Saturday, November 26, 2016

Red Wing Holiday Stroll - 11/25/2016

We had so much fun and REALLY enjoyed ourselves; I couldn't stop smiling all evening!  The weather was just perfect to be outside and dressed for a Thanksgiving weekend!  This was the kind of Black Friday to have, the crowd was huge and made the Holiday Stroll just that much better.

The 15th year for the event but our first time and we were lucky enough to join Peg's mom downtown as we Strolled about.  Lauren joined us only later since she was helping at Red Wing's treasure, the lovely restored Sheldon Theater where Santa and Mrs. Santa were hosting sittings.

Reindeer here.......

Penguins in the library.......and the line around the corner to see them.

Local vintage snowmobile club......(dad worked part time at this service station when he first came to Red Wing in 1950)

The T.B. Sheldon Theater.

Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Sheldon......


An 8, 10, 12, ?? piece band with only 3 musicians.....

The Grinch was there.....

The public courtyard between the Senior Housing and downtown...

The penguins that were NOT in the library......

Yep, that Highway 61....right through the middle of things.

Casey Breves and Sam Tsui, great voices, fun entertainers....

After the live music, it was time for the Lighting Ceremony and Countdown.....

And Parade time.....these folks serviced VStar Lady's Yamaha last summer.


Local powder coating firm....

The end of the parade, Santa and The Mrs. in the ladder fire truck.

Fireworks for the finale.....

Friday, November 25, 2016

That Is All - Riding 2016

What a riding season!!

A few weeks ago Eric wrote to comment on our riding season, reminding me as he's thankfully often done, that we had an incredible summer of camping weekends.  My comment back was that rain, not even once, ruined any of our rides or camping rally events.  Yes, we had some wet weather though nothing we weren't ready for or were unable to handle with aplomb.

The one and only thing ruined was my canopy at the AHRMA races at Road America.  The boys did all they could to save the frame AND the canopy itself but those aluminum struts folded like straws in the gale force winds.  Luckily none of my campmates blew away or were hurt.  I avoided that entire episode by seeking shelter in the dynamic and lively porta-johns.

Mileage was up this year, primarily due to our extremely fine November.  Honestly, I checked the facts a month ago and I was in a statistical dead heat with my 2015 mileage totals.  It was the 60 and 70 degree weekends that put me roughly 600 miles over last years accumulations.

I purposely avoid looking at the totals or the more easily interpreted pie chart during the season, instead wanting to be surprised about which bikes are the ones seeing more road time.  My only real goal during the season is to spend at least some time on all of them.  Whichever one that was out last weekend, something else should be running the next.  I find satisfaction in being able to rally with most if not all of them so until I start finding Hyo/Duc/Suz/Hon/Yam/Kaw brand rallies to attend, my friends are going to be stuck with my showing up at the BMW/MG rallies on mostly foreign equipment.  So far, that practice has been tolerated and I very much hope that it will continue.

There are now 6 machines in the brood that saw no more distance other than rolling on and off the trailer or to get out of the way so that someone else could get past them to get outside.  My ownership of non-runners is deplorable, I know it, shamefully admit it and no one feels worse about it than I do.  Two of the six would run with 20 minutes of attention, one more runs but really shouldn't and the other 3 are desperately in need of some real quality time and when I find enough of that to give, they'll get their time.

The facts presented here......

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Diary - 1979

Mom's, not mine but as you might just imagine, I get numerous mentions in there.  I scrolled throw the spiral bound notebook quickly, easily picking out her lovely cursive upper case "D's".

Both mom and dad were extremely dedicated about keeping their journals up to date, something I always knew but have now come to appreciate the volumes of "their work" while going through the personal things in their house.  There are a few 5 Year smallish books but my guess is that they discovered that there just wasn't the space to include everything that needed to be recorded in those tight spaces.  Most of the books for both mom and dad were assigned to each individual year.

Dad kept a detailed account of his time in the Pacific events; not sure when mom really started hers or if she was busy with the task before she met dad or not but once together, they were true documenters.

As I said, there are boxes of the diaries but for some reason and I can't remember what it was, mom's from 1979 was on top, in front or in some way prominent enough for me to notice it apart from the others. 1979 was the time when I took my big New England/Maritime trip and that particular year won't be forgotten.  Remembering so many events from the past is actually quite easy for me but tying those memories to a specific year is not easy.  Since the 850 Suzuki was a part of what made the year a special one for me, '79 is an anchor if you will, or a corner post in time.

Prior to the dates below, I had resided at 5 different addresses and spent part of one winter in the Southwest.  During the dates highlighted below, I moved out of my parents home and back in again.  The following winter, the Suzuki and I were in south Texas, Brownsville on the border to be precise.  Eventually, a more stable stability took place in my places of residence.

1/4/79 - Doug to 3M for Physical (24)

1/8/79 - Doug first day at 3M work, 4:00 - Midnight

1/13//79 - New Suzuki 850 arrived at dealer in Mora

1/20/79 - Dad and Doug cycle shop in morning, snowmobiled until 10PM

1/21/79 - Sunday night, Doug brought his toolbox home, quit 3M, "through with machinist work"

1/22/79 - Doug with trailer to Mora, bring 850 Suzuki home, Excited!

1/24/79 - Doug used blower on 4 driveways after snow

1/25/79 - Doug at stockbroker, selling St. Jude Medical Stock (my first and last lost opportunity at becoming a millionaire)

1/27/79 - Doug to indoor cycle races at Mpls Armory

1/29/79 - Doug at Library again

1/30/79 - Doug physical for school bus driver job

1/31/79 - Doug downtown St. Paul Library

2/2/79 - Doug practice school bus driving

2/5/79 - First day of bus driving, morning, noon and afternoon routes

2/6/79- Doug to evening Central Roadracing Assoc meeting

2/13/79 - Doug blew out two driveways

2/14/79 - Doug put new saddlebags on Suzuki

2/21/79 - Doug left for weekend, winter camping in a snowstorm

2/25/79 - Dad and Doug snowmobiling all day

From early March until her death in May, mom's mom, my grandmother was suffering from ill health and it was a challenging time for the family, especially the author.

3/6/79 - Kev and Doug at CRA meeting

3/10/79 - Guy came and bought Doug's 250MX Yamaha

3/15/79 - Doug to Bach concert  (St. Paul Chamber Orchestra??  can't remember this one, saw the SPCO numerous times)

3/18/79 - Doug working CRA booth Auto Show

3/21/79 - Doug first ride on 850 Suzuki

3/22/79 - Doug at CRA booth Auto Show

3/25/79 - Doug rode 350 Honda, dad started Sportster

3/27/79 - Two guys came to look at Doug's Ducati

3/29/79 - Doug rode 350 to work at bus terminal

3/31/79 - Doug rode 850 to Red  Wing

4/2/79 - Doug sold his 125 Yamaha to Uncle Richard ($200)

4/7/79 - Doug too sick to join friends at Prairie Home Companion Show (Back in the olden days, we could often get in Student Rush....last minute.  That night I wasn't the only one that didn't make the show)

4/10/79 - Doug working at friend Fred's bicycle shop in evenings

4/20/79 - Doug waiting for calls on his Ducati

4/22/79 - Steve, Cheryl and Dave here to join Doug on ride

4/23/79 - Dad selling 380 Suzuki

4/25/79 - Doug at bike shop most evenings

4/30/79 - Doug and Danny out all evening

5/3/79 - I helped Doug check bus brakes  ( What ???)

5/4/79 - Doug's friend Ken from CRA came to look at Ducati

5/6/79 - Doug waiting for phone calls on his bikes, found out phone not working

5/7/79 - Doug and Danny went for bike ride

5/9/79 - Doug packing for weekend

5/10/79 - Paul came to see Ducati

5/11/79 - Doug and Kev left for Brainerd CRA weekend

5/13/79 - Doug home from CRA after midnight

5/14/79 - Doug and Horton talking, he wishes Doug would come and join him at shop. Doug returned books to downtown library

5/15/79 - Doug helping Danny put dock out

5/17/79 - Doug riding bicycle everyday between bus routes

5/20/79 - Ducati sold to Ken W.

5/22/79 - Doug and Danny at U of M Film Society

5/23/79 - Steve here to show off new HD

5/24/79 - Doug doing extra charter runs in evening for sports teams

5/26/79 - Doug rode cycle around Lake Pepin

5/27/79 - Doug away early for hillclimb at Bay City, dad joined him later

My grandmother passed away on the 27th.  A time before cell phones, I learned of her death from a cousin in Bay City at a Chicken Q...after the nearby hillclimb.  Marie's funeral was May 31st.

6/2/79 - Doug worked all day at bicycle shop

6/3/79 - Doug rode to Madison, MN to visit Dave

6/5/79 - Doug and Steve went for ride

6/6/79 - Dad transferred 350 title from Doug

6/7/79 - Doug's last day of driving bus, took a long bike ride

6/9/79 - Another CRA Brainerd weekend

6/10/79 - Doug had flat on bicycle, walked it home from Como Park.  Steve and Nels here to see him

6/13/79 - Doug left on big trip 

And it was a DANDY!!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Might Be Over

I say "Might" and I genuinely mean it.  Down here in the southern part of the state, sometimes known as the more tropical corner, we got by with only freezing rain, sleet and flakes that stubbornly fought accumulation.  In central Minnesota, reports of 8-10 with blizzard force winds.  Up along the Lake, reports of +24 inches, possibly exaggeration of the highest order??

At coffee in Minneapolis this morning, yards were completely white and the coffee drinkers that came in from the northern suburbs were reporting 1-2" on the ground; any paved areas still basking in yesterday's mid-50 degree temps maintained Mostly Dry.

Paul doesn't worry....about much of anything.  He rides a Ural!  You can't see them in the photo but there were very light flakes falling when I took this photo in front of Diamond's this morning.

Last night before the winds were raging at 50 and before the rain had turned to a solid, I loaded up my collection of old batteries that were in the way beside the garage, placed as far to the back of the van as possible for convenience sake.  For some reason, those I met on the highway this morning were flashing their lights at me.  6 volt tractor and 'cycle batteries, 12 volt models of every size and description.  Our propane guy won't have these to kick around (or step over) any longer.

After coffee, they were carted into K&K for some extra coffee money.

This afternoon I helped our daughter move.  This afternoon my brother helped his daughter move.

There were a couple of other very bundled up riders out today in the city.  A Grom, its rider so heavily attired that the bike was doing well just to move him.  I held back, hoping to have the chance for a Salute but he wasn't keeping up with 30, then 29, then 28, then....finally he got stuck behind a line of cars and I had to get going.  Another very smart looking rider was on a shiny red Indian Scout. 

Today I did not ride, but the TW200 is parked just inside the door and I know that it will start if/when asked.  A short ride on the gravel would be apropos on Thanksgiving weekend.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2 Bikes 2 Brothers

Anxious to sneak in (at least) one more ride this year, we had promised each other that we'd get out and go somewhere together and it seems that it took until a warmish day in November to make it happen.

I met Kev and June in Prescott at noon.....

The River Road, Wisconsin Hwy 35 was running anecdotally at 50% of the number of bikes that we'd have seen on a Fall Flood Run.  We all were appreciating another fantastic riding weather day but we were headed another, quieter direction.

We stopped on 90th St for a stretch......

After a coffee stop in Glenwood City the plan was to ride through Boardman and to run the 2nd Rustic Road of the day near Hudson but we ran out of time so whipped down to Roberts and I-94 where we split up.

Through River Falls on my way home, I was convinced that as long as the sun was still out the temp was actually climbing.  Such a nice afternoon and an almost winter sky as the sun was going down , I decided to take one more ride up to Memorial Park before the road closes for winter.

President Eisenhower commemorated this bridge over the main river channel and now they're telling us that it's time for replacement.

Speaking of brothers, yesterday while going through one of the archive piles at mom's place, I came across this folded over letter.  Many paper items have been tossed, almost as many have been read or at least glanced at to determine 'value' but this one was a no-brainer; it went directly in to the Keeper Pile.

Both sides of our family were letter writers; they wrote hard and often.  Mom's side did long hand, both dad and Gramp did all of their correspondence with typed letters, both gentlemen accomplished typists.  One of my graduation presents was a typewriter and from that point on, my longhand stopped and the keys flew. Seeing this note, I knew immediately that it was Gramp's 'writer and his style.

So I had to open it.  Dated May 7, 1973, I was 18+ and my little brother was almost 17.

Dear Folks,

"........Doug was to the farm all weekend and Kev was down Sat on his Titan then yesterday Kev, Berdy (our mom) and I went to Stanchfield for motocross and didn't get into any rain until just south of Cambridge so good thing we took the car.  The whole weekend looked like rain and a lot of it was promised but we were lucky it didn't rain all the time.

We are going to band concert tonight in which Dougs band plays but not Kev's.  We have been doing jobs around here in yard etc.

Kev went down to Burnsville to try a racing Yamaha 250 and guess they usually don't let kids try them without a parent along but they asked him how long he had rode and he told them since he was nine so the guy said he could.  He rode it in the field a few times taking it easy and the guy told him to dial it on if he liked and Kev did, said it really had a lot of power.  He designed a tuned expansion chamber - tuner combination for Dougs bike using formulas and made it part of which he had up there a couple of trips ago.  Doug was afraid to let him try it on his bike but he did let him and it worked great.  They said it made a 175 out of his 125 with lots of low end torque.  They brought it home and painted it all up looks like a factory job........."

Gramp did the underlining in pen, something he always did when his typing needed extra emphasis.  Kev bought an MX250 if not from the Burnsville mega-dealer then from someone else.  I know that he bought his Norton from them.  I shopped there a lot but never bought any bikes from them.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Other 850

Decided to bring it home with the rest of them.

After breakfast with Mike and some more sorting at Mom's house, I hauled Dad's '80 Suzuki 850 home.  I bought my '79 right after he and I got home from Aspencade in early October of 1978.  My shafty Suzuki instantly became a favorite and my summer-long Maritime/New England trip the following summer must have been enough to convince dad to get an 850 of his own.

Not sure and only very recently making up my mind, the decision has been made to see if I can't make it go again.  I've flip flopped numerous times back and forth as to whether it was a way that I wanted to spend my time and it seems that my heels have now become dug in.  As I've said before, we are going to need longer winters.

When Minnesota stopped supplying new plates every year or so, Dad wasn't happy and decided to take a stand......

Our neighbor Paul has been really working hard dismantling our barn and yesterday between removing barn boards and salvaging the old hay fork track, he rode his old Honda down the valley.  He bought it brand new from our local Honda dealer (I have 2 in the garage that originated from the same store) and has had it ever since....3250 miles.  Starts and runs first kick every time.

This morning it was once again  up to the Big Town for coffee at Diamond's.  From there, back to mom's and more treasures uncovered, some of which will be shared very soon on these very pages.  Spending more time there going through the many items and then with a stop at mom's current residence the afternoon almost got away from me.  Certainly cooler today than it's been with a hard frost here overnight, it was still a lovely afternoon.  A very quick and short loop on the KLR just to say that I had.

I've been seeing this pretty thing parked at our local marina and today had to stop for a photo; it isn't what we normally see here plying our local waters.  Lord Nelson Victory Tug
Sorry, I can't get Little Lord Fauntleroy out of my head once I saw the description on the must be a phonics thing; how my brain is wired.

Aired and oiled up the Helix, most of the bugs cleared from the windscreen.  Tomorrow's nice weather is expected to include some miles on the bright yellow one.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Swan Ride - 2016

I messed up and know what can happen when I do.

Since "we" are down where we are, it's been our custom to not ride up to the St. Paul suburb for the free pancake breakfast and the group ride.  Instead, we've been meeting in our neighborhood for breakfast, put on a few miles before or after and then wait for the riders to stop at the location that once upon a time was host to literally thousands of Trumpeter Swans on their southerly migration.

Before I left, the turkeys must have been feeling unsafe out in the woods with all of the deer hunters about.

On the way down to Alma for breakfast.....

Minnesota side.....

 Had to stop and unplug my Warm Bib.....45 degrees didn't last for long.

  Wisconsin side.....where the swans once stopped for respite.

One of our favorite valleys.......


 Breakfast in Alma.....

It has now been years since the swans have stopped in the Buffalo River backwaters of the Mississippi.  This year Bill decided to break up the old way, not make the same stop at Rieck's Park and gather for lunch in Buffalo City.  If it hadn't been for Carol's map/route sheet, we 4 might still be there at the roadside park waiting for the throngs or riders to make their brief stop.

Not really sure how to adjust our plans, a bit of discussion had us splitting up in a couple of directions.  Dave w/Justin decided to head downriver to the Brownsville area where he HAS been seeing swans.  He found them yesterday.

Pat, Tim and I decided to take the long way up to Durand where they'd continue on, winding their way back up to the suburbs.  On the way from near Alma to Durand, we just happened to stumble upon the actual Swan Ride route and met literally dozens of bikes headed towards their luncheon rendezvous.

 We 3 stopped for a break along the Chippewa River in Durand before splitting up.

After a gas fill, I headed back to Alma to meet June and my brother.  After some fits and starts, we finally connected in Nelson for pie and ice cream.  One more absolutely gorgeous day.....I hope we all can remember this when the deep snow is blowing cold in what will surely be a few short weeks.

Another fantastic ride, a wonderful mix of 134 miles solo and with good friends. 

In the driveway and home......