Sunday, June 25, 2017

Minnesota Moto Guzzi Rally - 2017

I have to believe that we've made quota on "wet and cool" rallies at this point.  Those of us present at the GR3 BMW gathering just over a month ago have grown confident that our "spring weather" rally experiences this season were over but this past weekend up in Grand Marais, MN directly on the shores of Lake Superior got another chance to enjoy spring weather.  That's often true with conditions along the big've got to be ready for the Big Water to dictate the local climate.

Friday was more than pleasant, cool, sunny though quite windy which when it comes right down to it, makes pretty decent riding weather.

Palisade Head just outside of Illgen City ...

Our rally site is the Grand Marais City Park, located directly on the lake's bay.

I hadn't stopped for lunch on the way up, was hungry and decided to return to the Blue Water Cafe, a place I'd been before.  The young women on the wait staff might almost be an International Studies Program; overheard were accents and "where-are-you-froms" from across the world.  I was listening but what became a higher priority for me was the Raspberry Rhubarb Pie listing on the menu board.  Friday afternoon I was too full after my fish and chips.  Saturday evening Mike and I returned, both too full but returned nonetheless, the Raspberry Rhubarb our focus but we had waited too long.  Not only was our reason for going gone, the establishment was down to 2 slices of blueberry and a couple slices of pecan, very bare rations.   We reduced their "on hand" even further.

The wind was brisk....

 The pavilion to the right of the beach across the bay is Rally Central.

My plan was to get an afternoon ride in, so I left town on the Gunflint Trail, covering only just a few miles of it before veering off to the east.  Towns are not highlighted on this GPS map, Grand Marais is to the lower left, where my GPS Track initially winds north away from Lake Superior.

Just a mile or so out of Grand Marais, the Gunflint climbs away from the lake, the view from a Rest Stop there very grand.

Along that road, in English.....

....and Other......

Much less traffic than out along the lake on Hwy 61......

It seemed only both of my Italian V-Twins have visited the Hovland Dock.

A few years ago I happened to stumble upon Andrew's fascinating website devoted to MN Hiway history, abandonment's, etc.  It was then that I found out about "Old 61" and where in time not all that long ago, driving into Ontario across the Pigeon River didn't happen where it currently does.  He tells the story much better than I and supports it with some very interesting documentation.

You may remember (and then again you may not) that last year I made the attempt to eventually work my way up there on TranZalp and got all twisted around on roads far too rough for the old '83 Honda Ascot.

Note on the map above how I returned back out to Hwy 61, road conditions that were well within the means of my much newer '04 Breva.

Pavement from the '50's, white stripes and fog lines still faintly visible.

 On two successive Halloween weekends back in the late '70's, I hiked the Grand Portage, making my way up to the site of Fort Charlotte, the Pigeon River and the border.  This was where I crossed the paved road and I can remember being surprised at the paved road crossing though I don't remember that there was all this signage at that time.

Once a very busy place....footings, pavement and concrete still evident....

 Our beloved neighbor to the north......

 This one never has been paved.....

I made a quick loop through the town of Grand Portage itself, stopped at the reservation's Trading Post for a coffee, fully intending to return on Saturday to visit the National Monument Visitor Center but the cool rain most of the day kept me off the bike completely.  I didn't take the time to stop Friday afternoon because it was getting to be time to head back to Grand Marais for our rally pulled-pork meal.

After the meal, I needed some exercise and decided to make the easy walk downtown.

 You just don't see a campfire in front of any old Dairy Queen.....

Early Saturday we walked downtown to the South Of The Border Cafe for breakfast.  Later, a group of us went again, the weather being what it was.  It really didn't stop raining, drizzling or blowing fog in off from the lake all day. 

 Mid morning we made a loop through the Farmer's Market, Mike bought some Rhubarb Jam after a tasting.  This wasn't the watered down stuff with strawberries, this was rhubarb!

 I bought two for a couple of rhubarb aficionados that I know.....

 I suggested some library time, a warm and dry place.....with wi/fi.  Once inside, I went straight for the "Local" section and found some very interesting info on one of the region's oldest businesses.

All day long everyone was asking about the radar and predicted conditions.  It didn't matter what time of day I looked, it never really changed all day.

 Normally a seasoned weather watcher such as myself would observe this radar image and boldly predict that things were passing through.  That black base of the teardrop appeared to be this storm's core about which it revolved.  We saw the same clouds over and over again all day long.

Peg lets me play with these people each weekend because of their strong positive influence.

Many thanks to our cooks, Lynne and Kevin, to Louise and John for their tireless efforts and to the attendees that continue to make this one so much fun.