Monday, September 7, 2015

Wildcat Mtn Rally 2015 - #29

Next year's meetup will be a big one.....and I plan to be there.

Number 29 wasn't shabby in itself, from all reports, a successful rally enjoyed by all.  We had some newcomers, expected a few old timers that for a reason or two couldn't make it as well as a few attendees that did a "partial".....all Good!

I really did it up big this year, extending my Rally Hours by quite a few, doing that by leaving home right after work on Thursday.  A little over 100 miles, a roughly 2 hour trip....with the van/trailer combo at least.  The trip can and usually does take a lot longer on a bike and of course the miles traveled may increase greatly.  This time I was after efficiency.

The plan was Friday would be Gravel Day, Saturday/Sunday would be paved, Cruise Days and for the most part, that was followed through on.  Sunday morning I had the '78 XS650 Special out for a nice loop, went back to the motel for my lunch and then hopped on the '92 250 KLR for a bit more tire noise.  This morning (Monday - Labor Day) after breakfast and room check-out, some good-byes and fond farewells, I headed out again on the 250, only a tiny bit of wet and muddy gravel today.

Radiator barely up to temp, I had to stop for this loving couple's photo right out of the chute.

It had rained over night (wasn't supposed to ) so the protected roads in the valleys weren't yet dry.

Thousands of acres have been put in to the Mississippi Valley Conservancy and I rode past and through many of them.

One of the things that I'd made up my mind to finally accomplish was to stop at the Vernon County Historical Museum.  Things were in a bit of disarray there due to their current elevator construction project but the curators were kind and flexible enough to steer my up the back stairs so that I could get a good look around.  I've recently been digging and learning more about the history of railroads in the county.  Both Westby and the larger nearby Viroqua were both served (2 Railroad Companies!) by rail in years past.

 I've used this piece of equipment in the past....

 An old photo of the tobacco warehouse in Viroqua, now Driftless Books and the site of Lorem Ipsum.

 I was very surprised to learn that Esofea once even had a grocery

By Friday afternoon, the 'goers started rolling in....Jill and Mike managed to talk Susie, our Hostess, finally after almost 30 years into a motorcycle ride.  When asked if she'd ridden before...."oh yes" and Mike asked the inevitable question of how long ago it had been.  With a bit of hesitation, Susie responded with a very respectable answer.  She was definitely due for another ride.

Off they went, Jill and Cam behind on a chase bike, Cam capturing the entire event with his helmet cam.  By the time our Sunday evening banquet rolled around, Cam had Mastered a fine presentation, shown to all and shared with our Rider of Honor in the bar.  Naturally, CCR's version of  "Suzie Q" was the background music with the collage of stills and video footage.  It was wonderful!

I decided that for dinner I'd enjoy one of the area's many Friday Fish Fry's and Coon Valley's Stockyards was where I ended up.

Using an old favorite, Old Mill Road, I climbed out of the valley, around the tight and steep switchback, up on top and had to stop to capture a nice slice of sunset for dessert.

Saturday morning, before our first official rally ride.....

 As always, a nice mix of machinery.....

Our necessary Rider's Meeting.....

Four of us headed off on our own ride, here stopped at a Historical Monument for a break.

We stopped in Mt. Sterling for a different kind of break.....

 Richard the prankster.......

We stopped for gas in Seneca.  Even as a non-car guy, I could tell that this Mustang was something Special.  Someone mentioned "Steve Saleen"......When the owner opened the hood, I KNEW it was something special.  The owner was obviously proud and very forthcoming with us, sharing details of his car with lots of questions about our bikes.

Lunch stop in Prairie du Chien......

Friend Glen's home in SW Wisconsin....I really miss the windmill.

North of Stueben, Mark and I stopped (in the shade...whew!!) to admire the Hog Back.  "From an oxbow in the Kickapoo River"

We met for dinner at the Very Fine Veroqua Co-Op for dinner.  Mark said it was good and he was right.

Back at rally HQ, the Old Towne Inn....

Sunday morning, only some of the motorcycles at the Other motel in town....Jim's and Mikes were around the corner.

After another Rider's Meeting for review, off we went.  I rode solo Sunday, off on my own.  This one was for Mike since he'd missed the Mustang.....

I targeted the heavily Amish areas for my Sunday exploring.

 There were some other farms mixed in.....

I stopped at the Blue Goose for a cone and just happened to be there when one of our groups was there as well.

When I got back, Mark graciously allowed me to try his "Mongrel", originally an XS650 Yamaha special that only partially remains so.  There are an additional 100 cc's or so.

Finely Pretty defines how it looks, authoritative, smooth and fun fairly covers how it rides.  Thanks Mark, that was a treat!

Sunday evening, everyone cooling off before the banquet.....

 I'm lucky the thing still runs......:)

 Again, a nice mix of machinery, though as an (now) XS650 rider, there weren't as many of MY bikes as there sometimes have been in the past....still, at 6(?) I think WE were quite well represented, especially considering the many other fine machines available.

 Banquet time....

As already mentioned, the overnight rain had quit when we first went outside.  A walk across the parking lot for breakfast, then some fairwells and I was suited up on the baby KLR.  I no sooner got out of town when it started to drizzle and it did not stop for 3 hours.  Light rain or fizzy drops, there were no breaks.

First west, then north and eventually what turned into a big clockwise circle with absolutely no plan other than to Go.

Seeing the street sign Katydid, it suddenly dawned on me that I was not very far away from the tunnel.  I decided that it would be a perfect day to revisit.

 (Not the opening on the other end, only drops on my lens)

My helmet on the ground as size reference....

I spoke with the nearby landowner, he and grandson were pulling logs from the adjacent woods.

I rode mostly a direct route back to Westby, loaded both bikes and drove home.  There are so many reasons that this is my favorite rally each season, already looking forward to next year's version, #30.


  1. Great recap! That was a nice shot of the sunrise, that zebra painted vette on the other hand....

    1. Thanks, we had some lovely skies all weekend. Mid-day heat washed everything out as usual. The landscape was rich with moisture both days.

  2. Looks like the weather cooperated for the most part and wasn't too hot or too cold. A great weekend of riding. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Not tooo hot but getting awfully close. We reminded each other that in a few short weeks, this would be feeling very nice.

  3. Coop you sure know how to find you way around the back roads!

    1. You'd really have to zoom in to see how many we actually missed. They are abundant to the point of easily losing track.

  4. the nimrod who owns the Vett should have his man cave status revoked.... :(
    bummer about that nasty oil leak under the Kawie .. but I have it on good authority it was a easy '' fix ".. ..:) ..

    1. That nasty leak came and went quickly, never even got my fingers dirty.