Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Beautiful Morning

To borrow some words from Mr. Shawn Phillips.....

A beautiful morning
What a glorious day it is
A beautiful morning
And I hope it stays that way
So we can go on out and play

It did and so I did.  A day of opaque brightness, highs around 80 and a nice breeze....summer can't make a better bunch of 24 hours.

Over the last days I had made the decision to spend time on a couple of the bikes today; the GT250R Hyosung and after that, the Honda Ascot (Tran Zalp).  What I 'struggled' with all day yesterday was where to go.  I sat down more than once with my GPS software and nothing was really jumping out at me, other than to avoid going directly south since over the next few weekends, upcoming rallies will take me that direction.

Last night I decided that I'd make my route up as I went and that's what happened today, on both rides.  With the Mississippi River our next door neighbor and with bridges almost 30 miles apart, spending time across the river pretty much means heading downstream to the next available crossing, so there was a certain amount of doubling up with both of today's jaunts.

Stopping in Alma at Pier4 for breakfast, it was only after I'd parked behind the long line of parallel parked cars that I saw Dave's sidecar rig.  Mary's bright yellow 'Stich was hanging on the back of the sidecar, so I knew that Mary AND Dave were inside.  Justin, the Schnauzer, was patiently waiting in the sidecar for his buddies to finish their breakfast.  I joined the couple for breakfast, some plans were made for the soon to be Iowa Guzzi Rally and then we each headed off in our separate directions.  Hope you guys enjoyed the ride and the BBQ at Rockton.

On County N, a high spot with a view that goes for miles....

Downhill and into a very tight and almost always a very gravelly right-hander.......

Old and no longer used, or needed.

No doubt about it, this is SW Wisconsin....

I just happened to stop in Arkansas, WI where some sort of BBQ/festival was taking place.  Sadly, I had already stopped for lunch, or I'd have had something to eat.  The reason that I did stop was (were) the sighting of these two red Helices.

Two in one place, both red, simply amazing.  They must be gaining in popularity.

I crossed the river at Wabasha and was headed home when I got to our nearby Lake City.  Stopping to take a photo of Lake Pepin and the many sailboats when lo and behold, a 3rd, count'em, RED Helix pulled in behind me before I'd even taken my helmet off.  I accused the woman of having been in Arkansas and she confessed that she had no idea where that even was......."I sure like my Helix though".  If that isn't confirmation, I don't know what is.

Now that the Helix sighting has been covered, this is why I stopped, to show the many sailboats busy on the wide spot in the river.

In the harbor, many sailboats at rest.

Home by 3PM, I pushed the Hyo into the garage and pulled out the mongrelish Tran Zalp.  I moved the tankbag, the tailbag and the GPS, said hello and goodbye to Peg and I was off for Round 2.

Lake City Waterski Days festival was taking place this weekend and our local town was really hopping.  Today's festivities included a big parade, always a popular event.  

One of the participants must have been this outfit......Gold'n Plump Chicken is huge in these parts (is there a pun in there?).  

I'd never seen this 'riding' chicken before but I like it very much, probably more than the next surprise that was ahead of me on the highway.  That's right Martha, it was in Minnesota today but I doubt it was in the Lake City parade.  South of town on Hwy #61, the wiener was ahead of me in a long line of cars.  Checking the Track The Wienermobile website tells me that the big dog was at a grocery store in St. Paul this weekend.  I'm thinking I actually prefer the Chicken.

The much abused ol' Ascot......

After a bunch of gravel as well as pavement, I snuck back into Alma for some gas and a coffee.  Parking at the Kwik Trip (it's still the same Erik), I walked over to the parking lot for Lock and Dam #4 and took the walkway that goes up and over the BN&SF mainline tracks.


and down.....

The dam itself, spectators on the viewing stand, the barges slowly entering the Lock.  I'm standing on the crown of the bridge/walkway.

There's only room in each of the Upper River locks for 9 barges (3 wide x 3 long), or 8 barges and the Tug. The problem is, these large Tugs are capable and most often push 12 or 15 barges on each haul, which means that go through the involved process of separating the front 9, those rise or fall depending on upriver or down, then the Mule pulls those front 9 barges through the lock as the Tug and remaining barges wait for the rise/fall of the Lock operation to happen again.  Once the Tug and connected barges are at the same level as the separated units, the Tug inches slowly forward and the deckhands reconnect everything.  

The operation takes a long time; pleasure boats on both sides have to wait for the entire process to be completed before they can make the elevation change.  The river is very high for mid-season, which means that the level changes between above and below are small compared to low water conditions.

The water level has risen, the gates open and the Tug begins to push through to reconnect.

A front porch in Alma, homes have no front yard, the bluffs have the homes pushed right up against the highway.

A bit of Wisconsin Americana....."Porch Rules.....Relax....Relax.....Relax"

More room than I want or need, but it is a very impressive package.  He'd just picked it up in TN and demonstrated the air suspension.  His pup and companion is in the dog carrier...."She enjoyed Georgia" I was told.

Upriver a few miles, I stopped at the Nelson Cheese Factory for some dinner.  A Mr. T sandwich is one of my favorites.....Turkey, Swiss, guacamole, onion and sprouts.....pretty much Vegetarian I'd say??

It was nearing closing time, so the patio was getting very quiet.

I was on the bike and leaving when I saw Dick's familiar bike, so I turned around and joined he and Ron as they finished their cones.  Dick's XS500 Yamaha is off screen but the rear end of Ron's beautiful Guzzi is there.  These two are doing M2M next weekend, a pre-planned, secret route from the Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee to our very own Diamond's in Minneapolis.  Here's a YouTube video that David shot from a few years ago, some of my Sport-Touring.Net buddies were there and in the video; Ed, Joel, JP, Jack.... Dick is that you in the video????

Just shy of 300 miles combined today, summer days won't be any better.  Both machines seem ready and very willing to take me to my next 2 Moto Guzzi rallies.


  1. I'd say you grabbed Sunday and playfully wrestled it to the ground! Well done! Even with my sighting of the hotdog on wheels, I can't come close to your good day.

    I do miss seeing boats. Funny, tho, I never see any boats out on the lakes here. The levels are so high that NO WAKE is the rule, but boats?

    Thanks for sharing your lovely day.

    1. I guess I did Seize the Day. My Effort vs Reward was in a pretty good place.

      The river is very high right now, possibly near record levels for this time of year. I remember a Lake City fishing tournament (there are many) early this spring when the guys all had snowmobile suits on and they needed them.

      Glad that I had a day worth sharing and that there was something here for you.

  2. Wow, the chickenmobile and the wienermobile in one post!

    Did you ever see the whalemobile? It was many years ago when there was a twin cities based radio station WAYL. It was blue and they used to shoot off a CO2 fire extinguisher through the blow hole. I last saw it years ago rotting away somewhere in South St. Paul.

    1. Erik,
      I never saw the Whalemobile but I remember the radio station's promotions. Maybe we should dust off a few of the cobwebs and ship it over to Sonja...sounds like they are without classy vehicles over there. How many 7XX series BMW's does the world need anyway??

  3. It looks like a beautiful day to be on the bike. Not too hot and not too cold.

    I love all the green fields and trees. Sure is a pretty area. Would be interesting to watch the tugs and barges go through the locks.

    I like the chicken-mobile better too. At least it looks like he is wearing goggles, gripping bars and looks like it wants to hit the twisties.

    That sammich looks good too. I don't think you can wrong with guacamole and sprouts.

    1. Trobairitz,
      The temps were perfect. I often like to start out at dawn, especially around Solstice time, but it was cool, I slept in and decided that any schedule was to be thrown out the window. There were events yesterday that I didn't even include in the Post, rewarding me for slowing down and easing through the day.

      Once upon a time, long, long ago, I applied and took tests with our Federal system to join the Corp of Engineers to be a Lock Operator. I just might have made a very good one.

  4. Some great photos you have posted. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Thanks B.R., it was a fun day and just maybe the kind you'd have enjoyed had you joined me?

  6. I love this post! My kind of ride experience! I can really relate.

    That chicken rider is so cute. And the venerable Helix gets a mention (on my short list).

    One of my long time favorite day rides has always been to ride out along our Ohio River and sit out in a park alongside one of our dams. Here we watch that meticulously SLOW passage of barges through the locks. Have always enjoyed seeing that.

    What a great day you had out in the country along the mighty Missi-sip!.

    I really enjoyed this...

    1. Deb,
      Thanks! I had to retrieve your Comment from the Spam bin; couldn't understand why I received the email and then wasn't seeing it here in the Post.

      I'm convinced more than ever that you and I both have some of our own nearby major waterways in our veins.