Saturday, May 9, 2015

Shopping / Riding

I'll start with a couple of pretty photos this Post, taken on the fringe of the Whitman Bottoms Floodplain, an area in the Mississippi backwaters and old stomping grounds of our very own River Rat, Kenny Salwey's section of the river.   Pretty and quiet was my goal for this afternoon's ride and as it turned out, I found pretty solitude in more places than I'd planned for today.  Not necessarily a bad thing; just wasn't the plan.

Plans is what the day started with.....
  • Shopping - Northern Tool and Hydraulic - I know where everything is, it was efficient use of time and I was through there in no time.
  • Shopping - Harbor Freight -  Even faster
  • Shopping - Men's Wearhouse -  This one wasn't efficient or fast but Matt was very helpful, did the best he could with what he had to work with, convinced me I needed more than I'd walked in for and overall, it went well.
By late morning I'd made the trip home, in just a few minutes I was on the KLR and headed towards Wisconsin.  A late breakfast/early lunch at Pier 4 where I got a real kick out of the table of young men that came in for the "If you can eat this one it's free" meal.  They were still deciding who, if and how when I finished my standard size and went back out to the green bike. They had to decide when as well since one of the Uber meals required the entire grill space.....hopefully it was all settled by the 2PM closing time.  No way was I about to wait for the finale though I'm sure it was an interesting one.

Motoring down to the backroad that leads into the Whitman Swamp, I expected and was relieved to find no bugs this early in the season.  It can be unbearable (and will be soon) when the season heats up with biting and irritating insects.  I was alone there today and the quiet sound of water barely flowing by was comforting.....just what I'd been after.

The road in and out.......


I'd seen 4 Blue Herons on the way in and after sitting down on one of the old beached logs for a bit, an eagle that I'd seen almost hiding got curious enough to work its way closer.  I'm not sure but it looked as though her nest was still visible through the branches almost completely leafed out.

Deciding that I'd received what I'd come after, the decision was made to cut my ride short and head home to get a couple of Mother's Day type things taken care of ( sometimes I am responsible) while the rest of the family was away.

As I was leaving the marshy area, I made a turn through an area of sticks as I've done so many times before.  I heard a "ping" but again, that's something I've done many times before as well.  Taking the long way home, a good 25 miles later with more than half of them gravel and a good distance yet to go, at speed on a major highway the Baby KLR started feeling funny.  It was the bad kind of feeling funny.

Still a quarter mile from Rieck's Park (location of the Swan Ride every November) I took a chance with more throttle but the inverse in speed and made the park's entrance road.  By the time I'd slowed down, the rear tubed-tire was as willing to mostly be to the right or left of the rim, not at all willing to stay centered where it belonged.

Getting off I started inspecting and was amazed to see that half of a spoke was missing, the half that connects to the hub.  Looking closer, I realized that it wasn't half a spoke missing, rather 1/8 of a spoke.  7/8 of a spoke were poking into the tube and tearing it to shreds.

I had my emergency foam along, I had my pump.  I did not have a spare tube, my tire irons or a patch kit.  Out of desperation, I tried the foam, tried the pump, retried the foam and retried the pump.  Only guessing, but it's safe to assume that the tube is a disaster inside.  I don't think the "ping" that I heard was exclusively a small stick.

Cell phone at 20% (didn't bring the Iphone cord, carelessness the only reason), immediate family all 300+ miles away meant that some planning contingencies had to be made.  I did manage to have a lovely day and a safe location going for me.  I texted 2 friends, called 2 friends and wasn't hearing back from anyone.  Phone off for an hour and then back on, no response and just before powering down again the phone rang.

Caller ID said "Mike" and Mike said "on my way......."

Above and beyond any expected call of duty, my bacon saved in a very big and much appreciated way.

So, between the time waiting for the call and then the time after the call for the Little Red Truck to appear, there was a lot of peace and quiet today (I'm able to discount the ambiance of the 100's of Harley's that went past on WI Hwy 35).

Twice in less than 12 months have I not been able to complete the journey, violating Peg's rule...."If you leave home on 2 wheels, you better come home on 2 wheels......"

I promise to practice, try harder and once again, really appreciate your help Mike!


  1. Sounds like a great day until....
    How can you get in and out of Harbor Freight in a hurry? I always find something new to occupy my time in our northern version - Princess Auto.
    Also surprised you don't have the bugs yet. Was coming home at dusk a few days ago and the windscreen was nearly opaque with bug guts. My riding glasses were only slightly better.

    1. That totally sums it up....until.
      To answer your first question, not only was I in a hurry (riding later) but I've had lots of practice in those isles. It takes discipline to get in and out that quickly.

      Now that you mention it, there have been lots of bugs on anything facing the wind but it was a cool day and generic "bugs" may not be the same as the biters. It was pleasant out there, that I know.

  2. Sounds like things really worked out well and were part of what I call an adventure. Having some one to call is a real plus. The local scenery, the cherry on top.

    1. Things did work out for me; Mike wouldn't volunteer what I pulled him away from and that was the tip of the iceberg for things he wouldn't accept from me.

      It was a lovely day and I got a chance to see it :)

  3. ... we all should take advantage of the ..adventure... break downs are a added.... adventure... and buggies are included... :) what's the first thing that goes through a bugs brain as it hit's your windshield..?...:)

    1. You are right Mr. Anonymous, break downs are and until only recently something missing from all of my trips. I'll see if I can't put the next one off though......I'm a patient fellow and comfortable with waiting.

  4. So if you are sitting on the bike in the back of Mike's truck as you pull down the driveways have you officially arrived home on two wheels? Something tells me Peg wouldn't buy that.

    Glad you made it home safe and the tire didn't blow sending you off in the woods. Did any of those riders riding by stop to see if you needed assistance?

    Beautiful pictures though. The reflections are so peaceful and serene.

    1. I think you're right. Might be like one of those tie games in hockey??

      My guess is that someone and possibly many would have stopped if I'd made myself look more vulnerable. I was parked way off the road looking as though I was only stopped for a break. The kid that caught two Northern's, a dogfish and looking for walleye figured something was up but he wasn't in much of a position to do much for me. His heart was in the right place though.

  5. I'm glad to hear the punctured tire didn't cause you more grief other than time lost and that you got home safe and sound. (Note to self, keep the phone charged!) Yeah for Mike! Everyone needs a Mike in their life.

    1. I was wound up enough about the situation as I knew it that it took awhile for me to appreciate what might have gone wrong.

      Couple of things about the phone....battery is getting older and hasn't the staying power it once had. Another is that around that area, lots of valleys (that I ride in) have no signal and the phone chugs away digging for one. I absolutely have to take the cord along. With a working phone my options would have been more plentiful.

      It might be possible to take Mike's for granted and that would be a big mistake.

  6. Shopping is overrated, eh? Glad that the broken spoke didn't cause a crash or a more serious problem. How long were you waiting on the side of the road?

    1. Richard you've got that right! I do as much of it as possible from this very keyboard.

      Must have been about 3 hours that I wasn't moving under my own power or that of someone else. I did manage to buy us both dinner and my breakdown place was 45 minutes from home. Mike's round trip was substantially more than that.

  7. Leave on two wheels, and get back on two wheels... I like this rule. Just finished a huge road trip, and did just that. I like that you're out on Barbie bike ;-)

  8. Sonja, words for all of us to live by. As soon as I get a tire that holds air on the back it will be out again.