Monday, May 20, 2019

Great River Road Rally (GR3) - 2019

The predicted weather outlook was Dismal, yes that with an uppercase "D".  Dismal enough to be a major excuse in keeping many of our long time ralliers home.  It was easy for me at least to cut them some slack....I considered both coming home early, Saturday evening and/or putting the bike on the trailer.  There was no way I was not going to go but how I went and how long I stayed were open to conditions.  In the end, none of the predictions held true although the front moving through on Sunday from the northwest did cause some discomfort.

Home at 11am, our thermometer and AccuWeather's were in sync, the last hour north of solid rain was getting miserable. "Rain" was all that we'd been hearing for the weekend.  I noticed rain after dark both Friday and Saturday nights, we rode in no more than 30 minutes of rain mid-Saturday and then 2/3 of my ride home was wet, the last 1/3 wetter and colder.  We all slept warm and well, the riding conditions actually almost dust, no bugs, the gravel in nice shape for powered 2 wheel travel.

Eric and I did the green loop on Friday, Paul and Kevin joined us for Saturday's red one.  Speaking for myself, 280 mile round trip to get there and home, roughly 300 miles of some of my favorite accessible gravel roads with the paved ones required to connect them.

The Lion's Park in Soldiers Grove suffered greatly from last fall's major flood, the damage there as well as in every other village in the Kickapoo River valley was extensive.  Abandoned homes and businesses, roadways and other structures not to mention the eroded ditches and field roads will be dealt with for years to come.  The proverbial 100 year flood seems to be happening almost yearly if not more often.

We could tell that lots of cleanup had been done only recently in the park and it was very much appreciated, certainly by the 90 rally attendees, a number roughly half of what had been typical in the recent past.  Our hosts, the Madison BMW Club once more did a great job, they and the rest of us adapting to changes we weren't used to or necessarily expecting.  It would have been great had our numbers been doubled.

As mentioned, the last half of the trip home was wetter and colder.  Once again this year, our rally weekend coincides with the Lake Pepin 3 Speed Tour.  As I was getting wetter and colder, I came upon bicycle after bicycle (their turnout must have been huge!) riding with ponchos or less along the busy Hiway 61 on the shoulder.  Some hearty souls indeed!!

Thanks again Paul for making the trip; our small group had the most KTM's of any at the rally I'm sure.  I'm glad that we talked about plans for August, really looking forward to that one.  Please feel free to do some planning!  Eric and little brother Kevin, thanks so much for sharing the trip.

Hiawatha BMW Rally in less than 2 weeks.  Planning, packing and preparation underway and as always, refinement of The System.


  1. Coop is the Grand Pooba of the Driftless area, route planner
    extraordinaire. 7 hours of wandering over hill and dale,
    I had no idea where we were at... Fantastic!

    You reach grand pooba level when at any point in riding you can quickly find the best fried Walleye, or pie and ice cream.

    1. High praise Paul, thanks. It's just that much fun and I'm striving for Platinum or Diamond, probably both.....some day.