Friday, May 11, 2018

Slimey Crud Run (Weekend) May 2018

Once again, our first real event of the season and as we've witnessed in the past, early May can be iffy motorcycle weather, something we were all nervous about based on conditions just a few weeks ago here in the Midwest.

Things worked out though, in more than one way.  Not only beautiful weather but additionally, some dear friends made it possible for me to take my new bike.  Sadly, Eric's plans had to be altered; he one of our stalwart attendees was with us in spirit and I found myself commenting to myself at various places over the weekend, ".....Eric and I have seen this old barn....".  Scott should have been there, hopefully will be next time.

With only 25 miles on the bike, 20 of which were mine, it was loaded on the trailer but not until I'd attached my 12 volt SAE umbilical cord and my RAM ball mount for the GPS.  One of my old standby tank bags and my Viking Tail Bag rounded out the luggage.   I'm still waiting for my luggage from Bangalore.  THAT may very well have been the ship Mike speculated had sunk.

We had seen a lot of flooding on the way down; the Kickapoo had exploded its banks.  We weren't able to park in our normal campsites, afraid to even pull off the gravel roadway.

Steve and I arrived before 9AM Friday morning, my brother showed up a couple of hours later on his V-Rod.

So our Friday machines were an '86 Electraglide, a '12 V-Rod and my new Himalaya.....and Adventuring We Did Go....

31 mph, 3rd gear, 3500 RPM, a full tank of gas and following the black line of my GPS Track.

We worked our way south, across the flooding Wisconsin River and crested the prairie at Highland, once again enjoying lunch at Grandma's Kitchen.  No pie but the Blueberry Buckle was a most reasonable substitute.

Taking a break.....

In my right mirror, an '86 and a '12....

We stopped north of Steuben to get a look at the Hogback...

And then we stopped high above the almost-perpetually-flooding-Gays Mills

East through Boaz and back to Alana Springs Campground, our buddies from the Twin Cities had arrived, set-up, gone for a ride and returned only a few minutes after we did.  The Ascot Twins, on Honda 500 singles, joined us for the weekend.

After some dinner at the Buffet, it was campfire time.

Saturday morning, bright and early.

Lots of turkey hunting in the area this time of year....lots of wet ground too.

Saturday morning after breakfast at a new-to-us place in Richland Center, we 5 were off in a northeasterly direction.

I took the guys to 5 corners and while regaling them with my old story of stopping here one day years ago for a break, a Chevette went by on 2 of the mini-spares.  Most of us are unfortunate enough to have one, that poor guy was stuck with two.

As I was finishing up my story, Jared stopped by to share some local knowledge, wisdom and good places to have lunch.  The magnets ornamenting the roof of his Metro were noted, ".....Ah...I've been struck by lightning too many times......"

Stay safe Jared, watch the skies, it was a pleasure.

We didn't take Jared up on any of his lunch suggestions.  I'd hoped to get to Ontario for lunch but realized that we all might need a break before then.  The lunch trip to eventual Mauston probably took as long or longer.  Some lessons learned.

JP decided that a nap sounded good, so he and Tim headed back to camp, though their long winding route back didn't leave time for a nap; we got back there before they did.  It sounded like they sure found some interesting roads on the way though!

Look, we found one of these.....

By Saturday afternoon Tim had arrived....Rodney as well.  Luckily for those guys, the water table had gone down.

Sunday morning before we left for Pine Bluff....

Rod's new Guzzi in the fog ....

Tim getting packed up, we're almost ready to head for breakfast, then Pine Bluff for the first stop of Slimey Crud Run.

Pine Bluff, the Slimey Crud's first terminus.

We were parked way down in front of the church, south end of town.  Billions of motorcycles, the most I've witnessed at Pine Bluff....but just look at the weather!

Taking a new route to Leland, we arrived shortly after noon.  We parked right next to the pond, beyond the dam even...long past the "NO VEHICLES BEYOND THIS POINT" sign.

There are 2 people in the foreground that I would wager have been present at every Crud Run that's ever been.  They've certainly been at each one that I've attended.

I went in to Sprecher's for some Sprecher's root beer but the line was too long.

At the old hitchin' rail.....

My brother had already left, planning to stop and see his daughter and grand kids on the way.  Tim left from Leland, headed back to Mpls.  Steve and Rodney made their way back to the campground to load up and head home.  JP and Tim later did the same.

I was staying for a couple more days of riding, planning on getting 'closer' to my new bike.

When the speedo needle is straight up, the Himalaya is going an honest, GPS verified 50mph.  My general rule, or rather general practice is, if it's a Center Striped road, I go 50 when I can, 60 when I have to.  Won't matter if it's the TW200 or something easily capable of more.  Seems to be how I Roll.

This is NOT 50mph ....why would anyone want to??

A deep and fast running Wisconsin River....

Early Tuesday at the campground...

When we pulled in early Friday, it was a challenge to find any place off the gravel to back in to.  At first, neither Steve nor I left the gravel, hoping that Colleen would arrive and give us a bit of guidance.  It was only later, after some windy sun, that Steve backed in here right next to me, hit right rear wheel close to what must have been a fire ring location.  With a gentle attempt to pull ahead again, all he got was a spun wheel.  By Sunday afternoon, he was able to once again get forward motion.

I documented it just because I could :)

Back on the road....

Just outside of Viola, Wisconsin, the home of them S&S Motors that we hear so much about.

A gas and coffee stop in Viroqua, these 2 white forever classics deserved to be in an image together.

Too often each season my ability to be around early tillage in the Amish neighborhoods is poor.  Determined to take advantage this year, I was rewarded with scenes around almost every corner of horse-drawn tillage being performed.

I stopped here and when John made his next round, he got off the plow and came over for a very pleasant conversation, sad though to learn of his father-in-law's recent stroke.  All the best to you and your family John; thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me.

Mindful of photograpy, I did my best to restrain myself and just watch.  John's team had 3 horses and he was on a single bottom plow.  There were many 6 horse teams pulling double bottoms. I believe John felt genuine remorse when I told him that I'd pulled 5 and 6 bottoms behind power though never a single one behind horses. 

"You'd like this."

John, I'm absolutely certain that I would....if I knew how.

But my favorite scene of all was of a father and son; the little guy couldn't have been more than 8 or 9.  The young lad was steering a huge team of 3 pulling a drag, father was right beside him, heading the other direction, seeding small grain.

They both waved.

Here, another farmer stopped at the end of the field to let their sweat cool.... I took the photo from this very quiet (that day) parking lot.

I wanted to stick around and watch the dead furrow get filled in but decided that it was time to be on my way.

Up high, SE of Sparta.....a car stopped while I was there, wondering if I was taking a break or in trouble.  She offered a kind, "I've got a trailer and can take you where you need to go."  Appreciated and very nice.

Smoke north of Kendal....

Decided that I needed to revisit the tunnel, a perfect day for a walk on the famous Elroy-Sparta bicycle trail.

The flume, built to control runoff that kept taking out the tracks.

I saw one bicyclist, a young woman that appeared uncomfortable with an old guy walking around with a camera....and no bicycle.  Sorry dear, I meant no harm.

A Bridge Over Tunneled Water......maybe I DO spend too much time alone.

The was a flowin' in both ditches and from the ceiling.  The bicyclist had ridden through and must have been soaked.

I had left my tripod on the bike, so awkwardly took this selfie with my point and shoot, hoping to highlight the size of the tunnel and big doors.  No wonder she was frightened; I would be too.

It's hard to beat a good silo....

Only a couple of weeks ago, it was all white.  Green was exploding, tougher to see through the woods in the afternoon than in the morning.

New.....and ....Current.....

Hasn't been ridden in the rain, only hauled in the rain.

Here's an overview of what almost 900 miles looks like....

For some reason, possibly improved training, I Reset my data part way through the weekend (I too often forget, didn't intend to this time...) so it's only showing 533 miles.  The important part is that Moving Average speed reading of 33.9mph.  15+ hours of seat time, a very normal, no matter the bike, average rate of travel in the large and extensive Driftless are of SW Wisconsin.

So, if you've come here to see a Review of my 2018 Royal Enfield Himalaya and made it this far (thank you, possibly a medal will be coming your way), here and above is the review.

Good, Very Good and even better than that.

The 5 days spent on this bike and doing what was done is what I enjoy most about motorcycling.  If I could define and build a dream bike, I'm not sure what I'd do differently than Mr. Singh has done.  This bike does it more pleasantly, easily, with more comfort, style and efficiency ( averaging 75 MPG) than anything else I own.

The SAE cord was added as was the RAM ball.  The tank bag, GPS, tail bag and other assorted things get moved from bike to bike, depending on the rally and/or weekend.  I've ordered and am still waiting(??) for the tank side bags and soft bag frames for the rear.  Modifications will end there because as I like to say, additional funds will be used for cheeseburgers and gasoline.

I initially had one complaint and that was about the length of the sidestand.  There were and are a lot of paved miles where I ride, no shoulders and crowned roads require having a care when parking, dismounting and remounting.  I've adapted and doubt that I'll even change the stand.

I'm not surprised.  Between the 2 years of history in its Native India, miles ridden in AUS and the UK, the contributors on the forums and magazine reviews, I was comfortable enough in knowing what I'd get to put money down last winter.  I was and continue to be proud of owning the first Snow Himalaya in Minnesota.

You should try one.  If you're able to do what I do, it just may be worth it.


  1. So did you see Peter Egan at the Slimey Crud event? I just finished re-reading one of his books: Leanings.

    1. Dom, I normally see him; he's almost always there. Didn't this time but my Red Wing buddies got their mugs and P.E.'s in the Milwaukee paper.

  2. Coop, you took a picture of my dad! Dead center standing in front of Sprecher's bar in Leland, camo hat white beard. Of all the thousands of people :) He and I did some riding down by the Minnesota Iowa boarder on Saturday but I had to head back to St Paul that evening. One or both of use will be at the Wildcat Rally this year.

    Congratulations on the new RE! That bike looks tailor made for you. And good work on another successful Crud Run, the weather couldn't have been better.

    1. Hey Jason!! Your dad and I just don't quite get together, do we? Thousands of people for sure. At the barest minimum, he and I need to meet on Labor Day if not before; ideally you'll be there too.

      Thanks, I see no reason for a long and sustained friendship with the Himalaya. We're certainly off to a great start.

      Crud weather was anything but and with today's conditions, we were so lucky to have those almost perfect spring days.

      For what it's worth, I stopped in Westby and made reservations for Wildcat, went across the street and brought a bunch of meat sticks home, most of which made it back to Minnesota.

    2. Oops, I needed a double negative in there, just saw it now.

      The Himmi and I will be together for a long while. :)

  3. Sorry I missed you in Leland. I hung around there about an hour and then decided it was time to get out and enjoy the great weather. Maybe I'll see you this fall.

    1. Scott, sorry I missed you. I was looking for many people and seemed to miss most of them, too bad you were in that group. As you mention, it was hard for me to hang around and not be out moving.

  4. Thanks for your stories and photos.Really nice bike.Victorian watch fob, that's as far as I could get. Mike

    1. Thank you Mike, appreciate the kind words. You helped me figure it out, I owe you. Are you carrying your new one daily and will you be in Soldiers Grove this weekend?

    2. No,my flip phone is pretty handy. Trying to sell moms house,won't be going any where.

  5. The Enfield looks like it's made for exactly that territory. Great photos. Thanks for taking the time for the many stops.

    The tunnel looked a bit eerie though...

    1. Sonja, this territory or those areas at 7000m :) You are very welcome; stops are getting easier and easier but they take practice.

      The tunnel is a long one and with the water running in both gutters, the riders, turned bike pushers to travel the tunnel, need to have a care to stay on the main path. I've not gone through but watched and waited as approaching riders emerge.

  6. What a great kick off to your rally season. The Himalayan looks like such a great bike. I am glad it is such a great fit for you.

    Puttering around the back roads like that is the best way to go riding.

    1. Weather-wise, fun-wise, it was truly a great start. I'm liking this motorcycle!

  7. Your photos of the Himalayan are the best I've seen so far, natural, not a staged photoshoot for a magazine.
    I am tempted, so, so tempted to buy one.

    1. Thanks Brad, I appreciate that. The bike out for a real ride on real roads. Marty's getting 10 this year, 8 are spoken for.

      I'll be on the bike again for this weekend's GR3 Rally and in a couple weeks, I'll be on it for a long week. Not sure when the others will get their turn.