Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Prepping for the Hiawatha Rally

Actually, there's not really much to the preparation.  After the GR3 Rally a week and a half ago, all things wet were dried, loosely folded and in all of 10 minutes were stuffed into their respective sacks.  A change of clean clothes, with a few other minor changes based on the season and predicted weather are just about the extent of my packing for each trip once the first trip of the season happens.

Hiawatha BMW Rally

The packing of my bikes is the biggest variable since they each use slightly different saddle bags, tank bags, duffelbags, etc.  How I power one of two GPS's has an impact as well.  This trip I'll be taking the yellow Helix, which makes for easy packing due to the vast space for luggage.

On another subject, I offered to bring in rhubarb for any of my workmates that might like some today.  This evening I harvested maybe 30 pounds of the fibrous plant and barely made a dent in our lush patch of 'elephant leaves'.

There's a fighting chance some of that goodness will be shared with me soon.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Living Right....Not Sure Why/ GR3

Normally my Rally Posts roll out chronologically, but this one has to start differently; we'll start with Sunday morning and then go back to Friday.  The reason?

I lost my wallet this morning.  I knew where it was while we were packing up and made a mental note to myself that I'd want it in my water-proof jacket pocket (radar said rain) rather than inside my jeans pocket, under my riding pants.  Things got fuzzy after that mental note however.....

I could blame Dave (probably won't) for poking at me about the fact that for once, he was packed up before me.  That may or may not have led to my being distracted.  Anyway, both of us on the bikes, we headed north out of Soldier's Grove on Tavern Road, the most direct way north and out to Hwy 61.  Up the remaining couple of miles to Readstown, then northwest a few more miles when I started feeling for my wallet 'lump' and wasn't finding it.  I pulled over, greatly surprising Dave since we'd just picked up our full head of steam.

Off the bike, looking everywhere obvious but finding nothing, it was back to the rally site, looking, at speed, as closely as we could for something brown along the shoulder.  No sign of the wallet on the road, in camp, no reported turn-in's, everyone alerted, no choice but to head north and use Dave's money to buy a tank of gas half way.  With not only a tank of gas, but breakfast too, we split off in our respective directions for home.

Once home, I had everything unloaded, looking 5, maybe 6 times through each stuff sack, tank bag, saddlebag, etc.  A seventh time wasn't helping.  We packed up wet this morning, dew was thick so I hung everything up while searching and was just ready to head into the house to start calling credit card companies when I heard a Triumph Tiger and a flat BMW twin in the driveway.  You should know that motorcycle engines have never sounded better than those two did as I came around the corner.

"We have something of yours" sounded even better if that's possible.  Stuart and Marty, as we now know, started out almost right behind us and in that short time that I discovered my error and got turned around, they had stopped, gathered up my toooo many cards, cash, etc. and we met what must have been shortly thereafter.  Marty said, "we thought it might be you two guys going back but we didn't think it made sense to try and chase you down" and I agree with him.  They stopped in nearby Stockholm, Wisconsin for pie and left a message on my work phone.  My work phone was in the tankbag, being recharged so I didn't get the call until after the wallet was back in my possession.   Big thanks to our fellow rally attendees and to Dave for keeping me out of a real jam.  Changes will be taking place before my next ride and rally.

Now on to the good stuff......

Dave and I met for breakfast down in Alma, a few sprinkles along the way but no serious rain.....yet....

Since I had picked out such a nice GPS Route, we stuck with it for awhile, that is until the rain-soaked roads, many of them gravel, were getting a bit much for both (all) of us.  Justin is more patient that a canine deserves to be.

In the Lions' Pavilion, Soldier's Grove, noon-ish on Friday and very quiet.

Registration, it was still early and would get busier very soon.

The rain stopped, the sun came out, turning into a beautiful afternoon.

Louie perusing one of the Twins.....

It was decided that rather than eat at the Pavilion, the Pony Club of America doing the fund raising Friday evening, we'd walk downtown and try the fish fry.  Each year, Friday's Dinner meal is put on my a local church, club, group, etc. as a fund raiser, the Lion's themselves taking care of the Saturday evening meal.  I felt a bit guilty about not supporting the Pony Club, something I tried to remedy later in the evening.

After dinner, we walked between these beautiful fruit trees on our way back.  First without Slow Residents and then I found some.

Humps, poly-sided, square, round.......they're in there.

New.....and old.

Saturday morning, early and the beginning of a lovely, warm day.

After breakfast, Dave, Justin and I headed out for as much gravel and as many steep, narrow roads as we could find.  We met with a great deal of success.

Here we stopped for a Justin break (it felt pretty good to us as well).

An old barn on Smiling Goat Road.....

Back to town, more tents......

More bikes....

It's pretty hard not to enjoy the goings' on from the park's gazebo.......

Saturday evening, dinner soon, door prize list checking and announcements soon.

Justin wasn't the only pup present......236 registered attendees and 2 dogs by my count.

The Pony Club girls came around later in the evening, selling raffle tickets as a fund raiser.  Since I hadn't enjoyed their burgers for dinner, I felt obligated to buy tickets, something I rarely do.  During breaks that the Blues band took, winners were announced.  I was lucky enough to bring a heavy and substantial mug home.

Our spot...

Not everything was from Germany

Bob left his Stelvio Moto Guzzi home and brought the KLX instead.  He and his buddy most likely found more gravel than we did.

Iowa Paul had his bike and a few accessories for sale.....

Sunday morning, heavy dew, fog in the valley and time to pack up.

The winning "Oldest Bike" machine......5 rolling wheels in this outfit, plus a spare or two?

Just a few short miles less than 500 for me, a great weekend, made especially so with the return of my Wandering Wallet.  The Minnesota BMW Hiawatha Rally at Money Creek in two weeks.

I'll be there.

Friday, May 17, 2013

On the way to GR3

We pay money for this kind of fun

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Controlled Burn

Our neighbor, actually neighbor(s), have established large stands of native prairie grass on both sides of us.  We knew that our neighbor on one side was planning a spring burn and on our way home from work this afternoon, from Red Wing, 10 miles away, we saw huge clouds of brown smoke.  Sure enough, the crew was out and working on breaking the large acreage into smaller, controllable parcels.

Beyond the yesterday-planted cornfield and across the line fence.

Black and sooty now, but give it a week and we'll be living next door to the definition of green.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saturday --- A Motorcycle Day.....

Though I never even threw a leg over one.

The trailer had been hooked to the car Friday evening so that I could leave home early for coffee with the boys in Mpls.  After a quick stop at my place of employment to pick up something I'd forgotten Friday afternoon, it was off to North Mpls for coffee.

Besides the things we normally discuss and debate, Saturday's 'edition' included an event on the BNSF tracks that run next to Diamond's Coffee Shoppe.  The local Steam Train enthusiasts had completed a restoration of #261 and it was making its first voyage up to Duluth on our North Shore.

Rail enthusiasts had to be cautioned by the local constabulary for encroaching on the tracks in places on the cool, blustery morning.

After coffee I headed across the river into rural Wisconsin to carry out a grim task (and the reason for my m/c trailer) of picking up our good friend Walter's crashed Moto Guzzi.  I learned the sad news Wed. afternoon that Walter had been airlifted from the site of a deer/motorcycle crash.  Thankfully the power company lineman found the bike and Walter lying in the grass and stayed with him until help could arrive.

The crashed Guzzi needed to be picked up from the tow company and taken back to Walter's home.  I've got photos of the bike and 'other' that I won't be sharing, but our evaluation of the bike, Walter's gear and the evidence that we could muster tells us that the deer essentially knocked Walter backwards off of the bike; any damage on the machine was high up and the damage to his helmet and everything else pointed directly to the brain trauma suffered.  Wife Elaine and son Thomas would really appreciate your thoughts and well-wishes.  If you visit, note the many comments by Selena....it was her dad that was first on the scene; her dad's kindness a gift to us all.

Evening plans were carried out, namely visiting one of Minnesota's higher learning institutions for the screening of the locally produced film "Girl Meets Bike".  Our combined review would be.... disjointed story that was hard to follow, beautiful cinematography of rural MN and WI roads and scenery, fine European machines featured, smooth sound track and special attention paid to fine, fine (and accurate) motorcycle sounds.  In other words, Guzzi's sounded like Guzzi's, Norton's were definitely Norton's, Triumph's were where they belonged, etc.  More sex and more liquor than I needed (are we really like that??) but overall, fun to see real machines, ridden by real riders in places locally that we know.  Dinner and discussions with friends capped off the evening and made for a very long day.

Today, time spent with mom and her sister for Mom's Day.

For Sonja and Roland, this very old family heirloom.....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rode 2 Today

I didn't get started until almost noon, just wasn't in the mood to ride in less than 50° weather.  There was still quite a bit of snow in the ditches and in the woods, but it was disappearing rapidly today.

County N, distant hills across the broad valley, this a tight, 90° turn.

On County KK, steep, curvy and today, very sandy

Stopped in Nelson for a cone, sat down for a conversation with Doug and Craig, both of whom I expect to see in two weeks at the Great River Road Rally (GR3) put on by the Madison BMW Club.  The world may stop turning this year if I actually show up at a BMW rally on a Bavarian machine.

Home and then took the old '70 Honda out around the block.  Other than needing a new (quieter) muffler without holes, it ran well.  The original shocks weren't 'shocked' at all, only springs.  I had trouble locating replacements, ended up with Honda C70 shocks that worked once I'd done some machining.  They should work just fine for as much as this will get ridden.

Lake Pepin and Wisconsin in the background.  We see these same bluffs from our home.

(Erik, 2 Degree symbols in one Post!!)

What's Wrong With Us?

Domestic Violence

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Not As Planned But A Fine Day Nonetheless

After a night of steady degree above freezing rain, both Peg and I were nervous about her ability to leave this morning for her Cleveland Road Trip (melting snow -> flooded driveway) to bring our youngest home from school.  I went down for a look and all was fine, so my trip to Mpls coffee with the guys was the short trip, her 700mi trek to OH was the long one.  On the phone this afternoon just before leaving IN, she reported one of the faster episodes through Chicago, something we always wish for but don't often receive.

Home after a more brief than normal time at the coffee shop, I was anxious to replace our mailbox that the recent heavy snow's attack on overhead trees smashed our mailbox, the 2nd replacement in a year.  Last fall our box suffered greatly from what was probably a baseball bat, at least this time it was nature's attack.  The box was fixed in time for the mailman's delivery and before lunch, other odds and ends were taken care of.

This afternoon, the Cafe Project bike was pushed back onto the lift and work was commenced to get it put back together only enough to provide a road test to confirm the motor and transmission will not need serious work.  I had started the engine last summer but decided that before I invest any more time and money that I'd like to know that there's a solid enough powertrain to justify any more input on my end.  Hopefully I'll soon have a chance to start it and run it through the gears, though the condition of the bike is far short of being ready for a ride of any real distance.  To make it 'around the block', such as it is, will be all I need to move forward with the project.

Much of our snow left today, though not gone, conditions will be good enough for a ride tomorrow unless something changes.  At 5PM, the water was still running under our slab on the driveway and though that may change by 7 (I'll go see in just a bit), things should be fine by tomorrow for a ride if we do in fact reach the predicted high of almost 70.

Plans are underway for next Saturday night's screening of Girl Meets Bike, a locally produced and shot film.  This will be the 2nd of 3 intended early viewings of the film in Minnesota and a group of us will make it an evening of dinner, the film and ?? in nearby Northfield, MN.  Jesse James once caused a great deal of commotion in Northfield, something the small community celebrates with a festival each year.  Our evening will be much more low-key I suspect though most of us could use a sudden increase in funds, I hope that none of us are quite as desperate as Jesse was.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

You must be joking- Update

Power out (generator running), roads horrible, 'working from home'

May 2

Noon Update ***************

This pole was perfectly vertical the last time I looked.

Our rain gauge recording what it can......

The grid.....

Ready to freshen and dry the laundry.....

Even our Sasquatch on the power pole looks bummed......

Oh, and the folks at our local Red Wing Motorbike Club are planning an "End of Summer" party tonight.