Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hiawatha BMW Rally, June 2010

Yes, you read it right...a BMW rally that I showed up at 2 1/2 years before I owned a BMW, on a beat up old TW200 Yamaha.  Knowing the president of the local club, I asked at the Registration Desk where the dirt bikes were tenting.  Really, how much difference can there be between a GSxxxx and a Yamaha with fat tires?  So far, they keep letting me stay.......

Most likely my 2nd rally attended this coming ride season will be the closest to home, namely the MN BMW club's rally just outside of Money Creek, MN.  Only a 75 mile ride, this is one that I don't take a Friday off to attend, able to ride there easily after work but before dark in June's long daylight hours.

Never present with a BMW in the past, I'm not even sure I'll take mine this year but that is yet TBD.  Most every other machine I license has been there and which one carries me this year might just depend on how much gravel I intend to visit.

The 2010 version found me on the TW200, a year in which I did take the day off.  No, now that I think of it, that was back when Friday's were mine every week (those were the days....)  Only a few miles from home, I came upon a season-long rebuilding of a County Road, some of which was adequately signed "Road Closed".  We've all seen the signs and know what they mean and how we're to respond.  I chose to ignore the sign and rode on, confident in my machine and abilities to proceed and if that became cumbersome, to turn around.  Stubbornness can be a positive and a negative force.

The soft gooey mud that, in my defense, started out meekly enough, soon became deeper and more greasy.  Before very long, the front low-fendered wheel soon turned into a round ski that was on the verge of refusing to roll.  Just before that threshold was reached, I headed for the very grassy edge of the road and proceeded on, the front wheel very reluctantly deciding to begin rolling again.

This, a few miles further on once most of the mud had been 'burned' away.

I didn't fully inspect each and every BMW parked in front of the Registration Booth, but it's safe to say they were all cleaner than my machine was.  I don't always leave a good first impression but we manage to get past that most of the time.

Taking the long way down still got me to Money Creek early, leaving plenty of time for Friday afternoon exploring while the rest of the folks rode in from locations much further away.  As far as I know, Twin Headlight Ernie is the only regular attendee that lives closer.

That year we seemed to find many turtles practicing the chicken art of road-crossing.  You can't see the smile I have on my face right now remembering the big Snapper that friend Dave stopped to help and his very reluctant rescuee snapping back.  Just imagine the old woman with a cane swatting at the Boy Scout who's only trying to help...

Why I do what I do.....Crazy Corner's Road to the left, Pleasant Valley Road on the right, just outside of Freeburg.

Sunrise on Saturday morning, mostly BMW's, Money Creek Haven Campground.

After breakfast with friends down at the pavilion, I was off to find new gravel to explore.  Gravelly switchbacks....does it get better than this??

One of many Minimum Maintenance Roads, always treasures....

A stream crossing/spillway....there's a very good chance trout are nearby.

My favorite road of the weekend, just east of Amherst.  It may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that I'd not done this one before.  This is where it leaves 'up top' and descends steeply into a quiet valley that no one any longer has a need to visit.....except for me.

Looking forward to being in the neighborhood 3 and 1/2 months.


  1. Thanks for throwing in such a nice treat in the midst of winter. Love the green!

    Your little bike looks like it is just the right size and weight to handle the dirt roads.

    1. Isn't that green luscious? It was early June, probably our best typically green month. Things have been dry here and we're a bit worried that for once, we'll have a June not so green.

      The TDub is a nicely balanced machine in my mind, more important it's just tons of fun.

  2. Some of those back roads look like someone's driveway. It is making me want a dual sport..... I've been eying the TW200 too, but they are expensive used around here though. Any used Yamaha dual sport is.....

    Thanks for the tour around the countryside.

    1. You are more than welcome! It's the "driveway" part that makes them so much fun to me. This kind of slow exploring is something I savor.

      AFAIK, the TW's have taken on their own aura. The dad and his son I got mine from "learned to ride" on it. I used "looks like you learned to fall down" when shopping for it. I knew of the bike's reputation and I wasn't troubled in the least about a few nicks or bent parts. The price was nice and low, it had a windshield that I wanted and has been flawless.

  3. Here I have to use the overused OMG. In my next lifetime I want to be big enough to take this motorcycle and this ride forever. And be much better with manual transmissions... :#^ I

    1. Stringing these little backroads together using some nice quick paved County Sweepers makes an awfully nice day.

      This isn't a big motorcycle Martha; it's often used in Rider's Training Courses for that reason.

      Shifting?? You'd be fine....there's a little pedal down on the left (Karen's friend Ken has to sometimes remember on the right) and a little lever up on the left. The TW200 would make using them both a very forgiving process.

    2. Martha, I should add that the yellow scooter has been on most of these roads, very much a Twist N Go

  4. Loved the pictures though I'm not really (not at all, actually)an off road/dirt/gravel kind of rider. I especially liked the abandoned house in the valley ... I hope you helped the turtle in the direction she was headed, otherwise she'll just try it again, and be really P.O'd about it.

    1. Hmmm....I thought this was already replied to. Oh well, here it is again.

      Karen, are you really, absolutely sure No Gravel?? Most of the rough I ride on isn't all that rough normally. Lots of hard packed in the tracks, a layer of rolly stuff in between and outside. Anticipating, having an our and not over-riding what you can see is what makes it fun....right? :)

      I didn't even touch Mrs. Turtle, I played Crossing Guard so that she could get across. Luckily, we both had all the time in the world.

  5. Coop:

    I like your TW200 but I can't think of any roads around here we could ride to. You are lucky to have country roads like that so close to home. Ours are far from the City

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Bob, I fully appreciate that this kind of machine wouldn't fit everywhere. The nice thing about it though is it's just barely big enough to put in a big day to get to roads that are like those you've seen here. Two ~500 mile days have been put on mine, it's seen many hours of a GPS 60-62mph on Federal highways and not really been in anyone's way, though I'd prefer to be on roads where I've got the choice to run 50-55. I do lots of 300 mile days, using speed-limit roads to connect favorite slow ones.

      Again, that goes back to the comment I made over on LAT to Martha about the many WI roads that are plentiful and often void of traffic. New England, Ozarks, of course our Big West all have great roads and fantastic riding. Fewer roads per square 100 miles and many more vehicles per those 100 miles are typically in the equation though.

      If only Yamaha would have made it a would be too normal, even more in demand and I wouldn't want one. :)

  6. I loved the turtles. And, I'm a sucker for old "homesteads".

    The W is a wonderful little bike.

  7. ... I stopped once to help a turtle... he copped an attitude .. I left him for the Goodyears and Firestones... :o)