Monday, April 30, 2018

Old '61

Originally a Military Road from St. Paul to LaCrosse starting around the 1850's the highway from St. Paul south that followed the Mississippi River and later was MN Star Route 3 until the 1920's.  From what I can tell, this section was paved in 1926.

Hard to imagine today's traffic barreling down these narrow lanes at 65 MPH.

This section south of Red Wing.....

As a Federal Highway, 61 ran from the Canadian border in Minnesota to New Orleans.

A busy week with car repairs, cars replaced, a deer incident (we're now up to 8 total) but this weekend I managed some miles again on both the TW200 and the KLR.  The bike being sold was on blocks all week, missing its front wheel and had the rest of them blocked in well enough that it was just too much trouble to get anything else out.  A new tire on rim, wheel on bike and the Sold bike out for a test run.  Soon there will be time on some of the other machines.

Next weekend, we gather for the Slimey Crud Run.  It will be the next blog Post.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Only Today

Only today did I finally get out for a ride, my first of the season if you don't count my short foray out on the frozen Mississippi River a couple of long months ago.

Lots has been going on...
  • Last weekend, 8" of blowing snow here in Frontenac, 22" a short 50 miles north of us
  • Plowing and shoveling
  • Plowing and shoveling
  • Plowing and shoveling
  • Closed on mom's house sale early week
  • Spent 3, in and from Columbus, Nebraska for my employer
  • Ducati officially sold via ADV though we're still working out the details of transport to the PNW
  • Attended author John Weiss's Back Roads presentation of his book at the Lake City Library
  • Received the new Contour +2 camera mount for my modular helmet....and attached it
  • Dropped Peg off at MSP for her trip to Canada
  • Yesterday morning, coffee at Diamond's
  • Yesterday morning, Moto Guzzi Breakfast
  • Attempted to drop off my stash of brass and copper at Kirschbaum's but too late
  • Dropped off the Ducati front wheel with Marty to get a new tire mounted
  • Attended author Lorry Wendland's presentation of her book(s), 19th Century Frontenac
Today, prepping for our upcoming Slimey Crud Run weekend and finally.....

Rode my motorcycle.

But first, Monday afternoon near Emerson, Nebraska.....remnants from the same storm that got us in MN.

I stopped in at the Columbus Curry Bros. Motorsports and the news was in keeping with what sadly has been the recent ongoing theme, "....we just aren't selling bikes......".  The showroom was stuffed with 4 wheelers.  I bought anti-freeze, to celebrate Spring. :)

In Lake City some local things were learned and I always appreciate time spent with someone that enjoys being off the main highway.

Dropped off the Ducati's front wheel so that new owner Josh can actually use the bike (or ride it back to Washington?).  Will be going back there next weekend and hopefully a freshly mounted front wheel won't be the only thing picked up.

At the Moto Guzzi breakfast, only 1 rider out of 10 attendees.  Bob's Eldorado a spotless and lovely example.

Saturday afternoon, a presentation by Lorry Wendland of her new books in our Town Hall, the oldest, continuously used government 'center' in the state.  A SRO crowd, my mom and her siblings were there as were 3 of our cousins that grew up on the Century Farm where we now live.  The cousins were instrumental in contributing facts, photos and stories that were included in the books.

Of course I bought both and can't wait to dig into them, though it won't be until after riding season.  Literally 1200 combined pages of photos, information on families, buildings, dwellings, etc.  I really enjoyed Lorry's presentation and as you can imagine, some of the "oral histories" that we've all come to know and mostly love weren't always the complete or even part of the real story.  Lorry and her collaborators did their best to dig deep and dig deep they did.

It seemed to work helmeted in the house so I have every reason to believe that it will be fine out in the wind.

As you can see, we continue to be plagued by wildlife.  Taken this morning from a single spot where 8 deer and 32 turkeys were able to be seen.....and that without even really trying; the ratio of toms to hens quite favorable.

The soybean harvest continues.....

This morning, these fliers were incredibly noisy....but on the video, all you can hear are the robins and birds much closer to Terra firma.  I shot 10 videos of equivalent length, tried to Post the best one.  In other words, these guys were doing these loops for 15 minutes.  Later, there was another group exactly overhead doing the same thing.

Absolutely NO speeding, I watch ever so closely.  4000 RPM, exactly 54 GPS MPH.

Local motocross park......

Home, then on the TW200.

Not sure what it does at GPS 54, but it's a lot more than 4000 RPM and its done that a lot.

125.1 Official miles for my first outing; the West loop on the KLR, the East loop on the TW200.

It's Been Good.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Not Taking It For Granted

Eric and I use these words between ourselves all the time and they're meant for the global, biggest picture.  Enjoy life, live it .... in 4 words.

I'm using this Post's Subject words here in a more focused way and that is towards appreciating our access to the local world that we ride, explore and enjoy our motorcycles in.  That local world in general includes what's often called the Upper Midwest.

Far from being a recent discovery, I mention it here because the concept has bubbled to the top lately after spending (far too much?) time on the RE Himalaya forums listening to comments both from current UK/AUS owners and those potential owners on our continent.  As of this writing, the bike hasn't been released in the USA yet.  None of us are owners yet though some are closer to be than others.

" ..... 24 hp???......."

" 70-75mph top speed??......"

"Off road handling....."

There are many traits and features important to we riders; no bike satisfies all though we all appear to hope that one day, someone will .....  All well and good.  The ideas and discussion make for lots of fodder online, coffee shops and meeting places.

We're lucky to have the choices in machines that we have, both new and old.  We've an avocation that thrives on modifications, personalizing, enhancing both cosmetically and functionally.   We make them fit better, run longer, go faster, go slower, on and on.  Seldom satisfied with "off the showroom floor", there are an endless variety of ways to make them ours.

My personal expectations for the anticipated joy and I use that word with great confidence, that will result from my rides is based on experience and the knowledge of how and where I go.  When I first began my blog, I soon discovered and came to appreciate the fact that my riding environment is not a match for everyone else that rides.

Blog friends on the coasts, from urban areas, the real mountains, our Plains, other countries are all quite varied (Tony, your rides on Oahu especially so :).  Speed limits, speeds actually used, traffic volumes, distances between, elevation, population density, etc. all have an impact.  Even here close to home, my coffee time with friends in Minneapolis gives me an appreciation for the differences in what constitutes a quick "30 minute" ride.  My 30 minutes in the saddle result in a far different trip than someone that mounts there machine in a downtown condo garage.

So, all of this about a machine "that fits" environment, mood, time spent and so on.

Here you're looking at 15,000 square miles that includes a good portion of nearby Wisconsin.  We live right on the MN/WI border and can actually see more of WI from our front door than we can of MN.  The ratio of paved:gravel in the southern half is 90:10 and as you get to the top of the image and then off the map completely on up to Lake Superior the ratio works to 10:90.

Settled by loggers and then farmers, certainly in the majority of this view, homesteads were built on 80 and 160 acre chunks; access roads were needed for all of those agricultural products for shipping to market.  In general, the entire SW corner of the above map is considered the Driftless Region, an area that was missed by the leveling of glaciers and as a result, the roads follow the contours of ridge and valley.

It's a lot of roads and for us, a lot of riding.  Every year, a different mix but this is what happened in 2017.

Just over 13,000 miles last season, 1500 of which were on the KLR in Wyoming so that means 11,500 were ridden in this region here......... A decent amount of Iowa and Minnesota miles as well, some of them down there in the corner though not all on the map.

If you haven't seen this, check out this Post from a few summers ago.  There was a followup done here.

A long weekend over to Road America for the AHRMA races and then some camping on Lake Michigan, using my Little Mule, the TW200.

Also, a Post highlighting a couple of my "Bayfield at Halloween" rides up to the south shore of Lake Superior.  One year I did it on the TW200.

So there you have it; where and how I spend my very best riding time; what I do and enjoy as well.  For all of the people that the new 2018 Royal Enfield is not a good fit for, it was just about built for me in most every way.  As such, it will get used a lot.

Each riding season, I attempt to use a different machine for not only the various rallies that I attend, but for the weekend riding I do.  As I've quipped more than once to my friends, the other machines in the garage are already feeling jealous...and neglected.

Good riding, we are lucky to have an abundance of it.

Eric, I'm not taking it for granted.

ADDED Saturday 4/7/2018 

This zoomed in region represents most of the Driftless Region....LaCrosse in the upper left corner, Madison just off the lower right.  80 miles wide, 45 miles 'high' ~3600 sq. mi.  You can see how many I missed but rest assured I got most of the best ones. :)