Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

My hopes and wishes for your Christmas and holidays to be bright, happy and healthful!

You can see that our valley's wildlife has been busy, still harvesting the soybeans through the inch of snow on the ground.  The pheasants seem to do the hard work and everybody else takes advantage of the clearing.

Not sure why there isn't more ''shake'' in this one....the pheasant was disturbed, startling us both, from a sound sleep in the deep grass almost before I pushed the shutter button.

Mice outside.....

Eye-Patched Pirate mice inside.....

And inside each of the little pirates....catnip. One would hope that Benedict, our older housecat of two, is prepping for the Christmas celebration, here dreaming of his own sort of sugarplums and keeping a gaming mouse and pad warm....But....we fear that he's only dreaming of little poorly sighted mice.

I should mention here that Bennie was no help in getting them all rounded up.

If trouble dealing with mice and a couple of cats were all that we had to contend with, we'd count ourselves blessed.  We don't even have fish, or I didn't think we did.  By the looks of things, if we still did, we won't have for long.

Small, hopefully harmless bears.....they appear docile here.

Hanna, our youngest in NY was for some reason craving an octopus (must be an East Coast thing??) and now she's got one.  There just aren't that many here in SE Minnesota.

And finally, a horse...on a stick....with wheels.

In a couple of weeks, the controllable chaos will return.  We'll be down to two housecats that mostly behave themselves.  Hopefully things are under control where you live.

Added later Christmas Eve Morning ......apparently someone else is gaining a feline.  Upon my entering last night's slumber, this one wasn't complete.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

One Last Old Post....At Least For Now

Only today, when I've been instructed to "clean for company" did I dig into another box of old 'treasures'.  One more bunch of letters about dad's time in the hospital after his accident only part of what was in the shallow but stuffed box, this box from dad's sister's things when we brought HER stuff here to be sorted through, kept and mostly disposed of.  These letters to/from dad aren't the typed ones that I've seen before but instead, hand written by his fiance or scribbled, left handed by dad himself.

"It hurts but I'm better.....", written or implied more than once.

The majority of items in this particular box, postcards.  Postcards with images I imagine to be taken by one Emerson Fuller when not credited to him; most are.  He a local photographer that Gramp befriended and rode with on what looking back tells me were often photographic shooting trips.  Northwestern Wisconsin was the subject matter....trains and area depots, major snowfalls, city fires, new buildings, saw and paper mills, successful hunting parties, barn raisings, etc.

Fuller's bike on the left....

Another Barron snowstorm that the steamer had to wrestle through.

Crowds everywhere he went....numerous postcards here with throngs of people waiting to be healed by The John Till

Finally, this from Around The Four Corners, a book about the history of Barron County.  Gramp must have been asked (or offered) to share this photo for a sad event back in November of 1966.  One of my earlier blog posts, at the very bottom of Sea of Rocks, mentioned this story from what I remembered, actually once long ago personally visiting the crash site.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Gramp's Story - 1922

 Most of a 5 page, single-spaced typewritten letter, these excerpts safe to share.

Dear Robert: -                                                                                                         Sun. evening 9/9/51

This must be about the first Sunday that one or the other of us has not been with you.  Suppose it was a long day unless you had other callers.  We have missed seeing you this day.  We had another drippy day here, still raining this evening......

Ed was a mechanic/machinist friend of Allen's, owned a plane and often took Gramp up flying...we have lots of aerial photos of Barron County.

Ed was going to do some flying in the "140" today, if the weather was good.  Was going up with him, but needless to say, no flying was done.

Before departing for Montana, will say that the 3 years intervening between my discharge from the Army (4/23/19) and leaving for Mont. (4/27/22) were rather disappointing years for all concerned.  My folks had, while I was in the Army, branched out and went in debt several thousand dollars for a better, tho not larger, place.  Prices were unsteady and expenses high.  Crops were good but we always played things ass-backward, so it seemed. F'rinstance: we would sell our spuds in the fall and by spring they would have doubled in price, then we would see we should have stored.  Next year we would store and in spring the price would be lower and we would have shrinkage and insurance to pay.  One year they were over $4 a cwt in spring and we planted instead of selling.  The way it turned out we might better have sold the seed and used the land for other crops.  Support prices were unknown at that time.

As for me, asthma plagued me during the summer and idleness during winter except for working in our own woods.  Dad could not pay me much and a young man always has to have money for something or other.  So when spring came in 1922 I decided to shove off and see Montana or some of it as Frank had gone out there 5 years earlier and seemed enthusiastic over the place.  He went there in 1917 and in 1918 married Tinnie and took over her grandmother's place, to keep out of the Army.  All this came out later on.  But by 1922 he was working for Pete Barthel in Vanada again, but living out on the ranch and putting in the wheat.  Chapman had a mill on the corner a mile north from home and I had worked there in 1921 for him and he asked me to scale and edge his run again.  We started about the first of April and by the 25th were done and I had earned about $50.  The machine (Gramp's HD) was in pretty good shape so I threw in my gear, including cornet and a kit of tools and shoved off about 5 am on the morning of April 27th.

On account of your interest in this form of travel, will cover the trip out more in detail than the summer's stay in that state.  At this early date in the season, roads had dried but they were very rough as little or not patrolling had as yet been done.  Many of the roads were just dirt and only a few were poorly graveled.  The worst handicap tho, was that even the main trails were scarcely marked at all.  My sense of direction has always been pretty good if the sun is shining but if it is cloudy things can get plenty off beam and quick.  Most of the way to Montana, it was cloudy and cool.  Had lunch at Hopkins and got to Redwood Falls about 5pm.  Saw Uncle John and Aunt Ida but stayed all night with Rob and Ruth.  Stayed around there until noon just gabbing and left right after dinner.  Went on thru Vesta and Marshall, Minn to Canby, crossing into So. Dakota at Clear Lake and then turning North towards Watertown.  Where the road bends to the West again, made a mistake and went straight on to a place called LaBolt, about 10 miles, which had to be made back again.  Got into Watertown about dark and found a room for the night.  Due to sidecar and rough roads, found my forks had broken springs in them.  They might have been that way before leaving but it was there it was first noticed.  Next morning I found a shop where they dinged motorcycles a little and for a wonder they had some extra springs.  They were busier than 1-armed paperhangers so I had to put the parts in myself, using a 2 x 4 to pry the assembly back together with so to get the caps on.  Got away about 10 and as it was overcast, followed out the wrong road and wound up at Florence, 10 miles NW of Watertown, instead of straight West.  Attempted to save retracing by cutting south back to the Yellowstone Trail.  In doing so, ran on mere trails, which were rougher.  One of coiled springs under the seat broke and kept making a scratching sound, besides letting left side of seat settle too low.  At a town named Hendry, took the spring off and had it welded by a welder at a blacksmith shop.  He soaked me 50 cents and I told him it was plenty.  He replied it was a privilege to ask how much a job was before it was done instead of after.  Which is good advice.

Was out to Doland early that evening, monkeying along.  Stayed two or three days there.  On a Monday morning, left, taking Harold to school on the way.  He would then be going on 10 years old   When he got out and told me goodbye he remarked that when he grew up he was going to buy a motorcycle and race me and beat me..  That day we (Me and HD) beat it Westward against a head wind, beneath cloudy skies.  The scenery was monotonous and I was alone and beginning at times to wonder if this trip was not a foolish move.  No job in sight, no real destination except in a place nearly a thousand miles farther on.  Cannot recall anything of interest in that day but recall tying up at a village named Glenham, the first stop East of Mobridge.  Got a room and being tired, went to bed early,  after getting a supper at a restaurant.  In the morning it was sunny and my pep was good and the blues more or less faded away.  So I kicked her off and in a few minutes was over to the Missouri River.  At that time there was no highway bridge, just a ferry.  There was the Milwaukee railway bridge tho.  The ferry was on the far side and somebody told me it started to run at 8.  As it was not more than 7:30, and I was impatient as a cat smelling fish, I recall considering driving back a little ways and getting her up on the railroad grade and going across on the trestle as the Enthusiast had carried a story about a rider doing just that, at some other place.  In half an hour the ferry came and three-four cars drove on, my machine, and a horse and rider.  I recall thinking 50 cents was plenty when they only charged 75 cents for an auto.  Somewhere I'd read that the West began at the Missouri river and to this day this seems to me to be so.  The character of the land does undergo a change there.  you don't drive five miles until you see sage and I fail to recall seeing any East of the river.  The road climbed up sharply to gain the hills stretching away to the West, I saw for the first time a "sheepherder's monument" and wondered what it was.  It is just a pile of rocks laid up high as a man can reach, a means of killing time for a sheepherder with time on his hands.

It was in the long stretch towards McLaughlin that 4 men were stalled in a Chev 6 from Penna.  Miners going to Mont. to work in a mine there.  Chev. made a 6 one year, a few of them, long before the ones you and I knew, which started in 1929.  A wire had vibrated loose from battery and they had no ignition circuit.  They wanted me to send back help.  Was able to find the trouble in a minute and they wanted to pay me.  When this would not work, they gave some of the lunch they were eating.  That night stayed with a farmer near Hettinger.  They were Poles or something, the mother had died and the father was farming and keeping house too.  A very messy place.  Went on next morning to Baker, Mont.  Nothing much happened except it was so cool that my mackinaw coat felt very good all forenoon.  Recall eating lunch at Bucyrus, N. Dak.

Going on to Terry, a filling station man directed me towards Miles City by a new route, a scenic route that would save a few miles.  This turned out to correct too.  Had dinner at a ranch house on Powder River.  The present hi-way into Miles City follows this new route and years later, I was to help lay pipe over 20 miles along this same route.  I stayed a day at Miles City, sort of looking around for work.  The prospect was not encouraging.  One man had just hired a guy to drive a truck.  At M C met Earl Vance, a man I was later to get my first air plane ride with.  It seems I did not leave this city until the after noon was well under way because it is only about 76 miles out to Vananda and it was about 5 on arrival there.  At Forsyth someone directed me out of town, across the Yellowstone river bridge and said to follow the main traveled road and it would get me to Vananda.  Half way up there, met a man riding a horse.  The horse had his ears sticking straight up and acted suspicious so I cut it and waited for him to come alongside.  Asked him if this was the road to V. and he said yes.  I asked him how far to that town.  He said it was not a town but a wide place in the road and it was still 12 miles to go.  After he went on, I shoved off again and made a mental note of the speedometer reading.  After about 10 miles had fell behind, began to scan the horizon for sight of a town but nothing showed so it appeared we had taken the wrong road.  But the road was on the flats here, the mesas.  Abruptly the road swung down again and there not two miles away stood two grain elevators a large 2 story brick school, the railway's coal dock and stores and hotels.  The wide place in the road was a reality. 

Found Barthel's place and he went out onto the porch and pointed out on the horizon, the place to turn off the road to get out to Frank's place.  Shoving off again, someone's hens dashed cackling across in front of me, a black one nearly getting run down.  I did not know until later that it was Beard's place and that Bee was looking out of the window.  She remarked to Carrie that "Some guy with a bathtub on a motorcycle almost ran over one of our hens!"  The first ranch the road came to down over the rim, seemed so poor that it seemed to me that it would not be Frank's place.  A quarter of a mile beyond, there was a quite nice bungalow and so steered for that.  Mrs. Wright answered my knock and directed me back to the decrepit looking ranch.  Frank was away up in the field plowing or something, and he saw me and came down.  Tinnie was in Billings with her Aunt Marie, Francis Jr., being born the next month.  This was Friday the 5th of May.  The country looked like the Devil to me, to say the very least.  I wanted to get right out again.  Carrie had become 18 the 18th of March and would not listen to her folks another day.  No sir!  So she married this Wally Hanson and her father gave them $70, just enuf for fare and expenses to Montana and suggested they take a wedding trip to see Frank.  After a few days Frank had sicked him onto a job to get rid of him, but he shortly backfired.  That is how Carrie came to be out there with him.  But on this afternoon, she was down in town, visiting the Beard's.  At Beard's house it was always more or less open house.  Everyone they knew made it a point to stop there.  The girls played piano and raised quite a little dust at dances.

One of those Beard girls, Beatrice, became my grandmother.

Next day being Saturday, I told Frank my motor sounded like it had carbon or something in it so unbolted the cylinders and took them off.  Not much carbon showed and things looked very good.  It was not much bother to open the motors at that time.  An hour or two.  I told Frank the country did not appeal much to me, that I had the impression it was a more prosperous section than it was.  That I had made up my mind to stay over Sunday to catch up on visiting and then leave Monday and maybe go out to Spokane or even the coast.  Sunday we went down in his Ford to get Carrie.  He said as how he wanted me to meet Bee.  Asked who she was, he said, "Why Bee Beard, of course, you'll see."  When we got down there a lot of people were there, like old home week, or something.  Harry and Pearl Barnes, the Clyde Aglers and the La Flame girls, all 3 of them.  We stayed for dinner.  The Beard girls played piano, single and in a duet.  Some sang, others merely listened.  Some listened and looked.  (Including me)  Frank spilled the beans after a while that I had brought my cornet with me and it was down to his place.  Nothing to do we had to go out and get it.  Quite a few of the popular pieces of that time could be handled along with piano easily.  Till We Meet Again, Love Ship,  Long Long Trail and others.  When we went home that night Frank asked me how I liked the girls that were there that day.  I told him something to the effect there was only one there I'd noticed much, the one who kept putting her agate locket in her mouth.  That was your mother.  But it was to be over 3 years from this day before we were married.

We saw each other quite a little for a while but I went over to Terry and found two weeks work.  Then came back again on a Sunday, July 11, it was, and took a job in the haying at Forsyth.  That was about 25 miles from Vananda.  Saw her a few times in June and finished the haying July 1 and stayed a couple days with Frank.  Tinnie had not yet returned from Billings but Carrie was still out there, at Franks.  Then Iver wanted a man and I went to work for him.  Things got so they did not run quite so smooth with Bee and I.  Then on July 29th Bert Cole, who had been out for a visit, went back to Iowa and Bee crawled into the car and went back to Iowa with them.  She stayed almost a year.  I stuck it out in Montana, returning in November but only stayed at Iver's until the harvesting was done.  Went to Ingomar and worked a week for a Polish so and so.  Then went to Judith Basin, and got work at a place 27 miles N W of Lewiston, on a ranch owned by a Theo. Hoagland.  But at Lewston on Aug. 31, sold my machine to a guy named Bergene.  That was a mistake, it was at Grass Range.  It was getting to knock, the weather was soon going to be cold.  And I was a little blue, maybe.  At any rate this guy had about $120 in cash and he got the machine and I have never owned any since.  Next spring, while working on the street cars, got a letter from forwarded up to me by my folks.  Bergene had driven it to Lincoln and could not license it without a bill of sale.  The present system of titles had not at that time been perfected.

The rest of that year 1922 could be bunched into one letter telling of my adventures after leaving Hoagland's and going to the coast.  If your mom and I could have gone ahead and married in 1922 things might have gone different, who can tell, but it was not to be. 

What followed here was some of Gramp's advice and wisdom regarding that matrimony, both regarding his wife of almost 70 years and also to dad's potential wife (my mom) as well, advice that  better remain Webless.

I have to assume that there were more letters that followed these but I haven't conveniently located them.  Gramp's next motorcycle didn't arrive until 1967 (he 70 years of age) and was the one my brother and I witnessed.  I'll have to guess that a couple of grandsons were HIS excuse for the return to riding and Gramp was OUR excuse for access to the sport, something I still marvel at after what the family had been through with dad's accident.

Some related info here and later, 3rd generation content.

After Gramp's 45 year break in riding (double mine!!)  he owned 4 more.

Both of these, the orange 125 AS2C Scrambler after we got his '64 C105 55cc trailbike.

Never really very happy with the peaky 2 stroke of the 125 twin, Gramp bought this 100cc smaller wheeled Enduro.  Shown here after I bought it, using it to commute to my job.  It also was the first motorcycle the future Mrs. Coop rode while we were a'courtin'.

Gramp's last bike, another Yamaha.  This a 250cc Exciter and eventually when Bea found out that he'd tipped over a couple of times while out and about, it got parked right here and stayed there with the key hidden.....I should have bought this one too but that all happened during my hiatus.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Gramp's Story - From 1916

This the next letter to dad from Allen, his dad, still recovering in the hospital from his motorcycle accident on July 10, dated 9/6/51

So, it's July of 1916 and Gramp has sold his '13 Harley-Davidson and is without a bike living in Wisconsin.....

I got the fever to go out to So. Dakota and see Emery and maybe work awhile to pay for the trip.  He was always telling us how good it was and what a big scale everything was on.  By this time of Sept. our silo was filled and the grain was very likely in the stack.  We usually stacked our grain and let it cure and threshed in Oct. or even November.  So on Sunday the 10th of September, we had come home from church and ma was out to the windmill letting it pump a fresh pail of water.  I told her I'd decided to go out on Tuesday for a month or so.

Gramp's dad gave him a ride to the local train in Hillsdale, got another train in Barron to St. Paul and from there, boarded the "Northwestern" bound for the Black Hills.

It was not possible to sleep much on the train, not for me, and at first crack of dawn I was straining my eyes to see under the curtain and get a glimpse of the prairie or see if we had yet come to them.  As it got lighter it developed we were beyond Canby and about ready to move into the state of So. Dak.  By full daylight we were up around Watertown and beating across prairie flat as a rug.  The railroad seemed to have very little grade and that the cars were running almost right on the level prairie.  The grade is low, but there is a grade there.  It was around 9 in the forenoon when we got to Doland.  Emery had told me to go to a phone and call him up whenever I arrived and he'd come after me as he lived out about 12 miles.  It was about an hour before he got in.  Then he bought some groceries and got his hair out as he had a plan to go to the State Fair at Huron the next day.

Emery had a beat up old Ford of 1912 model, or 4 years old but a Dr. had pretty well whipped it before he traded it in.  Its motor ran pretty good but there was quite a lot of racket, and some smoke.  We started out of town and went about a quarter of a mile when Emery thought of something, put on the brake and turned around in a driveway.  "By Jehu, " he said, "I forgot to get some cigars."  Like Kilmer, he had to have a cigar when he went to town.  But at home around the hog pens he stuck to his corn cob pipe.  He bot 6 or 8 cigars and lit up one and we again hoisted anchor.  Emery was stiff in the back or legs and when he shoved off a model T it was something you would not soon forget, he seemed to raise up, brace his left foot against the pedal and then sort of slide down into the seat.  The bands may have been glazed because it would always make a metallic screech and then grab and when this took place we were in low gear and going forward.  Emery would either grip his cigar tight in his teeth with his lips away from the thing or else he would keep turning it over with his lips as if the tobacco irritated his mouth.  It was never necessary to knock the ashes off these cigars, not while under way in an open model T.  Because the wind took care of this, whisking the ashes in the face of whoever sat behind, which was Ida, when the whole family went.

We went to the fair on Sept. 16th and it was Harold's 4th birthday.  That was the day Emery bot him a red, white and blue celuloid windmill.  It was a bright clear day but the wind blew from the NW all day.  Emery knew it was going to get cold and for me he took along a fur coat.  We had a good day down there and I saw my first airplane, queer shaped craft with the motor behind and the rudder in front. A man named Adams flew it and people nearly unhinged their necks watching him.  His name was printed in large letters on the top of the wings and when he flew upside down you could read the name.  We left the grounds about 7 or 8 o'clock, was getting dark, the wind blew and it was colder than the Devil.  In spite of the fur coat I felt blue as a whetstone by the time we made the 35 miles home.  The rear end was about shot in the Ford and it made a peculiar sound like Zub, Zub, Zub, all the time, one for every revolution of the ring gear.  But the sound seemed to come from directly under our feet, in the transmission.  next day Emery had it taken to the garage and they found the pinion gear so worn that the edges of the teeth were so sharp you could cut your fingers on them.  About one good pull and we would have been stranded.

Next letter to dad's hospital room, dated  9/7/51 ....

In April, 1917, war was declared with Germany and many drafted that summer.  I wanted to do some traveling and also get away from the asthma.  Dr. Post thot if one could keep from having it for a period of time it might let up because one might develop an immunity to it, or something.  So I picked Denver as the place to go.  Looking back, this was because Uncle Ed Hulburt had told me tales of Denver, he having been there in 1898 or it may have been earlier.  This was a poor decision I found out later because Denver was a health resort and many were there who would work cheap just to enjoy the advertised mild climate. Des Moines at about 11pm, they pulled from one track over to another on a "crossover" right where it is all planked over.  They got the engine off the track and spent an hour trying to replace it but it was so heavy it cut right thru the planking like cheese.  They finally got another big engine and they both huffed and puffed but all they got for it was noise ans smoke.  They finally backed the train out from the rear and got a freight engine on it and left town.  But they never made up the hour and every time they started the train the passengers just about changed seats due to the spring draw-bar a freight engine has.

At KC uncle Birge razzed me for coming down on anything but the Rock Island (Uncle Birge Haviland was an Engineer on the R.I., his position with the railroad held in high esteem by the family).  He said I was lucky they derailed the thing on the flooring because if it had happened in the country it might have been bad.  

After spending a few days at KC, I bot a ticket via Missouri Pacific for Salina.  It took all day to go out and at Salina took another MP train to ride the two stations down to Falun.  Aunt Lottie and uncle Morris, the old skinflint, lived on a farm 4 miles out of Falun.  Aunt Lottie drove two hay burners in to get me, Morris never having owned any faster transportation than that.  One of the horse limped and the hack kept up a lurching motion that would almost make you seasick.

Here Gramp goes into detail about staying at and living at the Denver YMCA.  Gramp figured the "Y" would be an obvious and affordable place to stay.  Regrettably, I've got to leave some of these details out....

.....But it was not too congenial in some ways.  It was one of two large rooms on the 5th or top floor.  it was 12 x 24 feet and had three single beds.  Rent was $25 and we each paid $8.35 a month.  One of my room mates was a barber and the other a clerk in the silk and linen department of Lewis' department store.

Both of these boys had bankers hours and could stay up until 1 and still get plenty of sleep because they could lie in bed until 8 or more in the morning.  But poor me, I had to work at hard labor jobs like a SOB and at night was so tired it was only with difficulty I could expectorate over my chin.....First worked for a lead company, all heavy and dirty work.  Then for a wholesale company that had everything to build with from cement to paint.  It was out door work and hard on clothing.  Gloves lasted only a day or two and overalls were soon wore out from the splintery fir lumber. 

Here was something that caught my eye....

After selling my HD in July 1916, did not own another until the fall of  '21.  There were many in Denver but they meant nothing to me because it would have been impossible to have bought one.  But one day on South Broadway I walked into the Floyd Clymer agency and looked at them.  This is the same Clymer who now sells books on old cars, etc.

Gramp left Denver, deciding that he was only subsisting, not getting ahead and went back to farm life in rural Kansas.

.....Did not have to work very hard out there as they had six besides myself and the boss was a real good guy.  He was gone most of the time, promoting feed for the 450 head of white faces they had or on other business promoting the ranch, which was owned by Louie Rothschild, the same one who runs the clothing establishment at 10th and Baltimore, in KC Mo.  The grub was good substantial farm grub out there and all you wanted to stow of it.  The weather by then was warm and made a guy feel drowsy most the time.  While there spent my 21st birthday and knew that the next registration was June 5th, so went home about the last of April in order to register from my own state for the war.

Gramp goes into some detail here about signing up and serving at the Army Hospital in West Baden, Indiana.

....Was discharged from there April 23, 1919.  Was home then for three years but things did not go well.  I was dissatisfied with the farm, had little income, and had the itchy heel.  Lorence and I had access pretty freely to the old man's model T but in 1921 I bot an old T roadster and fixed it up. (Forgot going to Auto School in 1920 and working at Phillips, Wisconsin a month or two).  Had about 250 bux in it and it ran very good.  Used to take out the Chambers girl and usually she invited the Jacobs girls to go along.  I had no notion about matrimony at that time, it was not for me.

Nora and Ruby get mentioned here...

We had a date for one afternoon and on the way up my spark plugs or something, acted up and it was 10 minutes late when I showed up where she roomed.  She had left.  I took the hint.  At this time in my life we were living on Poor Farm Road and Edwin Peterson drove by frequently with his 1920 HD 61 and sidecar.  The motor finally got to knocking and he was considering dealing it off and I hit him up for a trade.  In spite of the work I'd done on my Ford roadster, it also knocked.  He said it was rods but I knew better because I had put most of the entire spring from an alarm clock in behind the bottom rings of two of its pistons.  I told him nothing but reboring would stop it and that went for his motor too but he thot it needed wrist pins.  After we dealt I sent the cylinders to Milwaukee and had them rebored and new pistons and rings fitted.  Also got most the entire assembly of gears for the transmission and a new clutch sprocket and front chain.  Side car wheel was straight but rear rim of bike had been run in ruts and was bent.  Had Bakke tear down the wheels and put the crooked one under the sidecar.  Wheels were not interchangeable at that date.  During the winter drove this outfit quite a little with runner under sidecar and one under front wheel.  It ran right in a sled track which was of 38" tread.  By spring I had decided to go to Montana to see my cousin Frank.  After working for Chapman 3 weeks in his mill, left on April 27th with about $50 in my pockets.  More next time.

There will be in Gramp's next letter to my bed-ridden dad. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Gramp's Description of His Motorcycling Start

Gramp wrote the letter below to dad on September 5, 1951, the date of which was important because dad was still in the hospital recovering from his July 10, 1951 motorcycle accident.  This was the first in a series of letters shared with my dad, going back into his dad Allen's past.  Knowing what I now know both from what I remember of stories told and recently old letters read, this series of letters was about reflection and healing for the both of them.

Dad's time in the hospital was long, his number of drawn out days and visitors over those days were many.  I have a scrapbook here with literally hundreds of cards and letters at the end of which are many letters from attorneys, the Vet's Hospital in Minneapolis, State Court in Superior, Wisconsin about the lawsuit that took months and finally years to settle.  Interesting now for me to look back on, knowing that as a very young Coop most of it managed to be in my parents' past by the time I might have been able to be aware.

My focus here is to point out why Gramp was reviewing his past, this very beginning a part of his story I don't ever remember hearing about in numerous, repeated stories that mostly focused on the machines and less so on the absolute beginning circumstances.

I thought about running this through OCR, something I haven't done now for years and was once all too experienced at when I was pulling legacy documentation into a digital system for my employer.  Anyway, it's probably better that I let Gramp's typing stand on its own.

Here are 2 screen grabs of the scan of that first letter of which there were 6 in all over the span of a couple of weeks.  It would be months of P.T. before dad came home and I have to believe that these history lessons helped in that recovery.

Dad made the paper and some years later, his attorney left Wisconsin for Washington.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Banner Year For Riding - 2017

Here it is, ciphered, broken out, tabulated and finalized totaled.  At first glance, it might seem obvious that with my 2 week vacation (haven't taken that many days at one time in years) I'd have a huge number of miles for the season.   Keep in mind that those roughly 1600 vacation miles on the KLR spread out over 2 weeks/3 weekends could have and most likely would have been weekends when I'd have potentially done a couple of 500 mile weekends.  In other words, 1600 miles over 2 weeks wasn't really that big a deal so Wyoming can't really be credited with upping this year's increased miles.

We'll do an inverse here and give each of them their due.....

Appropriately at COOP WOODS Rd too!......

The Show - 2017

We got there right away at Saturday's opening hour and waiting in line to get in, the socializing started (THE reason that I attend) and continued on from there.  I did manage to get a quick look at a few bikes and wander but by far the largest proportion of my time spent was gabbing.

Jeff, Joanne, Darrel, Ron, Karen, Lissa, Steve, Greg, Rick, Pat, Mike, Colleen.....good to see you all again.  There were numerous other familiar faces seen going past that I didn't interrupt conversations for, folks I never caught up with again but would have if I could have.

The Show, downsizing and downsized, still a nice place to be inside with like-minded folks when it's cold outside.  Based on fewer cities being served, I'm feeling fortunate that we were still on the list.

Our future??

I spent a lot more time talking than I did looking and am very satisfied with that choice.