Monday, May 25, 2020

Old Blue Finally Makes Its 2020 Debut

Chain finally on, the only thing keeping the old '78 XS650 so long in the garage.  If you weren't along on Labor Day at our Wildcat Mountain Rally weekend, there was a broken drive chain issue.  I even won an award as a result!

But that was then, this is now.  Amazingly, you'd think it had some sort of fancy ignition system...or fuel delivery system but no, it's all old school OEM.  That first kick was more of a Turn Over rather than a real kick.  The next one had the bike running at it never faltered after that.  Those Yamaha folks knew what they were doing.  A very tasty 80 some odd miles mid-week.

Traveling down County 2, these 4 fox kits caught my eye.  I went past, turned around and went back, stopped and turned off the 650.  I watched, I filmed as they played in the freshly planted cornfield.  Never saw mom, the four youngsters playing outside without a care in their world.  As I started the bike, all 4 dropped into the hole lickety split.

Friday's plan was for a full day and that's what happened, the freshly tire'd Himalayan the ride that day. Just a few miles short of 300, it was a very good day.

Early Friday, coffee with the songbirds and bumblebees....

While I'm out getting lost to who knows where, I keep Peg's nose stuck to the grindstone now that the masks are complete.

 Friday, I experimented with some new camera angles...

Gunflint Road...Dave showed me this one, though I probably would have found it eventually on my own. ;)

Downtown Pilot Mound, not to be confused with Bucksnort, that's the next town over.

 Root River country, north of Lanesboro.

Ben spent a weekend here as do many of our regional young folks.

I stumbled upon this rifle range, had no idea it was there.

Found a few State Forest Roads....

See those narrow prominent 'white' tracks?  Telltale buggy don't even need to see horse exhaust to know.

I normally keep my machines cleaner than this but road construction made the Himalayan very messy.

Straight west of Eitzen, MN.  I'm stopped in Iowa, 10 feet to the left, my home state.

So, Iowa and Itchy Koo were not in my plans for the day.  Well, maybe only in the way back part of my head but that solidified a few hours into the ride.  We, Jeff, Eric and I were here almost exactly a year ago.  I wasn't exactly on the proper machine for the condition the road was in back then and if anything, a few more rocks have leapt to the surface since.  It couldn't have been as rocky that day, could it?? 

I stopped at the stream crossing for some trail mix before things became more serious.

I had video that I was going to get some images from.....gone.

Made it to the top with much less commotion than last time; the proper machine making all the difference.

On Iowa gravel...

Stopped here along the Iowa River for some lunch, a perfect spot.

The alcohol stoves easily perturbed by wind.

Simple but tasty and satisfying.

I forgot my mug so I had to drink out of the cook pot.  Every single time I forget something....there will have to be a celebration the first time that I don't....if it ever happens.  I'm beginning to have my doubts.

From lunch, it was only a short distance to New Albin with the mandatory stop for jerky at the City Meat Market.  Problem was, almost everyone in Iowa was there and my favorite Pork version was gone.  Instead, I brought home 2 pounds of chicken and I have to say, I may be just the better for it!

A busy place; I've never seen so many people there, had to park across the street!!

Social Distancing, green markers on the floor to keep us honest.  Once I finally got inside the door, I'm standing in aisle 2, 2 of 2, the line wrapped around into aisle 1.

They've got tissue...

The couple ahead of me, or the couple ahead of them, had a bill that 3 Benjamin's didn't quite cover.  No wonder my beloved Pork was gone.

One of my favorite valley roads, good ol' 249 into Freeburg (Little Miami still open at the time of this report).

What would a trip to Freeburg be without a quick loop up Crazy Corners and back down Pleasant Valley?

 One last coffee stop to wash down the dust.

Saturday I went for a nice loop on the Helix, enjoying ITS new front tire.  

 The new bridge in Red Wing.

I saw the Aladdin, WY sticker and had to take the photo, remembering very well our time there in the General Store.

Somehow I lost my globe last week but not a problem because when I bought one, I got a dozen.  Unless losses mount, I should be covered for as long as I care.

The rain almost starting, I needed to stop and add a layer.

So confident was I in the weather forecast and inspired by ability to once again fit into my traveling/camping pants with the zip-off legs that I left home without my 'Stich pants.  Warm and dry on top, even a Helix didn't have sufficient weather protection to keep me dry down below.  It took awhile but when my nuptials got wet, it was uncomfortable.  Fortunately, the hardest rain didn't last too long and those quick drying pants did their thing and I rode home mostly dry.  Mostly.

Not my typical sunset photo....

Mostly dry, content and for the most part, comfortable even though my demeanor may not exactly express that.

A couple of weeks ago, a bird fowled my 2nd grade paperweight.  The rain was doing me a favor here, almost worth the trouble.

Sunday rolled around and The Pointer instructed me to put some miles on the Elite.

A very foggy morning, too wet to even enjoy sitting out on the deck with the songbirds and bumblebees.  It had been much thicker than this.

I encouraged Peg to stay busy with her quilt while I was out for a ride and she did.

One more non-sunset photo along Lake Pepin; this one a foggy morning heading south.

Some of the Wisconsin eateries are open, Pier 4 is one so I stopped.

 It had been awhile since I'd stopped at Buena Vista Overlook above Alma.

You've heard about the tendency of horses, once turned back towards the barn, to have little interest in anything but making the trip?   Apparently the Elite lacks that trait.  We must be at about a 60% return rate.  101 miles into a (potential) 140 mile trip, I felt that dreaded rear end wobble signifying a flat tire.  Luckily it happened near an intersection and field road so that I could get most of the way there and off the highway on my rapid descent from 60mph.

 Lauren helped me wrestle/drag the machine up the ramp and onto the trailer.

Memorial Day has been spent quietly and safely at home, trying to remember and respect those close to me that served and were lucky enough to return home.