Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hiawatha Rally 2013 / A Goodbye for Now

In my last Post I mentioned that I was getting ready for this weekend's rally; the Helix was loaded and luckily, since I started my workday so early on Friday, I was able to leave work early as well and jump on the Helix for the 75 mile ride to Money Creek.  As things turned out, it was a weekend with much predicted rain that didn't really appear; the only time I got wet was while test riding a few brand new motorcycles....more on that in a bit.

While I arrived by 5:30 in the afternoon, many attendees had long since registered and had their camp areas setup.  Dave, Justin and the sidecar had a spot 'reserved' for me near the volleyball court, a quieter spot where we've stayed previously.  Leaving home, it looked as though the darkest skies were exactly where I was headed but by the time I got as far as Winona, MN, the worst of the weather had crossed the river into Wisconsin.

I no sooner was registered than Dave mentioned that some of the guys were soon headed 'over the hill' into Rushford for a Fish Fry.  The tent was quickly erected, luggage and my MotoFizz bag removed from the scooter and tossed into the tent.  Dave and I quickly caught up with the guys by the time they pulled up at Stumpy's.

At the salad bar, toy trucks, tractors and trains line the walls.

Following Dave back to camp on Cty 26, the cloud formations were incredible, folks all around us, 360 degrees worth, were definitely getting 'weather' though we managed to avoid it until after nightfall.

Originally planning to take my TW200 to the event, plans changed when friend Walter's funeral was planned for Saturday.  The little Yamaha's ability to get longer distances 'at great dispatch' sometimes depends on conditions and I didn't want to take the chance of getting to the 9 AM Visitation late.  Since ADVrider Forum friend Dan goaded me into making the BMW Rally a Helix reunion, my yellow Honda was the big, speedy vehicle of choice for the early Saturday morning funeral trip.

As you can see, the two pointy Honda's caused a great commotion (some said unrest).  There was a Scotsman there in a kilt, his legs hidden by my helmet and all sorts of other folks able and VERY willing to lend comments.  Whomever left their beer in front of my scooter is very careless.

Dan explaining to Roger that Coop isn't the only one in the region with one of these classy Honda's.

Butterflies and Rainbows when even a couple of them gather......they are Beauty Ways To Go.

Thanks to Leo's of Minneapolis for bringing their BMW, Suzuki, Moto-Guzzi, Aprilia and Can-Am bikes for test rides.

I should mention here that though I had remembered to bring my Lumix camera, I did not remember to grab the proprietary battery from the charger, so most of the weekend's pictures were from my IPhone.

Club members were getting the pavilion ready for Friday evening's soup and hotdogs.

Money Creek Haven Campground has tenting (rally) space but is primarily a seasonal camping spot for area families.  There are many mobile homes and cabin-like rec vehicles parked each summer.  At both this rally as well as at the MN Moto Guzzi Rally, we use the areas in between.

As mentioned, my plan for Saturday was to get on the scooter and head north, past our home in Frontenac and on to River Falls, Wisconsin for Walter's funeral.  We had storms overnight and then steady rain for a few hours but luckily for me and the rest of us at the campground, rain had stopped by 5AM.  I hustled down to the pavilion to be one of the first for morning coffee, not waiting for breakfast, I was on the road by 6.  There was no rain but the roads were wet until I got within 30 miles of my destination.

I stopped for breakfast in Alma at Pier4, an easy decision and stop since it was on the way, arriving about 7:30.  Excited about the smoked salmon omelet listed on the Special board, Marietta wondered if I wouldn't instead like to try their "every once in awhile, not on the menu" Gyro Omelet with her very own homemade yogurt........I did.

Locally produced lamb, homemade strawberry/rhubarb and mango jam.....

I bought a chunk of Smoked Salmon to bring home so I didn't completely miss out on the salmon.

From there, another hour of cool though dry riding brought me to River Falls.  I did the best I could with a black T-shirt, quite a contrast with my electric yellow Rally-Armband.....Walter would have approved.  As his son Tom said in one of many eulogies, his dad fixed motorcycles, carved wood, collected and smoked cigars but best of all, he was a Listener.  As a Chemical Dependency Counselor, Walter touched many and it was obvious in the crowd of folks that came to pay their respect.  There were many that did not share the family name or birth connections.

I feel very fortunate to have been included with those that Walter touched. Rest In Peace dear friend.

After the funeral, I rode the 110 miles back to the rally, stopping at home to pick up my camera battery and to drop off my salmon.  Again, the skies told me I'd get wet but it was not to be.  Back at Money Creek just before 2:30, there was still room on the sign-up sheet for some bikes, for some test ride time slots.  I quickly hustled over to try the MotoGuzzi V7 Cafe replica.  For some reason, it's just not that tough to get test rides on Italian machinery at a BMW rally.  In fact, I've never test ridden a BMW at the Rally; as close as I ever came was to the Ural car rig last year.

The Goose had recently been filled, but a couple of the other machines on the ride needed fuel so I pulled over, out of the way.

Every year there are test rides and I've taken quite a few machines on the 20 mile loop.  At roughly the half way point, the guy I'd been following motioned to our leader that he'd like to swap bikes with me and wondered if that would be acceptable to all was.  So, for the last 10 miles, I tried the Aprilia Tuono 4.  "This one will be peppier than the Guzzi" I was told by our ride leader.  The last one of the test machines that I would have normally sought out, the Peppy Aprilia was fun.  It no longer is something I'd be interested in, but I must admit those 6th gear roll-on's and dropping down a couple of gears and feeling the explosion beneath and that intoxicating growl of the V-Four definitely brought smiles.

To round things out, since no one else had signed up, my last ride was on an Aprilia 750 Shiver.  Another fine machine.

When asked what I thought of each of them, I was compelled to answer, "well they definitely aren't a Helix" as though that's the standard for which all other machines must be compared.  As sweet as those big Italian machines were, I'd still be most interested in taking the classically styled V7 home, though not in trying to justify myself to the always patient Mrs. Coop.

Test rides over, there was ample time to talk, have something refreshing to drink and relax before our Pulled Pork dinner and award ceremony.

The Food Line....

Two trailers of test bikes....some inside, some out, soon headed back to Minneapolis.

Louie left both of his Victory's home this time, rode his Honda instead.  He may just be spending too much time around me.

Our camping spot, right on the edge of the volleyball court.

Sunday morning, riders clearing out, camp slowly becoming quiet.  This could be a SmartCar ad but it is not.

The Ural stopped for coffee, fruit and/or a doughnut before heading for home.

The Helix almost home, beside Lake Pepin (Mississippi River).  Just shy of 400 miles for the weekend, 210 of which was for the round trip funeral visit.

Thursday I leave for a week of Road America and the AHRMA race weekend as well as plenty of time for some southern Wisconsin, very lazy exploring, home on the 12th.


  1. ... good weekend.. thanks for the extra ..above and beyond... trip to attend Walter's service... :o)

    1. There was no way I was going to miss Walter's service. It was easy and fortunate for me that I could attend the rally as well.

  2. What a nice bike collection ;-)

    The Helix grows on me. It is quite the eye-catcher, and in Europe it is still very popular.

    1. Sonja,
      My Helix surprised even me with its comfort and fun factor even after listening to what others had said about ownership. For me, it emphasizes the ride rather than the machine and that accurately sums up why I ride these makes a very good Explorer.

  3. I am glad you had such a great time at the rally. I've wondered about the Shiver 750 and the V7 before. I thought the Guzzi felt a little heavy when on it in the show room.

    Walter's passing is so sad, but the circle of life continues and I am happy you were able to make it to the funeral. This may sound like an odd question, but were his remains in the fuel tank? I ask because a fellow rider in Salem passed away due to injuries from a crash and his family placed his remains in his tank from that bike for burial.

    1. Trobairitz,
      A few years ago I rode the Mana, the automatic/paddle shifter machine and was very impressed. I'd not been on an Aprilia since then though this one and its big brother felt much the same to me.

      I miss my old Guzzi and may have to find another one some day; this one would be fun but probably wouldn't be the next Italian I end up with.

  4. Coop:

    so sorry about Walter. Life is so fragile, you never know what the future holds. It was good of you to say your final goodbye, Rally or no Rally

    I suppose that I am a bit different than most other riders. I will not take test ride unless I am interested to buy that make or model. I have never taken a test ride on any bike. To tell you the truth I did not even test ride any of the bikes I have bought. Not my Vstrom, nor my R1200R. And I have had lots of chances to ride what I want, it just doesn't interest me. Same reason that I would not ride another person's bike

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Thanks Bob, Walter's passing and the timing may not have been as 'off' as it first might seem.

      Now that you mention it, I've bought more machines without test rides than with. At this rally, they make the rides so easy, it's hard to turn them down. As mentioned, I ride them more out of curiosity than out of interest in ownership since I doubt I'll ever buy a new one again; there are just too many good used ones around.

  5. What an emotional trip. All those clouds of glory. Rainbows. Your dear departed friend. He sounds like someone I would have liked.

    Lots of great photos. So much fun. Why don't women ever do anything this fun?

    1. Martha, it WAS an emotional weekend on many fronts. I'll try and Post another little story before I take off this week just to emphasize that.

      You'll have to join us down in Wisconsin in August. Diana wasn't there this weekend but normally shows up. The Youngest Female rider(operator) was barely over 20 and The......Most Experienced Female was almost 80. It sure LOOKS like they have fun :)

    2. I just need to go looking for those groups. Surely there is something here. However, I won't be riding anywhere too far or fast on my Metro!