Friday, December 28, 2018

End Of December 2018

A mix of things this last week of December.  First of all, these things I unwrapped under our tree.  Note the Mr. Rogers 2 stroke eau de cologne fragrance will never be able to compete with this bar of soap.  Says right on the package, "It's Such A Good Feeling!" and I'm feeling good without even removing the wrapper.

Ben left for Texas mid-week and sent this photo of motorcycles southbound behind a MN Toyota ..... the coffee drinkers and I are still thinking we should know who this is, so far still a mystery.  Rodney checked and his white Guzzi is still safely in the garage.

It snowed over night on Wednesday, 2" worth of very wet snow in our neighborhood and then at 37 degrees, it rained all day.  Peg the only one home, the rest of us in the Twin Cities for the day.  By late afternoon we came home to a lot of flowing water over our driveway.

It wasn't this bad but close enough.....

We really hoped that by late evening conditions would improve.  To buy time, Hanna and I stopped at a local eatery in Lake City and ordered the slowest meal that we could.  I introduced daughter Hanna to Patti, a favorite waitress and when we got up to leave, Patti only then noticed, looking in great surprise at Hanna's violin.  Eyes opened wide, she said, "Wait just a minute, I have something for you" and handed our daughter a small wrapped package with instructions, "don't open it here."

To buy more time for our valley's river to stop flowing, I thought it a good idea to visit our local library, hoping to close the place down.  As soon as we got comfortable inside, Hanna opened her gift and found it complete with its own case....a very big and fun surprise.

It had been awhile since I'd seen the Big River magazine (I keep thinking I'm going to subscribe) and thought this article was interesting.  We've been regularly hearing owls up the valley.

Then the big surprise.  Our high school library had a copy of this book, I enjoyed it then and have been searching for it off and on ever since, remembering only the subject and not the title nor the author.  Paging through the magazine, the mystery finally solved.  Soon it will get a second reading.

As mentioned, we closed the library down at 8pm and headed back to the top of our driveway.  Walking in the slippery dark down to where the water rapids were sounding a bit less hectic, we still found far too much water to safely drive through.  By 9pm, we had checked in to a couple of cozy (dry) motel rooms for the night.

This morning around 8am, nothing but a trace of last night's commotion and back to life as we've known it.

Spring must be here.....the days are getting longer and my motorcycle license tabs have arrived in the Post.  I spent some time this morning with the grueling task of dating and providing insurance info on each of these.  Peg walked by as I struggled with them, glancing over at what I was doing.  We've been together now more than 35 years and the look she gave me was not immediately recognized as being related to anything in the empathy category.

Home after the bonification process was completed.

They will all be applied as machines are readied for 2019 and a year from now, the process will be repeated.  Tomorrow morning I'll be up and out early, on the way to Minneapolis for coffee.  In a few days, an event even more motorcycle related will be documented. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Quiet Time Around Here

It hasn't actually required a lot of effort....I seem to naturally trend that way if given the chance without outside forces of which there have been few the last number of days.  Family time, helping and assisting with said family projects, schedules and family planning (not THAT kind of family planning) so that to the best of our ability we have enough valued time together during the holidays.

Lucky this year, almost everyone will be able to gather here in rural Minnesota though not always at the same time....we do take what we can get.  Ben drove home for Christmas....

Lauren's around in here's and there's, working in family time with her busy church concerts in Minneapolis.  Katlyn and James will be here later today and Hanna's driving in from Cleveland late tomorrow.  Like I said, we'll all be here though not like it once was when our 4 offspring were sleepily gathering around the tree Christmas morning at 5AM waiting for "Santa" to awake after late hours finishing up the wrapping.  We wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday Ben accompanied me to our coffee gathering at Diamond's; turnout good and even festive.  The lights blink...randomly.  I know because I sat directly across from them.

After coffee, Ben and I stopped at GoMoto to wish Marty and Lissa a Merry Christmas, a quick stop at Harbor Freight (big Two Day SALE!!) and then hustled down to a southern suburb to meet Peg and Lauren for all we could eat sushi.

Sunday afternoon Ben and I brought some Christmas cheer to mom and her sister; a very nice time was had by all.

Over the last few weeks, Eric and I have been advising, critiquing and learning about changes to our machines during this season.  Common throughout the year I suppose but in these days of less daylight, our activity intensifies.  Eric knows I've been making some changes to the Himalayan specifically and has been after me for an updated photo but garage time, finding that quality garage time, has been at a premium and as such, work out there has slowed.  Updates of the full makeover will follow soon.  Another big change, unknown to everyone (everyone!) will be made public once riding season 2019 begins.

Inside where it's warm and dry, reading, online learning/listening and 'Tube watching has been happening.  I've stumbled on some really fun ones and won't link or I guess even mention them...except for one and I was made aware of that one while the moon was still out early this AM, coffee in hand.

Hopefully at least a few of you old timers will be familiar with the name Greg Lake.  I was a huge fan of ELP and one of theirs that sticks with me still is "I Believe In Father Christmas".  There was more than a few listenings this morning of Mr. Lake, Mr. Ian Anderson, the choir and some help playing this tune in St. Bride's on Fleet Street in London during an obvious Christmas service.  I'd encourage you to look this one up if it tweaks your interest.  It will be worth your time.

I'm now off to cut up and marinate our Polynesian Wings for this evening, something we'll all be ready for after this morning's hearty Avocado Toast that Peg enjoys making.  Ben and I certainly enjoyed the eating detail of the project.

The dismal state of snow for our White Christmas.....

Merry Christmas to all!!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sidecar Ride/Fermentation Followup

I'm very much hoping that this isn't my last ride for the winter but just in case, wanted to share these images from yesterday.  Why??  It was just so darned much fun!!

But before I do..... my role as Taste Tester has to be shared.

Upper left is the Caraway version, clockwise on the right is "normal" and lower left is the zesty Cortido.  None of these have gone full term and I'm actually liking them better that way.  Without as much time fermenting, there's a lovely and more distinct cabbage taste and really, shouldn't that be the idea?

Today's Production....

Now on to some snow scenes....I had so much fun riding yesterday and can't wait to go again!!

Dave's driveway up on the knoll...

Canadian National tracks but 'motive power that seems to be in ever color from every corner of the continent.

Out on the highway, up on the cam....

335th, our nearby Minimum Maintenance thruway....

The beginning of very poor rear wheel tracking....

These multiple water breaks were real momentum killers....

This was it, the end of uphill progress...

 A stop on the way back down....note the mud on the pillion, more detailing......someday.

My coffee stop in Lake City....

The Lake Pepin river valley....

An old section of Hwy 61.....

Down at the Frontenac Beach....

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Almost Ready For Santa

Friend Tom sent this one....

...with original artwork inside.  I'm lucky to have friends with a full spectrum of talents.

I put my Christmas Card processing off each year and don't get after it as quickly as I once did....this weekend it was time.  1/3 of them on Friday morning, the next 20 in the evening and the last 20 or so this evening.  This stack dropped off this morning on the way home from coffee at Diamond's.  For those of you not on the Naughty List, they should be arriving soon.


According to tradition, Christmas Tree hunting begins (or includes) a stop at King's Place in Miesville, even if it happens to be out of the way, of which it was this year.  I had the Umpire Burger this year, a break from my traditional Bleu Burger.  The horseradish had my sinuses draining into my boots....but I'd do it again.

We decided to try a new place this year.....Mark's Christmas Trees in rural Red Wing.  Circled is where our tree grew up.....

We got it home and I trimmed the lower branches off so that it would fit in our stand.  It was so nice out, I had to take a break on the garage porch swing for a bit of respite, coming very close to dozing.  The low southern sun comes in nicely under the overhang.

Where it will spend the rest of its days....decoration begun and complete once Ben gets home.

After the last of the Christmas Cards were written out last night, Peg suggested a film that she knew I'd like.  Peg of course was correct, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was very much enjoyed, the scenery fantastic and had me looking up the Channel Islands because I just needed to know.....and had forgotten where in The Channel they were.

This morning, off to Diamond's early for another rousing session of coffee, a muffin and more great discussion and dialogue.  We actually did manage to solve some problems and were sure to leave at least a few for next week's gathering.

On the way home, I was in the mood to stop at Duff's.....

I sampled (a stick and a half) the Smokey Beef while on the move before presenting this group at home to the rest of the family.  Since we're speaking of food, you should know that sauerkraut production is in full swing in our kitchen; 3 batches, 3 flavors, one of these has way more kick than anything your grandmother used to crock.

I got out.....last weekend a few miles that really only warmed up the machine.  Today, a real ride, almost 30 miles worth.   Here I'm coming down our nearby Minimum Maintenance Road.  I was foiled, almost making the top, too steep and not enough traction, those last couple hundred yards crab-steering.  My new high mileage rear tire just doesn't have the required lugs that I should have for snow travel.

Pleasant doesn't do this justice....

I stopped in front of Old Frontenac's Villa Maria, soon to be a very busy place according to plans.

Like last week, another stop at the Frontenac Beach.  I'm more patient than these ice fishermen are.  I can wait....I was standing a ways away, zoomed in.

They're out there quite a ways .....further than it looks.  When the ice is ready, I'll be out there too.

Some decent mileage was added today but it won't impact the 2018 pie chart.  Instead, these are head start miles for the grand 2019 riding season to come, the chart stays as is.