Tuesday, September 6, 2016

2016 - Wildcat Mountain Motorcycle Rally

A ton of fun.

I don't know what else to say.  The weather was perfect for riding.  The weather was perfect for anyone that enjoyed being outside and we certainly were and did.  As mentioned more than once and to anyone that will listen, our get together in Westby, Wisconsin is my favorite riding event of the year.  The attendees that have become a 2nd family, the location, time of year, roads that are about as good as it gets.....all make this rally over the top in my regimen of must-rides each season.

Finally, Thursday after work arrived and 2 of the Yamaha's were on the trailer.

The first of 4 perfect evenings, the driving trip down to Westby went smoothly.

Friday morning before 7, I quietly had both bikes down off the trailer.  The GPS Routes planned had Friday scheduled to be a gravel ride on the TW200.  The XS650 was to be my Saturday and Sunday ride.

By 7:30 I was headed west on Old Line Rd.....

Maybe an hour later, a coffee stop.....

It wasn't....I'd just ridden through there.

Just about the most unique cemetery I've ever ridden past.

After just about the best gravel Route I'd ever planned AND executed, I was back in Westby late Friday afternoon.  Most but not all of our attendees had arrived by then.

Saturday early I rode from my motel on the north end of town to the rally HQ motel (Old Town Inn) at the southern end of town to meet Mike, Colleen and Mark for breakfast.  Captured some more bikes and some Brown Cows.

Each day after breakfast we hold a Rider's Meeting to discuss riding etiquette and safety.  This was Saturday morning's reminder.

Eric and I had camped next to Bert while at the Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Rally a few weeks before and when we found out that he lived in the Westby area, we invited him to stop by.  Friday evening he'd visited the motel and returned Saturday morning to join Mark and I for our Southern Loop Ride.

Mark had missed joining me for some gravel on Friday and even though my Saturday planned ride was intended to be Pavement Only, there were some sections of gravel to give both he and Bert a proper dose of the dusty.  We worked our way south to Readstown, down Cty U.....stopping here for a break and some stream watching.


 We crossed the Wisconsin River at Blue River, then used Cty Q to get back up on top for our lunch time meal in Highland.  Bert did a quick oil check.

Yep, of course it was Grandma's Kitchen.

 After lunch and a petrol stop, we headed south to Montfort, Annaton,  Stitzer, Lancaster's suburbs and here we stopped somewhere SE of Mount Hope.

We rode through a lot of organic material each day.....here she was mowing on one side, he on the other.  Grass wasn't the only organic material on the roadways though.  Buggies, carts and their source of power leave spent grass behind.

 We crossed US 18, some more gravel was discovered before we got back down to the river for its crossing at Prairie Du Chien.  A few backroads up and around the PduC urban area and we were headed north on Wisconsin 27.  As we got there, I wondered if Mark would like to lead.

 It took my reviewing these photos to appreciate the fact that I may have very well been a candidate for the Fix-It trophy at the Sunday Awards Banquet.  My speedometer cable hook-up had unhooked so Bert and I stopped to put things back together.  A VERY minor issue, certainly not anything close to being worthy of a fancy trophy.  The Statue of Limitations should keep me covered.

Notice the mirrors on my XS650 in the photo above. 

They reach partially towards the heavens.

With Mark's incredible kindness, they were part of an ample collection of rear viewing devices that were made available to me when I was putting the XS650 (from Mark) back together.  Their long stalks immediately jumped out at me and were an absolute perfect fit with my style.  I knew they'd cause controversy and yes, I knew there would be comments.  I credit Mike with the fact that he was the first to think that they looked like antennas and ever since he mentioned that fact, we've all been having fun with my apehanger-like rearviewers.

To that end, both Mark and Mike decided to (in public no less) "dress the part" with some Galactic Signal Helmets, fashioned in my honor.  What do you think?  Is there any reason that signals from this galaxy and beyond wouldn't make it to wherever Old Blue resides??

We no longer text, we no longer email.  They rub their hats, I rub my mirrors.

Some of the bikes I'd missed earlier.....

 Two Yamaha's, not all that different from each other......(I'm proud of this one)

Saturday evening, a few of us rode down to Viroqua for the Buffet.

Sunday morning, another rider's meeting after breakfast.  Mike, Collen, Mark and I headed north to first circle Fort McCoy and then enter at the Main Gate to take the advertised Driving Tour of Army Base highlights.

 The Royal Enfield sidecar rig suddenly lost power but it was nothing a new 20 amp fuse couldn't take care of.  We continued on......

 Just on the western edge of the Fort McCoy Army Base is this farm that once, a very long time ago belonged to my great great grandfather.

Just outside Millston, I pointed out the fact that these old Japanese motorcycles are not being treated with a great deal of respect.  I can only surmise that there are normally motorcycles from Milwaukee in the parking lot.  I twisted the right grip on the little TDub a bit harder until we were safely past.

 Time for another break....

 This was about as close as we got to entering Fort McCoy.  Due to Minnesota's reluctance to adopt the Federal ID Driver's License, we were told at the Guard Station that we needed 2 forms of photo ID.  All that Mike and I had were our MN Driver's License, in this case a poor substitute for a REAL ID.  Mark could have entered as the very proud holder of a Wisconsin Driver's License.

We were turned away.....

 Tunnel City, Cty M crossing the rails which a very short distance to the east from here, enter a large tunnel.

Gas in Norwalk....

Lunch in Cashton....

Back to Westby and then out to the Nordic Creamery....

 I tried to tip her but that's a lot of work.....so I just sat on her instead.

It was still early with plenty of time before our Sunday evening Awards Banquet so I headed out for a few more miles.  Stopped at the location of the Amish Auction, a placed that I planned to visit on Labor Day Monday when the actual auction would be taking place.

Very quiet Sunday afternoon....

 I only had the 1/2" ROK straps along....if I'd have brought my 1" HD straps, I'd have put this on the back rack of the TW200 and brought it back.

The group getting ready to walk across the parking lot for our Sunday celebration.

We ate well, we had fun, some awards were handed out and the "torch" was passed by Tom and Tammy to Adam, our new rally coordinator.  It's been a grand 10 years you two, thanks so much for making my 10 years at this event so rich and rewarding.  All the best to Adam in the years ahead with every intent on my part to make it another 10.

 Monday morning the group scatters but I was in the mood for another couple of back road loops.  Though rain was predicted later in the day, the morning was another beauty.  I put the Old Blue on the trailer, then fired up the 200.

West towards Chaseburg, then east towards Cashton and the Amish Auction.

 Organic Valley's milk production plant in Chaseburg

 Some more pavement, some more gravel.....

 Over the dam on Cty Y, Bad Axe River.

Roughly Friday's ride....with some Sunday and Monday included.

Saturday's southern loop.....

Sunday's northern loop....

Colleen went ahead and made reservations for next year at the motel before leaving Monday morning.  I'll wait a couple of weeks before doing the same.

And in closing.....


  1. Great time.. great roads.. prefect weather.. Nice to share with friends. :)

  2. Another great looking rally! Of all the bikes pictured, I still like the Grom...

    1. The Grom received attention not proportional to its size.

  3. I think you guys have entirely too much fun at your rallies. Not really too much, but it is good to see everyone enjoying themselves.

    TW's are just perfect for tootling along those back country roads. Which reminds me, it has been too long since I've been on mine......

    1. Get out there and ride!! I hadn't really been on the TW since Slimey Crud (early May) and as always seems to happen, ended up telling myself, "why don't I ride this more?"

      You are spot on, that bike can not be beat for the riding I mostly do.

  4. Those newfangled aluminium helmets I see here will be real handy at a vintage motel with rabbit-ear television reception.

    1. David, definitely the upside. The rest of the rally-goers were mindful and very watchful for lightning, some good, some ..... :)

  5. I think that rally was the most fun I ever had on a rally. The enhanced communication certainly helped.:-]

    1. Mark, I consider myself lucky to be a part of this rally and its attendees.

      Thanks for your part of that!

  6. Great blip about the rally!!!!

    1. Hey Adam, thanks for that and for stopping by. Once again looking forward to Labor Day in just the right way. Really glad you've been kind enough to lead our charge.