Saturday, July 27, 2013

Little Log House Antique Power Show

Little Log House Antique Power Show

There's actually a lot in that title and there's much contained in the event.  I've attended most every year for the last dozen or so and always find new things to enjoy.  That's in part due to the fact that there's a lot to take in but it also has to do with the fact that the show is growing each year, evolving in new directions.  The Show opened at 8 and I was there at 7:45.  Traffic backed up later like I'd not seen it before.

We had 52 degrees this morning when I got up with lots of blustery wind which isn't exactly what July is normally made of, even here in the Northland.  Sunny clear skies mid-morning turned to clouds and showers; skies that looked October-ish and felt that way too, let me tell you.  Young stylish women in shorts and T-shirts looked even cooler than I was and I was none too comfortable.  I joked on my way back to the car with the couple that I was walking next to that most years I can't wait to get into the car and turn the A/C the heater was precious.

Lots of the VJMC and Antique Cycle Club guys were down, most of them for the first time, displaying a few of their machines.

I'll refrain from much more verbiage (yes, I can when I think it proper) and let the photos do the talking this time....for the most part anyway.

I left the cats home but I wonder how involved the procedure is?

Dakota Rose's Pink Palace...lucky for me none of the Working Girls were up and outside yet.

The lovely gardens......

Something of almost everything here....

Dad's dad, upon seeing a large house, large automobile, large farm or most anything (or anyone) large, would comment, "they can't be smoking Bull Durham".  According to him, this was the tobacco of choice on the lower rung.

Some things very big and very new....

We always put rocks in ours, as ballast to keep the front end down.  It never entered my mind to put a growing pot up there.

Some of my distant cousins showed up again.....these are the ones that no one likes to talk about and the very ones that seldom get invited to family functions any longer.

More Cadets than you can shake a stick at.

I went back later to check up on her....she appeared to be just as chilled after the weather turned as before.

This sign was salvaged from one of the last movie theaters in the area....soon to be a very large Wshopping center.

General Purpose my foot.....

The little pup.....

She waited for someone to stop right in front of her, she'd drop and push the ball to her new partner, then catch it when rolled back to her.  She was very patient here, later when the crowds arrived, she got very busy.  I played 5 times and she was hoping for more.

The St. Croix Horse and Carriage Society was featured in one of the to me that we even had one.

I managed to fight temptation at this booth and bought nothing.

Mike checking out the Nash.....

The Germans were there....

The G.I.'s too......we missed the afternoon's skirmish but after all the noise, things seemed to get peaceful quickly.

Tractors that drove themselves....

but weren't all that productive....

There were folks trying to get something done in the quarry however.

The Hastings Spiral Bridge Replica

Remember the Car Hop that wasn't real??  This is a real woman, dressed for July in Minnesota....Southern Minnesota.

This the ultimate in no fuss-no muss gardening.....

It's nice to have a plan as well as a schedule....

Soldier's lining up for the parade.

.....and the Waterloo Boy warming up for the parade.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Been A Year Since......

The Incident, July 22, 2012

I was ashamed, I was scared, I was disappointed in myself but in the end and most importantly, I was thankful at how lucky I'd been.

I've decided to Post this, not for sympathy but as a reminder to myself and to anyone else that has any tendency whatsoever to get complacent about their riding.  It is also for me a celebration of things that didn't go more horribly wrong.

Riding my old ragamuffin Honda Ascot (Tran Zalp) to last year's Lorem Ipsum event in Viroqua, I was having big fun.  After a breakfast stop in Alma, the roads saw me in and out of various rain showers, from wet roads to dry and back again.  It was a warm day and supposed to be sticky, so I had a pair of shorts on under my Darien Light pants and a T-shirt on under my 'Light jacket. I'm running some fairly aggressive tires on the bike, aggressive as in knobbies and they've always been good and reasonable in providing feedback for my, ah, sometimes, when conditions warrant, brisk riding through our region's abundant corners.

For some reason that day, County M's uphill corners slid my brain and common sense from that which is above my neck down into my right hand.  I've already mentioned the big fun and I was having it.....until faster than I knew what had happened, I was sliding.  There was pavement moving very fast only inches from my eyes and the scraping noises were loud, even with my earplugs in.

The bad news was the guardrail.  The good news was the guardrail, good because beyond the guardrail were rocks, many rocks a long ways down.  I remember hearing the bang that the Honda made as it hit the guardrail and a fraction of a second later, I had hit something and was stopped.  The rear end of my Honda had backed between posts under the guardrail.  My shins hit the adjacent post and I deduced later, must have acted like springs to save me from the severe impact that I should have felt.  The very luckiest part for me was my point of contact with the wooden post. Had any other part of my body hit something that solid, things would have turned out very differently.

I jumped up (adrenalin) and I no sooner was able to focus on what had happened than a car pulled up behind me.

"Are you OK?"

I knew I had to be OK since I was standing up, how could I not be OK??   He asked if I had a cell phone because he didn't.  I in fact had two of them but had little intention of using either one if I could help it.  It was obvious that he was as anxious to get out of there as I was.  We walked to the bike and he helped me yank it out from under the steel guardrail; it had wedged itself between posts, cosmetically doing itself no good whatsoever.  After helping me get the bike up, he quickly took off and left when I assured him that I'd be fine.  It took a bit of finagling to get the bike in a spot to stand up since the sidestand had been bent straight and was tending to prop the bike up very close to vertical.  It was a relatively steep hill so I managed to find a spot where it would lean enough to not tip over the high side.

I was stiff and sore all over, but appendages all seemed to be working.  Expecting big, bleeding holes when I looked down, I saw none in my riding suit.  In fact, I didn't really see holes at all.  The biggest hole was in the palm of my right glove, just above the most pronounced 'crease' of my palm, but over my tender wrist; it hadn't even left a mark on my skin.  There were small penny-sized scrapes, with only the smallest of holes along the zipper on my pants and it was only later that I saw like holes in my AeroStich Darien Light jacket.  While at the crash site, I never took my helmet off, or my jacket, my pants or even my gloves.

Since the bike had slid backwards into/under the steel rail, the rear turn signals had broken completely off and my poor, precious Hondaline luggage rack looked like a pretzel.  The OEM rack was one of the big reasons I had bought this particular,  once beautiful V-twin Honda rather than others.  Bent shifter, brake pedal, muffler pushed tight against the right rear shock, whacked mirrors, now-angled footpegs, clutch and brake levers tipped and roadside sand in every nook and cranny pretty much rounded out the visible damage.  The side stand was too stiff to do anything with; the center stand looked OK and would work just as well.  The handlebar levers were not where they belonged but I'd be able to adapt, the shift lever the same.  The brake pedal was pushed right against the engine case and rather than start yanking on things in my 'harried' state without tools and a better mindset, I gave it a small tug to prevent its rubbing on the side of the engine, content for the time being.  I seldom use the rear brake anyway so I wasn't going to miss it.

Decision Time

I REALLY wanted to proceed to the event; I was 90 miles from home and Viroqua was only another 35 or 40 more.  Other than being sore, I seemed to mostly be OK and the Ascot seemed ride-able......if it would start.  I aimed it downhill, ran the started 20 seconds or so and it was running, as good as ever.  I turned it off, hobbled across the highway to take a photo of the crime scene, then restarted the bike.  Pointed down and back towards home, I made a U-turn and continued on up the hill and onward to the event.

The 'ruffled' sand is 2 and 3 post spans behind the bike.

Other than all of the controls feeling odd, the machine seemed to do what it was meant to do.  With the wind out of my sails, rather than follow the curvy GPS Route I'd planned, I stuck to the main highway.  The adrenalin had quit flowing and soreness was taking its place.  On the edge of Viroqua, I pulled in at a favorite gas/convenience store stopping place to re-evaluate the situation and my choice(s).

These photos were shared with my close riding friends and never made the Lorem Ipsum Post or anywhere else, until now.  See anything wrong with the bike??

The tankbag, magnetically hanging on to the luggage rack but just barely.

Now that I had the jacket and helmet off, scratches, scrapes and small thin spots in the fabric showed up.  I began to step out of my riding pants, shorts underneath but both shins looked tender and there were small marks on both of them, only a bit of red but they both looked bruised and sore.  I pulled the riding pants back on, even though it was pretty warm, deciding that the public might not want, nor did I want them to see.

Here's the old post of what I saw at the Lorem Ipsum event.  You may notice that there weren't any closeups of the Ascot at the event.  In fact, I parked it far over in the corner, hoping that I wouldn't have to explain or maybe, even have to look at it. It was hot and there was no way I was going to walk around with pink shins; the small tears and 'worn' spots in the Darien pants were bad enough.

This was a Saturday, after riding home that afternoon and explaining my boneheaded mistake to wife and daughter, it was a night of struggling to find a position where my ribs would let me rest.  By Sunday afternoon, both shins were looking as well as feeling more sore, so I headed in to Urgent Care concerned that maybe I wasn't quite as healthy as I'd thought.  X-Rays, an ultrasound for clots, an antibiotic prescription, some gauze to cover the spot on my left leg, confirmed that I was only sore, nothing more serious was wrong and that better health would soon follow.

If only.......

Over the next couple of weeks, things seemed OK.  Two weekends after the crash, I attended the Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Rally.  Friends that knew about my foolishness were concerned about me; those that hadn't been told, thought I seemed a bit subdued.  Both nights in the tent made tough sleeping, not only because it was hot and sticky but because my left leg was getting hot and swollen. I was feeling a bit feverish.  I headed for home Sunday morning and by that evening, knew that I had to get to the E.R.

Infection had taken over in my left shin.  Remember that there had been no tear in my riding pants, either leg. There had been a small amount of blood on the left side, just from the impact or at least that's what I guessed.  Somewhere, somehow, over those two weeks post accident, possibly here on the farm, maybe in my tent, at work, someplace, I picked up a nasty infection.

They admitted me that evening and placed me on heavy I.V. antibiotics, the hospital was where I stayed most of the following week.  Doc debrided my leg right away on Monday morning and by the time all of the damaged and dying tissue had been removed, a hole was left that a tennis ball would have fit inside of.  There was a moment in the O.R. that I became a quasi-celebrity among the O.R. staff but it was humor that should really stay in the O.R so I'll leave it there.  Before the week was out, I was wearing a Wound Vac, an amazing machine that I wore, 24/7 for the next 6 months.  Even after the void had mostly healed over and I had the skin graft, I wore the Vac for another month to promote healing to make sure the graft would take.  There was a setback in December when a MRSA infection found me and did its very best to take over.  We beat that back with a $400 prescription, something I balked at when I got to the pharmacy and was convinced that the pharmacist thought that I had no insurance......"oh that's with insurance".  I called the doctor to complain that there had been some sort of mistake.  He told me that I would take the pills or come back to that nice bed in the hospital for more I.V. work.......I bought the pills.

Once released from the hospital, those first few weeks saw me back in the clinic 2-3 times each week, that gradually dropped off to twice each week and finally once a week.  I was back at work right away, working with my Lil' Hoover on my belt (I ruined two belts with that thing hanging on my side).  My doctor and the nurses continually asked me if I was riding or would ride again.  I was on the bike every weekend but because of my vac system needing to be charged every night, camping in the tent had to wait until the next riding season.  I attended a local rally for the day in late August and then our Labor Day rally always takes place at a mom and pop motel, so I was covered for that one and did just fine with the Vac the entire weekend.  With the Morphous scooter and the Givi Hump Bag, I had a perfect place to stay connected while riding.

Finally in December enough of my 'void' had filled in (not really but the nurses were getting tired of seeing me...except for Julie) and it was time for a skin graft procedure.  Not having a favorite, they harvested a patch on the upper part of my left thigh, leaving what was essentially a bad burn at that wound site.

I recorded photos of my leg almost weekly, the progression of healing, at least until that second infection slowed things down and scared us all, was remarkable.  With my shin and calf almost the size of my thigh, the cavity was pretty impressive initially.  So, I've shared the photos when asked though most didn't and I don't blame them.  They won't be shared here.

My leg(s) never really hurt other than those first few hours after the crash and what I'm still surprised at is that neither of them looked bad enough to cause me all of the trouble that the left one has.  The leg still swells up a bit during the day, especially at work when I'm standing most of the time.  Otherwise it isn't bothering me and hasn't bothered me for a long time.

To a person, my friends wondered what had gotten into "Common Sense Doug" who it seemed, had always known when to back off and ride within the limits of current conditions.  None of those friends were there, I was and I'm still not really sure what disconnected me from reality.  I do know the mechanics of what happened and why the tire gave way physically, but there's no good explanation for my failure in judgment.

Don't do what I did.  It's been a very expensive mistake, the doctor bills very disappointing and unfair to the family.  I wouldn't say that I repaired the bike, at least not my most people's standards but I have patched it up with used parts online.  It works well and the plan is to put many more miles on it, rough and crude as it is.

I very, very much enjoy riding motorcycles and have every intention of continuing to go, the satisfaction felt something that not everyone else may appreciate.  Being able to breathe, move all my limbs and function for the most part normally ain't bad either.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Harvest Time

High in the tree
I'm filled with glee
The little masked bandits
Have left them for me!

My electric fence was completely effective and that during-the-night scream that I'd so looked forward to didn't happen, at least I didn't hear it but I have been sleeping quite sound these last nights.  We have two small cherry trees and as you can see here, our pesky deer neighbors had been trimming the lower branches before I put the fence up.  I'm an Electric Fencer from way back, but that long acquired skill has been in keeping cattle, horses, sheep and (sometimes) goats contained.  After daily inspections, one morning it was obvious something had tangled with this current fence and left two wires crisscrossed.

Last year, the night before we planned to harvest, the racoons showed up to foil our plans.  I had heard a commotion outside as they were feasting so went out to investigate.  Mom and her 4 babies were high in one of the trees, breaking branches and falling from one to the next as they completely gleaned the cherries.  I don't mean some or even most, they made EVERY single red fruit disappear.  Those cherries that escaped their jaws maybe fell to the ground but there was nothing left in the tree.  It isn't like we can't, probably more cheaply, go and buy some frozen cherries.  It is as much or more about the fat little buggers ruining our two trees.

 My view from up high......

It didn't take me long to get my old cherry-picking touch back but that's only with my right hand.  I'm just not ambidextrous enough to do a good job with my left.  Just when I think it's working, that hand goes rogue and there's no telling what it will come back with.  So, Left Holds Branches, Right Grabs Fruit.

I'm in the 2nd tree today and it seems that listening to Antonia, James and Cafe Del Mar is helping my cause greatly, possibly even making me a better left handed picker.  We froze 5# of cleaned and pitted little red ones last night and the 2nd tree will yield that much or more.  Lots of work but fun too!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lorem Ipsum 2013

Well I can safely say that today was a much nicer event for me than the one I attended last year.  The weather was better overall, I had more fun and I certainly felt better.

Breakfast was certainly a treat... Jess brought me the Special at Pier 4 and I couldn't make it all go away.

Yes, there had been a dollop of whipped cream right in the center as well and it just sort of, well you know..... fell off the stack, right down into the eaten area.

It was a mostly direct path down to Viroqua today and for the first time ever, after many, many times passing by, I stopped in Trempealeau to get a shot of the Big Fish (thanks for the inspiration Dom).

The event is held in behind Driftless Books and Music, the bookstore housed in this old tobacco warehouse building.  Once upon a time, tobacco was big business in southern Wisconsin.  I fully intended to go in and browse through my favorite section but never even set foot inside today.

I never made it inside but it looks like the Amish gentleman did go in to hunt for a book.

The black ones seemed to be the early birds.....

We had this music...

and we had this mom has one of these instruments but hers doesn't get plugged in to anything.

These two guys hadn't seen each other for awhile......

S&S, a local company......

Three Conni's

A hit last year and that hasn't changed.....

I believe that I overheard there was a Kawasaki KZ rally that was meeting in the region.

John's and Bob's bikes......

Mary's sidecar rig and I had the chance to meet Joe, the previous owner.

More Triumphs, many of them from the nearby BBC Rally I'm guessing?

There are many places in Wisconsin that these 3 guys are forbidden to gather and you can tell they'll soon be be up to something again.