Saturday, May 22, 2021

Great River Road Rally - 2021/05/16

We attended the GR3 returning rally but our adventure was much larger than that; it began the weekend before just outside of Richland Center in the Alana Springs Campground.  Once again, Colleen our gracious and accommodating host.

My week at the campground had been planned as a solo week, a trip to one of my favorite riding areas in lieu of my normal Slimey Crud Run attendance the weekend before.  The thrill of the 'Crud event has faded as the joy of riding the area has only grown.  That realization solidly occurred back in March sometime when I contacted the campground host wondering about a spot being open for me the 2nd week of May.

"Come on down..." was the way I heard it.

Plans started taking shape.  Various discussions with the normal cast of riding partners came and went and then eventually my solo week expanded, first by a potential one and later changes, additions and subtractions led to our very fine group that ebbed and flowed in size over the days.

Friday the 7th Steve and Greg were on their way down, shown here, a Double Cupper as they left the Twin Cities.

Eric and I met for breakfast in Westby on our way south and when we arrived at the campground, brother Kevin was already there and set up.  After we all were settled, the three of us went out for a loop south and when we returned later in the afternoon, Greg and Steve had arrived, tents up and wondered where the Coffee Station was that I'd promised to have ready.  Dinner in town and our first campfire of the week that Friday.

After breakfast Saturday morning out for another loop, the 5 of us, a counterclockwise swing to the NE in broad general terms.  A recent quest for us all has been finding, stopping and photographing the few remaining wooden silos that we randomly come across.  It was a banner week in that regard....they were popping up all over.

The photographs a combined and shared effort since during the week we were not always in the same place at the same time.  There was a lot of communication back and forth, texting the 'shares' and I'm quite sure that these aren't the only ones discovered.

Saturday's visit to Trail's End (Amish Walmart) found the parking lot busier than I've ever seen it, buyers and 'shoppers' galore.

And.....Stop #1 for ice cream at The Goose Barn.

Sunday our jaunt included Rockton BBQ chicken and for desert, Stop #2 for more ice cream two valleys over at the Goose Barn, both favorite stops that we make when we can.

Drive Thru for the carry-out customers, ~600 plates served, we made an effort to arrive early since we had not called ahead with reservations.  Folks were being turned away before we left.

Time for desert....

This family from LaCrosse enjoyed ice cream at the next table, mom was on the Ducati.  A family that rides together stays together.

Sunday afternoon, young Eric left for home (and a work week).  The rest of us old retired codgers (me of retirement age) spent the week at Alana Springs, riding each day with plans for Eric to once again join us the following weekend at the Great River Road BMW Rally in Soldiers Grove.

Which he did.

Repeated from last week's Post, this is where I went those 10 days and I say that "I went" because Monday - Thursday I rode each day on my own, a Secret Mission, sharing breakfast and dinner each day with the group.  Those 3 guys were off on some twisted loops, I was off on my own.

No rain all week other than a dozen drops, a wonderful way to put 1476 miles on two wheels.  As per normal for me, those days average moving speed, 34.7 MPH with LOTS of stopping.  The Secret Mission beat goes on.

Dinner in Richland Center....

We had freezing or below temperatures every morning.


Very frosty....

You can imagine how this felt in the mornings.....

Steve's tent for sale...very little interest in the campground but a different story once we made the BMW Rally.

Some day I'll be able to add the scent of freshly cut hay to these Posts....

I asked 80+ year old Nancy if I could photograph the sticker on her pretty blue car, she very obviously and proudly not only alive but leveraging life.

Train enthusiasts at North Freedom....

An early morning at camp....once the coffee pots were dripping.

Our 2nd Friday morning, loaded and ready to leave Richland Center and head to Soldiers Grove for the BMW Rally.

Another kind gift from friends determined to keep me attired in appropriate gear for new endeavors.

Getting set up in Lion's Park, Soldiers Grove

The Unique Cafe, Boscobel....

Big octane...

After a big octane meal.....

Followed by snack time....

The look of delight on a Big Tent seller's face

Packing up Sunday morning, rally over.

Stopped for breakfast in Coon Valley, from there everyone off in their own directions.

And to watch some small roads in action....


  1. Nice sunrise shots! Trespassers will be hogtied? And then what? Threats should be clear to be effective. :)

    The Amish WalMart seemed quite well stocked for one's farming needs.....did they require masks? Or is your area of the country like this part where a lot of people have stopped wearing masks in public areas?

    1. Thanks! Unclear so we imagine the worst possible?? ;)

      Most mandatory masking is over around here, store/restaurant personnel are often wearing, most customers are not in close quarters. It's all very random.

  2. Did you mean 2021 or was this last year?

  3. Fantastic Doug!! I would have loved to have been there, but I got my covid shot Friday afternoon and I didn't know how I would feel after that.. I was achy and a little chilled until Saturday afternoon, so I'm glad I didn't plan anything. I'm hoping to be at the MN Guzzi Rally this year. Be nice to catch up with everyone. :)

    1. Thanks Dan. My 2nd shot had me a bit off for a couple of days, then OK. Really looking forward to Grand Marais, hope you can make it.