Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Wildcat Mountain Rally - 2018

Mike offered up a title for this year's rally....WetCat Mountain Rally...a justifiable title since in my dozen or so years of attendance, none have been rainier.  We're sure that a few participants that normally would have come were frightened away by the dire forecasts.  We had fun as always and for the most part, rode with dry roads or without.

As mentioned in my Preview Post, I took the VStar 650 and as expected, it was an ideal Rally Machine.  Those two cavernous saddlebags had all the room I needed and then sum.  Toying with the idea of adding another bag on the spartan luggage rack, only quick deliberation and a practice "pack" or two convinced me that I'd have all the room I needed.  Mike left me a few new magazines and there were some cheese and meat products that added to the load on the way home.  The mini Strawberry Rhubarb pie that Kevin and I picked up at Sunrise Bakery (Pa's Road) even from the outset was never in danger of needing a ride home.

The 'Star, still clean.  Eric wrote, "almost too much bling for Doug..."  I joked with everyone that this one has more 'bling' than all of my other ones combined.  It sure does work well though; I enjoyed every minute on the machine this weekend, roughly 625 miles.

Checking in at the motel in Westby, I went for a ride right away while the weather was nigh perfect.  This was down Nustad Road, south and east of Westby.

All weekend we saw lots of this...narrowed roads, washouts, buckled pavement, mud across the road and everywhere, gravel.


County Y and Rolling Hills....a sort of barricade.

Down Y approaching the reservoir and dam on the North Fork of the Bad Axe River.

Standing water on the inside lane....my lane still dry.

My lane no longer dry.....

It was right here that I started having trouble staying in the (dryer) track ....almost ready to put the outriggers down when I was through.

Made it.

And just around that corner, the reservoir, already with many fewer acre/feet.

The overflow culvert, filled to capacity below the dam.

I met Jenny and Neil....

 Back in Westby, I saw this map at the convenience store.  On the back, names, farms and businesses matching the numbered locations.  Also, a schedule highlighting various sales.

Mike and Speedy arrived, his XS one of three present this year.  I'm already feeling a strong pull for Old Blue to return for Wildcat #33.  It's my other 650 Yamaha.

Park Road, almost to the Bad Axe River Country Club...

At least it didn't take the bridge out like it did 10 years ago...Esofea County Park.

 Friday evening, Fish Fry in Cashton.  I'd called ahead with reservations for 6 and we did it.

Better pay attention if you know what's good for ya.....

Bro and I back at the Old Towne Inn, rally HQ.

Richard was gracious enough to let me go for a spin on his new T-Max....verrrry perky!

Saturday morning.....

Outside Borgen's in Westby for Saturday breakfast....

A rainy and almost? Rider's Meeting Saturday.  Kevin and I headed out right away in the rain, determined to not be deterred.

Down Mallard, NW of Cashton....

One of my favorities, Marigold, my first time ever running it 'backwards'.  On Sunday, we two along with Cindy, Mary and Bob ran it again...the right way.

There were a lot of examples of these slides and by Sunday afternoon, we tried to be aware enough to see them in the afternoon where they had not existed in the morning.

Down on Mercury outside of Norwalk....

All weekend....I think we did less than a 1/4 mile of gravel total and up until this point, we'd done pavement (such as it was) exclusively.

What's left of the very popular Elroy/Sparta bicycle trail outside of Kendall.

County P east of Ontario....

Kev went to the car wash across the street.  Saturday afternoon it started to get nice again so Kev and I went out for another loop to the west, all the way out to the Mississippi, going through Chaseburg on our way.

Toy Hauler sideways against the power pole over my left mirror....

All of the roads in the area are worth riding but I do have some definite favorites.  Schlicht Road out of Chaseburg gets better every time I ride it and Saturday evening was showing it off superbly.  We stopped...the goal to Not Take It For Granted.

 Sunday morning back for breakfast....

 Cindy, Mary and Bob joined Kev and I on Sunday morning after the Rider's Meeting.  My originally planned Route would have taken us the exact opposite direction to the south and west.  Instead, chickens were involved and that meant north and east instead.

I reluctantly led the group through Ontario, something I'd actually hoped to avoid and only wound up there because I'd neglected to change batteries in my GPS.  Using Kentucky Windage and my sort-of backwards scheduling knowledge of roads for our agreed upon 11:00 hook up in Rockton, Ontario happened more than it had been planned.

You can tell that detours here and there might be required.....

Thanks Mike 

Sunday our rainy loop took us to Rockton, but not without a few detours trying to get from Ontario to "The Chicken Place".

The smallest crowd for the 'Q that I've ever seen.  More locals taking a break from their horrible mess than motorcyclists, a huge change on a holiday weekend.

We had just comfortably got there, the skies actually looking a bit brighter.  Starting out from Westby in light rain, a slight tapering off until we'd put a few miles in without any drops.  While we were eating though.....I didn't really check but it seems we were there for a long hour waiting....and then hoping.

The Supper Club across the parking lot...opens at 4 and where on Sunday we have our Awards Banquet.  Quiet mid-day, things rapidly change by early evening.

I did try to capture them all, one way or another.  A few got missed and for the archives, I'll apologize right here.


I thought I'd try the flash once....

Sunday night's Awards Banquet, I always very much look forward to it.  The only real chance for us to all get together in one place.  Awards handed out, foibles made public, newcomers and seasoned veterans alike honored.  Tammy and Tom honored with a special plaque for their courageous and unending devotion to keep the rally alive for another decade.  Adam, already in his second year will hopefully carry us through the event's 40th year.

The conversations about motorcycles and many other important things, diverse and enlightening, always rewarding, rich with content.

I sat next to Tom....

Monday morning early....

These guys and others like them are working mostly around the clock to repair damage unimaginable.

I'm making the nearby Labor Day Auction Sale a staple of my weekend and once again, stopped by for a quick look around.  Bert came over, Colleen and Mike stopped by as well.  I had a very interesting conversation with John, he in his wide brimmed hat, suspenders, bright blue shirt and comfortable trousers.  Wearing this year's rally T shirt on, I answered questions about and comparing our rally to that big early August one out in South Dakota.  John thought the out West rally sounded funny and I told him that I thought so too.  I promised him a ride next year if he stops by with his buggy.  He thought that sounded even funnier than the SD rally does.

Another one of my favorite sections and for multiple reasons, this little section of County D remains my Purple Ribbon Best piece of road anywhere, now requiring my attention each and every time that I'm in the neighborhood (Dom, we were there).

The mums are late this year; I was certain that I'd taken a photo of the colorful quilts hanging inside but that photo somehow didn't happen.  In year's past, there was a lot more color in these sale lots of potted plants.

Still my favorite rally of the year for all sorts of reasons.  I'll wait a couple of months and book the room for next year, Ol' Blue will be super tuned and race-ready.  I do feel a certain loyal responsibility to the rally's beginning heritage and as long as I've got an XS, it really should be the Westby machine of choice.


  1. A great weekend was halls for all that attended. I enjoyed remembering the moments thru your blog..thanks for sharing & all the great pictures!

    1. We do have a great time; our Labor Day Family and I'm lucky to be included, glad you are as well.

  2. Wild Cat.. great roads and good people. Ma Nature really hit the area hard. The mud hadn't begun to dry and people..whole communities had already started to rebuild The owner of our favorite restaurant.. Borgen's… had a large (tow behind) cooker.. he's been visiting the hard hit areas and feed'n folks out of his own pocket. We all contributed to the " cooker " fund.

    Speedy and I got a little saddle time but, the roads, rain and road muck... wasn't two up friendly.

    Look'n forward to next year.

    1. At breakfast we did hear about "Mr" Borgen's contributions to his neighbors in trouble, a sign of the locals and their sense of community. There were stories all around of "....I've got to go help"

      Thanks for making the reservations at The Goose for Saturday pizza, as conditions and the weather showed us, this time the crowds were thin. Pizza was and that giant banana split looked great!

  3. Looks like the countryside was being washed away by the rains or was it all the construction/repairs?

    I remember that gas station stop! :)

    1. Dom, all of the damage was fresh and from the flooding. County, township and State crews were out but it's Ag Country and individuals were out with their tractors, Bobcats, etc. doing what they could on their own property and for access to local roads.

      We intentionally ate there because I knew you'd recognize where we'd been. That store is our morning gathering place for rides to originate from.

  4. It looks like you had a great time in spite of the weather. And that V-Star does like it has more chrome than any of your other bikes. Do you have a remote control for your camera or are the pictures individual frames from a video?

    1. Richard, it's a shiny one....or was; still hasn't been freshened up.

      No remote and it was something Dom and I discussed. My Contour +2 camera shoots in video or individual shots at optional intervals. I continue to use 5 seconds. Quickly advancing through 3-5000 images isn't as bad as it might sound. Also, when I know there's something I might want, I note the time. The files are all time stamped and I can narrow the search.