Saturday, June 28, 2014

Been Busy

We've been working longer hours, home later, then a few chores and before we know it, time for bed.  Even with the longer days, evenings seem woefully short lately.  It would help if it would quit raining since Rain + Early Summer = Mowing.  Once per week hasn't been enough and I'm not one of those yard fanatics either.  When I do get out there to mow, it never fails that it should have been done a few days previous.

Just a bit over a week ago, friend Dan wrote that a long time friend of his had a bike for sale.  The email went out to over a dozen people, addy's and names I recognized...."Bike for sale, thought I'd put the word out to help a buddy....."  I responded first, called and bought the bike over the phone, sight unseen. 

I've never owned a Kawasaki before; this a '95 KLR250.

We all know, now most everyone knows that I need another one about as bad as I need another hole in my head.  The saving grace may just be that I'm now at an even number and something else that we all know, odd numbers can be just that, odd.  So now that I'm up to an even number, I will have that going for me, at least for the time being.

Picked up from a Wisconsin farm within sight of Illinois, the 550 mile round trip last Sunday to bring it home was very much worth it.  Wednesday night I had it out the driveway and down to the corner a few times (2.4 miles) and today I took it to Lake City for some fresh gas.  There are some accoutrements on their way via online shopping that will hopefully make it even more suited than it already is right now for Coop Riding.  I'm pretty excited.

It was a farm bike that hadn't seen an excess amount of "farm" from the looks of things and even though the "Barbie" colors/plastic look actually quite good, some patina is present.  I won't be the first one to put a scratch on it or get something twisted out of perfection.

Lauren is back from Georgia, so today we headed down to the Nelson Cheese Factory for lunch to celebrate her return.  We had our food orders in and were waiting for our food to be brought out onto the patio when I saw friend Paul come around the corner, battling an ice cream cone that was yielding to the very warm and humid day.  I tried to do the talking so that Paul could concentrate on his more important task of saving as much as possible of the cone as he could.  A valiant attempt was made; most of the cone ended up where it belonged.

Good to see you again Paul and yes, the driveway has been a challenge off and on the last few weeks.

On the way home we stopped in Wabasha and I hopped out to take a couple of shots.  Remember this back on May 25?

Today it looks like the water under the distant bridge.  No boats being launched from here this weekend.

I haven't really had the black Yamaha Morphous out yet this year, so decided to do a bit more Mississippi River Flood inspection, this time north of us to Red Wing.

Again, remember this back on April 20?

Today, June least the trees are green.

Looking upriver, the river barge empty and waiting to be filled with grain.  The 'edge' of the river is where those poles are for tying off the barges.

More ducks........Red Wing's signature Boat Houses......don't want those river-going vessels to get wet.

I've got all of next week off......guess what I'll be doing??

Thursday, June 12, 2014

AHRMA / Rockerbox Road America 2014

It was quite a weekend.

Weather great, maybe more than just great.....a light shower Saturday after SOME of us were in bed.
The ride on Thursday, casual and comfortable.
Weekend's racing as excellent and competitive as always.
Last but not least, time with friends old and new the very best.

I took a very unscientific survey of my fellow campers now that the weekend has passed and we're pretty much in agreement that the addition of Rockerbox this year was overall positive though much room has been left for improvement.  Jim mentioned that it brought more young fans than we're used to during the Antique and Historic Roadracing Motorcycle Association racing and I would agree.  Not only were there lots of new people, young and old that wouldn't have been there otherwise, but they brought motorcycles that haven't have been present in years past.  Overall, I'd give the event an A for planned effort and a C for execution.  We're all hoping for an improved grade next year though it may just be that a street event with some pretty decent urban history would be best remaining so.

As mentioned in my post last week, Wed. evening I made the 5 hour drive to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to spend my first of two nights in a motel.  It was late and I was tired after a very long day, so the bikes stayed on the trailer, obediently waiting for Thursday morning.

Road Closed on Creekview.  I should have turned around but of course chose not to.

I heard reports of various recent heavy rainfall amounts.  All I know is that there was water standing in many places it didn't belong.  This road only recently mostly repaired, the shadow ahead is where a big new shiny culvert will be placed......someday.  It wasn't there last Thursday and the plastic fairing beneath the Hyo should have been a skidplate.  Walking it through didn't seem like the answer.  Riding through really shouldn't have been the answer either.  I did come out the other side though.

I've been here before, a small city park and lovely Lake Michigan access at Amsterdam Road.  Free access, something not available just any old place along the lake.  Wisconsin cheese and Loehrs Meat sticks from nearby Campbellsport made my 3 hour sit/lunch/wave-pelican watching noonish break more than pleasant.  The Wisconsin beer came much later in the day but it would have been very, very good here.

Up to Sheboygan Falls and a stop at a park that we used to visit almost 35 years ago during those very first racing weekends when we trekked over.  I toyed with visiting the Kohler Museum, a place I've never visited but just wasn't in the mood.......this trip.  Maybe next time.

West and away from Lake Michigan to the edge of Fond du Lac and some more big water, only not quite as big as the Great Michigan.  Lake Winnebago here, expansive enough that the opposite shores are out of sight.  There were pelicans here as well and lucky for me, they were never content to sit very long in one place.  Take-offs and landings were abundant.

Back to the motel, off with the little red Honda (the green one was able to stay in place, only leaned a bit to make room.  The Hyo back in the center, the CT90 back on and fastened beside and ready for an early trip to the track early Friday morning.

Road America is roughly 30 miles from where I stay in Fond du Lac and I wanted to be at the track's gate by 6:30 Friday morning.  Last year I was there at 7:00, the official opening time and by then there were already 5 or 6 units setting up in the Carousel's camping area.  Not knowing what to expect with this year's expected larger crowds due to Rockerbox, I was confident that being at the gate, even if I had to wait for them to open would get me at least a spot and even better, site 116, our usual.

Here it is, number 116 down in the corner, a pie shaped, cul de sac sort of spot in the southeast corner. Oh, I was the first one to set up, climbing out of the van at 6:20.

Two people make the Wenzel setup easier, but I get it up easily enough alone........

I was very surprised when not long after, Steve came rolling in.  He'd spent the night before in the local Wal parking lot.  Here the Big Ruckus was already off his trailer and our new friend Jimmy from extreme Ohio-almost-PA was over to introduce himself.

Shocked when only a few minutes later, Don and Cathy came up from central Iowa and setup in the adjacent site.  Don brought a couple of his bikes as well.

Steve jumped on the Big Ruck and I fired up the little green bike and off we went to circle the entire course once and then ease our way through the pits.  Lots of creative beauty, friendly advice and sharing of knowledge follows.......

From western Canada.....

This one's warming up and making music......

Ron's very pretty BSA.....

Ron's son Chris (sunglasses) makes 2 stroke Yamaha's go very, very fast.

Pete was there again, RA his first race of the new season.  Admitting that he was a bit rusty, he told us with a huge smile on his race.......back in the game.

Over a couple of spots, I spotted this logo....Team Orthopedics.  For more than 20 years, I've worked for ortho companies and currently work on spine implants.  I asked the guy snuggling into his leathers how this troop of Triumphs was connected to the world of orthopedics.

"I'm a spine surgeon in Mobile, Alabama"

I've heard, "Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up" before but Doc threw in  "...and your spine straight" at the end.   That was a new twist on the old advice to me.

Two hand shift Indian's.......

This one's for Deb......

A couple of antiques that weren't there to go fast.....

Steve and I happened to be in Canada Corner (turn 12) when this Ducati went down hard.  The bike slid, the rider kart-wheeled and tumbled during Friday's practice.  This was our first viewing of a rider being hauled away in an ambulance.

Jim hauled his TU250 over, we 3 at the brand new Corvette Bridge.

In the pits, I just had to go over so that I could feel good about the price Peg and I have been paying for gas......2.3 gallons, almost $22.  I should have grabbed the receipt.

Friday evening and most of us had arrived, Rick up from Iowa, Mike and Rod wouldn't make it over from the Twin Cities until just after 10pm.

Saturday morning breakfast in Plymouth, Diane took care of us last year, she did the same this year.  Rod's XS650, Mike's Condor Army bike, the TU250 and Rick's Big Strom at the end.

All you need to know.....

Bikes (and people) representing Rockerbox were on display.

Fancy metalwork and legal women.......

A Free Spirit that I don't recall seeing at previous AHRMA events.

Yes, the propeller works but more importantly, the cooler is piloting the plane.

Steve admiring this lovely old 4 Henderson.......

Sidecar pilot (passenger) evolution.........

The Gang and the Encampment........

The SL100 on the hill.....

......under the billboard.

Saturday evening, back into Plymouth for dinner (they make me lead, the only reason I'm in front).

Sunday morning, Mike's Condor Army bike ready for more race watching.

I've mentioned the Dead Cat Rock Pile in the past.....we discovered this year that the poor kitty has been honored with a memorial.  Brian's cat will forever be remembered.

Rod and Mike parked across the street from us.....our group took up a lot of space in the Carousel.

I remember watching 3 electric bikes racing, their tire and wind noise the only sound as they pounded past on the pavement.  This pit worker is cleaning the grit from the rear tire.

Their own organization.....

Dave Roper, heading out for a round of practice

The experienced New York couple that I photograph every year....

I'm getting the Stink Eye here.....

I never found out her name but the woman that makes this Honda Ascot go is fast!

Mike and Rod packing up, Sunday afternoon.

I mentioned 2 accidents over the weekend in corner #12; we witnessed them both and both of them required an ambulance.  I've got video of this event actually happening but will keep that to myself.

This racer was up and walking, the other participant wasn't as mobile.

Chris making his RD400 go through the constant radius Carousel.

4:30 Sunday afternoon, I'm ready to get the rest of my packing done, the shelter down and the bikes loaded.

Another great race weekend, fun and good times all around.  A few drops of rain Saturday after I was in the tent, otherwise just wonderful conditions to be outside with friends.

A video taken riding around the perimeter of the track.  Some places outside, some inside but this gives an idea of the size of the 4 mile track and grounds.

Late Sunday a ride through the pits, many racers and visitors already packed up and gone.