Thursday, August 31, 2023

Vincents Across America - 2023/08/30

This is not about Vince, he's a rider I know and I'm absolutely positive that he's not riding across America, though I'd have to assume that he'd really like to be.

No, this is about a brave, ambitious and well-prepared group of folks that are riding their Vincent motorcycles from the East Coast to the West, their goal the National Rally in Ventura, CA.  California can be a long ways from Portland Maine.

Blog friend VSL informed me that her friend had just started a blog about an endeavor that he was involved in and that I should take a look at.....  You too should take a look, Phil is attempting the valiant task of riding all day and THEN finally after everything else documenting each day's happenings.  I could try and summarize but that would be foolish when Phil has already done it all so much better.

Only just a few short days ago, one thing quickly led to many others, those being communications including emails, texts and finally an introduction.  To cut to the quick, the intrepid group would be in Rochester, MN the evening of August 30th, new friend and member of the riding group Phil invited me to stop by and visit with the crew.  It was touch and go with my work schedule but in the end, Priorities Prevailed and I was there Wednesday afternoon....early and was able to witness both the setup of the (very capable and well equipped) Support Crew and the arrival of the bikes on their day's trip from upper Michigan.  What a treat!!

Way down at the far end of the parking lot, there it was.....the Team Norton trailer, a sure sign that I was in the right spot.

I have to say right off the bat that while lurking only a short time, I was welcomed to come over, sit down and enjoy the shade.  Wearing my Moto Guzzi Hat ("Going Out Of Business Since 1921") cap and VJMC T shirt, the conversations started immediately.  Mark and Ryan were busy but not too busy to graciously invite me in.  That is Gracious, upper case "G".  Everyone, all evening made me feel welcome and connected, food, drink and of course their/our motorcycle histories and stories.  Not only an extremely capable and dedicated group, but a warmly open and sharing one as well. could they be anything else?  I was humbled you guys, truly!

Right away, the stands were setup and Ryan was busy repairing a wheel bearing (check out Phil's story in the blog), a quick Uber ride for a local replacement was called for.

I was hearing numerous " far out are they....." comments and then, suddenly there they were.


Phil's missing battery clamp.....allowed the top strap to short out the battery terminal.
The bike....
Phil's image image
Phil's ride for the day when his needed the trailer ride.... 

My evening ended far too early with the group, I had an hour's ride home in the deer-infested dusk and I don't ride at night any longer for a reason, maybe a few reasons.  As it was, there were only 9 deer and they were seen in the Serious Zone, the 3-4 miles nearest home.  I must admit though how absolutely wonderful it is and was on an end of summer late evening ride.

Mark, Ryan, Phil, Ian (thanks for the photo!), Richard and.....your sharing time and words with me, your welcoming smiles after a long day appreciated more than you know.  A memorable evening not forgotten, I promise you.  

Wishing you all safe and fun travels to and during the Big event in Ventura!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

The Museum Crawl - 2023/08/17-21

We've been trying to spend at least one weekend in the Herbster, Wisconsin city campground each summer, the third weekend in August was agreed upon last winter and campsite reservations were made early.  There would be 6 of us (later a 7th joined) and we were all anxious to meet again on the South Shore of Lake Superior.

As has been typical, our normal South Shore days have primarily been spent exploring fire roads in the County, State and National Forests with most of our miles not on paved roads but rather on gravel with a high percentage of miles spent in some fairly soft (deep) sand.  We all have motorcycles that are up to the task, outfitted properly to wade through all but the deepest sections....we can't go all of the places that the ATV/UTV machines are able to navigate.  The majority of us have spent enough time up there so that many of the roads and remote intersecting trails have become if not absolutely known then somewhat familiar.

For me personally, there have been just a few (not all that many!) 'incidents' along my historical way leaving both of my lower legs permanently marked.  To avoid or at least minimize the probability of any more scarring, I told myself that I'd be finding alternatives to riding through soft or rocky sand when possible.  With that in mind, while Route/Ride planning for our long weekend, I started to consider other options that might involve roads a bit less challenging.

Late last November, I was in the area for a solo weekend and made a stop at the Mason, WI Historical Museum.  It happened to be a Sunday, it was early afternoon and the old train depot was actually open.

Note the caption below the photo that was Posted on this very blog last November....

When I found out that there were museums all over the county, a seed was sown for future destination rides.  All 10 places associated with the Bayfield Historical Society, 9 actual museums....

Over the long August weekend, we were planning at minimum for 3 days of riding.

9 / 3 = 3

So that's what we done.  

Some of the guys at least, though not everyone decided to follow me. Making the riding plan, something right up my alley involved a bit more than just mapping roads since Open days and Open hours needed to be factored in.  Right in my handlebar swing as they say!

I went right to Excel (for the gridding) but then once printed out, I highlighted in color and penciled in the order in which the stops would be made.  I'd scan and include those hand written additions but they went through the washing machine yesterday morning and are now unreadable.

Friday Saturday Sunday

Corny 12-4 12-4 12-4

Drummond 10-4.30




Port Wing 1-4 1-4 1-4

Barnes 11-4 11-4

Cable 11-3

Iron River 1-4 1-4 

We'll get close enough with the Basecamp map...  

Thursday (practice)     Red

Friday                          Green

Saturday                      Blue

Sunday                        Yellow

We had an amazingly good time!    Those pretty lines covered 421 miles on my bike.

The lake was really churning when I arrived late Thursday morning.

 Still runs....on both front and back cylinders.
 I was first to arrive, took the bike for a quick trip up Bark Point to the public boat launch.
 On the ramp....
Back to camp, Greg and Steve had just arrived.  Their bikes were unloaded and since they had not stopped to fill the trailered bikes on the way up, we rode west to Port Wing for gas.  Early afternoon my brother arrived with his van and trailer.
Late afternoon we rode the old Star Route to Bayfield for an early dinner.

Thanks Steve for the photo, the Hyosung's first visit to Cornucopia and presence behind the Twin Sisters.

Three rigs, three trailers, 4 bikes, 4 riders....we were expecting 3 more riders on Friday.

 Friday morning, a beautiful version....

Each day's ride start time was much later than we're accustomed to.  It was all about timing for the museum Open Hours....we had time to solve our problems.

 Friday's 3 museum visits in this clockwise loop.

 Some sand...some rocks....

Looking east at the high spot on Touve Road....

Our first stop, the Barnes Historical Museum

We stopped for lunch at a cafe in Cable and amazingly, a very random and unexpected meetup with our other two weekend campers.

Don't let anyone tell you that a Pan American HD is not an Adventure Bike. 

The 2nd Museum of the day in Cable, WI.

As you'll see throughout this report, my bias was focused on railroad history and family.

The curator was helping Steve with his newly discovered seal stamp device.

Our last stop on Friday, the Drummond Library/Historical Museum.




On the way back we stopped in Cornucopia for a fish fry....wasn't on the menu so we had burgers instead.

The 'Hideout looked too busy so our burgers were enjoyed across the street.

Extra super lucky to have Chef Paul along, he kindly supplied AND prepared our omelet and toast breakfast.  Thanks so much Paul, it was amazing!!

Saturday's mostly clockwise museum chase....

But while we were suiting up I'm guessing that Paul was questioning my little brother's choice of off/road bike for the weekend.  Why not the Husky, the KTM, even a KLR? 

In the end, it wasn't my brother that tipped over in a puddle.

The Oulu Museum site, near but not quite downtown.

Her reconstructed family her family.

The condition from which it was revived....

Stop #2 on Saturday, the Iron River Museum...

Note the stumps downtown....

An earlier pandemic.....


 Saturday's last stop in Port Wing...

Clinging to shade on a very hot South Shore afternoon.
I chose some leg cooling amongst the agates....

Sunday morning Chef Paul outdid himself with French Toast and Bacon!

We weren't exactly kitchen help...

Peg had sent some fresh Sandwich Sourdough and her first attempt at Rye bread.  Thumbs up as egg toast with our Apple Butter and Jelly.

After breakfast Willie's Himalayn was waiting to be packed up using the allotted 10 minutes of road parking.

After Eric and Willie left us, here's the clockwise Track we made for our last 3 of 9 museums.

Since the Corny Museum did not open until noon, we found some other exploring along the Siskiwit waterfalls.


Then a stop at the Cornucopia Airport...back in the early '80's I had my very best airplane ride ever ($20) in a Stearman Biplane at this very strip.

I've never had whitewalls on the Helix but this one would fit perfectly.

Still early, we parked between the museum and the fishing boats along the beach.

An hour still to go, it was coffee time in the coffee shop.

I can't even tell you the memories this photo of Peg's Uncle Sonny and Aunt Julia bring back.  Just look at the 'hidden' smile on Sonny's face.  He used it to teach me the game of cribbage....and was how he played the game.  We'll never forget you two.

Peg's Great Uncle Emory Jones in front of his Marina....a true legend!

Peg's Grandfather 'Baron'....heaters in evidence.  Winters were long and hard in Corny.

I was hungry even if no one else was so before stopping at the Washburn Museum, we stopped for lunch. 
The Brownstone Building housing the Museum and other entities in Washburn.
The sign said we had the day and hours correct but that didn't open the locked doors.

Then we were off to Mason, the last of our 9 museums (8 of  9 actually entered).


Two railroads crossing....

I seriously debated....and then caved.  I shared my Secret Blueberry Location with the crew.  We found hundreds of plants, though only a few micro blue fruits.  I blame the hot droughty summer.

You guys have to promise not to tell anyone...

Our final campfire Sunday night...


My average mileage on the way home...
I don't see this everyday...

There was a stop (again) at Louie's in Cumberland for some Sticks and Baby Swiss

And finally Eric's award-worthy photo to sum up how fortunate we all feel about our time on Lake Superior's South Shore.

Again, thanks guys for making our long weekend so're the Best!