Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend - 2015

We were blessed this year with an almost full house of family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Ben was the only one unable to be in MN from our immediate family.  His youngest sister Hanna and husband Nick did manage to make it from afar and we've enjoyed their company very much over the last few days.  Close family on Thursday, mom's side on Saturday, that one hosted by mom's sister.

The kitchen was full of cooks, not just sort-of cooks but some very good cooks.  This year my only contribution was heating the bird, everyone else took care of everything else and there was more than enough of everything else.  I will take credit for shuttling cold dishes back and forth to the garage due to a refrigerator that was as overstuffed as we all soon would be.

Wedgie, Katlyn's Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound dressed for the occasion with his Star Wars hoodie, seemed to stay constantly hungry and we're not exactly sure how he managed given his svelte trim.

 There were games and there were movies.  Even the old LEGOS appeared from some dark, mysterious place in the basement.  Nick was on the piano, Hanna was on the violin and most of that was quite lovely.  Some of it will need a bit more polish before they go public, though not too bad for the impromptu sit down jam session that it was.

Friday, 4 of us visited our annual Cut Your Own Christmas Tree yard.  Here we've selected, cut and temporarily hoisted the tree; all of this the most expeditious ever to accomplish what sometimes can take .....well.....a great deal more time.  The snow on the ground was our Thanksgiving Day gift, a blustery, wind-swept day that made being inside, warm and tasty an extra special treat.

Here I am, seemingly quite satisfied with our selection.  In all of the years that we've visited this tree yard, 2015 was the busiest and most crowded.  We are standing in line for the Shake 'n Wrap process.

The Shaker to my right, the Wrapping Tunnel off to my left.

Hanna and Nick watching the proceedings.....

Securing our bounty to the top of the van....

Here I am describing in great detail my last wheelie of the season, Hanna slightly skeptical and not sure she's buying it.

Actually I was telling the tale of a previous tree hunt a couple of years before.  Once out on the highway, one of our fellow tree customers that was in ahead of us on the road hadn't done an adequate enough job of securing their tree.  My extended arm was simulating the angle of their tree that had been only sort of tied on top of their van.  With waving not so very different than this by us at the time, we persuaded them to pull over and fix what would have soon become a true problem.

Yes, Peg was along, though not overly anxious to be featured on this tell-all blog.


On our way home, we stopped in Miesville for some of Minnesota's absolutely finest hamburgers at King's Bar & Grill

On Saturday Nick and Hanna left, making their long drive back to Indiana.  I visited mom's side of the family in nearby River Falls, WI for one more fine meal and time with those family members.  A cold though lovely day, late afternoon saw me heading home and south on a road I know very well.  At a few minutes after a waning-sun 4PM, I happened to notice a rather large black shape lumbering through and over the recently harvested corn stalks.

Unmistakably a bear......

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is Pier 4's last day of being open for the season, their return sometime in March.  I had decided that being in Alma at 6AM when they opened would be prudent, mentioned it to Dave so the two of us enjoyed breakfast together at our favorite weekend place one last time in 2015.

At 6AM on a chilly November morning.....

At 7:10AM, Dave and I no longer hungry......

Dave and Justin headed south (away from home) and though not mentioned, I've got a good guess as to where they were headed for some outdoor exercise.  My plan was to return home to get busy with some more projects, but I wasn't in all that big of hurry, turning a 45 minute drive into something more.  While preferred, a motorcycle isn't necessary to enjoy these back roads.

Sunday afternoon Peg and I had a few shopping stops to make, nicely balanced out with a stop at Caribou for a comfortable and good cup of coffee.  Some big snow is predicted over the next few days and one of my tasks for the day was to confirm that the plow truck was ready for another season of work.  I'm taking Monday off in lieu of working next Friday and will be gone all week so I'll do my best to move as much snow as possible before I leave Tuesday morning.  Hopefully I'll be able to still find the place by Friday evening.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Calling It For 2015

If I can get out again, I'll do it but I won't report it.

I won't change the pie is what I really mean to say; the chart for 2015 is complete.  The slices are established, the totals locked in (even if I do manage to sneak in another mile or two).

This is why......7:08 PM, November 20th with us right on the very edge.  The cyan color is significant.

THESE cold hard facts......

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November 15 - Almost Better Than Summer

This autumnal light is the most amazing and beautiful thing....I'll forever enjoy it.  I just wish there was more of it.

Both last weekend and this, the weather has been simply amazing.  Friday Good, Saturday Better, Sunday Best.  So, that means I've been accomplishing something Friday and Saturday, riding on Sunday.

The first full weekend in November....the Trout Pond in Plum City was decorated for the Holidays; the lunker trout even seemed a bit more festive.

Normally I just ride by, last weekend I actually stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder birth site.

Friday morning I was replacing the decking on the front of the house and heard, then saw two very large V-formations of swans flying downriver.  Saturday the carpenter work continued but no more swans.  My guess is that those still north decided to stop somewhere and put their swim trunks on to cool off.  Today, the deck project is on hold, riding was instead the day's plan.

A Buffalo City guy walking the pups......

I waited for the train north of Buffalo City and then rode along beside it in Alma.

The back way home north of Wabasha (Grumpy Old Men).....

We may just as well go for a ride next weekend too!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bit Of This, Bit Of That

After last weekend's trip to Texas, this week's accomplishments were on a much smaller scale.  Preparations for winter continue .... there was some painting, more organization though not nearly as much as there should have been.  A couple more of the engines that serve winter purposes have received attention and happily, there were some early, first steps taken towards winter motorcycle maintenance that I just wasn't patient enough to wait for snowflakes-flying to start.  Ulterior motives (two of them) had me working on things that I'd told myself would get taken care of sometime over the next few months....."no hurry."

I received a nice email from buddy Dave P this week containing a fine quote and a suggested book to read.  The book is now in my Kindle and has been started.  "The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs" by Tristan Gooley.  It's been gratifying and rewarding to discover that not every tip or bit of knowledge in his book comes as a surprise to me.  Experience, being open to new things and receptive to the world around us with a certain awareness of surroundings are things we would all most likely benefit from with more attention paid.  I'm enjoying the book and David was right on with his belief that the book would be a good fit.

Son Ben sent a quick text this week, "Honda is sold, picking up on Tuesday."  I'm pleased in more ways than one that the Halloween color Honda is being enjoyed by someone new.

The first Sunday in November is our area's annual Swan Ride.  45 minutes down river from us is a place that not all that many years ago saw hundreds and most likely thousands of Trumpeter Swans making brief stops on their way to Winter Quarters on Chesapeake Bay.  For numerous reasons (Mike suggested that the swans may be missing the current version of Adobe Reader and therefore are off schedule) the swans do not gather as they once did, certainly not when they once did.  Fury Motors in St. Paul sponsors the ride regardless.  There can be snowflakes and then there can be days like today, beautiful considering that we flipped to the November page on our calendars last night.

Some of us handle the ride differently, not doing the free breakfast in St. Paul, nor do we join the group(s) riding down to Rieck's Park on the edge of Alma, Wisconsin.  This year's version found 7 of us gathering together for breakfast in Alma.  Once finished with breakfast, we head the 1 mile north to the park and awaited the arrival of the various groups on their way to Wabasha, Minnesota across and upriver one town.

More of our small group came all of the way down from the Twin Cities than did not.  As I entered Lake City, Mike and Colleen were just pulling out onto the highway, followed for a ways and snagged a photo of me from behind.

They continued on Highway 61 while I turned off to take a route a bit more scenic.

 Joan and Steve, Colleen and Mike, Tim, Dave and I all sat down together at Pier 4 for breakfast.  Justin was there as well but he stayed outside in the comfort of 'his' sidecar, looking for a bit of sympathy here when Mike got the pup's portrait.

In fact, Mike managed to get the next two photos.

The 7 of us at went to the park and found two riders were there even before we were and we were early.

Around noon the groups began to roll in.....

My plan was to come home and get back to business.....projects and things put off and neglected.  But when I got home, I saw the KLR there in the garage with those new couldn't-wait-for-winter new DirtBagz soft bags and brackets and decided that a decent test ride just had to be about the most important item on my To Do list.

Found this witch along the road.....SCARY!!

So today the BMW was able to sneak in its first miles of '15 before the curtain, the KLR managed to pass its test today.  This coming week I'll be able to put the new battery in the ST2 and just maybe test that before snow flies.

My 2015 Mileage Pie Chart is in the oven, we'll give it a few more weeks to finish baking and then the slices will be ready to share.  An early look shows mileage upped over last year and we'll see what the next few weeks might bring for a breakaway finish.