Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Even though no real, Away Event was planned, it's been a weekend busy with riding and riding related activity.  The Kawasaki's rear tire was replaced and aired up, fixed well enough for Ben and I to make a big gravel loop on Saturday.  That repair was made during the evening mid-week so that if, our weekend weather might go as predicted, we'd be able to get the KLR out for a spin.  That didn't happen until Saturday.

But first..... our Friday ride

Friday, a beautiful day dawned and deciding to do something different, we headed north and managed to ride 4 of Wisconsin's many Rustic Roads.  The first one (#13) was the first paved one of our travels.  The second one (#103) drops down along the St. Croix River, the Wisconsin-Minnesota border.  Directly across from the genteel Marine-On-St. Croix, the river and current were up.  From there it was up to Osceola for lunch, then on to our 3rd (#101), County "S", another road that runs near and along the banks of the St. Croix River.  Through the actual town of St. Croix Falls Wisconsin and north, turning on to River Road, a quiet road with more real river views that the first two RR's.

We stopped at the Nevers Dam site, a historical location from back in the late 1800's/early 1900's when lumber was king in northern Wisconsin.  Leaving the river (and border) we went east to the small town of Luck.  Settled by Danish immigrants initially, the town became famous for being the home of the Duncan Yo-Yo company.  People my age can easily remember the TV commercials and Yo-Yo fad.  The Duncan History site shows a timeline beginning in 500 B.C., not necessarily of the Duncan company in Wisconsin but of toys that spun on string.  The association of Yo-Yo's and Luck began in 1946.

The town of Luck is as the west end of our 4th RR (#93) ride for the day, near the area's high school.  The gravelly sand was more than enough of a challenge for Ben and his Repsol but then to make it even more interesting we met the young man that must have been late for school.  He and his Ford Ranger were making up lots of lost time.  My helmet cam photos were dusty for minutes following our 'almost meet' around a fairly tight curve.

There are now 117 Rustic Roads in the Wisconsin program.  There were right around 100 when I was pursuing my list and the total I've visited is just under 50, those from a few years ago with almost no new ones ridden on since then.  The northeast and southeast corners of the state still haven't been explored by me, not officially at least.

Saturday I was up early, as late as mid-week I expected to ride up to coffee on a bike (can't drive EVERY single time I go) but there was a call from my uncle about a bike he no longer had use for.  I always have a soft spot for these cast-offs so I quickly hooked the trailer onto the van and up to Mpls I went, coffee first, then out to pick up another machine.

Mike was there.......

Another real mix of machines.....once again....and I didn't even stay very long because....

I had to pick this one up......1981 Honda 400 Automatic with just over 1600 miles.

Hopefully we'll have a nice, very long winter coming up......

I barely had the bike off the trailer (no time to even unhook the trailer) and Ben was waiting for some gravel riding.....on gravel riding bikes.

We found some, his favorite road of the day less than a mile from our home on the nearby old Territorial Road.  Maintenance is kept to a very minimum on this baby.  Dave had been here a week or so ago and told me he'd never seen ruts so deep or so wide.  Nor had I.....

Just as Dave had said, it didn't really get enough better up top.  How he navigated this with his sidecar rig must have been something to see.  I can only imagine that Justin was relieved with some smoother sailing afterwards.

I was on the Tran Zalp and Ben had the KLR, both got their day's exercise on this M.M road.

We zaggled down to the Zumbro Bottoms Horse Campground, an extensive wilderness area set aside for the equine groups 50 weekends of the year.  Just last weekend the MN Dept. of Natural Resources opened  the area up to off-road motorcycles, one of two weekends a year.  I've visited the entrance/camping area in the past on the bikes and wanted to share the area with Ben but as we got closer, I looked ahead to the parking lot that was our destination and ahead was a large group of young and old on horses, a crowd that I thought it wise not to approach.

 After waiting ( I thought they'd start their trail ride across the bridge) for a few minutes we turned back the way we'd come.


Ben and I were just leaving the horse area and ready to proceed south (Left) on Cty #86 when whom should appear (from the Right) precisely at the corner than Mr. Dave.  In another 15-20 seconds, we'd never have known the other was in the neighborhood.  This the 2nd time in '15 that Dave and I have very spontaneously met while out riding.  Each of us would safely be able to bet that the other one is out riding somewhere on a weekend.  It's also an extremely safe bet for us both to know that the other one is within a 4000 square mile area.  It's not like we only have 10 roads to ride on (we make as much use of all of them that we can).  Yet for us to stumble upon each other without any previous idea where the other may be is absolutely incredible and far too much a product of chance.  It would seem that we need to communicate and pre-plan, picking opposite corners of Our Riding Area to avoid this hapless random contact.

This road used to go through and cross the river on a bridge that now is closed to motorized non-horse traffic.

It was good to see Dave out there and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I know Ben appreciated the kind words and gracious well wishes that Dave gave him for his upcoming trip to and training at Fort Benning, one former Service person to another.

County 86 along the shores of the Zumbro River.

 Downtown Theilman and here's the proof.

 Crossing the Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Millville.

Sunday I was up early, before the predicted rain showers (Sunday and Memorial Day will be traditionally very wet) and decided that a short breakfast run was in order.  After chow I visited Red Wing's Memorial Park and thought that one old structure in front of another was a worthy endeavor.

Sunday afternoon and scattered showers, I've got some projects to take care of.....inside.  Some reading, serious music listening and other important tasks are ahead for the rest of my weekend.  Wrenching is complete and will be put off until some future time, the bike for next weekend's rally is packed and ready.....just on the off chance that I'm called on to head out early.

Have a safe, memorial and enjoyable Memorial Day!


  1. o'blue is look'n great..nice to see old iron back on the road. Looks like you had a great time and avoided Mother Natures rainy moods. Good luck on the slush box Honda... and that Cushman.. stunning ! :)

    1. Once again I've surprised myself (or have I??), enjoying the difference an old vertical Japanese twin can make in one's life. The old Auto Honda starts right up and the 2 speed works surprisingly well, have to say I'm impressed having never ridden one before. Now if I can just get that 2nd cylinder to fire ALL of the time......

      Yes, that Cushman is indeed stunning. American made and repaired with love by a cast of Americans, all heroes in my book.

  2. Wow, you managed to get quite a bit of riding in this weekend. Good for you.

    Ours was taken up with yard work and we both worked today. Ick blah. Hoping to get out next weekend when the weather is supposed to be in the high 70s.

    1. It was another good weekend for being on the bike, a short week coming up here and then the next rally. A busy June for organized events and then things quiet down.

      High 70's sound about perfect, hope you are in fact able to get out.

  3. Glad to see some pictures of that hard top craving Yamaha ... I was beginning to think there were no paved roads in your area at all. Looks like you got lots of wonderful riding in plus had time to pick up an additional bike (or two.) You must be running out of room soon!

    1. Karen, there are certainly more of the hardtop roads across the river in that 'other' state than there are in ours. The last half of my long weekend was very wet and would have made riding more an endurance test than something fun.

      Available space is definitely an issue around here, options are being considered :)

  4. I had never even heard of a motorcycle with an automatic transmission. I mentioned it to George at the coffeehouse and he asked if it was the 400cc one with two speeds. Then asked "how did it run." He was betting that it would be easy to get running but wasn't sure of the tranny.

    1. Richard, there have been some auto bikes, Guzzi, a couple of Honda's, all more crude than the examples of today but they did work. I've only put a few short miles on this 400A, the transmission seems very sound. Bike starts easily, runs on one cylinder until there's enough throttle opening/load and then the 2nd piston starts contributing. Uncle was trying to make it better but I'm a little nervous about his work on the CV diaphragm. Light circuit isn't working, I'm confident that's only a 'labor' fix.

      Once again, I'd like to be patient and put off repair until winter when it's actually more fun and makes much better use of my 'motorcycle allotment' time. It's going to be really hard though.....there are some weekends coming up where an old 400 Auto would be just the ticket.

  5. Coop there are several Hondamatics running around Victoria, in fact there is one for sale on UsedVictoria Motorcycle section in the 500cc range. Wow you did a lot of riding! Very scenic!

  6. Dar, it's difficult for me to imagine "several Hondamatics" in one place. I know they're around here but I don't know anyone that has one and I haven't seen any of them for years.

    We did quite a few miles last weekend, won't do as many this weekend based on what I know (or suspect) right now :)