Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Good Week

Our weather has been above average; very pleasant for mid-April.  Last Monday was our monthly Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club gathering and with fine weather, turnout was hooge not only with attendees but with the members on their bikes as well.

I only took one photo and that was of this lovely 250 Yamaha Enduro, finely restored, the first to arrive.  My very first bike totally my own was a 1970 white AT1 125 Enduro. 

 Yesterday / Friday

Weather for the weekend was predicted to be perfect, at least for Friday and Saturday.  Ben and I made plans for a Friday ride; we'd be exploring new territory for Ben in 3 States.  You should know how difficult it was for me to exclude far too many highlights that would have made the day take a week, certainly a very long weekend.  Mike and everyone else was full of suggestions of places that we absolutely needed to ride......seems we'll have to schedule another trip.


After breakfast in Alma, we immediately started out on some quieter roads, riding directly beneath the CapX2020 new powerline.  A controversial new line with plenty of yay's and nay's about the huge project but the technology involved with helicopter-hanging these cables quite amazing.  The story of crossing the Mississippi River last winter is fascinating.

Ben and I saw two helicopters, blades spinning though both were still on the ground warming up to get something done early Friday morning.  I would have pulled over but there were signs everywhere......"nothing to see here, move along....."  Helmet cam sort of captured the smaller of the two.  Actually I caught the 2nd one as well a few miles further on but bugs completely took over that image and are my camera's Achilles heel.  Looks as though while filming I'll have to do more maintenance.

 A very calm water day on the River in Buffalo City, WI.  Minnesota is across the way.

 County S, I decided to follow Ben for a few miles.  This road leaves the valley of suburban LaCrosse and climbs to the highest ridges above on the bluffs with some huge views of the valleys beyond.  I turn my head just enough to provide some quick looks at the vistas.  The software that accompanies my Contour camera displays during playback the elevation, speed and time in a small window in real time in a line graph.  I especially enjoy watching the elevation changes as the ride ups and downs.  Unfortunately that's something I can't share here.......easily.

Fieldwork was happening in many places, farmers in shirt sleeves just as happy to be out like us.

Before we did our short stint on County P, I told Ben why it's a favorite motorcycle road.  We hadn't gone very far before it was extremely obvious.

Lots of sand still on the uphill North-facing slopes and it many times wasn't along the edge.

We stopped in Westby, coffee and a scone for me....or that was the plan.  Ole and Lena's was closed, a very big boo hoo.

Luckily Scandinavian gifts are available through other outlets......

So, we decided that it was time for real lunch and headed for the Express Inn, the same place our Wildcat Rally gathers for breakfast and Rider's Meetings each Labor Day weekend.  There were comments 8 months ago when we were here last about gas prices.  They are much better now.

After lunch we headed off towards County Y and the Bad Axe Reservoir.

You'd think that for the thousand's of photos I've gone through, my helmet cam snapping one every 5 seconds that most everything we saw would be's amazing how much ground one can cover in 5 seconds.

From there we wandered through Retreat, Red Mound (missed Romance this time) and down into DeSoto right on the river.  Just a short distance and then into Iowa, across the bridge at Lansing.

It was very obvious that we were following a 2 smoke all the way out of DeSoto, he far ahead at first but we quickly caught up to him, the bike obviously not a big-bore.  I held back all of the way across the back channel, not wanting to crowd him....traffic was light so there was nothing wrong with 45mph.  Ben and I had plenty of time.

We caught him here at the "T" across the bridge and abruptly into the Lansing bluff.  From the little I saw of it, I'm guessing a 185 Twin Suzuki, Classic licensed.

Regular Readers may find it hard to believe that I've never ever stopped at this establishment, Scout's Honor.  That can't last forever though.

We turned the corner, did a few short blocks and then started the steep climb up into Mt. Hosmer Park.

 Changing clouds, changing light......Horseshoe Island here the highlight.

We decided that Ben had enough gas for another 25-30 miles (the Hyo sips petrol ) so the Kwik in Caledonia, MN would be our gas stop......but we had another extremely important stop to make before getting back to our home state.

The few rides that Ben and I have taken have been preceded by his sister asking, "you guys by chance aren't heading to Iowa, are you?"  She didn't ask this time and was rewarded with a huge surprise when we got home.  I can unequivocally state that the City Market in New Albin, Iowa has the World's Finest Pork Jerky.  I am not ashamed to say that we brought home a substantial chunk.

What Lauren doesn't know ( I hope!) is that some of it was stashed so that her brother and old man would at least get a taste this time.

After our gas stop in Caledonia, we worked our way up to Houston and then stopped for a few minutes at Money Creek Campground, where many of us will gather once again in a few short weeks for the Minnesota Hiawatha BMW Rally.  Wanting to show Ben what the grounds look like now, I described as best I could what the area looked like prior to the devastating flood that occurred a half a dozen years ago at the National Moto Guzzi Rally held here.  I was there that weekend but after enduring a day of solid rain AND listening to my weather radio of what was purported to be ahead, I headed for home.  There were Guzzista from all over the country and many of them lacked the flexibility to head for home since they were more than 75 miles away as I was.

Friday was beautiful that day in 2007, I test rode some factory bikes that afternoon. Saturday I rode all day in moderate to hard rain, actually over to Westby where Ben and I did lunch yesterday only to come back to the campground late afternoon to more solid rain. My weather radio band sounded ominous so I rode home, in hard rain, in the dark.


More photos

Now many new facilities, revamped and changed with hopefully no more of THAT.  We were so lucky that no one died and it wasn't just the bikers that suffered, the permanent campers suffered greatly though most of them lived relatively local, not multiple states away.

We made one more stop, my right wrist needed another break.  I don't think I've done that big of day on the Hyo previously.  Bikes worked great, weather better than nice, about as perfect as it could get.  My GPS reported 319.8 miles for the day.

Today / Saturday

This morning I was up early to join the guys for coffee in Minneapolis, first stopping at Mike's Secret Garage (Shhhh!) to pick up some parts that he's kindly shared with me.  We loaded one of his XS650 Yamaha's on his truck before I followed him the few blocks to our coffee spot at Diamond's.  Another fine day for riders and for some wacky alignment of the stars, more Moto Guzzi's today than may have ever gathered out front ever.

This one was my favorite today though, Richard's "Indian" Nomad.

 Before Crowd

I didn't stay very long today, mom needed a visit and then I was off to visit my dad's sister at the nursing home.  We got her outside today, at least for a little while until "the wind" tired her out......she's never really been a motorcyclist, but that's OK.

J.P. and I very much accidentally met up for a short chat at a local diner, my iced-tea a real treat.  Thank you sir!

I witnessed this tragic disaster on my way home this afternoon.  I felt so sorry for Buzz and Woody.....both in a very bad place.  Here they were at rest but you should have seen them at 65mph.  We were stopped at a light when I documented their situation and it took all I had not to rush over and rescue them.


  1. How do you like the Hyosung bike? I had seen them once a while back but no one around here was planning to carry them.

    1. Richard, I really like the bike. Its little Vtwin power plant was the first thing that caught my eye and is a large part of the draw for me. Don't be surprised if this bike is a large slice of my annual mileage pie again this year.

  2. I revisited the 2007 flooding, what a terrible disaster. Thankfully nobody got killed but there must have been hundred thousands dollars damage...

    I don't think you have to worry about Buzz and Woody. I am sure they know what they are doing: that was likely a publicity stunt ;-)

    1. Sonja, I distinctly remember an old guy that had ridden his Guzzi Ambassador all of the way from CA, had to have been in his 80's. We spoke and I was surprised that he was able to ride since walking appeared to be an ordeal. I heard stories of an inch of water in the tent and by the time they had their boots on, it was over ankle deep. That can lead to some very bad things.

      There were only a very few of us that ever would have admitted to being in "a low spot" but with the saturated ground and amount of rain, there was nowhere immune from being low.

      Most of the folks were sitting down to our rally included steak evening meal though I wasn't the only one packing up my tent instead and heading for home.

      Curious, I happened to notice the fellow in the car with the attachments on his bumper. I will describe him as being a free spirit.

    2. It was late evening when things turned really nasty, many in their tents.

  3. What a fabulous weekend. I don't know when the last time I did over 300 miles in one day was. Quite a while ago me thinks.

    I am glad you guys had such a great riding day. It is nice you can get through a few states in one day. Takes us 5 hours south or a couple hours north to get to another.

    1. I flaunted that 3 State deal because it was so easy to take advantage of. Our riding together has to get crowded into the next few weeks so we're doing our best to make them count.

  4. .. another tragic Hollywood of those " What Ever Happened Too..." Mega of the A lister's.. then... homeless and hitchhike'n in Iowa... it's a gruel world... :(

    1. It certainly can be.....oh how the mighty have fallen.

  5. Wow what a great ride! Your contour takes pretty great pics! Glad you had such a great weekend full of riding!

    1. Dar, I've been very pleased with how the Contour works, satisfied if not always impressed with how it (and I) handles photography on the top of my helmet. In a couple of weeks it will be mounted on the Helix with a solid bracket and I'm expecting improved images.

      It looks AND sounds like you're doing a fantastic job with your teaching weekends. You have much to be proud of, new skills learned as well as shared.

  6. I have to ask: Is that pole in the 4th shot for that new wireless technology?

    1. If only that were true. You're seeing the Carriers supporting huge pulleys. My intentions once I saw some of the components last weekend was to learn more about the actual process of hanging the cables. Checking their photo gallery I see a photo where they use explosive charges in a positive way. Between the heights, the helicopters and forces involved with stringing the cables from pole to pole, it must be a very developed process. All of the photos with people up high confirm that they're doing work I'd not do.

  7. Really nice pictures of the islands Doug.

    1. Thank you David. The park above Lansing is far enough away from home that it seems I've only ever been there very mid-day with the summer light that penetrates and overwhelms. Our big clouds that day and lack of green make these photos very different than the others that I've taken from up there at the overlook.