Friday, October 27, 2017

Rural Life

Wednesday evening I took a quick ride to Red Wing on the sidecar rig, knowing full well that it might be awhile (months??) before the weather and I could cooperate on Satisfying/Fun Conditions again.  It was a dinner ride, cool but wonderful.

As the day's temperatures get cooler and the hours of sunlight shorter, I've been spending more riding time closer to home.  These roads were not only the ones my brother and I started riding on 50 years ago, they were also the roads we drove farm machinery on, hauled hay over, accessed fields for crop work, etc.

As I've already mentioned to some of my riding friends, down at the far end of this distant cornfield there once stood a one room schoolhouse.  My mom attended that school through the 8th grade and once the small neighborhood schools consolidated (and buses appeared), the schools all closed.  In this neighborhood, that meant that everyone attended in Red Wing.

That building was moved to a neighboring farm, desks removed and soon thereafter used as a chicken coup.  During the summers that my brother and I helped mom's brothers on their farm, we helped the chicken coup neighbor clean the chicken manure out of the building that our mom attended school in.  Butch's guidance and stories made the work a lot more interesting and fun than it may seem to someone that wasn't there.

Besides this view which I thought was attractive in more than one way, a recent story that Eric had sent reminded me about the old school, the way the roads ran before being widened, straightened and leveled.  That story had to do with the Armistice Day Blizzard, the anniversary of which was recently remembered and talked about in the area press.  It was Monday, November 11, 1940, a blizzard that took too many by surprise.  The Flower Valley School was let out early, mom was 11 and the neighbor with the chicken's helped her get home.  Mom's shoe was lost on the way and most likely still out there somewhere.

The above photo was taken in Section 11, on the edge of the first "E" in Creek on this topo, looking north.  This USGS Topo map was downloaded from the government site and is the 1950 version.

This morning we woke to a new white coating on the ground; the white coming and going all day with blustery winds, warmer ground temperatures and fluctuating air temps.

I had some shopping to do and was anxious to get out into the weather (using the van) this morning early.  I drove up the Bullard Creek Valley and stopped, did a U-turn and pulled over in Section 10 near the "Y" in Hay to take this photo.  This is that valley, the white area adjacent to the "Y" on the map above.

It was still snowing albeit lightly;it had let up quite a bit when I stopped for this morning's photo.  Difficult to see, the sheep all have snow on their backs.  In late November, 1972, I was plowing this now-harvested soybean field beyond the row of trees.  It had been dark for hours, my goal obviously to finish the field that evening before heading back for our 10PM dinner during harvest time.  Late, maybe 9ish, it had started snowing.  I kept on plowing and even without a cab, actually stayed tough 17-year-old comfortable.  The amount of heat blowing back from the Minneapolis Moline's inline 6 cylinder plus the tremendous heat generated by the transmission and drivetrain mass directly below my feet kept me feeling less cold than you might imagine.  I finished and managed to get the tractor and plow home without running off the gravel roads.  Home, chilled and hungry but very proud and happy that I'd finished what I'd been sent to finish.

This is what I was piloting, my favorite tractor of any I've worked with.....

My view....

And what I was doing that corn stubble not unlike this YouTube gentleman, 'making it black.'  I didn't have a cab though.

Now 6PM and the current radar.....

For the official record, there was no riding done today, October 27, 2017.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday's Mix

It started in the predawn hours...finishing up Richard Galbraith's Cuckoo's Calling and then after sunrise, a Board Meeting ( I just take notes ).

Out for the ride that I had hoped would happen on Saturday.

River still high though down a couple of feet from just a few days ago....

Stopped for breakfast at the South Fork, the Buffet sounded just right.  A quick text to Mark whom lives a few blocks away...."I'll be there in 15 minutes...."  It didn't even take him that long.

Mark, your company and our discussion was genuinely appreciated as always; a great way to launch into the main event for the day....The Ride.

Saw the sign for Public Boat Launch and had to stop, then photograph....

I simply can't avoid the temptation...these roads appear and must be followed.

I would have stayed out longer but I needed to get home for the evening's concert in Red Wing.

The very best live show of any that I can remember, an incredible guitarist and performer.  I won't provide a link.....if you're interested and unfamiliar, there are lots of videos out there.

Tonight I mowed the lawn, almost in the dark, wearing my winter coat, stocking hat, sandals (w/socks) and by the time I was done, should have had my gloves on.  Possible snow for Friday.

This might be the end?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Awesome October Weather

I've put more miles on weekday evenings this season, after work, than I have in the 13 years since I started my riding re-career combined.  As Mr. Sonnett often quipped, "No brag- Just fact".

The other evening....

Since the TW200 was working so well, I decided to make a day of it on Friday, 259 miles worth.

Breakfast at Double D's in Mondovi before moving further north.

Moon Ridge Road and it was a dandy!


 I stopped for a break at the end of High Ridge Trail.

I lost track of how many times I crossed the trail today...

Along the Chippewa Valley Trail and Rustic Road #107.  A few of us had stopped here to see the bend in the Chippewa River last spring.

Getting kind of slick-ish.  It WAS extra rolly on the gravel yesterday.

At the west end of Rustic Road #107, not far from Durand, Wisconsin.

Cool rain today, the red Italian machine is primed and ready when things dry up a bit, hopefully tomorrow before the cooler weather blows in next week.  It was primed and ready early this morning and if the forecast had held up as it was supposed to, it would have taken me to coffee this morning.  Instead, I was in the old van.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

VJMC Fall Picnic - 2017

Chip once again hosted our local VJMC Fall Picnic, the food fantastic as always and best of all, a chance to spend more time with our members and their families.  A few of our members store, work on and collaborate in this space; the combined collections are very impressive as is the work accomplished there.

These things were seen and documented....



And I got out this afternoon....

Over the last week or so, I've come up to date with the 2 most recent C.J. Box, Joe Pickett series audio books (Wyoming).  Listening to the audio books while commuting or working in the garage is easy.   Now I'm going through Going Driftless on my Kindle for the 2nd time, a little tougher to find the time for, especially while riding season is still in such full swing.    My first reading was a couple(?) of years ago and since that time, I've come to know the area much better.  Things I most likely skipped over on my first read are much more familiar now.....almost like riding a Route in reverse. :)