat in the dark under the pavilion, watching the valley's lights and listened to the evening sounds. Dressed well and staying dry, 48 degrees didn't feel bad at all. By 11:00, the Exped was pumped up and I was stretched out in my warmest bag, the drops on the van's roof fine by me.
Eric mentioned that he'd arrive Friday morning by 8 and that means no later than, most likely a fair bit earlier. Sure enough, I'd fallen back asleep and his text from Viroqua meant that I better get outside before he caught me in my jammies. Neither one of us are strangers to 4:30-5:00 AM.
I have no idea if we were in Richland Center for breakfast by 8 or not, wasn't watching. Rain had quit, the wind was steady as was the cloud cover. Northeast was our primary direction and this was our first rest stop. Brighter skies teased us during the day but the bright sun that was shining back at home never made it our far south.
Our first coffee stop, Hillsboro, the ice only a slight bit cooler than we were.....
This was a surprise.......
Eric decided to not let a little branch stop our forward progress so he took to the woods, got us some free exercise and internal warming.
Still out of breath, we managed to sneak mine under the top log and over the bottom log. Out the other side.....
We stopped at 5 corners, not only fun because of the number of intersecting roads but the riding on each of the 'spokes' is really nice.
Eric's cam caught me again....
Pekala Road, the first time I was here only abandoned homes......the road is 'better' as are the homes. Still fun though.
Buds.....big buds (I was sure that I'd allowed the focus to settle but obviously not).
Back to Richland Center for Friday Fish and then time around ye ol' campfire.....a long day of cool riding and we both slept very well.
Saturday morning, the forecast not exactly what we'd been hoping for. Steve arrived at his scheduled time and off we went, this time headed SW, opposite Friday's vector.
We hadn't gone far enough when the first sprinkles came. Onward we went, south at that point for the most part, stopping for cocoa and coffee at Port Andrew right on Highway 60 and the Wisconsin River. Byrd's Creek Valley and Goplin Hill, the rain getting slightly stronger and the skies told me that the better part of valor would be to head back to the campground. It was early afternoon and we had a backup plan since it looked like the weather would most likely be less than ideal.
Out of our rain/riding duds (Eric needed pants) we were off to the local Sport Center to kill some time and do some dream shopping. I bought nothing but did snap this photo.....
2:00 closing time was approaching and the outside machines were starting to get herded back inside.
We still had time to kill before our evening plans and it's at this point that I'm going to repeat what I said to the boys Saturday afternoon.
"You guys need any shoes?"
Make a note of this because there's zero probability that I will ever utter those words again. Having been to a local landmark once before with riding friends Becky, Steve, Scott and Chris, I knew a place that would dazzle even the most hardened non-shoe buyers around.
The Shoe Box in Black Earth, Wisconsin.
In memory of our friend ScooterBob and his love for Crocs.
My photos were patiently taken when I could get a shot without the throngs of shoppers and do not do justice to the number of people hunting for their own special footwear.
Yes there were jokes about our significant others and the ever growing collections we've personally come to know and love.....at home.
This was outside and begged an aiming from my camera.....
We drove east, Madison our goal having left without a purchase at this merchant as well. There was a backup plan that would be put into action if the weather made it easy and our weather did. There was a stop at REI, Eric made a purchase. Time for dinner, Eric made a great suggestion of the Avenue Bar since our final destination was going to be "near the capitol." That put us minutes away (a good thing because that's all we had) from the Barrymore Theatre, our final destination. The event, the SCMG Film Festival, 7th Annual to be exact.
Britten's story an inspirational one, the film was fun and inside was a perfect place to be for the evening. Back to the campground around 11PM, the drizzle and our long day had us in our beds in no time. I noticed a very starry sky but that was only to tease...morning broke windy, very grey and 39 degrees.
As is our custom, we motored down to the Lone Rock Airport for a once again breakfast at the Piccadilly Lilly Diner.
A few fly-ins.....
A few ride-ins.....
Mike didn't join us for the riding this weekend but he did meet us in Leland. He and Speedy had been to IL on a mission, not necessarily a mission from god, but Mike could sure use her help on this one....or is it two??
Staying loyal to a theme, these machines have pasts with local constabulary. Lights, sirens, wires, switches, etc.
Some sort of salute??
Mike and Speedy arrived early and we weren't all that much later. The crowd grew.
With Mike's early arrival, he and Speedy spent some time exploring around town (needed a place to turn around) and found this interesting item. Thanks for mentioning it Mike!
Leland known for something besides motorcycles it would seem!
We three left on our bikes, working our way on the little roads to Richland Center where we stopped for something to eat. Steve and Eric packed up and headed for home but I decided to squeeze in a bit more riding time before leaving Colleen and Bill's warm hospitality and flexibility at Alana Springs Campground.
Ten minutes into my ride, the first rain (of Sunday) appeared and only intensified. Still, I wasn't ready to give in.
A few weeks ago I had an Odometer Moment and this weekend I had another, more minor one.
Driving home, coming into Winona. The first real sunshine I'd seen all weekend and the first foray into the 50's. We never saw 50 degrees while our hands were near the handlebars.
Winona's Sugar Loaf limestone outcropping......
The tally on my TW200.
Many thanks to both Mike and Eric for their graphical contributions.