The event was a potential on the "2016 Ride Schedule" and it happened. Five, six weeks ago when I asked for the 2 vacation days to make my South Shore trip a longer weekend, I put in the request for a couple of extra days to make the first weekend in October a longer trip as well. So, the Fall edition of the SC would start early Friday and extend through Tuesday evening.
It was a struggle, albeit a minor one to figure out which bike to take. Some were easy to eliminate and then a couple of weeks ago I got the wild and crazy idea to take the old '82 Honda 400 Auto that I mentioned bringing home last Spring. A bit more background on the 400 is in order.
My uncle bought the bike brand new back in 1982 and for all sorts of reasons, the bike mostly sat and for many if not most of the years, it rested quietly in various farm buildings. Its life was tough not from use but rather from just sitting. Damp environments, dust, dirt and from the looks of things, every so often "being in the way....." (dents, dings, bents here and there) gave the impression of use, that is until one would look at the odometer. In the late '90's dad felt sorry for it, brought it to his suburban home, polished it up, gave it a tuneup and had it running right if not necessarily looking right. After that, it got pushed back into the shed and once again mostly sat until the farm was sold, my youngest uncle inheriting it and then this Spring it was essentially inherited by me.
1614 original miles
Some carb work had been done by my uncle, a few other parts repaired/replaced. It ran but not well when I fired it up back in March. Front caliper rebuilt, a thorough carb cleaning, a poor man's vinegar treatment of the gas tank and some wiring issues resolved, it was running much better. Running much better when warm but I failed to get the cold starting fixed and that problem remains to this day.
So, as a sort of novelty, I hauled it up to mom's house with the intention of riding it this summer to our Saturday morning coffee gatherings at Diamonds in Mpls. That happened just two times.
Thinking that it would be novel and something not yet ridden to the SC, I considered the pros and cons of making it my 1st Sunday in October ride. It did seem to be a solid runner the few short times I'd ridden it in the city but I was concerned about its reliability for a day-long ride through the hills and dales of southern Wisconsin. With only one week of September remaining, if I got my act together, get it on the trailer, bring it home and put a day's worth of miles on it, the old blue Honda just might work out.
It was a very windy day, the bike worked well and was flogged at higher speeds up hills and around corners like I'm sure it had never been run before. Shockingly, we were on Reserve at 67 miles....1.7 gallons filled the tank for a very disappointing 37 mpg. This was a very bad omen for the way Coop does back roads in Wisconsin. I shared the news with friends that the Honda may not be on the trailer for the weekend after all. Various luggage options, liter and 2 gallon jugs were my contingency plans. I could make it work.....for Sunday's official ride at least. Since we were making a 5 day ride plan, the 400 Automatic was supplemented by TranZalp, the 500 Ascot. At 5:30 Friday morning, both bikes were on the trailer as I headed out the driveway, the Alana Springs Campground in Richland Center my 8:30-9:00AM destination.
Eric still had some duties at work Friday morning so it would be early afternoon before his ride down would be completed. Both bikes off the trailer, I thought it would be a good idea to run the 400 a few miles, a bit more confidence about its capability for Sunday's Route to Pine Bluff only good. It fired right up and off we went.
60 miles later and close to the time that Eric would be arriving, I looped back to Richland Center, filled the tank and having ridden at my Normal Backroad Riding pace, the pump stopped at .903 gallons.
It wasn't just the fact that this 400 has an automatic transmission; my old CM400 Honda 5 speed (you know, the clutch kind) always did low to mid 40's for gas mileage but then when I think back, much of that riding was at faster, highway speeds. This was going to be easier and much more fun that I'd thought.
Eric arrived early afternoon on the GS, his plan to tent, my sleeping would happen once again inside the minivan. Beautiful sunshine had been predicted and that's what happened.....about 50 miles north of us. Most of Friday afternoon we dealt with misty-almost-rain.
There were various area events going on over the weekend, one of which was the annual Wheels of Time show at the County Fairgrounds. Seemed like a good thing to do on a cool wet afternoon. I was hungry, breakfast had been light and very early. Eric wasn't against it so we headed to the Center Cafe, our go-to dining location for soup and a salad.
I saw this poster in the entryway.......
We parked the bikes in wet grass and all afternoon we walked the fairgrounds in mist that was as good as steady.
WARNING!! I took many more pictures of tractors and trucks than I did of bikes on Sunday at Slimey Crud.
The back of that D21.......
I saw this truck and commented, "Hey, I wonder if that's a Sleeper Cab?"
This one was absolutely beautiful......
Yes, a few motorcycles in the garage take up a lot of room. Even with that eventual sidecar rig in my garage, my problem is in no way comparable to the space these guys' hobby take.
And proud of it!
Friday evening remained wettish and cool, after a long and lazy dinner we retreated back to camp and called it a day. The recent heavy rains had water standing most everywhere in the region; our normal campsite was on the wet end of the facility and with all of that water there were mosquitoes aplenty. Neither one of us needed much of an excuse to get some rest Friday night.....w/no campfire.
As usual, I'd put GPS Routes together the week previous. Friday's optimistically planned route went SW, Saturday's plan was to the SE, the SC route was to Pine Bluff, then Leland and finally back to Richland Center. Monday's route was primarily north and Tuesday was left open for possible Rain Delay games.
Here's what we did with some explanation to follow......
This is my GPS report; Eric's included more miles since he'd ridden down rather than van'd. 871.6 miles combined on both bikes, 24:48 hours for a moving average of 35mph. I'm going to guess that 60% of the miles were on the 400 Auto, the remainder on the 500 Ascot.
The Auto's odometer now reads 2337.....1614 last spring when I brought it home......525 miles in 3 days.........34 years to get the first 1600. I had no reason to worry about the bike, it ran flawlessly and way, way much better than that, it was a blast to ride. Intending to only ride it Sunday, my short ride Friday before Eric arrived convinced me to really get some miles on the old bugger. Finally on Monday, it seemed only fair to give the Ascot a chance for a couple days of South Wisconsin.
After breakfast at the Center Cafe Saturday morning, off we went to our planned SE. It was corn silage time in the area, this large 4WD unit with the blade on the front the machine of choice for packing the chopped and fermentable corn in large piles, bunkers or pits (the way my uncles always did it).
Saturday it never really rained and never really stopped being wet......
I had to scold Eric....all week long he'd been sharing the RC area forecast with us...."perfect bright sunny....." My motorcycle and anything connected to or near it was becoming very soiled.
We saw so many cool, interesting and lovely barns that I lost track of them. Eric often slowed down to give his GoPro a chance to catch some of the best ones.
It was around 4:30 when we got back to the campground, Mike had arrived not long after 4PM.
We rode back into town for dinner, then made a gas stop so that we'd be all set Sunday morning for our trip to Pine Bluff for Slimey Crud Location #1.
Sunday morning, our mandatory stop for breakfast at the Piccadilly Lilly Diner along the taxi way of the Lone Rock airport.
There were a couple of farm utility vehicles there in the lot.......this first one visited Leland later on as we did.
After breakfast (coffee was very good and very plentiful) on the Back Road Way to Pine Bluff.....
A few shots from Pine Bluff.....
As I've mentioned before, for me at least, the event has become much more about seeing old friends rather than about the machinery present. We ran into quite a few people I knew while at Pine Bluff and even more folks once we'd gone north to Leland.
11:30 and on our way to Leland.......
Hey, we're in Sconny......
Our 3 machines featured here once we'd arrived in Leland and parked near the pond. Eric and Dean discussing something....
I had written the week before to fellow blogger Scott of Greasy Shop Rag blogspot fame and mentioned what I'd be riding and where we expected to park. I was just dehelmeted and off the bike when Scott approached and introduced himself. In that crowd I was pleased and appreciative that Scott looked for and found me right away. We had a great discussion and Scott gave me an update on his current projects. A pleasure meeting you Scott, hope we both get some decent riding in yet this season.
Scott was kind enough to share a couple of stickers with me, one of which is already in place......I have business cards, I don't have stickers.......yet.
John had just arrived.....
Still my favorite thing to see in Leland....
Rick's Husky and his son Chad's......there's a Yamaha 2 stroke behind that front wheel.
Here we are Leaving The Building........
We rode back to Alana Springs Campground, got Mike's 450 Ducati loaded up and sent him on his way back to Mpls. Eric and I decided to do as much of my planned Friday Route as we could before dark and cold.
I got to follow here at the "Right Turn No Stop" intersection.
Over the crest on Covered Bridge Road.....
Sunday evening back in the campground.....
Back to our campsite.....
Monday morning.....cloudless but major fog. Bugs weren't as bad, there was coffee and time to get my GPS and peripherals moved over to TranZalp.
Coop Woods Road.....a stop :)
Up on top the fog had cleared.....
I rode right past this log in the road hazard, Eric was a responsible adult and kicked it off to the side.
It isn't just the horse waste that's a clue to being in the Amish neighborhoods. The steel wheel marks and horseshoe scrapes on the sloped roads are giveaways. I try to remember to slow down and be more aware, careful to not meet or pass those sharing the road.
Hay making interrupted......
Pavement was warm enough here on this early October day to be sticky underfoot.
Amish school in session......well a baseball game in session with students. I miss this on my weekend travels.
Our final stop of Monday afternoon before returning to camp.......shadows getting long.
Monday afternoon another motorcycle camper arrived next to us, a woman (Kathy introduced herself quickly) on a big Yamaha cruiser, pulling a cargo trailer, traveling solo. I didn't think any of that was so unique but when she pulled a foldable bike out and assembled it, that was something I'd not seen before.
We rode into town for dinner and at one of the intersections, pulled up behind a GS BMW. Deciding to try a new place for a burger, we no sooner sat down when the GS rider walked over and asked if he could join us. Butch, a Twin Cities area resident, was on his way home from TN and sat down to join Eric and I, the three of us with burgers from the menu. A tried and true rider, Butch has been all over, spends time in the Rockies on true dirt bikes and not only rides a lot, but enjoys the company of his wife on rides as well. I invited him to our Saturday morning coffees and really hope that he stops by; he'll fit right in. It was a pleasure meeting you Butch, hope to see you at Diamonds as well as out and about on the road!
When we got back to camp, I quickly got a fire going, our last evening in camp. Things were very quiet over in Kathy's corner but once we had some flames going, Kathy came walking over, carrying her chair, hoping that we'd share our fire with her. An experienced traveler and rider from way back, I quickly learned that not only did she have a neighborhood that extended far beyond her Green Bay home, but that her 'neighborhood' was even larger than mine.
Kathy really gets around.
We learned about her work schedule ( = FLEXIBLE) and she's been good at flaunting it. A member of multiple motorcycle camping groups, her mention and description of campgrounds and their towns had me struggling to keep up. She told us, "My husband was willing to try motorcycling and Scrabble but doesn't care for either one. I love 'em both so here I am, traveling and playing solo!!)
Kathy, we heard you leave in the early morning and were disappointed that we didn't get more of a chance to share more stories. Safe and long travels to you!
Tuesday morning, another cloudy start. I was anxious to continue our interrupted "Friday Route" so we went and continued where we'd left off Sunday afternoon after Mike left.
A pooch that did NOT chase.
The still swollen Kickapoo River and adjacent flooded lands.
This field a lake......
This entire area suffered much more from the recent heavy rains than anywhere else we'd been earlier in the weekend.
Over to the right, the monument commemorating Seldom Seen Farm. This mentioned in one of my annual reads, The Land Remembers by Ben Logan.
A gas and coffee break in Seneca......there were many pair of antlers on the wall inside.
We stopped at a friend's place on Shanghai Ridge but there was nobody home.
We stopped here and Eric's reaction was exactly what I had hoped for. His "I've never seen anything like it" matched my reaction the first time I'd seen it. The Hogback just outside of Steuben is truly a sight that we're not used to in these wooded hillsides that blend into cropped valleys and hilltops.
The Kickapoo's flooding left downtown Steuben a mess.
We were back at camp before 3:00, both Eric and I quickly got packed up and I was pulling out for home right at 3:30, 150 miles to home.
We had a really good time, hopefully obvious by now.