Saturday, September 26, 2015


Lots of projects around the house today, how I spent the day quite different than planned mid-week but that's OK, I can still adapt to change.  Lovely day, our oldest daughter stopped by for a visit and she brought her little pup, always a welcome thing for Grandpa since he misses having a dog around.  The cats and I are quite fond of each other but still......

So I was very busy outside, not with my 2 wheelers but another project that trumped riding today.  Even at that, there was some shopping that took place and the black scooter was my machine of choice.

While I toiled away out in the garage, Peg and Lauren were busy in the kitchen, using their multiple talents to create  Goodness.

This all that's left of their Wednesday effort......

Today's effort.......

I did my fair share in dealing with the last one, today's project went to others most likely more deserving.  Lauren is away this evening at a party so wherever she is, those folks are in for a treat.  An Apple Tart, made with our apples and the help of some Apricot Rum.  The texture, flavors.....I'm almost hurting myself just thinking about it, it was that good.

Our early afternoon lunch, more in keeping with the diet I'm mostly having these days.  I wasn't going to get a photo of this but it was just too pretty.

Crazy story about our apples.....when we planted our crab apple trees in the side yard, their survival was a miracle.  Our dog, the deer, our goats, our dog...all made life very challenging for one tree in particular and I have no idea why.

This one made it..... lovely in Spring and this season, this tree as so many other growing things in our area, grew and produced like they haven't before.  The 'fruit' of this Crab Tree had blossoms so plentiful and bright that it almost didn't seem real.

This tree, 20' away was the same variety of Crab.....

Yes, this WAS a Crab Tree.  As a youngster, our wild and domesticated pets were so hard on it that it as good as disappeared right down to the roots.  If it hadn't been so much work, I'd have dug it up.  Then it came back and what must have happened was that whatever had been grafted on failed and the original root stock grew.  We don't know which variety these apples are but Peg says they're the best baking apples she's ever used.  They aren't pretty so they're a bit tough to share with anyone else (we don't spray) but with a bit of care, I can stand in one place, pick from the ground and yield enough for multiple tarts.  Some, many in fact, are wormy but this tree produced this year to the extent that I can't mow underneath it and why branches haven't broken from the incredible weight of the fruit is a mystery to me.

The deer manage to keep the ground almost clean enough that I don't 'sauce' them with the mower.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Canada Motorcycle Week

Well maybe not an official designation, at least as far as I know but it certainly seemed that way in my little world.  It was all a matter of chance that these two reads dropped into my lap last week.  Reading, or at least any large quantity of it is something I normally save for weather more foul.  Nothing wrong with an early start this season  or so it seems.

A week ago on Saturday, I made one of my more rare in-season visits to Diamond's for Saturday morning coffee.  Richard was there and once off his new-to-him Vstrom, he handed me a nicely used copy of Neil Peart's Ghost Rider.

 Photo courtesy of Amazon

Only vaguely familiar with Peart's background, his role with the band Rush and relatively recent family tragedies as well as his love of riding, I was very anxious to dig right in and start the book.  As Richard handed the book to me, there were more than one of the other fellows mentioning...."when you're done...."

Richard's words were, "pass it on when you finish."

So, Saturday evening I found a quiet spot at home (most of them are) and got started.

Sunday, at least I think it was on Sunday, I finally took the time to try and get caught up with some of the other blogs that I follow and one of the Comments on Sonja's blog regarding her current Maritime ride caught my eye.  Made by Conchscooter, a book recommendation that really sounded interesting and right up my alley was suggested.  The Kindle version he mentioned specifically made it even more so.  In an hour my copy of Nick Adams' book was waiting on my own personal device.  Mr. Adams' book is Beyond The Coffee Shop: Riding 1970's Moto Guzzi Motorcycles in Northern Canada.  See what I mean? has everything going for it; I can't imagine more engrossing subject matter.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

 Peart's Ghost Rider starts out from Quebec though he's ridden on more continents and in 10X more countries than I'll ever visit let alone ride in.  By the beginning of chapter 5, he's ridden across the Canadian prairies, north of the Arctic Circle, back 'down' to Anchorage, boarded a ferry and is with family in Vancouver.  From what I understand, this trip has just begun.

Nick Adam's book was a quick and fun read, his rides described took him from southeastern Ontario to the northeast up the St. Lawrence valley into Labrador, northern Quebec teasing the eastern side of James Bay and/or to the northwest towards far north Ontario.  Low tech, older Moto Guzzi's and long, desolate gravel or worse roads are what make Nick happy.  He's owned more modern versions of the Italian marque but he's no hesitation whatsoever about heading towards the remotest sections of the northern Provinces on the old '70's bikes.

It has been a week full of Canada and that is not bad.

Two summers ago I toyed with the idea of visiting the Canadian National Moto Guzzi Rally near Lavigne, ONT.  Had I gone, I'd at least have had the chance to meet Nick.  Whether the Ontario group hosts their own or the National Rally, Nick attends.

Monday, September 21, 2015

No Motorcycles - Amended

This Post, my 3rd in as many days (hopefully I'm not over quota) has nothing to do with 2 wheeled machines.  Enjoying a quiet and restful evening at home after a long Monday at work, trying to get caught up with some of my woefully behind correspondence, Peg had a question.

"What's that piece of packing foam out on the deck railing?"

My headphones were on and we were just coming to the cadenza.  I pulled both sides down for a repeat.


"That foam, it looks like some packing for one of your motorcycle part shipments."  (Snuck an m/c reference in this non-motorcycle post anyway)

Dumbfounded, I needed more clarification so asked her to start back at the beginning of this very short story.

"Foam, on the deck railing...where did it come from?"

She's seen that very same blank stare many times....sometimes it's real, sometimes I can fake a pretty good one.  I hobbled barefoot out on the deck, kitties thought it was time for evening feeding #2 but they were sadly mistaken.

Stepping over to the 'thing' on the deck, I looked it over very well before touching it and was even more surprised by its presence, look and feel than Peg was.  Turning it over in my hands, its base gave it away, the location where it had been attached.

Just then Lauren came through the door with a plate and some associated flatware.

"Isn't this the coolest mushroom you've ever seen?  There's lots of them!"

So there you have it.  It isn't just the plate either.....I can easily imagine a very impressive dollop of meringue here, served and ready.


Jason nailed it, a giant puffball and very edible in the right conditions, conditions we decided that this one lacked.  There was a shade of green centered around the core that was much brighter to my eye than these photos express and the 'cover' near its base was actually quite thick and tough.

"Pungent" is what Lauren called it when we cut it open.....I was still smelling the smoke from the charcoal grilling I'd done an hour before.  The length of the metal cutting section of this knife is 8" (20cm) long.  Lauren's hand on the right to hold it steady.  Quadrillions of tiny open cells.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

They're Different

Yesterday's Post mentioned that I drove up to the Twin Cities rather than ride and I didn't really ride the rest of the day even though it would have been a super riding day.  Way too many things needed attention but when at least a few of those things were settled, a few of the machines that haven't seen use in weeks received some attention.  Technically a few were ridden but they/we didn't get anywhere.

One needs a battery, 4 need tire changes; they'll all be very ready for some wintertime attention.  There are a few things that need to be ordered but I've been better than usual about waiting for sales which means most everything I need has been ordered and is already here, the installation labor the only part missing.

So a few were started yesterday, a couple of them a struggle but eventually all tried ran.  Today's running was a little more serious....I put about 75 miles on the Morphous, almost that many on Ben's Honda and probably 40 or so on the TW200.  The fact that these 3 are actually quite different machines was very well reinforced today.

The Morphous took me down to Alma's Buena Vista overlook.....

Such a fine day, there were many out enjoying the weather.

I went more and stopped less on the Honda.....

On the TW no stops at all, just poked around close to home.  All 3 had some beneficial exercise, hoping now that the season is far from over with many more chances to get out.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Diamonds and A Geese Gathering

I drove.

Originally planning to ride the ST2 up this morning, it was discovered that a few shopping stops would need to be made.  Paint, charcoal, Mike had emailed me about picking up a new center stand for the XS650 that he kindly had located and given me.  The center stand would have easily fit in the Ducati's saddlebags, the charcoal and paint (plus the cool darkness at 5:30) made it pretty easy to make the van choice instead.

Again, I was first, Mike right behind me.  Then Mike #2 arrived but he surprised me.  We were sitting in the front room at Diamonds, without bothering to actually look, the sound of a bike arriving told me that someone new, possibly just a coffee consumer rather than a sit-around-drink-coffee-bs'r had arrived.  It was when Mike #2 walked in the room and motioned me outside that I knew something was up.

Mike #2's new Uly.......

Warren had arrived on his immaculate red Helix and Mike was going over the highlights of his new bike with both of us.  Warren's red Helix is for sale (I really should buy it), many of us were discussing its long length, not necessarily the perception of what most would assume for a "small scooter."

Before long, Richard showed up on HIS new bike, a big V-Strom.  Loaded with just about every farkle I've ever seen on one and many I've not, his excellent deal on this bike impressed us all.

This is the same Richard that barely two weeks ago had made our Wildcat Mtn Rally on his KawIndian.  Honestly, these people with multiple bikes....constantly updating and's anyone supposed to keep track??

Richard told us, "I'm off to the Black Hills today."  Have a grand trip Richard.

Peg is constantly trying to sell me on OneNote....."it would be perfect for keeping BETTER track of all your things and to KEEP them organized...."  She knows my weaknesses.  ".....your blog, the bikes, their maintenance, your trips.....".  She again walked me through her many uses and very organized pathways to information, history and data for her employer.

Maybe I will this time.  I'm really having a difficult time keeping track of everyone's motorcycles.

Mike #2 reminded me that it was once again the 3rd Saturday of the month which meant that the MN Guzzi group was gathing for breakfast down at Starks.  It sounded like a place I should be, so only minutes after Mike fired up his new Buell, I chased after him down to the south side of the Twin Cities, almost directly on my way home anyway.

An almost new Enfield, Warren's Helix, Mike's Uly but otherwise just about all Moto Guzzi's.

I didn't join them for breakfast, I had shopping to do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

South shore 2015

Knowing over the Labor Day weekend that I'd be making another entire riding weekend the following week, an already short week got even shorter.  Making it easy though, much of what I'd need on my trip north was already in the van.  A tent was added, warmer clothes, the down bag (2 down bags, one a liner), 3 count-em riding jackets to be ready for any sort of weather.  In other words, since I'd be in the van and camping rather than motelling it this time, I had both the room and the need for extra stuff.

My destination, one I've been trying to make for a few years now, is the campground in Herbster, Wisconsin, located right and I mean right on the south shore of Lake Superior.  Realizing that I'd be out 4 nights, the plan was to stay at one of the much coveted shore-side campsites as long as the weather was good, in the tent and then if the weather turned, I'd move up into the more secluded spots in the woods and sleep in the van.  Of course, with the van and cargo capacity, I had ample room to provide the luxury of setting up for most any alternative.

So that was the plan but in looking ahead at the forecast, I felt confident enough, threw caution to the wind and paid for 4 nights on the beach spot.  Sleeping less than 15' from the lapping (potentially roaring) waves more than offsets the slightly cumbersome part of having to park all vehicles across the road and in a parking lot.

I'm ahead of myself here though.....Thursday evening I was already packed and more than ready to go.  Peg and Lauren decided to see "Holmes" at the Red Wing Cinema, 9PM showing and asked me to go along.  I almost never visit the theaters, instead waiting to watch anything that interests me in the comfort of our home.  Knowing that I'd planned for a very early start Friday, I was more than tempted to turn down their request and then thought better of it and accepted.  So glad I did.  There were 3 people in the room, all of them Coops and we all very much enjoyed the show.  My weekend away had started with a bang.

I've always wanted to stop at Louie's in Cumberland and have more than once but never during Open hours.  This time it worked and I had meat, cheese and locally grown vegetables to fill the traveling larder.

Some but not all of my larder.  Another stop in Hayward to fill out the corners......they knew how to entice me for a stop.  It was raining while inside, sometimes quite hard as I did my grocery shopping.

By the time I made the shore of Lake Superior, it was getting VERY nice out.  This taken from the parking lot where the van/trailer/bike are, towards my tent.  Tents only, NO MOTORIZED VEHICLES on the beach side.  The RV's on the left, the other tenting area and my fallback campsites are further to the left, more private up in the woods.

The KLR almost hops off from the trailer and we were soon on the fire a logged area, leaving selected tall and skinny oaks.

An Apostle in the distance....

Worked my way over to Lake Siskiwit, the township campground that I stayed at the last time I did a South Shore Ride.

Price is up.....$6/night last time.....

Looked around Cornucopia, preparations for the Art Crawl the following day were being made.

 These libraries are now scattered in the small towns along the South Shore.....this one at the locally famous and much enjoyed artesian spring.  This old well head is capped, the spring is flowing a'plenty just to the left.

 Always ready for a Wisconsin Friday Fish Fry, I visited the Village Inn, one of Corny's options for Friday fish.

Back at the campsite, I was more than a little intrigued by what I found parked next to my outfit.  A bear hunter, playing with a drone on the beach.  His friends, his "Bear Truck, as well as the way he presented himself....I never would have connected him/them/bears/drone.  That's what I get for supposing.

This couple rode past every evening.....this road heads out to Bark Point and is not very busy, even in season.

OK kids, now you've got to make a choice......I took numerous (as in many) sunset photos each night, tripod in front of my picnic table.  Your favorite??





(Monday gets a 2nd showing)

An extra lazy Saturday morning, the plan to attend the Corny Art Crawl....looking east from my tent.

Before the crowds in Cornucopia....

Iced fresh fish being unloaded from the boat......all 4 had been out on the lake that morning.

The KLR makes 7 of the bikes that have had their photograph taken in front of Peg's grandfather's fishing boat The Twin Sisters, beached after the lamprey's did their best to ruin commercial fishing on Lake Superior.

Bark Bay Slough, safe and easy kayaking adjacent to the Lake.

Back to camp for some lunch and then an afternoon of Fire Roads....

Stopped at the Long Lake Day Use area, a few swimmers at the beach.  Our family has enjoyed this sandy beach in the past.

A loop out to Washburn for an afternoon coffee with a stop at Big Top Chautauqua.  We've never been....some day.

Sunday morning first sunlight, on the beach next to the tent.

More Forest Service Roads and my 2nd trip to the fire tower.

Remember my GPS Track from last weekend?

Here's what the Track looks like a week later....not as extensive, nor as dense.  Average speeds were down, a lot more time in 2nd and 3rd gear rather than 5th and 6th.  You can see lots of breaks where my old Quest unit kept losing satellite connection.

Roads NOT found in southern Wisconsin....the Driftless Region.  I can brag now, never fell down but came the closest Tuesday morning, a very long stretch of this stuff.  Not bad while the front wheel's rolling but you dasn't let that front wheel start plowing.  I almost had all 3 legs down once but managed to maintain.

 It shows a 4-way but there were really 5 that came together here.

I stopped at Siskiwit Falls, a place that 10 year old Peg and her cousins used to cool their toes off.  Our kids and we've done it here as well.

Monday afternoon I rode up to Sand Bay adjacent to the Red Cliff Reservation, a very popular place for the sea kayak folks to put in.

The campground at Herbster had wi-fi, though it fanned out over the RV area and did not sweep the area where my tent was.  The camp's bulletin board mentioned free wi-fi at "The Gym".  All of my trips through Herbster hadn't allowed me to ever go past The Gym. I stopped and was dumbfounded by the building and the story of its origin.

 Open 24/7, you simply walk in and share this building with the community.  I simply couldn't believe what I was seeing and how lovely it is inside.  With my muddy and crusty boots, I didn't even walk in on the board floor, instead just stood on the carpets at the base of the bleachers.

 There was a man mowing next door and my standing out front, just staring at the building brought him over and when the engine was shut down, he shared much of the story.  He had been chairman on the Town Board when the decision was made to renovate and bring the place back to life, possibly even better (brand new energy efficient windows) than when the WPA had built it originally.  "There was grumbling about the takes quite a bit to heat the large, old empty space but your smile and everyone else's that sees this building makes it worthwhile.  We truly do think it's a community treasure."

I do too.  The next time I'm camping in Herbster, I hope it rains and gets nasty.....just one day though.

Before heading north last week, I quickly sent our buddy Erik an email that I'd be not all that far away and if so interested, I'd enjoy a meeting somewhere.  Erik rode up, not once but twice before he caught me (those KLR's are fast...).  It was really great to see him again, our discussion a good one.  Thanks Erik, really appreciate the effort and chance to shoot the breeze again in such a lovely place.  Oh, and I took your route home, thanks for the suggestion.

Tuesday morning was as stretched out as I could possibly make it.  I was on the bike as early as I dared with neighbors near the pavilion that may not be as enthusiastic about single cylinder motorcycles as I am.  Check out time was 11:00 and I pushed that right up to the last few minutes.

Before I got on the bike though......formation.

 Local shooting range open to the public...

Stopped at Halvorson's for smoked whitefish at 10 Tuesday morning only to discover that they were closed.  A quick dash to Ehler's Store in Corny was a successful shop.  It was there I discovered these wonderful and thoughtful signs.

Not wanting to end my weekend and time along the shore, I packed up, loaded the bike and drove over to Port Wing to study sea gulls.  It was lunch time and a very fine place to supervise activities at the pier.

The equivalent of arms' length apart......

Then the flock of ATV's showed up, lunch time for them as well.

Home again, what a great time up north!!