Friday, April 6, 2018

Not Taking It For Granted

Eric and I use these words between ourselves all the time and they're meant for the global, biggest picture.  Enjoy life, live it .... in 4 words.

I'm using this Post's Subject words here in a more focused way and that is towards appreciating our access to the local world that we ride, explore and enjoy our motorcycles in.  That local world in general includes what's often called the Upper Midwest.

Far from being a recent discovery, I mention it here because the concept has bubbled to the top lately after spending (far too much?) time on the RE Himalaya forums listening to comments both from current UK/AUS owners and those potential owners on our continent.  As of this writing, the bike hasn't been released in the USA yet.  None of us are owners yet though some are closer to be than others.

" ..... 24 hp???......."

" 70-75mph top speed??......"

"Off road handling....."

There are many traits and features important to we riders; no bike satisfies all though we all appear to hope that one day, someone will .....  All well and good.  The ideas and discussion make for lots of fodder online, coffee shops and meeting places.

We're lucky to have the choices in machines that we have, both new and old.  We've an avocation that thrives on modifications, personalizing, enhancing both cosmetically and functionally.   We make them fit better, run longer, go faster, go slower, on and on.  Seldom satisfied with "off the showroom floor", there are an endless variety of ways to make them ours.

My personal expectations for the anticipated joy and I use that word with great confidence, that will result from my rides is based on experience and the knowledge of how and where I go.  When I first began my blog, I soon discovered and came to appreciate the fact that my riding environment is not a match for everyone else that rides.

Blog friends on the coasts, from urban areas, the real mountains, our Plains, other countries are all quite varied (Tony, your rides on Oahu especially so :).  Speed limits, speeds actually used, traffic volumes, distances between, elevation, population density, etc. all have an impact.  Even here close to home, my coffee time with friends in Minneapolis gives me an appreciation for the differences in what constitutes a quick "30 minute" ride.  My 30 minutes in the saddle result in a far different trip than someone that mounts there machine in a downtown condo garage.

So, all of this about a machine "that fits" environment, mood, time spent and so on.

Here you're looking at 15,000 square miles that includes a good portion of nearby Wisconsin.  We live right on the MN/WI border and can actually see more of WI from our front door than we can of MN.  The ratio of paved:gravel in the southern half is 90:10 and as you get to the top of the image and then off the map completely on up to Lake Superior the ratio works to 10:90.

Settled by loggers and then farmers, certainly in the majority of this view, homesteads were built on 80 and 160 acre chunks; access roads were needed for all of those agricultural products for shipping to market.  In general, the entire SW corner of the above map is considered the Driftless Region, an area that was missed by the leveling of glaciers and as a result, the roads follow the contours of ridge and valley.

It's a lot of roads and for us, a lot of riding.  Every year, a different mix but this is what happened in 2017.

Just over 13,000 miles last season, 1500 of which were on the KLR in Wyoming so that means 11,500 were ridden in this region here......... A decent amount of Iowa and Minnesota miles as well, some of them down there in the corner though not all on the map.

If you haven't seen this, check out this Post from a few summers ago.  There was a followup done here.

A long weekend over to Road America for the AHRMA races and then some camping on Lake Michigan, using my Little Mule, the TW200.

Also, a Post highlighting a couple of my "Bayfield at Halloween" rides up to the south shore of Lake Superior.  One year I did it on the TW200.

So there you have it; where and how I spend my very best riding time; what I do and enjoy as well.  For all of the people that the new 2018 Royal Enfield is not a good fit for, it was just about built for me in most every way.  As such, it will get used a lot.

Each riding season, I attempt to use a different machine for not only the various rallies that I attend, but for the weekend riding I do.  As I've quipped more than once to my friends, the other machines in the garage are already feeling jealous...and neglected.

Good riding, we are lucky to have an abundance of it.

Eric, I'm not taking it for granted.

ADDED Saturday 4/7/2018 

This zoomed in region represents most of the Driftless Region....LaCrosse in the upper left corner, Madison just off the lower right.  80 miles wide, 45 miles 'high' ~3600 sq. mi.  You can see how many I missed but rest assured I got most of the best ones. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Behaving Mostly

I currently have no supervision.....I'm "Bach'ing it" as my uncle used to say.

Peg and Lauren are in Paris for a week and any transgressions (a relatively small number) that did manage to get past me have only been of the minor variety.  Not a single stealthy motorcycle purchase or "bring home" has occurred but it sure would have been easy.

Since half of you already know, it's probably high time to let the remainder know that I'm waiting anxiously for my new Royal Enfield Himalaya.  It will look like this and due in April .....

I won't be going with the hard bags on mine.  Some small side pouches for the frames straddling the gas tank and a rack for supporting my current soft saddle bags have been ordered from Bangalore and should be here this week.  The first white Himmi in the state, I can't wait.  A few weeks ago, Marty at GoMoto said that it was on the water, somewhere between India and Minnesota.  One of my friends mentioned that there was word about a cargo ship that had only recently sunk but apparently that was just a rumor going around in some very small circles.

Knowing that adding one more in the garage seemed just a bit over the top and really unnecessary, with much deliberation and prioritization, the hurtful decision was made to sell 3 machines to make some room for the new white one.

This one's been gone a few weeks already.....

Riding friend Jeff bought it, now has it running better than new.  If he and his lovely bride weren't over in Belgium right now, he'd have most likely been out for his first ride this past week while it was so mild.  He's telling us that this will be his AHRMA Road America weekend machine this year; I'm hoping to take it for one more spin if given the chance.

The red one is listed on ADV, has received some very nice comments, seen some interest in Fly and Ride's from a few people but currently is still mine.  If by chance you're in the market, I know where there's a good one.  I'll give it another week or so on the popular Dirty Bike forum, then get it listed in a few more places.

Finally, once the 2nd one is gone, the old KLR will be #3.  Unable to say why exactly, but there's a growing soft spot in my heart for this one.  There isn't really a logical reason; the Kawasaki will be redundant and quite possibly lonely once the 411cc bike arrives but it's being the last one up for sale for a reason, certainly a solid one.

So, if you're counting (and I try not to), this would potentially be a net LOSS of 2.  At this point, I say potentially....

These past weeks, not to mention the last year and a half, we've been busy trying to get mom's house cleaned out, the goods sorted and lastly, the dwelling sold.  This past week, papers were signed to get it listed and now the weekend's Open House isa flurry of activity.  Text messages and emails are far and away the better way to stay up to date on the heavy traffic.  Low supply, big demand is fortunately where the house finds itself and there's every indication that an offer will be forthcoming by the end of the weekend.  As my brother and I have discussed for months, "there's riding to do....."

Last week, while going to and fro visiting our company's customers, I hit the grand daddy of potholes.  I'm conscious of them, watch for them and do everything reasonable to avoid them but this big one got me.  The headlights blinked, the wipers turned themselves On to DANGER and before I got back to the office, the car was feeling 'funny'.  An egg on the sidewall and a bent wheel will do that to a fella's automobile.

At the tire store on Friday, while paying for a brand new tire, a brand new wheel and the extraneous items, Vicky, my go-to, oft visited counter person said, "be sure and register for the drawing".  I did and here's my very own, small version of  When It Rains It Pours.

I have 100 Prepaid Solutions.....gas money the way I see it.

Someone not only attempting to, but able to, accomplish much more of substantial content and endeavor than I've ever been able, is our blog friend David over at Life On Two Wheels.  Very busy and carrying in a properly loaded-arch way, he's been studying for the Ontario Bar Exams.

My timing, impossibly poor, a request was made for some travel ideas from David regarding Peg's upcoming business trip to Toronto/Montreal.  Rather than tell me where to go, David very politely and graciously requested some additional time to respond.  Respond he did, not only with an extensive list but with details so thorough that someone without a clue or a GPS could easily follow them.  Peg happens to have both and it will be mere child's play for her to execute all of David's suggestions.

David, we truly thank and owe you.

Tomorrow morning, a shared breakfast with Paul and Eric.  Been a long time guys, can't wait to sit down over some coffee, eggs and learn about your recent AZ back road riding.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Aspencade - October 1978

Today's house cleaning of mom and dad's treasures had me digging through dad's large file of vacation trips.  Going back further than I do, I'll eventually be browsing through the old trip maps and literature when the time is easier to come by.  The slimmer Aspencade folder from '78 caught my eye so I pulled out and scanned a few of the documents.

Both dad and I with CB750 Honda's, I convinced him to join me for a couple of weeks to head down to New Mexico in early October for the annual Aspencade Motorcycle Rally in Ruidoso.

We left the Twin Cities on I-35, spent the first night at Eisenhower State Park west of Ottawa, KS.  The next night we were at a KOA in Amarillo after turning right at Oklahoma City.

From there, southwest into Clovis, on to Roswell, Hondo and into Ruidoso.  We registered at the Chaparral Inn but camped east of town a few miles.

My Olympus OM-1 zoom lens zeroed in....we're setup just beyond the little Winnebago and in the shade of that young tree.  My orange Timberline enjoying the shade.  It would get into the low 80's during the day, frost on our seats in the morning.

It was back when "Touring" was really taking hold; big fairings, loaded Gold Wings and Harley's crossing multiple state lines and the country.  Cycle, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Modern Cycle started sharing rack space with Rider, Road Rider magazines.

The Chaparral...

Ruidoso Downs Racetrack next door....

Rider Magazine's Dick Blom.....


 A Schnauzer undercover in the shade.....


Roger Hull, founder, editor and "Sage" of Road Rider magazine.....

The "Aspen" part of Aspencade....Dad and I rode up to the Ski Apache Resort.

We went to visit the Cloudcroft abandoned trestle....

Dad's out there, half way across....

Thursday dad's work/riding buddy Don arrived after visiting Colorado.  The 3 of us joined the group ride to Lincoln during their weekend Apple Festival.

Bleachers for the Billy The Kid performance....

Gold Wing Superglide....

I remember this guy....he wasn't a very skilled rider.

This one had British registration.

Friday we did the Mystery Ghost Town Tour to Apache.  It was fun visiting with Jack; we both had touring saddles and there weren't that many 900SS owners that did.

We got the 750 on the scale....

At the laundromat....

Saturday parade...

Don and dad at the White Sands National Monument Visitor Center.

Leaving the rally, Don had to get back to Minnesota, dad and I headed east as far as the Mississippi River and then followed that back to Minnesota.

Crossing the Mississippi, we camped near and visited Historic Nauvoo, the Joseph Smith settlement that was made on his way west to Salt Lake City.

A Different Trip

One of my earliest Posts described the trip Brad and I made to Montana and Alberta back in 1976.  Here's the link

Today I found this post card that was sent to my grandparents from Jasper National Park.