Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My / Our Memorial Day

A four day weekend for me, I did my best to not waste it.  Only 50 miles or so ridden and those not until Monday morning.  Projects and chores done, meals and coffee with friends all made the time off rich and good.

Visiting dad's flag among the so many others up in Oakwood made it even better.  I parked here and walked a few of the loops where other family and friends have been laid to rest.  Dad was lucky enough to come home and the most I ever remember of his South Pacific stories were the fun parts with his buddies and the typhoon he didn't think he'd survive.  I heard enough more about some of his friends that never made it back home.

An Asian bike in front of an American Sailor's headstone.  It took awhile but dad came to know and understand things that had to change and that during his rich and full life, did.

The lawn was mowed, some oil changed and in the late evening, a picnic on the bluff.  Throughout the year and not always just in season, we take advantage of our next door neighbor, Frontenac State Park by going Sunday (in this case, Monday) evening when, the crowds gone, the park gets very quiet for the week.  I started the campfire at 7 and we enjoyed our last s'mores just before 10pm.

Hanna is home from Cleveland for the week and it was paramount that at least one evening was spent overlooking the Mississippi and our State to the east.

Monday, May 23, 2016

GR3 - 2016

I met Dave for breakfast in Rollingstone, MN, our destination the Great River Road Rally (GR3) in Soldier's Grove, Wisconsin.  The event is hosted by the Madison BMW Club with a lot of help and involvement by the local Lion's Club in S.G.

Typically my first rally of the season (not counting the Slimey Crud event), the weather can be very "iffy."  It wasn't the least bit iffy this year, rather absolutely beautiful, just about too lovely for mid-May in Minnesota.  We're far too familiar with Memorial Day weekends that break lovely on Monday afternoon and next weekend may be one of those but this year, this weekend, we were blessed.

I was early so stopped at the Snake Creek Trail Recreation Area to kill a few minutes....

though I wouldn't have needed to.  Dave and Justin were early as well and waiting for me in Rollingstone.  Breakfast at Bonnie Rae's.

I followed the purple line on my pre-planned Route and we were in Soldier's Grove around 11AM.  Dave set up under the Big Tree where Dan (and Jill) were already comfortably established.

Eric arrived shortly thereafter and we setup near my normal spot by the tennis court.

I was playing with my Bluetooth connection on the Contour camera.....

Grounds still quiet Friday noon....

Lion's supplied firewood, always reliably supplied.

Dave, Eric and I headed out for a ride, a loop that would take us down into the far SW corner of the state.  Sandy Hollow Road, one of a number of roads we visited that day that are on Chad's Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail Route.

Dougway Road, here spelled as it should be.  Everywhere else in WI the signs are incorrectly labeled "Dugway".  I of course highlight this fact at every opportunity.

Along the Dougway...... my helmet cam capture.

Eric's image was better.

We met these guys....and I have to wonder if they're part of the filming project that Chad and Melanie mentioned when they stopped by Friday evening to say hello at the rally.

A lunch stop in Glenhaven.......

Onward to the south on another T.W.A.T. road.....

I only aim for the shallow ones.

You just don't see speed bumps on many gravel roads.....but we know where there are a couple of them.

This one.....

went pretty easy for Eric and I but then the ruts got deep enough that our sidecar partner Dave had to be a bit more deliberate in picking his line.  This doesn't do the ruts' depth justice.

I've had to wait for all sorts of machinery, road and farm but don't ever recall being stopped by a cement mixer.  He was slowly working his way backwards to make it easier to fill the front end of the slab, ever narrowing our escape path.

 I looked back to assure Dave that he could sneak past but he wasn't buying it.

 In just a minute the truck moved forward to start another section and we were able to pass.  One last stop to stretch our legs before ending up back at the Lion's Park in Soldier's Grove.

Registration tent just a few minutes before wrapping things up for the evening.

Saturday morning I walked through the crowd (coffee in hand).  This gentleman's handiwork has been featured here before, his other bike was a red Guzzi with like fairing, tank pod, rear rack and bags.  ALL very nicely done!

Since my phone gets service in the valley, Dave sometimes calls home to his Sweetie Pie via 4s and Verizon.  Bernie (unknown political affiliation) and Eric are discussing something, very likely TW200's.  Last time I spent conversing at any length with Bernie was down in MO at the Falling Leaf Rally.  He's a new TW200 owner and this weekend was about as excited as an old motorcyclist can be about his new machine (who can blame him??).

Eric and I headed out for another mix of gravel and narrow paved roads, the Route planned to be another ~160 mile loop as Friday's had been.  It was a full day of buggy and horse sightings....lots of Amish farming underway.

Not all the farms are Amish however.....

Eric hadn't been to the tunnel before so that was a planned stop.

The Back Way into Camp Douglas; we had stopped for a break just before these photos were taken.  The guy in the truck asked "which way you goin' down....not into Camp Douglas I hope?"  I asked him if conditions had changed since the last time I'd been down the road and it was only then that he noticed we weren't on Road Bikes.

"Oh, you guys will be fine.....big rocks though."  Once down I didn't complain nor did Eric.

With glowing recommendations we stopped in Hustler at the Fountain Chateau B&B for lunch and were treated and fed far better than we deserved.  We were asked,  "Is cook's choice alright?" 

It most certainly was.

Eric was quite sure that Cindy would enjoy it and I'm quite sure that Peg would as well.

A rest stop 'up top'...........

 Not sure how it happened.....somehow the "Goose Barn" just happened to be along the bold purple line that I was following on the GPS.

A sort of Selfie......

Back at the rally site....this machine full of power consuming accessories.

Saturday evening was absolutely picture perfect.  Awards were handed out, we were fed and I bought a couple of beers to support the local Lions organization.  Campfires and discussion.....around some fires, LOTS of discussion.

Sunday morning I was up early, those evening beers were demanding my early attention and rather than climb back in that nice, warm and very cozy sleeping bag I got up and got some exercise.

4:53 AM

5:34 AM, only a faint wisp of moon.

The berm that keeps this too-many-times-flooded city dry(er), the mighty Kickapoo just to the left.

Eric's bike got stubborn Sunday morning as were getting ready to depart.  He and I had covers off and battery exposed numerous times with intermittent results.  Finally we got the necessary accumulation of expertise, advise and most importantly, John's gracious help with jumper cables.  The 800 fired right off and a mid-day text informed me that Eric was home.

If you ever are going to have trouble with a motorcycle, these guys would serve you well.

Eric left for home, I joined two Daves and a Dan for breakfast, half of us headed SE for home and half of us headed NW after we topped off our coffee and calorie intake.

621 miles on the KLR for the weekend and I've grown quite fond of the bike though a minor change is going to be made for its next rally outing.  The medium MotoFizz bag on top of the all ready too tall bike just isn't going to pass muster any longer.  So far (knock on wood) I've been able to bend my right knee tight enough on all of the other machines to get my leg over the seat and in front of the attached bag.  This weekend I had an additional 2 inches of jacket liner strapped on and I simply ran out of leg length to get over this bike's sky scraping height.  So, on the Kawasaki it looks like a combination of the Dirt Bagzz and H2W bags rather than the blocky Fizz.

It was great fun, weather was out of this world for May.  In 2 weeks the yellow machine will be at the Minnesota Hiawatha Rally and of course another report will follow.