Friday, June 29, 2012

Upcoming Events / Rides

  • July 13-15  Iowa Moto Guzzi Rally, Elkader, Iowa
This is a great rally, one I've been to 3 times, two of them have been National gatherings rather than just State rallies.  Held in the city park, the grounds are lovely, many trees, large grassy area with plenty of room to spread out.  The facilities are great; showers, rest rooms, city pool, pavilion, museum, etc.  The local residents welcome the riders and we're fed well, with beverages provided all weekend.  Even the local Pork Queen helps serve the Saturday evening banquet.

On the Cassville ferry....

Found some mud.....

Stopped for a World Famous Gunderburger.....

  • July 21  Lorem Ipsum, Viroqua, Wisconsin
I've not done this one before, though had planned on making it.  Friends have gone and easily convinced me that I should be there too.

  • August 17-19  Minnesota Moto Guzzi, Money Creek, MN
This one's close, happens at the same location as the MN BMW rally.  Located in SE Minnesota not far from the Root River Valley in a beautiful area for riding, this rally, the location and attendees are always a favorite of mine.

  • Labor Day Weekend, Wildcat Rally, Westby, Wisconsin
Typically my last rally of the season, though not the end of my riding season.  There's just something about this group, the area, where it's held, the turning weather.......  Most likely my favorite rally of the year.

Some rain on Saturday....

The "Smell the Roses" ride on Sunday......

A stop at Rockbridge.....

And ????

Last year I took a week off and trailered the Yamaha TW200 down to the Flint Hills in KS and then in the latter half of the week, headed east to MO and joined old friends at the Falling Leaf Rally sponsored by the St. Louis BMW Club.  I'm not sure if I'll attend this year or not; plans still being finalized for my remaining allocated vacation days.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Busy Weekend

This weekend at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds our Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club is joining forces with the Viking Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America for their annual Bike Show.  I've got the little 1962 Honda C105 55cc trailbike loaded and will be at the fairgrounds tomorrow, hoping for a chance to win "Oldest Bike" at the VJMC judging Saturday afternoon.  There are older Japanese bikes around but not that many.  Of course the Antique Club has machines that go back decades older.  We're all counting on great attendance and a huge number of bikes to be on display.

Tomorrow evening our son is coming home for a couple weeks on Leave from his home base of Camp LeJeune.  In early July he's being deployed to Africa and naturallly we're very anxious to see him and do all we can to maximize our time together before he heads off to foreign soil.  His presence at home is going to be all the Father's Day giving that I need.

Last night's 4" rainfall was more than our driveway slab could handle.  The slab's condition has been deteriorating over time, in place since the early 50's when my uncles poured it across the dry run our driveway crosses.  I knew we were in for trouble last night when I looked out and saw the ponds that were forming in our very sloped fields and my concern was enough to prevent a good night's sleep.  We've wondered before but this time I just knew deep inside that this morning would present a very unpleasant picture and it did.

Due to schedules and vehicles needed by the rest of the family, I intended to ride one of the bikes to work today.  Hopping on the TranZalp this morning, it was the bike with tires able to cope with the 6" of lovely loam that was on the driveway and that should have STAYed on the cornfield.  We were fortunate to avoid the drift-logs that so often have accompanied our valley's floods but I'd have taken the logs in preference to the broken up, displaced and upended chunks of slab that I encountered.  I navigated through the mess, then turned around to help Peg navigate her way through so that at least she could go to work.  There was barely room for a single vehicle to slowly ease through the deep muck and still avoid the huge holes but we got through it.  I drove up to the road, Peg took over and headed to Minneapolis.

I walked back and started the tractor (still had the winter plowing snowchains on) so that I could attempt to move one huge chunk of slab so the girls would be able to get out this afternoon.  I did nothing with the mud, deciding that getting it dried out would only be a good thing.  Since it had been months since our non-snow winter demanded the tractor's running, I was relieved that the tractor started so easily.  Bouncing down to the ditch with the chains on and then quickly getting the slab moved enough to provide a pathway out went reasonably well.  Back up the driveway, off the tractor, got myself suited up again for the bike ride in and still made Minneapolis by 7AM.

So, a relatively big issue to deal with but for the time being, this weekend at least, it's more motorcycles, time with our Marine and Father's Day.

Inside the Pavillion with mostly Viking Chapter Antique Club bikes.  For the most part, the VJMC machines were outside, some under the tent while many were out in the parking lot.

Our driveway under rushing water, just over 9" in 7 days.....

At The Track

Up early Friday morning, I was very anxious to be at Road America's Gate 6 by 7AM and made it actually a few minutes early.  Registration took less than 30 seconds and I headed directly for the Carousel where the AHRMA event's camping section was.  There were possibly 3 or 4 other campers already there and from the looks of things, a couple of them were completely set up.  With the wind, I really struggled getting my Noah's Tarp set up by myself but it finally was there.  Be evening, the other guys had arrived and the outside ring of the grounds was mostly spoken for.

Mike and Rod arrived from the Twin Cities mid-afternoon and once they quickly got setup and bikes unloaded, it was off to the pits to see what/who was there.

In a nutshell, it was 3 days of fun at the track, no rain and warm wind.  Two trips into town for breakfast, one for dinner on Saturday night in Glenbeulah and other than that, we stayed on the Road America grounds.  I stayed Sunday afternoon as long as I dared, sorry that I couldn't wait for the very last race to finish.  Late Sunday afternoons are always quiet and this year seemed especially so, with most of the spectators long gone by 4PM when I left for home.

Mike checking out Pete's XS650

Disc golf with an R/C target.....

Phil graciously fed us all on Friday evening.....

I've always enjoyed this couple from New York 'working' together in the pits.  A Ducati and Seeley single if I remember correctly.

Honda DOHC 450......

The guys discussing Mike's Triton and Rod's '34 Moto Guzzi.....

An interesting Triumph Bobber....

Near Corner 6, the little Honda ready to take me to whatever corner is next.

Didn't find out his name, but this 1973 DT250 Yamaha Enduro came all the way from Michigan, via the U.P.

Vintage moto-crossers waiting for their group to start.

A nice batch of old ones competing in the show.

Very pretty old Ducati.......

Mike and Rod getting loaded up......

Rick's Husky, ready for loading and the long trip back to Iowa.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

AHRMA Road America Weekend

I arrived in Fond du Lac last night (Wed.) just before dark and unloaded one bike off the trailer this morning, a 4 1/2 hour trip from Frontenac.

Riding the Ascot today around the region today, I'll load it back on the trailer tonight and be at Road America early tomorrow morning to set up camp in the Carousel, the camping area used on-site at the track.

Very much a day of wandering, the Track that I left on my GPS of my recorded path looked as though there was little rhyme or reason to my ride and that really sums it up.  Initially I thought I'd make a big clockwise loop heading southwest from Fond du Lac.  It started that way but then I headed southeast of town and did a loop that was more of a counter clockwise circle.  Lake Michigan seemed to be calling me and I wanted to get there sooner rather than later.

Southwest of town, the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.......

A Rustic Road that I'd not taken before, primarily because it wasn't yet established the last time I visited Horicon.

From Horicon it was east to Dundee for lunch at the Hamburger Haus, the 2nd time I've stopped there for lunch.

After the customary burger, I stopped at the nearby Ice Age Trail Visitor Center.  After speaking to the attendant about her scooter that she watched me admiring outside, I sat down in the amphitheater to watch a film on the history of glaciers in Wisconsin.

These aren't otters, rather kids enjoying a lake that the glaciers left behind.

Coming around a corner, I saw a sidecar rig ahead of me, then sped up and was delighted when the outfit pulled over into a quiet church parking lot.  If anyone is more excited about scooter-carrying sidecars, I can't imagine who it would be.  Mary certainly enjoys hers!

Her Silverwing and 'car made a very nice looking rig.

Mary and I stopped near New Fane, she then continued south and I turned east toward the Lake.  Through Random Lake and on to Cedar Grove to Amsterdam Park on Lake Michigan.  This beach was very quiet.

Using back roads, I rode north to Kohler-Andrae beach but just north of Oostburg I went past a farmyard and saw two Helix scooters for sale in the yard.  One, an '84 just like mine and an older red one, both listed for $2000.

The beach walk at Kohler-Andrae State Park and my 3rd Visitor Center visit of the day.

From the park, it was north to the Sheboygan waterfront.

Charter fishing boats......

The Mucky Duck.....

Walking out to the end of the pier......

Leaving Sheboygan, I took County PP through Sheboygan Falls, following the old 23 that we used to take before the State highway was widened and modernized.  PP turned to C, then back on to 23 into Fondy.  189 miles for the day, bike loaded on the trailer and ready to set up camp at the track tomorrow.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rhubarb and BMW's

Though not necessarily in that order, it was another rally weekend for me with the main focus on the Hiawatha (Minnesota) BMW Rally in Money Creek.  The weather was perfect, many of my friends that had not been at the rally a couple of weeks ago were at this one; the first time I'd seen many of them since last fall.  Once again the club, the volunteers and Money Creek Haven Campground put on a worthy show.

Out of the norm for me, I did very little actual riding on Saturday, instead spending more time with friends and for the first time, attended the Rhubarb festival in Rushford, a now-common event for Gene and Dave.  So, between the rally site being relatively close to home in addition to little other riding, it was a low mileage weekend.

The Morphous at a gas stop Friday afternoon; note the fine BMW pendant on the 'hump' bag that Mike loaned me to increase the Morph's Cred among the other Bavarian machines.

Old and dear friend Chris was finally going to make it to the rally and true to plan, arrived late Friday evening; in his words "a full 20 hours before I did last year".

In the Registration area.......

We could tell Friday sitting around the campfire that it was going to get cold and my Coleman thermometer confirmed when I climbed out of the tent Saturday morning.........39 very fresh degrees where we were tucked into the low valley.

Sunrise down at the pavilion, waiting for our coffee to finish brewing.  There were still enough coals from the hotdog roast Friday evening to get some dry chunks started for some very welcome heat.  I cast a looooong shadow.......

After our coffee and bananas (as well as more sun), we rode over to Rushford for breakfast at Stumpy's, always busy rally weekends serving groups of attendees.  From there it was up to the Wayside/Lookout above Rushford for a view of the Root River Valley.  The turkey vulture that was willing to fly at our eye level and a scant 20 feet from us was an amazing site.  Ugly creatures on the ground, they truly fly as though they know what they're doing.

Not to slight anyone of the other guys, but Gene's always the most photogenic.

After the overview of our world, it was back in the saddle west to Lanesboro; some of us took a direct route, some of us wandered their way over.  Lanesboro was a busy place with rhubarb celebrators flocking around the City Park, the summer location on other weekends of a large Farmer's Market with many Amish products offered for purchase.  We saw some pretty fine baskets and furniture.

Quilts as well.....

The Rhubarb Girls commemorating the plant with song.......

In case anyone forgot why we were there, the canopy was very plainly marked........

Chris inspecting a quiet spot in the Root River.......

Chris very kindly buying us both Rhubarb Sodas, a product of the Spring Grove Bottling Co.

A rhubarb recipe author and her books for sale......

Dave and Gene opted for the rhubarb pie, my original intended sweet but then I saw the cheesecake with rhubarb, changing my  mind........... I would do it again too.  Though I'm not in the photo with my desert, I will admit that an image of my "pie place" would match those featured......we are after all, pie connoisseurs and know where good pie belongs.

After leaving the Festival, we explored a Rustic Road, then headed back to the campground since Chris and I were booked for some Demo Rides that the fine Leo's South motorcycle dealership annually makes available for free.  I was signed up for a Moto Guzzi Stelvio; Chris was going to try out a Norge on the test loop.

Chris calmly waiting for the group to get back for our slotted 2:45 ride......

The riders and machines back from the 2:00 group, those of us ready for the next ride suiting up.

I enjoyed my ride on the Stelvio more than Chris enjoyed his time on the Norge, but the ride I was most excited about was in the next time slot.  Friend Dave's recent interest in sidecars has piqued my curiosity, enough to get me eagerly on the list for a spin on the Ural Patriot rig.

The rider and his daughter that had the Ural out before me, discussing their experience with a current Ural owner.  My lack of a passenger came up and it was suggested that the 'expert' here accompany me on my test ride.  It didn't take him long to decline the offer, wishing me very good luck.

I wasn't interested in the Can-Am Spyder but very interested in the Ural......

My view from the saddle.......

The group was taking a bit longer than usual to get ready and since I wasn't going along with them, I went out on my own, heading west up the hill on County 26 to the point where the road starts dropping down into the valley again and turned around there.  I really enjoyed the ride and would find it very easy to spend time on a rig, riding the backroads as is my normal practice.  The 4 speed tranny and shift points were right up my alley.  Thanks Leo's!

The group in the Shelter, finishing up their pulled pork meal and waiting for the awards presentation.  I should mention that I was again a winner, this year a $25 Gift Certificate from Dennis Kirk.  Last year it was a $100 Cert from Aerostich.  Hopefully the BMW folks will let me come back again next year.

I think we all slept better Saturday night, partially due to being more tired but also due to it being just enough warmer.  Another bluebird morning, with not a cloud in the sky.  I was down extra early for coffee and easily managed to get the last couple of logs glowing from Saturday night's coals.

The crew getting packed up......

Dave's 650 Burgman, was a complete surprise to me; I guess our long winters don't allow enough time for Dave to have SHARED with me that he was now a fellow scooterist.  By the next rally, he'll be fully forgiven for keeping his new machine such a secret.  Dave likes his new scooter, but is a bit critical of the harsh ride.  He kindly offered me a test ride for my opinion in return and I'd agree with him that it does seem a bit harsh for what I would have expected, but then Dave's most likely spoiled with the plush BMW smoothness he's been accustomed to for 127 years.  We'll see if together we can't get it tamed down a tad.

Once packed up, the 4 of us headed down to Houston for a Departure Breakfast.  In only one of many things discussed, Dave informed us of the possible pitfalls of a certain pancake restaurant chain. He returns again and again, only to be more disappointed with each and every visit.  Sooner or later he's going to avoid the place.

So, to sum it up, quite possibly one of my best Money Creek rallies to this date.  Dan and I discussed our Helices (he owns REAL BMW's), Sidecar Dave introduced his new friend to us and taught me more about 3 wheel rigs, Tim and I discussed family history and old rural memories, Chris and I discussed the pros and cons of Hill People vs. Valley People, Bob and Gloria helped me with prioritizing time management, I was corrected on the fact that Gary drives red tractors rather than green (I guess I just assumed.....)when he's not riding German or Italian motorcycles, Gene and I covered more than enough in the political realm and of course Dave tried to save us from dining disappointments in our ongoing quest for good, wholesome and nutritious morning meals, only one of his interesting topics.

Had a great time all and topping this one will be a worthy quest!