Friday, November 28, 2014

Favorite Things - Update

Favorite things, or with only a slight bit of twist on this Thanksgiving Day, things to be thankful for.....

Updated 11/29

These buttery delights may not top my list but they're right up there; Peg and the kids have been working on these (and many like them) all week and I'm truly the benefactor.  Today is our Thanksgiving family time.....these will never see tomorrow.

Last summer while we were sitting around at the Hiawatha BMW Rally, my riding and dear friend David made a declaration, stating that he'd started a list of his favorite things.  In past conversations (there have been many) David has made many interesting and thought provoking observations, a couple of which I highlighted at the Iowa Guzzi Rally last year.  His very own list had been started and it was obvious to me that David wanted to share them.

It was the follow up that brought me pause.

"So what would be on your list?" he asked.

Feeling sudden (uncomfortable) pressure to prioritize, I had to stop myself, focusing on David's expression to see if he was teasing or genuinely expecting a response.  Concerned that I would speak without thinking, I commented that I'd want to think about the difference between Likes and Favorites and that I'd send him mine.  The distinction seemed important to me at the time and actually still does as I've thought about it off and on ever since our discussion back there in early June.  A few that quickly came to David while sitting there were shared and only a few days later, an email arrived that contained 30-some items that brought great pleasure, joy, contentment.....or some combination of all.

There are a couple items on his list that are quite personal, not to be shared publicly and bring me a boy's smile.  Most of his listed items would or could be on most anyone's list, at least in one order or another.

I as of yet haven't formally written mine down since I'm still establishing some highlights; a work in progress I suppose meaning the work won't stop.  I have been rearranging some of them over time, lifting some higher which only manages to force others down.  Absolutely, definitely not in any meaningful order of prominence, the list will hopefully never be complete but it has been started......
  • the sight AND aroma of freshly baked bread
  • the first and last hour of a long motorcycle ride (David's)
  • early morning walks on the hill with our dogs
  • looking up to the clouds, no matter when or where.....the flood of endorphines happens everytime
  • aromas; chocolate, newly mowed hay, fresh coffee, an old hardware store, passing farms while on a ride and detecting their main enterprises, your first love....
In another category completely, family and friends, the time we spend with them the best gifts of all.  I hope that all of you had a chance yesterday to enjoy and pause to appreciate those things important in your life.


Yesterday they were on our plates, today they are doing some feasting of their own (Thankful for their lush surroundings??).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Running Again

We woke to 52F degrees this morning and it has stayed that mild all day long.  The deer hunters were here early and it's a good thing.  By mid-day, they never would have been able to drive in the harvested bean fields to gather their harvest.  Our snow is gone except for the piles I created with the Plow Truck.  Everywhere else we have either deep mud or ice and in many places, both conditions seem to exist.

That meant it made my test ride today rather challenging.  I still have to install the side covers and front radiator cover on the other side.  Today's most difficult task was purging the air from the coolant system and that really wasn't a very big problem.

Saturday morning I finished replacing the clutch cover, taking care with the gasket this time to make sure it stayed in place.  New oil, new anti-freeze were added and all related was buttoned up.  The lift was lowered so that the carb was at eye level while on my shop stool and that was wiggled out.  Getting access to the carb was almost more work than removing the lower engine covers.

After stripping the carb parts down, it was into the ultrasonic cleaner for an extensive, hot water bath.  New pilot and main jet (thanks HandKPhil!) were installed this morning after more bathing again today.  Carb put back together and installed on the bike and once the hunters were done outside, the Baby KLR was rolled outside for the big start.

Ben has really been the only other person that has witnessed the impossibly tough starting of this bike when cold.  I was confident enough today to have him around to verify the improved starting but he was far too busy doing something else so you'll have to take my word for it.

Fired on the 4th kick after having a dry float bowl and ran on the 5th kick...... and KEPT running.  Only Ben and I know how nicely different that is; for more than one of our rides he got sweaty watching me work at keeping the KLR alive after rolling it out of the garage.  The biggest news is that it didn't take 20 false starts (40 kicks) to finally keep it running.  The choke/enrichener worked like they are supposed to....a minute of fast idle, back the lever off a bit to slow the idle down and a minute or so later, lever back to "Run" position.

With the radiator cap off, it took a bit for the air bubbles to stop and after adding small amounts of sweet green the level finally settled down.  I had the chance for the first time to see that the electric fan does indeed kick in, I'm going to assume that it did so at the proper time.  Finally the radiator cap was replaced and some more riding.  No more than 5 miles today and up to 60mph once on the pavement but we'll have to make sure next spring that the jetting is where it needs to be under load.

No leaks and an absolutely necessary improvement in cold starting.....a very nice way to ease out of winter next spring.  I'm not sure which one is next in line for some warm time in the shop but there's no time to waste, spring will here before I'm ready for it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Summer of '79 - Part 2

Reminiscing over my best ride ever started in Part 1, posted back in early '13.  Only now looking back at that post's Comments remind of the poignant words from our friend Bob who is now traveling these days via ScooterBob.

While looking through a bunch of old documents here at home for something very particular (which so far still eludes) an old torn, overly-stuffed envelope appeared with some goodies from my 1979  trip.  I know that somewhere, still hidden, is the Journal that I kept that summer of each day's observances.  With the archived photo images from those days and the tidbits of paper that were kept, my old trip almost comes back to life even without the many benefits of my original words.

Before we leave Michigan and the US of A to cross into Canada, some very good times were had at this place in Sault Ste. Marie......this quite clean place mat still exists, something I'm seldom able to pull off.

I left the Soo and the US with all sorts of new knowledge, sense of direction and attitudes that were discussed in the previous trip report.  One of those and probably the most important, was my new appreciation of available time.  That morning's ride across the bridge and through Canadian Customs was a dreary wet one and even with the entire expanse of eastern Canada ahead of me, I managed the discipline to jump off of King's Highway 17 and loop completely around St. Joseph Island.  That might not sound like a big deal from where you're sitting but believe you me, it was.

Back onto #17, I remember riding east through Sudbury, quite sure that I stopped at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park and from the looks of things, spent two nights there.

I would not have remembered that I stayed there a couple of days without full documentation ....but wait, I HAVE full documentation.

 I don't remember taking many photographs and that's correct; I did not take many photographs.  As mentioned before, I was poor.  Ektachrome was expensive and processing Ektachrome even more so.  If I was making that trip today, you'd have to endure a bazillion images.  I might not even be home yet from all of the stopping.....

Since I knew and was very familiar with the west end of our Great Lakes, taking at the very least a quick look at the eastern end and seeing where they entered their final flow to the Atlantic was a given.  I'd not ever seen Lake Ontario before so that was part of it as well.  Hwy 41 is familiar, Prince Edward was a stop, then Perth and back up to Fitzroy Provincial Park.

Once more......time for leshure :)

I stayed here a couple of days as well, business reasons this time.  Buckets and shims, some oil......and look at these outlandish Labor Rates!!

 Government buildings were toured but just about the only thing I really remember was the beauty of the grounds and using a parking ramp that said "No Motorcycles" but with the attendant's permission, parking in anyway.

After getting the Suzuki's maintenance completed, I only recall skirting Montreal and though tempted to cross the St. Lawrence, stayed on the northern shore, anxious to make Quebec City.  Being close in and still wanting to camp, the local KOA seemed the logical place to stay.

I had a fantastic time, arrived in hard rain, a wet tent but awoke to brilliant sunshine and a lovely day. There were all sorts of memorable things about my stay there.  Two things in particular jump out at me though.  This was my first exposure to women using the men's restroom as matter of fact and my very early visit that first morning was .......I can comfortably say eye-opening.

Shuttle bus tours of the old city were available and signing up was an obvious choice for a non-native.  A city that I didn't know and signs everywhere in a language I'm still not good at made it easy to partake of some initial hand-holding.  The bus tour was great fun and enjoyable.  I spent Day 2 using the bike to get around and made a mistake here......

Only a few short minutes after the above snap was taken, I was pulled over by a very understanding Quebec City motorcycle cop.  I had missed the "No Motorcycles In Park" sign and once my Minnesota License plate was acknowledged, kindly shown the way out.  I spent a lot of time those Saint-Jean-Baptiste Days walking and came back here to enjoy the park legally.

After having a very good few days in Quebec, I crossed the river and headed northeast up the south side of the St. Lawrence River to loop around the Gaspe Peninsula, documented in Part 3.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


This is NOT how they are to be placed.

Not surprisingly, that's the exact spot where the oil seemed to be seeping/bubbling out.

I'll get this covered up again and then get the new jets installed in the carb.  Hopefully that will make cold-starting easier and if not, I'll keep at it until it does start more's brutal to get it running now.  Once warm, it almost kick-starts itself though it does feel lean.  A good cleaning and re-jetting should make this thing the fun it's supposed to be.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday & Miles Ridden 2014

Left early this morning for coffee at Diamond's, the van's temperature gauge proudly reporting the 5:30 AM November-are-you-sure? news.

South and 3 degrees......


 I was once again first this morning (directly related to my early start from home) and began warming the chairs for these guys.........the crowd soon filled the room and then some.

 I've spiffed up the data this year, Sorted and everything, greatest to leastest.  There are more slices in the pie for '14 and the mileage is up, exactly 1829 miles more this season than need for you to verify my numbers; I doubled checked all figures twice.

A Fine Day

It was a lovely day yesterday, though not for riding and I'm now comfortable declaring the official end of the riding season.  A week ago I was out and though cool, riding was still possible.  If and when a sidecar rig ever shows up here, my season will hopefully end less abruptly.

I'll get out to the garage this weekend and check all of the odometers for season totals.  Unless everything I learned last year with my pie chart creation has been forgotten, I'll have a new, colorful version soon.

Until then, here were this morning's conditions in SE Minnesota.....hours after sunrise.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Bayfield at Halloween"

This was another year that I missed and once again failed to restart my "Bayfield at Halloween" ride, an end of season ride I started back in 2006.  Call it stubbornness, a bit of bravado or even foolishness; they were rides that I did to 'stick it' to our approaching winter.  Shortened daylight hours, heading north into already much cooler temperatures have made all of the rides adventure, just inside the boundary of acceptable fun.

This was my first trip up, 2006 on the Pacific Coast, Madeline Island in the distance.

The 2007 trip was covered here and carried out on the other red machine.

In 2008 it was the Helix that made the early and cool trip.  6:50AM and 40 degrees when I left and the almost frustrating thing about an end of October ride heading north is that any daylight/sun temperature gained is offset by another hour north towards Lake Superior.  I never saw much over 40 all day long, up and back.  These trips are typically between 500 and 550 mile days.

 Two classic yellow haulers......

 Lunch at Maggies........

Way Back roads.......

Peg's grandfather's fishing boat in Corny........

Home again........

The 2009 version.....briefly stopped in Spooner on my way up to see Rhonda.

 Stopped at the Hayward Coffee Company but didn't have any.  That does not mean that I didn't need some.

 Rustic Road #108......

 Too much information?

Stopped for lunch in Iron River....I wasn't the only one out on Halloween.

The Port Wing pier....Lake Superior

Dad passed away at the end of October 2010 and my Halloween Ride just wasn't feasible that year.  I recall that in 2011 the weather was too nasty and by 2012 I suppose that I just gave up....don't remember even considering the ride.  Maybe I've just decided to allow winter to arrive as it will; there is only so much that I can do about it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Their Mothers Raised No Fools

I've been outside most of the day getting things ready for what's supposedly racing towards us.  Mower off the tractor, snow blade on.  Fresh gas in the walk-behind snow blower, lawn tractor taking its place in the back shed and up on blocks, the battery removed.  The garage porch is tidied up, other things lying around the farmstead picked up at the very least and put somewhere that isn't prone and at ground level.  The "I know where that is" excuse can be convincing when things are in plain sight; it gets a bit tougher when there's a foot of snow on top of everything.

So with all of the outside time today, for the most part quiet outside time, I heard them overhead.


I heard them before I could see them and that's how it always is.  There's a combine shelling corn across the valley and up on top.  Every round that he gets closer can be loud, but when he heads back to the other side, the crows are about the only thing I hear....besides a couple of early chickadees.....and a slight wind.


Here We Go

It will be hard to ignore by this time tomorrow.

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from late tonight through Tuesday morning.
* Impacts...depending on the snowfall may be hazardous late Sunday night through Tuesday morning. Northeast winds of 15 to 25 mph may produce blowing snow. The snow may be difficult to shovel.
* Snow accumulation...5 to 8 inches possible.
* Timing...snow will start late Sunday evening and continue through Monday night...tapering off Tuesday morning. The heaviest snow will fall late Monday morning through late Monday afternoon.
Precautionary/preparedness actions...
A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant snow that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts. 

The day will again return when a cold drink and shade will refresh.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Some, just not always enough........winter gets pretty long and drawn out.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Swan Ride

There were no swans and we didn't really do the ride.....but we did gather at the Swan Place.  Dave and I gathered hoping our presence might in some way welcome the thousands of riders that had actually DONE the ride.  Fury Motors in South St. Paul fed those that were able to be up before breakfast.  The ride down (with warm-up stop) twisted its way the long way down to  Rieck's Park near Alma, Wisconsin.

I started out early because it looked so nice outside.  Looking at the thermometer on the house told me it was 2 degrees on the right side of freezing.  I went anyway and wasn't the only one out on two wheels, meeting these two in Lake City.

Crossing the tracks in Wabasha.....

Waiting for the UPS train to pass......

Almost to Alma and Rieck's Park......

I was prepared, 2 thermos bottles with hot coffee, cups and creamers (I take mine black).  The expanded Tail Bag held the refreshments and accoutrements.

Two eagles over the "Here".....

Nice mural, photo taken from the Lock and Dam.....

A few years ago the swans used to cover this area, making it almost completely white while stopping on their migration.

Doug, Sherry and Bill arriving.....

More.....this group a bigger one.

I selfied to prove that I'd actually plugged in this morning.....the Warm Bib felt mighty fine too!!

 Dave and I both shrugged our shoulders and chuckled.....they came and they went.


Nels is an old friend...we were in Trade School together years ago, both with a passion for riding.  He does a lot more of it than I do and though we both still ride after all of these years and see each other at events all over, we've never really ridden together.  We almost did today but not quite.  Nels and his buddy did have lunch at Pier 4 with us however.   Hopefully they found Eagle Valley and Canada Ridge on their trip home.

 It would have been a great afternoon for more miles but I came home to get some work done.