Monday, August 26, 2019

"There Will Be Sand......"

I told the guys that there would be sections of sand and they took it to heart; neither Steve nor Paul had spent time riding in the Chequamegon National/Washburn County Forests like Eric and I had so they weren't really sure of what to expect.  To give them some background, I shared some of my blog Posts with them from previous adventures so that they could at least see some of my photos.

Steve tire'd up, new rear tire with very pronounced and sharp profile Kenda knobs.  Paul was ready to give the sandy roads a go.  Right out of the shoot Friday morning, we'd no sooner left the blacktop when Steve was opining....."You said there would be sand and then you take us through miles of 2" deep granite shale.....that is Not what I was expecting!  All I've heard about is sand, sand, sand..."

Later on during our 2 day journey on the back roads, I'd made great mention of a puddle, a puddle to end most puddles and Steve was excited at the very thought of it.  He was excited because we heard tales this weekend of his vast experience with puddles, VERY deep puddles that only NEW tires were qualified to conquer.  Throughout the weekend, Steve's confidence and tales continued to expand and grow...there was little, well maybe just a little, doubt that he could actually do it.

He was ready for deep water!!

When we got to 'Doug's Puddle', it no longer existed...vanished...gone....disappeared....dry.  Honest, it's been there every single time I've ridden FS-448.  My very first time, it was so bad that it frightened both the TW200 and me to the extent we didn't even attempt it, we reversed and turned tail.  Last fall Eric and I were there and the only reason I was able to get the KLR through it at all was because Eric, as mentor, guided me through and it ended up being a successful crossing.  Heck, I've even got it marked as a Waypoint on my GPS..."PUDDLE" to make it very official, unforgettably located.

Below, what Eric and I braced for last year.....we stopped, walked down and made the decision to Do It. The Puddle?  It's hiding down there at the bottom of this steeper-than-it-looks slope.

My credibility with Steve damaged, it may take 10, 15 years to get it back.  Reparations have begun.

Here's the puddle as it existed Friday and the rest of the story.....

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Weekend For Riding

I'm still busy putting together a couple more Posts from the trip out West but there's a lot of potential material to glean through and I'm doing the best that I can.  While that's going on, there's some riding that had to take place; I was out this weekend.  There was the Moto Guzzi monthly breakfast (rode the Himalayan) Saturday morning after Ben left for his new home in Georgia, a quick jaunt on the rig to make sure that the old Bullet/Cozi still would run; it's been tucked away in front of the others in the garage and has now assumed its rightful position just inside the big door.  Saturday evening the Breva made a loop and today, Ol' Blue put on some miles.

Frontenac Beach....Lake Pepin

 Guzzi miles....

'78 Yamaha 650 Special miles.....

Actual miles going....

Coming back through Lake City this afternoon, I spotted an Eldorado in the pier wayside parking lot.......THIS Eldorado.....the one that shared the Hanna Campground with me in the Black Hills.

 Loaded with camping equipment in Lake City, they were enjoying a shore-side lunch after spending an overnight in Lanesboro.  Amazing that our time coincided.  Again, there just aren't that many new Eldorado's in MN I reckon.

Finally the last of our pets on the farm.  The sheep, goats, horses, bunnies, dogs and now cats are gone.  All we're left with outside of hundreds of deer and turkeys are the baby barn swallows.

Friday, August 16, 2019

We Got A Few Miles

Our son Ben has been home between assignments, from Texas and will be now stationed in Georgia.  He arrived in MN the week before I left on my vacation and is leaving this weekend.  There have been many things going on but we've filled his time in the best we could.  He with sis and Peg spent a few nights up on the shore of Lake Superior.  Last weekend and this, we put some miles on the bikes with a Friday Fish Fry thrown in for good measure in nearby Red Wing.

Breakfast in Wabasha...

Blueberry/Peach in Stockholm...Apple Sour Cream in the distance.

Overlook along Lake Pepin....

And on that trip....a milestone.

We were out again today and it couldn't have been more perfect, the weather, the loop, the time spent.

In the neighborhood, friends of the family...

The MN/WI bridge construction at Red Wing, hopefully done this fall.

North of Esdaile on 620th St......

A burger and fish tacos at Common Man Brewing in Ellsworth

On 465th......

We ran 410th from the top down this time...don't remember ever having run it this way before.  My helmet cam missed the ROAD CLOSED sign, the road the roughest I've ever ridden it.

Culvert almost washed usual, steeper here than it photographs.

Rougher too....

Back on County A.....

450th St, always an adventure.....

450th back on top.......

Back to the river bridge and crossing into Minnesota.

And home, a wonderful 85 mile calm and casual loop.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

People...and Food??

A symbiotic relationship, right??

Once again, a Wyoming trip-themed mention here of some of the folks I made contact with during my travels.

Plumber Mike - Right out of the shoot, first gas fill in Spearfish, the Himalayan was parked alongside the convenience store.  Mike came up and gave me the ADV Greeting, of which I was very rusty with .... a secret handshake if you will but it's the kind of thing you remember quickly once shown.  I didn't know him previously but it was nice to meet him.  Apparently he makes a WR250 go.

Bob F - Bob and I had a chance to converse at the Iowa Moto Guzzi Rally while waiting for the parade to start.  I didn't see him this year at the Chamberlain Historical Rest Stop like I did back in '17..... I did however meet him and another ride in Spearfish Canyon later in the week.  There was no mistaking it...there's only one Bob F.

Bob and Sally - Bob introduced himself right away as I pulled into Hanna Campground.  It was Friday morning and I was lucky to arrive when I did (not a happenstance, it was part of the plan) since the few sites were full by evening.  Traveling casually in the North, their FL motorhome and Chevy Tracker were nicely settled in the campground for the 2 week limit.  I was invited for hotdogs one evening, for coffee one morning and to join he and Sally around the campfire one evening.  Bob's ultimate act of kindness, 2 not one, jumps of my old van's battery after I had sloppily been plugging in too many things for recharge.  Safe travels you two, for the rest of the summer and the return to your winter home in Florida.  Thank you, thank you!

Indian Taco at Cheyenne Crossing - I probably would have stopped at Cheyenne Crossing anyway, even with the crowded parking lot that daily seemed to contain 100-150 Harley's every time I rode by.  But it was Judd's mention of this particular culinary delight that made a focused stop mandatory.  Mom, I cleaned my plate or as good as and I ate there one other mid-afternoon, a salad that also filled a plate.  It was worth a very long wait; good thing I was on vacation and had time to burn. were right about the taco.

Dillon - Dillon of Outdoor Motorsports, Spearfish has been very patient (hopeful?!) with me.  We met last November when I stopped in, surprised and somewhat excited to see and be in Royal Enfield's only South Dakota dealership.  I saw the Honda's but was more interested in the RE's and the Ural's.

"We've got some Used ones in back", Dillon told me.

You saw this in my trip's Preview a few weeks ago....

Dillon and I spoke again later in November.  We spoke in December, we spoke again last spring and again about a month ago.  There were extra tie-downs in the van and a 2nd wheel chock.

Not this one....

I rode it, I wanted it but didn't bring it home; Dillon took the disappointing call on Tuesday morning.

I was still doing Instant Starbucks and oatmeal at this point to start my day but then the Starbucks was running low.  Two packs each morning, one in the green cup, one in the thermos for all day enjoyment.  Madaglia D'oro filled in nicely later in the adventure.

MN Guzzi Couple - Such a small world.....  Hanna Campground where I was staying has 13 campsites total, roughly half of which are on one side and intended for rigs, campers, trailers, etc.  The other side has roadside parking, the tent sites are across walking bridges that span Spearfish Creek.  Whenever I'd look, either the bike was present, its riders in their tent or the bike was gone.  Minnesota plates and I was almost but not quite surprised that I didn't recognize the bike.  There just aren't that many new Eldorado's in Minnesota I have to believe.

This time when I rode by, I stopped, seeing the couple standing on the bridge.  Their home in a Twin Cities suburb, the bike purchased in New Hampshire and was inspired by a test ride that he'd taken the year before during Sturgis (my brother test rode one too last year).  I filled them in on their as of yet unknown Minnesota area Guzzi happ'nings.  Didn't get their names....they got my COOPDWAY card.

Allan - Mobridge teacher - I was enjoying my lunch on a picnic table, the bike parked at one of the Trailheads near Mirror Lake (Snowy Mountains) when Allan walked out from the trail and into the parking lot.  Staring at and circling the bike, he called out to me, "Is this yours?"

Allan was self-testing his health, getting ready for a more strenuous hike.  His home in Mobridge, SD, he was visiting Centennial and helping his mom with her house.  Knowing a friend in town that collects and knows motorcycles, our discussion was a rewarding, enjoyable and easy one.  Stay and be well Allan; hope your mom's project if not complete is almost finished. 

Lunch on the picnic table.....

Guy, KTM rider from Montana - While stopped at the Northeast Wyoming Welcome Center, a "guy" and his family were stopped for a break.  He approached me, another ADV rider with various questions about the Himalayan, comments too.  We chatted awhile and then I noticed this....this being a '60's Mountain Cub Ducati trailbike.  There were a few models if I remember correctly but my guess is that this is just like the 100cc bike that our uncle used to ride.  Lots of memories of Uncle Dale on the bike, the sounds as well as large doses of blue two stroke smoke and partially burned oil.  Not really an issue, there were often 4-5 'cleaned' spark plugs ready to step up in his coverall pockets.  After unk's bike was gone, I'd have liked to have had it but it was too late.  Some crafty entrepreneurs managed to score the old Ducati and my '70 125 Yamaha AT1 Enduro from the uncles in one fell swoop.

Dinner in Pine Campground....

Medicine Bow Couple - They were walking along the Towner Lake Road when I met them one morning.  "We were from Chicago, the family built a cabin just up here in '48, living in Centennial while doing so and we've been coming here ever since then...."  I believe that he actually remembers 1948, doubt that she does any better than I do.

The Firewater in Saratoga, WY.  I would definitely go here again!

Megan GSA rider, from Vermont.  Out for she doesn't know how long, a too-strong desire to travel, go and keep going.  Hoping you can find a way to pace yourself, slow down and take some time or all you'll see are the white lines racing by.  Follow my example and get some dirt on that thing. ;)

It was a pleasure Megan, travel well and safely!

Here's that photo I promised I wouldn't make public. I'm not a very good photographer; I struggled with the lighting on your braid.

Kevin - My little brother left Minneapolis Friday afternoon, arriving in Lead about 1AM Saturday morning.  Our plan was to meet at The Lotus at 6AM.  While spending Sturgis week in Lead, he stays with friends and spent time on their porch between 1 and 6 that morning, fresh as a daisy at breakfast Saturday.

The Panini that I enjoyed a couple mornings when the early oatmeal just wasn't enough.

The mine/Sanford Lab across the street......

John and Cecelia - From Long Island "we have a summer home in the Cats...". John and Cecelia were a lot of fun and we happened to be on the same schedule, making the same casual stops while working our way along the Medicine Bow Pass Visitor parking lots.  Hearing her frequent "hey check this out...", I'd know they were nearby without even seeing them appear.  I met and kept up with some friends from Long Island long ago during my New England foray and there were a lot of smiles remembering while conversing with these two East Coast tourists.

The Bear-Bottom Cafe in Centennial, a fine chicken salad that was just what I needed and maybe a little more.

BMW rider - With his two Harley friends, a Sport BMW inherited from his dad, a bike with relatively high miles.  They were from Colorado, taking a break as was I in the shade at the fuel/convenience store.

"We're freaks, you and me.....", he volunteered.  Indeed we were.  It would have taken a microscope to see the proportion of Other to Harley's in the Lead/Deadwood/Spearfish area and that was the week BEFORE the annual event.

A late afternoon lunch in camp....


A break here, something I don't really even want to write about, say or bring up but I'm feeling compelled to make mention.  I don't write, discuss or normally even hint at things so serious and need to keep it that way.  As I said, but....

The rain day that I drove into Spearfish, I stopped at a fast food place for a coffee and an egg sandwich.  Sitting down at the high table with 6 stools, a few minutes later a western and well dressed man my senior sat down at the opposite corner.  We acknowledged each other with the briefest of nods but I could sense that he wasn't done, wanting to say something but not saying it, almost on edge.

I tried to guess, anticipate and imagine what might be on his mind but couldn't come up with anything.  He hadn't seen me drive up, I wasn't wearing anything that said motorcycle.  My belt, the cut of my shorts and T shirt said nothing or at least so I thought, that I might be anything other than a tourist.

There were what looked like a couple of uncomfortable looks my way and then finally he spoke.

"How old do think that girl is over there, the one with that guy by the window?"

His question was more surprising than about anything I could have imagined.  I looked over at the young woman, dressed like most anyone's daughter less than 30 and older than 10 might look.  I absolutely remember wanting to see age that I wasn't seeing....

"Eighteen, a young-looking eighteen would be my guess," I replied.

The look he gave me back was one that said, "you're an idiot" and I for a split second felt like one.  I've had 15 year old daughters and she looked like one.  The guy she was with might have been 20-24.  He wasn't her dad, he wasn't her brother and I very much doubt he was a neighbor.  They seemed .....cordial.

It troubled me for a minute or two and then I blew it off.

Later in the week I started noticing the many Sex Trafficking posters around.  As I was out and about (the forest roads weren't the only place I spent time) during that week,  there were 2 other very distinct couples, couples who's faces I can still see, the he's and she's that didn't quite look right being together the way that they were.

Was I too naive to appreciate what I was seeing?  Has there been too much 'Hollywood', me expecting to see males that looked more like actors than whatever normal men might look like?  Considering the influx of visitors to the area, the timing, was there more going on than that which caught my slow eye?  It wasn't until much later that I even started thinking about what might be going on.

We need to be aware.  I've been reminded and said all I'm going to say.