Monday, May 21, 2018

GR3 - Great River Road Rally - 2018

This was the 44th Annual event for the Madison BMW Club and it was a success, the Soldiers Grove Lions group, the Madison BMW Club and attendees put on a great show.  We heard at the awards presentation that there were 260 registered.  Rain was, then on, then rescheduled, then changed again....and so on.  We agreed that there were a few drops not long after midnight Sunday morning but by 8:30 this morning when I left, there was no real 'event' rain.  I did ride in a light shower just after crossing the Iowa/Minnesota border on my way home but that was the extent of it. Friday and Saturday the weather was just about perfect, the cold front went through overnight, threatening the rain and bringing much cooler temperatures.

First of all, the inarguable facts....

I left home a few minutes before 6AM on Friday.....

and stopped where I often have along Lake Pepin.

Staying on the Minnesota side of the river, I stopped in New Albin which is right on the MN/IA border to check out the lovely flower baskets.

Then I went inside the City Meat Market to get never quite enough of the World's Best Pork Jerky.

Since I'd be sharing with friends, an Integrity Verification was performed right there in the parking lot immediately before leaving the location.

Crossing the river at Lansing.....

Early fun on County B.....

Arriving in Soldiers Grove around 9:30.....only a handful of rallygoers.

My tent hook up.  Fly and footprint in one compression sack, the tent and 'porch floor' for my vestibule, Twin Headlight Ernie's 8" stainless steel stakes in one of his protective pouches and my 16" poles.

Friday it was Eric, my brother and astounding.

Friday's potential hazards were many....

My camera wasn't rolling; not sure if Eric's was.  How the 4 geese in the road decided which one should come after me, I don't know.  We easily could have witnessed and been part of a gaggle of down.

An odd story here...We were going downhill on a gravel section and moments later I felt something new, lightly pushing against my rear end, almost as if my wallet was finding a new spot.  Assuming something but having no idea what, had come loose, I reached back to find this rock.  Somehow, my rear tire must have thrown it, wedged it somehow, somewhere.  I never felt anything on my foot, my leg, anywhere else, only that something new was directly behind me and ahead of that bump on the seat.

Ludwig's new HD

In and around the campground...

Free firewood provided by the Soldiers Grove Lions ......

Dave and Dan had a corner staked out....

While I continue to lose luster, Ludwig gains polish....he looks better than he did when I first met him.

Thanks Eric
I met Paul last year when he wondered if I was the Coop that had a blog.  He came all the way from Kansas City....again and joined us Saturday for our ride.

Crossing into Iowa at McGregor

Thanks Eric
According to Wolftrax, this is the only fire tower in Iowa; he knew exactly where we were.....Yellow River State Forest.

More Yellow River State Forest.  The last time I was here, a group from CO was riding through and one of their bikes decided to take a short nap in this vicinity.  It was wetter that day.

Thanks Eric

Our health, always a paramount concern, saw us walking to the Ice Cream Place.

I assume that we learned that there's a place in Niger 5840 miles away.

I've ridden over the culvert and concrete spillway but it was a long time ago.  It has been in this condition for quite some time.  Kevin went through and Paul went over to choose which track looked the best.

Nice to have a Button....

At the drawing I was lucky enough to win 2 admissions to the Wisconsin Dells BMW Rally in September.  I've never been before so now there's no excuse.

Saturday evening's Taco Bar and desert feed....I think we were all surprised at the beer and brats provided Friday evening, a first and appreciated yes ma'am!

When we're not riding, we can excel at this....

We packed up our tents and loaded before the rain we were sure would happen.  I had about 5 miles worth of light drops, that was all.

Last stop on my way home, Winona.

Paul, great seeing you again and glad that you joined us for the Iowa loop; see you in Grand Marais in a few weeks.  Bernie, your Tracks on their way soon.  Jim, I'll see you at the RA gate, mentioned coffee???

In a couple of weeks, the Hiawatha Rally and the chance to figure out what we didn't last weekend.


  1. A nice write-up and I liked all of the video clips.

    1. Thanks Richard. I thought I'd try something a bit different, uploading using Blogger instead.

      I'm liking the helmet cam images/video.

  2. Looks like quite the rally! I liked the looks of that sidecar rig with the beemer tug.

    1. Dom, just over a week and we'll have another one to compare. John's old rig is what pulled that blue and white popup camper just behind it.

  3. What kind of shape is the road to the fire tower in?

    1. Michael,
      The road was great; any bike will do it. There were were pickups and a car there. 8’ wide medium crushed rock, new and graded.

    2. Good to know. I can visit the tower while visiting elkader. The bike I have gets stuck in grass.

    3. This made me laugh. My very first car was a 3/4 ton pickup....from the suburbs. I worked on farms, wet grass all around. Until I got those urban tires off, I was stuck on wet grass as well. If it wasn't downhill and sometimes even if it was....

  4. Always enjoy your writings and spending time together. It was a great weekend. Thank you so much for including me.

  5. Good times... for some reason I can't seem to watch your vids "...invalid parameters..." whatever that means.

    You had a rare encounter with a travel rock, Doug. Elusive species that is, and very selective when it comes to travel companions.

    1. Sonja, sorry for the non-working videos and I have no idea why. They were done differently this time, not sent to Utube first.

      Much smaller species join me all the time, this time a first for the mega species of traveler creatures.