Saturday, July 30, 2016

ScooterBob - Red Wing, Minnesota

When I first learned that SB might make the trip to Minnesota, there were a few absolutely essential places that I would make sure to visit and photograph.  Truthfully, those handful of things were about the only ones I could come up with  as 'these will happen' until the reality of the scooter actually arriving came to be.  Never sure if the wooden scooter would be here during riding season or our other season, my plans were to remain flexible, focusing on Red Wing proper as an absolute bare minimum.  Hoping to get a chance to "ride the region", but not really counting on getting that lucky, things nearby, the same things I'd have shared with Bob had he stopped for an afternoon or quick evening were my main focus.


Bob's riding adventures were always fun and so very easy for me to relate to.  At the same time, his exploits and discoveries often weren't that far off from mine.  Of all the Posting that Bob did, the ones consistently my favorites were the ones along the Vancouver waterfront.  His walking along the docks, the photographs he took and the life in those places, human and otherwise really struck a chord with me.  Everyone of those little trips brought the sounds and aromas of the Pacific all of the long way back to the Midwest.

Having been born within shouting distance of the Mississippi River, our big water has always had a deep connection with me.  Even though I've spent precious little time on this river, being near and in the vicinity of has always brought comfort, whether it's here on the upper river or further downstream.  Red Wing's connection to the river has been and essential kinship from its earliest days and so, sharing a part of this river with Bob to the extent that I could was something I was very much looking forward to.

Red Wing's area famous Floating Boat Houses......

I came to appreciate Bob's sense of exploration, something I thought he and I shared.  Seeing the inscription on this plaque reinforced that and just seemed like the right spot for SB to pause for a bit in the quiet river park.

Baypoint Park's "The Boy" statue.....
"What kind of man would live where there is no daring?  I don't believe in taking chances but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chances at all.  Charles Lindbergh

Red Wing's waterfront, Barn Bluff in the distance.  The Mississippi running very high for mid-summer due to the region's recent heavy rains.

Kid's Fishing Day.......

They don't do Crocs but they do specialize in footwear and have been for 111 years.....


Up to Memorial Park (Karen was there when in town), this plaque explains our limestone bluffs and glacier-eroded valleys.

Barn Bluff off SB's tail, the main channel of the river immediately beyond.

In the Lower Quarry section of Memorial Park, signs commemorating the limestone mining industry.....

This flat section of the park (very little flat around here) is the floor of the quarry, rock removed, shear walls all around.

Another sign mentioning this valley's continental flyway....

There, a taste of Red Wing and a few of the local things I was anxious to share with our friend Bob Scoot.

Friday, July 29, 2016

ScooterBob - Northern Wisconsin Visit

I picked the right bike to ride almost perfect color match.

Both Ben and I on 250's, he rode the GTR250 and I had the Helix.  We went north and as far as I could tell, we met Erik and Nancy almost exactly on the dot at our agreed upon 11:00 in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.  A couple of emails the last few days, today's meeting at a spot roughly half way between our homes worked out very well.

We pulled into the outreaches of the parking lot, sort of expecting to see a black (or dark grey?) pickup.  I knew that they would be in something with 4 wheels....well...something with more than 2 at least.  Ben and I were just pulling past when I recognized a guy climbing out of a brightly colored car......

Thanks Erik!

Of course there was one of Erik's Crocs.....

After the photo session, we all sat down together for a very enjoyable lunch, the discussions even better.  It was great to finally meet Nancy and to spend easy time with Erik once more.

Another 231 miles (on the road) for SB today.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

ScooterBob - Old Influences

In 1969, I was almost fifteen and open to influences from all sides. 

I'd already owned a motorcycle, been riding for a couple of years and the dream (and boy could I) rides taking place in my head involved narrow, rocky and steep mountain trails, my ride of choice a Honda Trail bike, running down a gear or two.  We had a brochure that my brother and I literally wore thin the few years previous.  Our riding experience was in wet hay fields (deep slippery alfalfa isn't as soft as one might expect), cow pie filled pastures, rocky fence lines with sacks of feed on luggage racks.  Public gravel roads happened (more and more frequently) as did narrow creek crossings but those carefully chosen and in only just the right places.  Mistakes were made, some bumps and scratches happened.  Ride loops were getting more extensive and the love of maps that Gramp had shared with me was really taking hold.

Then a TV series came along when my world was really beginning to grow, the timing couldn't have been better as far as I was concerned, both at the time and I still feel that way to this day.  Maps weren't just townships or counties any longer; state maps were being collected and studied.  The 3rd motorcycle I owned, my name the only one on the Registration Title was one not much different than this one only mine was blue.

I rode mine south along the shores of the Mississippi, both sides, as far as southern Arkansas, never quite making Texas which had been my map-reading goal.  Still, it was a river trip I wanted and one that sufficed.  The '70 never saw salty beach water, climbed any steep western hills and to the best of my knowledge, wasn't airborne even once.....we did just fine regardless.  After a couple of years, both dad and I were ready for a bike change so he and I swapped.

He had the HD and I had an almost new Honda CB750, very much kitted for Touring. 

Touring was most definitely what I had in mind.  And so, a partial explanation of some if not most of the Issues I currently have.

SB, thanks for sharing the road with one of my old ones and for bringing back many of those old memories. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ScooterBob - Wisconsin Backroads 2

Another lovely summer day, on the warm side but isn't that what we upper Mid-westerners are waiting for every January?  A slight breeze and humidity that had backed off, it was a glorious day for riding.

Yamaha Day, the label in my head, the machines that we rode....Ben had the old reliable XS650 and I had the black streamliner.  My GIVI humpbag, an almost easy fit for SB in the pouch.  Both zippers didn't really need to be absolutely closed on such a nice day.

The worst part of our infamous needs to be graded once more and before we get more gully washers.

We just got going out on the highway when one of our local yahoo's passed us.  Never in pants, never helmeted, often shirtless.....on a Sportbike, I don't know how he does it.  I did secretly enjoy seeing his jowls flutter in the wind (old enough to know better) as he pulled back in.

In to Red Wing for some petrol....

 Waiting for the BNSF train to pass at Cty K and Wisconsin 35.  This must have either been some sort of Inspector or a VERY dedicated Railfan.

Yesterday's ride start was a late one so we hadn't ridden very far before it was time to get some lunch.  Taco Tuesday was my choice, Ben went with the Bacon Cheese Burger.

 We've driven and ridden past this place at the crossroads of Cty N and US 63 literally hundreds of times and never stopped.  I made a different choice yesterday.

Kenny's Lawton Bar, since 1894


We were on our way to Spring Valley, a place that we once rode to often, the we being my parents, Peg....a long time ago.  Spring Valley, tucked low between the hills suffered greatly from flooding so the Corps of Engineers built this earthen dam barely above the town and in so doing, created a public lake and recreation area.

We chose the Overlook Road.....

Here's the cut through the rock, source of most of the earthen dam material.

This from Spring Valley's Athletic Field, just below the earthen dam.

 On Cty Q passing beneath I-94 just west of Knapp, WI.

 Downtown Knapp, Boo'z Bar & Grill.  Two Ruckuses among the lunch time customers.

 Stopping for some water on the steep and curvy Cheney Hill Rd heading south out of Knapp.

Typical backroad......It dawned on me here, this route was one very close to the one I'd ridden with Rick a few weeks ago.  Such a pleasant, close to home, reasonable length loop with all of the things present on a ride that I enjoy.  This will be a Track and Route that I use again.

Lots of heavy traffic yesterday.  This must have been the 4th or 5th vehicle we'd met on the Named Roads since leaving home.

I slowed way down to get a better look at this big Gleaner harvesting what I'm quite sure was flax, not a common crop grown around here.

On to Menomonie and a Rustic Road.  We absolutely had to expose SB to one of Wisconsin's treasures, their Rustic Road Program.  Of the 117 current on the State's list, I've done just a couple less than 50.  There were just over 100 when I sought out the ones in the western half of the state.  I'm most deficient in riding the SE and NE corner routes.  Numbered in the order of creation, we stopped for and rode #89 along the Red Cedar River.


Back into its nest......

Down through Downsville and into Durand for some fuel and more water.  From there, primarily a route on Cty Z (should ride this more often) and then the old standby Cty S into Plum City.  Here an absolutely mandatory stop at the fish pond and park.

As my friend Tom used to say, ..."big fish, nice fish"....

Our last stop of the day (what did you expect??), ice cream at Flat Pennies.  In Bay City, Wisconsin, literally across the river from us is a store featuring treats of all kinds, the motif a Soo Line Railroad caboose, the BNSF tracks across the highway mere feet away.

165 miles of absolutely perfect weather, roads and most importantly, riding.  We had a wonderful, unplanned and lazy day.

(we did have ice cream)