Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Grand Marais - Minnesota Moto Guzzi Rally 2018

Another Up North and Very Fresh MN Guzzi Rally in the books.  Fresh it was, the temperatures and the east winds off the lake kept most of us though not all, out of our short pants.  The cool weather really wasn't that big of a deal; we've become experienced with near the lake.  A huge challenge for me (it remains so!!) is being without a phone.  Friday night when I entered my slumber, it was charging.  Saturday it was dead and no amount of rebooting was bringing it back to life.  I put most of this together from my motel room in Superior last night.  Yes, that's right.  After being up near the lake for fun over the weekend, I was back up there on business for a couple of days; Mountain Iron at the mine and the Boundary Waters Lake country in Ely.  As I understand things, my new replacement phone should be home by the time I return.  Mentioned here because there were many photos, a video or two that were supposed to be shared here but now will not be....the old 6s has stopped and swallowed all it knew.

Friday morning at 5:30 I was on my way, a 9:30 planned rendezvous with my brother in Duluth.  He'd spent the night there and if I missed the 9:30 promise, it wasn't by more than a minute.  There was a coffee stop in Cumberland on the way up, planned and budgeted for.

Since my coffee shot was so popular a Post or so ago....

Duluth hook up.....

Palisade Head.....

The Boat Show weekend at North House Folk School, right on the shore in downtown Grand Marais.  Each year we seem to get the right weekend to enjoy the efforts of students, townspeople and tourists alike.

Scale model....

The Builder/Skipper and likeness in one shot.....

Nick and Hanna recently were acquainted with a wood turner and were fortunate enough to each make an ink pen.  This photo was quickly sent to them, the techniques not all that different though their feet weren't treadling to make the wood turn.

Downtown Grand Marais, an easy walk from the city campground, Rally HQ.

I'd heard very good things about Alyce's Food Truck.  There were scheduling conflicts preventing me from enjoying something new; I won't let that happen next year.

I've been asked (numerous times....a reputation??) about pie, I've been asked about ice cream.  I had neither one all weekend.  I DID have some Raspberry Chocolate Fudge.  I had noble plans about sharing the quarter pound with friends but they were never there when I needed them.

Meanwhile, back at the Rally Site Friday afternoon, more arrivals.  Chris and Jack joined Brad whom we'd followed in and up through some very trying construction spots along Hwy 61.  Thankfully those constructions zones were open Sunday when we went back down the shore.

I'm calling this one "California".

John's cutting cheese, C.J. supervising and Jack checking their work.  I'd seen Jack go past in Cumberland, then going through Superior, he was the one that was stopped as I passed.  Repeated honkings (high pitched beeps) drew his attention as I passed in Superior.  We hadn't seen each other since a few Guzzi Breakfasts ago.  Jack wondered how I was, my response of course and as always, very positive.  Jack nicely relabeled that to be "Cooptastic", which was spot on all weekend.

Surprised to see (another) Kevin and Craig there.  Finally had a chance to sit with Craig and learn about his trip to the southern most tip of South America.  An amazing trip and really enjoyed hearing more from Craig himself.

Great to see you guys, hope to maybe see you at Elkader??

Ron, in the middle facing us, was unfortunate on one hand to have forgotten his sleeping bag.  Luckily one of his buddies sacrificed his liner so that they both suffered half-warm.  It was not an evening to be half-warm.  Saturday evening, even more spectacularly, both of those guys facing us have identical bikes, both old but Ron was the winner of Oldest Bike, his frame number XXXX88.  The other bike??  XXXX89.


Steve and I had another GPS discussion, each of us learning more from each other as we bounce questions and possible answers back and forth.  In other discussions, the always prevalent, "where you guys going today?"  With Dean, I mentioned that we planned on seeing some more of Old 61 and I tried to highlight the old border crossing, Joe's Road as a loop back out to Lake Superior.

As Kevin and I turned onto Partridge Falls Road, I noticed a big bike set of tracks, Stelvio-sized.  I told my brother, "Dean was here, I'm certain of it."  Saturday evening, we found out that indeed Dean had been there.  We also learned that not long after while coming back down the Gunflint Trail, his tire managed to find what appeared to be an industrial staple, leaving not only the original hole but a 2nd one as a bonus.  With multiple pump stops, he got back to fish-frying Kevin's place which is right on the Gunflint Trail (County 12) and they got the tire plugged.

Hopefully Dean is reading this safely from his Iowa home.

Saturday morning a few of us gathered for a World's Best.  I'd started with (and was going to stop at) just a plain, still almost hot, doughnut.  This not long after 5:45.

Our plains quickly consumed, Mrs. World's Best came to the side window which opens at 6am or even before and wanted us to know that there were some perfectly made Rounders ready so we took care of 4 of them.  Dean's not picking bugs off his jacket; the caramel stringing from each Rounder was mozzarella-like.  In that bag are Mike's stash for later.

My plan had been to start northwesterly from Grand Marais and loop up around Devil Track Lake but there were rumors about a bicycle race, closed roads, congestion and crowds.  Crowds and congestion were what we were attempting to avoid.  We found remote.

For the most part, no mud.  Besides the branches, the worst section was rutted with uphill big rocks, wet with springs and running water; our trail a literal stream bed.

Cannonshot's Track said this one on the left would go through but before long we ran into private property and had to turn around.

The Foliage section.....our Trans Wisconsin time last July good preparation for this which lasted longer and had bigger branches.  How I got through with camera intact I don't know.

We stopped here at the lookout/Heliport overlooking the Pigeon River (US/CA) border, the view into Canada and hills goes a very long ways.  You can see where this is on the 2nd Track image above, upper left corner.  The topographic lines are very close together, signifying rapid change in elevation.

The meadow and clearing for helicopter use.

We stopped where the Grand Portage Trail crosses Old Hwy 61.

Signs of wildlife.  Deer (that were alive) weren't seen in great numbers though there were lots of rabbits, especially in the north wilderness area, often seen scampering across our roadways.  We did come upon one bear, surprised and then running at full tilt....away from us.  Here, SUV and MOOSE tracks.

Up at the end of Old Hwy 61 at the previous US/CAN border crossing on the Pigeon River.

Kevin at the edge, checking out the USGS Survey Marker.

Saturday afternoon, another stroll downtown through the North House Folk School going's on.

Saturday's freshly caught, deep fried fish meal, prepared and served by Kevin and wife Lynn.

It was a hoodie evening meal.....east wind definitely being felt off the bay.

Jim and Barb had circled the big lake to attend; the van not nearly as clean as when Jim stopped by the Carousel at Road America.

 Brad had the wind thing all figured out....

At least 2 Royal Enfields in Grand Marais for the weekend, hopefully even more??

Kathy (on the Bumblebee), Tom in back and one of their friends getting ready to leave Sunday morning.  In Superior, I stopped at the Kwik and the trio came riding in.  Tom shared his adventurous experience of crossing the John Blatnik bridge that connects Duluth and Superior.  A strong east wind blasting in from the lake made theirs and mine the wildest crossing I've experienced there.


Patiently waiting??

A couple last shots of the bay before we left.

Almost 750 miles for the weekend; our adventure up along the border Saturday was 135 miles, much if not most in 2nd gear.