Sunday, June 28, 2015

Minnesota Moto Guzzi Rally - 2015 Grand Marais

I should have ridden the Breva up north but it needs a tire and with my recent schedule, getting a new tire purchased and mounted just wasn't working out.  Truth be told, I really had wanted to give the Hyosung its rein and take a bigger trip with .....and a bigger trip we did.

I know, I know....Bob's BMW and Kevin's Ducati right here in front but those banners tell the real story.  We gathered at the Municipal Campground in Grand Marais, MN which is right down on the waterfront.  The park's pavilion was our meeting place; all brands parked in front, Moto Guzzi's too.

It had been 5 years since I was last up that far on the North Shore and that was for the 2010 rally held in the same place.

Friday morning on the way up I stopped at Palisade Head.  Traditionally a great place to get an up-high view of the big lake, I've always stopped to pick blueberries there.  This time it was too early in the season, berries were seen but they just weren't ready for picking.

Those larger rocks below in the very cold, clear water are the size of trucks.

I was only a few minutes away from some drone photography over the cliff but I didn't wait for it.

Rick and J.P. arrived shortly after I did, the tent village taking shape quickly.

Bob from Moto Guzzi Minneapolis was there, a very nice surprise, especially so since he was the one that had sold me the Hyosung a few years ago.  Bob graciously supplied an extra large Baker's Dozen of T-shirts as door prizes.

After Louise, Lynn, John and Kevin served us our pulled pork meal, Mike joined Rick, J.P. and I for a walk downtown.

We circled around the east side of the bay and walked out on the pier/breakwater.....bedrock making a natural harbor with a bit of help from some very old and stout concrete.

We managed to find various ways to spend our Saturday riding.....I had my Passport along intending to visit our neighbor to the north.  North of Grand Marais the border is only some 30 miles away and on the way I stopped at the Suzie Islands Rest Stop.

(Grabbed this photo on the way back into the US when the weather was a bit different than on the way up)

Thunder Bay and more specifically, Historic Fort William was my goal.


 Certain medical procedures were discussed here in the doctor's office.  We as visitors, mutually agreed that attention from the good doctor was very unnecessary.

 Herbal, more natural healing concoctions.  Some of these potentially did a great deal more than exfoliate.......

 I like maps and once upon a time, this one was State Of The Art....

 Reflector oven......

On the way back to Grand Marais, I stopped at the Grand Portage National Monument.  On more than one late October weekend, I've been up the 9 mile portage that the Voyageurs used to bring their winter's worth of pelts down to the trading post on the lake.  The Pigeon River (CA/USA border) tumbled over some very large waterfalls on its way to Lake Superior, making the Grand Portage necessary.  Large canoes and their crews then paddled their way to Montreal, moving the goods all for the Hudson Bay Company.

In May of 1977, I left from this spot for the boat ride, spending a week hiking the length of Isle Royale.

Took the Mail Boat over.....(1977)

Saw moose.....(1977...might be the last wild ones that I ever see)

But that was back boat rides this weekend.  Made another stop at Judge Magney State Park...

Rode up on the ridge above Grand Marais for the Grand View of the harbor....

Back downtown for a quick stop before heading back to the campground for our fresh fish dinner and award ceremony....

Fish that had been caught Saturday morning.....and they were good!

Campfires were very appreciated both Friday and Saturday evenings.....if you've camped within 1000 yards of Lake Superior you know what that means.

Sunday J.P. and I were some of the last to leave.....

Rain looked like a distinct possibility (few sprinkles overnight) never happened to me until I was almost home.

I made a few stops on the way back......Split Rock Lighthouse....Gooseberry Falls State Park.....early lunch in Two Harbors....

Passing through the two tunnels on Highway 61......If Minnesota has a "water highway", 61 has to be it.  Between bordering the Mississippi River along the Wisconsin border in the SE and this 150 mile pass along Lake Superior, this road has endless views of water.

I followed this couple through most of Superior, Wisconsin.....

The brave 250 ran the 821.8 miles with pride, the last 15 in very hard rain.

What a fun weekend, the big lake, good food, time with some new friends and some very fine and scenic riding.  A special thanks to Louise and John who put so much time and effort in to making the rally so enjoyable for the rest of us.


  1. Coop, what a beautiful area, and completely new to me. I guess I really have to put Wisconsin on my road trip list now. I am surprised of the rugged looks of the coastline. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Sonja, you'll enjoy Wisconsin a great deal but to see these views you'll want to visit our home state of Minnesota. Our Arrowhead region tucks up over the west end of Lake Superior. There are places up there that remind us here in fly over land of the New England and Maritime coasts.

  2. Wow! Great stuff Coop! You've given me a bunch of destinations to add to my list of places to ride.

    1. Lucky, if you've not been up there yet get going!! Don't forget to take an additional layer or two along though.

  3. Drone videos?

    You have them up on the web?

    1. Dan, thanks for stopping by. The drone videos weren't mine, but there were a couple of guys there getting ready to fly and shoot some. I just did a search, I'm not seeing anything as current as the weekend but others have done some video flying.

  4. Wow you really got around o the weekend. Beautiful views of the lake. Too bad the blueberries weren't ready, they aren't here yet either.

    1. It was a great weekend, our sometimes obstinate North Shore weather treated us very well.....we've all seen worse in June. Seems that at least most of my/our other trips up there have been later when the berries are abundant.

  5. A most X cell lint adventure :) Don't think the Guzzi Rally next month in Elkader, Iowa will have the same scenery... but it has it's own charm... I'll be there on my Mo-hama Cuzz-maha ... :)

    1. These 2 weeks will go by quickly and Iowa's got nothing to be ashamed of (we know where there are LOTS of good roads). Not sure yet what I'll ride, might even be the Breva this time.

  6. Coop, the more I read your posts the more I'm drawn to the area, and since I have no where else to go after my Island tour I've got to ask: What spots are your top picks?

    1. VSL, full disclosure I'm not affiliated with any regional travel bureau but I do like to 'explore' and am gratified to pique your interest. We may not be surrounded by as much water as you are but the water and areas that are near make easy camera targets. For riding my out and out favorite is the area missed by glaciers of SE Minnesota, SW Wisconsin and NE Iowa. Very abundant roads, elevation changes with the Mississippi running through as well as that rivers' tributaries.

      I'd be happy to make a list, highlight a few more specific areas....maybe one of the next Posts?

    2. Would love to see your list and when's the next rally?

    3. I'll Post a list soon....before the next rally :) and that next rally is the Iowa Guzzi Rally, one of the favorites July 10-12 in Elkader. The Wisconsin Guzzi Rally is July 31-Aug 2, at Lake Joy (near Belmont) and I'll be at both of them.

      The Master Guzzi list

      Wisconsin's own

    4. The Wisconsin rally is a hoot. I'll be there with a handful of ADV members. I'd planned on making the Mn. rally but ended up sidelined with an ankle injury.
      The whole driftless area is gorgeous.

    5. Dan, I'm always there, expect to be tented near Pilot, mogwai and/or Paper once again.

  7. PS: are you kidding me about the water? ... "Gichigami" is big water, Here, we've got lotsa water but nothing big like Superior. My first trial run on my own bike was on a Suzuki Maurader (250cc) around Superior. Loved it! I've got the map out and I'm planning routes now!

    1. Those 250's are traveling machines and I'm not at all surprised that you've been around the Lake.

      I've done the Lake Circle twice, both time blitzes to say that we could. Next time will have to be slower to actually see something. Please let me know if/when you're coming this direction.