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. :)


  1. Good idea, not taking it for granted....because it's not. We learned that lesson with the sudden diagnosis and death due to cancer of a dear friend of we live life as much as we can, nothing is guaranteed.

    1. Dom, we've all got stories like this. The challenge as you say, do the best we can with what we've got.

      Every day....

  2. I agree with Dom, nothing is guaranteed. We must enjoy life as it comes and appreciate it.

    Regarding bikes, one man's dream is another man's nightmare. I happen to really like the idea of the RE Himalayan and other small dual sport bikes. Other folks might think an expensive BMW might be better suited or we'd be crazy not to ride a sport bike at Mach 3 (not that anyone can ride that fast). It is all relative.

    1. Brandy, it truly is up to us to ride what suits. So many wonderful choices and if what we can roll off the showroom floor, there are plenty of ways to change it.

      I won't be Rally Raid'ing my Himalaya but if that works for others, more power to them. (my pun for the day)

  3. That first picture of southern MN/WI looks incredibly packed. So many roads and fields. The RE sounds like an interesting bike and somehow seems to fit.

    1. Richard,
      I added another zoomed in view of my favorite area.

      More roads to conquer!!

  4. We know you won’t!
    You are the guy that taught me how to enjoy so many aspects of our wonderful sport. I thank you for that. Keep smiling my friend as we are one day closer to riding season!

    1. Our warm weather just has to be around the corner. The sun is so strong these days, there's only so much resistance possible.

      Slimey Crud in less than a month, just think about it!!

    2. If the weather is right the Thursday prior, I’m heading that way!

  5. I keep waiting for Yamaha to come out with the new Tenere 700. That might be my do it all bike,maybe.Certainly my VFR won't do gravel and

    1. Hey Scott, I really wish and hope that the companies starting bringing that size of bike over here and that 700 would be perfect.

      There's a lot of gravel to be found on the way to St. Olaf.

  6. Staying focused on today and what is in front of me is the answer and the challenge. Often hard for me to accomplish.

    Man, you have a complex riding life. Mine would have Vespa GTS at 99.99 percent!

    1. Steve, hard enough for us all, at least to be truly good at it.

      Complex maybe but you'd be surprised....:)