Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wildcat Mountain Rally - 2017

Anticipation all year....and now it's over and in the books.  As always, but maybe even more so, a great number of 'firsts' this year.

Adam slid over in the seat and took the reins from Tammy and Tom.  More than a fine job, no question, this rally will continue on, its future bright.  More new young faces ( an older one too...my brother's first time), just what our small friendly group needs to keep the fun and adventure going.

Wednesday evening, the Breva was loaded and ready, the only thing missing was me in the saddle.  Actually, I've known for weeks that the Guzzi was making this Labor Day weekend trip and its been ready for almost as long.  Much of the gear, excluding the camping equipment, was pulled from the Wyoming KLR, out of one tank bag and into the dedicated Italian one on the 750.  Thursday after work, I was out the driveway and checking in at the Express Inn 2 1/2 hours later.

Mike's Ambassador is 46 years old and my .... Breva is 33 years less old.  So we took these kinda like new machines to dinner on Thursday and yes, there was a bit more gravel than Mike would have preferred but we made it down that big hollow, Norwegian Hollow to be exact, to the Norwegian Hollow Hideway for dinner.  It was Taco Night so all the initial fears of having to choose between varieties of lefsa were for nought.

Friday morning we gathered for breakfast at Borgen's, then headed out for a ride.  I had two surprises for Mike and Colleen; the goal to take and/or show them some place they've not been before.  I had learned of this year's surprises online and held my cards tight against my chest to make sure the new destinations would in fact stay surprises; it wasn't that tough, Mike was looking forward to no hints.

As it turned out, I probably should have done a bit more scouting.  My "....just a short ways on gravel..." only partially told the story.  Short but steep with loose rock would have been an accurate description.  Mike followed me, at least to the base of Pa's Bakery driveway but I wasn't convinced that he'd ever follow me again.

"If that's the short way, I think it best we consider the long way when we leave."  We did and it wasn't half bad; I'm sure Mike would agree.

That evening in my motel room....

New destination #2....dubbed "Amish Walmart" online, the official name of Trail's End seemed much more apt if you ask me.  More gravel, in fact the best part of a mile but this gravel was much more in keeping with Mike's "ACCEPTABLE GRAVEL" label and we traversed it easily and without incident.

Many used things outside...building materials, "iron" as my uncle used to say, lumber, old tools and old most everything else.

Inside the buildings, many new things...hardware, oils, tools, household goods, etc. etc.  I thought this welding cart was very impressive!

That evening in my motel room.....

After leaving Trail's End, we 3 made a big loop down to Richland Center, going past our Slimey Crud weekend campground but stopping at Rockbridge to visit the county park there.

From there, we worked our way back to Westby so that I'd be back in time to meet my brother, arriving mid-afternoon.  Once checked in to his motel, we had a chance to meet some of the early rally arrivals, then headed to Cashton for the fish fry that we'd made reservations for.

Ownership had changed at the restaurant/gas station/motel.

 Saturday morning breakfast downtown....

Back to the Z ZipStop for the Rider's Meeting and to kick some tires....it didn't take great aim to kick this one.  There's a bottle of Fancy Gas on each side, symmetry always good.

 Last year Joe's VMax was a bit tread bare by the time he was ready to go home.  Hopefully he kept enough of this rubber for the return trip this time.

It was cool....my bike thermometer read 52 degrees early Saturday, it said 46 Friday morning.

The groups separated into Direction as well as Pace.  My brother Kevin and I decided to follow a Route that I'd created, almost exclusively following County Roads, rolling in a counterclockwise loop, out to the river and back, multiple times, down to the Wisconsin River at Wauzeka, then back up to Avalanche and west to rally HQ at the Old Towne.

We had worked our way down to Genoa and it seemed like a good time to stop for a coffee break.  The bar was mostly quiet, the bartender was gracious, had hot coffee with refills and shared some motorcycle and ride information with us.  I'd never been there before and asked about where in town we might find food next time.  In the next month or so, a place down the street is expected to reopen, "the cook excellent."  I'll be willing to give it a try.

In front of Rudy's Bar and Hotel.... our coffee stop in Genoa.

Not that much later, we stopped north of Desoto at the Great River Roadhouse.

Not that far from Westby, I noticed this wooden silo so I stopped to photograph (and to send the image).  Eric's been finding wooden silos, he's found more and I'm trying to even that score.

 Richard joined we two on the start of our Sunday ride and then peeled off on his own.

These two brothers were first-timers this year, recipients of First Year pins and will hopefully return next year.  Reports all around said that the green 125 did well in keeping with the group.

Sunday's Rider Meeting......

The whole group....as of Sunday's Rider meeting.

Almost all of the bikes....(I missed a few, sorry!)

Some people.....

 Not all of us can do this...

Sunday afternoon, the Old Towne Inn motel from the adjacent supper club parking lot.

Our banquet was Sunday evening and with all seated, we ate, had a drink or two and enjoyed the awards ceremony....Wildlife Trophy, Smallest Bike, both of these have traveled home with me at previous rallies and then returned, continuing to Travel.  I've not received the Bonehead or Fixit awards though hopefully there's still time in upcoming rallies to personally bring these esteemed plaques home.  After more or less socializing Sunday evening, Labor Day morning comes early for some; the trip home the rally's end.

A few of us decided to get some more riding in and my ride took me east again on a few favorites, the Labor Day Auction on County D my end destination.


 Auction winners....

On my way home....

Always on the lookout for new opportunities, I had to stop and see.

Chong took a lot of photos, all better than mine.  Check out the Wildcat Rally on Facebook.

So much fun, great weather, dear old friends and once again, some new ones.  #31 went especially well.  It was fun having my brother along, riding with him and the chance to spend the time.  Mike was awarded his very cool 25th anniversary plaque (Tom, you continue to make this rally special); congratulations to Mike and to everyone that shares this rally and some of the finest riding roads around!


  1. "acceptable gravel"....quite the subjective judgement depending on how many wheels one's motorcycle has I think.

  2. The first stretch of gravel was more like a rock quarry up a steep hill and curves. With two up it was a first gear challenge. The next section was more compacted and not as ..rocky.
    It was another great weekend..even with Ma Nature's wet input at times.
    Doug continues to find the weird and off beat. Two other couples were stay'n at the motel on their big new Honda Goldwing's.. one white, one yellow they commented.. from the east coast to the Rockies... the area around Westby has the most motorcycle friendly, fun, roads.
    We look forward to follow'n Doug next year. Thank you Doug. :)

    1. I'd say a shallow rock quarry, still, rocky nonetheless.

      Very glad you two were along and we'll try it again next year.

  3. Great weekend...thanks for sharing your pictures..enjoy your blog so much and above all thanks for the new adventures to places that Mike & I have never been before...😎

    1. S.B., we do have an easy time making fun, that's for sure. We'll try and top it next year!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Gregg! For a rally that started out for Yamaha XS650's, we've got some real variety these last few years.

      Stop again?!

  5. Sounds like an awesome rally weekend with good weather, good roads, and great company.

    And now you know how to make your own chair, provided you could get your foot under your rear. Ouch.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Brandy, I might get my foot there but it would be only once and most likely I'd be carried away, locked in that position.

  6. Great write up. My dad was able to make the medium pace ride but wasn't able to stay. (Blue Triumph Tiger) He had nothing but good things to say about the event and the route. Also mentioned that it was a good group of riders and he's looking forward to coming back next year.


    1. Hey Jason, so glad that your dad was able to make it. I saw the "Tiger Guy" (in helmet) but never had a chance to say hello. There were others that made cameo appearances and got away before I really had a chance to make it count. Hope to see you AND dad next year, even if just for a stop-by.