Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memorial Day ride 2018

I had Friday off of work which meant a four day weekend with Memorial Day on Monday. Friday morning I took care of some household errands and started out early afternoon. Beautiful day but unusually hot for May in Minnesota. First stop was the Sportsman's Guide Warehouse Store in South Saint Paul for a deer mineral block for my favorite deer hunting spot. After securing my treasure in a saddle bag I got out of the city as quickly as possible and onto some county roads heading east and north. A couple of hours in I punched the Dairy Queen button that I have pre-programmed on my Nav5 and saw one in the next town: Somerset Wisc. (some bikers never pass a biker bar, I never pass a DQ without stopping)

The good news is that I had all afternoon to make the normally three hour drive to my cabin. So, I stayed on all county roads heading north and east and stretched it to six hours. Anyone familiar with Wisconsin county roads will know why I prefer them and why I call them "alphabet roads". They all are named a letter of the alphabet, county road A, county road B,... etc. They are always paved and often full of curves. I love the alphabet roads!

While enjoying my Blizzard I checked my weather app and noticed storms a brewing. Some had already passed my destination and some where coming in from the south and west. Since I was heading north and east, I figured I could miss them. And fortunately I was right. There was one black cloud that kept bird dogging me but I was able to keep in front of it which made me very happy.

Speaking of happy, I also was very happy with my K1600GT. I was running smoothly, quickly and perfectly. On top of that, it's the most beautiful bike I've ever laid eyes on.

I stopped for a pulled pork sandwich in Birchwood WI (delicious) and made the last 20 miles to my shack just before dusk which is a requirement because at sunset there are always deer on the roads.

Saturday morning was spent mowing and other work that is always there when you own a 2nd property. But in the afternoon my favorite (only) brother-in-law and I did a scenic route to Hayward where we found another Dairy Queen! I had promised him that I would let him set the pace because he is unable to ride long and fast due to a head injury a number of years ago which still bothers him but on the way back there was a long stretch of well paved road that was vacant of other drivers and proved to tempting to me. I passed him and twisted the throttle just to see what these six cylinders could do. My bro-in-law was a dot in my mirror in seconds as I hit 100 very quickly. Since I was about to a hill with unknown dangers beyond, I rolled back to 80 as I topped the hill. Wow, these six cylinders can move!!!

Sunday I attended the service at a local country church and then spent the afternoon and evening working on the bathroom of my cabin. A new ceiling of tongue and groove pine which I had salvaged from a house in the cities. (I am a remodeling contractor).

Monday, i packed up and stopped at a Memorial Day service at the cemetery. Afterwards I again had all afternoon to get home so headed south on those good old alphabet roads. When I'd stop at a town for gas/food/drink I literally had no idea what the town was. I was only interested in going either south or west because I knew that those directions were the direction of home. Mid afternoon I punched the Dairy Queen button again and was directed to one in New Richmond WI. Then it was due west on County Rd A and E until Stillwater MN, then back to the real world, four lane packed highway home. Even though I was traveling a Monday holiday where everyone is trying to get home from the long weekend most of the day I had the roads to myself until Minnesota. Nice, very nice. Of course, it did take me about six hours to get home, but that was just fine, .... actually more than fine, great! Traveling was very hot and actually got over 100 degrees F which was extremely unusual up here. Lots of years we never hit 100 and then only in August. Yes, I left those wind scoops open!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Summer Trip 2016 SW Wisc Day last (4)

Sunday August 21.   (BTW, to read the summer trip story in order, scroll down to day one first.  Also, click on any picture to super size.)

Bill had a meeting to get to and Lloyd decided to ride with him so they left for the cities at sunrise.  The rest of us cooked breakfast and had our bible study before heading out.

First we found some more interesting side roads to hit before getting serious about heading home.  It was a beautiful day and good to enjoy the ride.  The best was the beginning, the worst was getting through the city of  LaCrosse.  We had a plan to meet Keith, Jeff and Randy at Buck knuckles near Alma.  This is a biker bar/grill in the middle of no where.  But they serve a good meal with interesting ambiance. When we first got there it was very busy and crowded with motorcycles parked everywhere and we had to find a table outside.  But shortly everybody left.  We surmised it was because they realized the Fossil Apostles Motorcycle Gang was there and they were scared of us!  (kidding!).

Pictures of headlights at the Mississippi on Wisc 35.

Only parking left at Buck Knuckles was back by the cornfield.

We had a good meal, told the stories of our weekend to those who meet us there, then headed on home.   It had been another great Fossil trip.  Good rides, friends and fellowship.... even if the weather often didn't cooperate.   Thanks brothers!

Grace and Peace,
Fossil Wayne

Summer Trip 2016 SW Wisc Day 3

Saturday August 20.

The new day promises to be chilly and wet.  We decided to head to somewhere where we could be inside:  The motorcycle museum in Anamosa, Iowa.  It would be an hour and a half ride in the rain but it was something to do!

First we cooked breakfast and had our bible study and then we headed out.  At first it wasn't raining but we hadn't gotten very far until the drizzle started.  We pulled over and put on the rain gear, then continued on.  After we got into Iowa the rain quit, we stopped at a town and ate at a pizza ranch.  Then the last bit to the National Motorcycle Museum.

The museum was very interesting and we spent a couple of hours there at least.  then we stopped at the J&P Cycle headquarters, also in Anamosa.  Some of us bought new do-rags and Jim picked up a new mirror to replace the one which was damaged in the fall.  Also coffee to keep us awake for the long ride home.  It was getting late, we found a steak house in a town in Wisconsin for supper.  Frankly their steak was overpriced and under tasted.  But we still had a good time.  By the time we finished supper, the sun was getting low and we still had a ways to go.  We made it home and I finally was able to pitch a tent since it actually wasn't raining for a change.

Summer Trip 2016 SW Wisc Day two

Friday August 19.

We woke to an end of the overnight rain and started our daily bible study.  Greg had prepared a fascinating study of who Christ is and who we are in Him.

We then walked back through the field to our bikes, loaded up and headed into the nearest town for some breakfast.

We spent the rest of the day on small twisty county and township roads through the beautiful hills of SW Wisc.  The roads and the scenery were fantastic!
Highland Wisc: breakfast and fuel.

Typical scenery of beautiful SW Wisc

Of course we found a DQ!

There was a scary mishap on the way back to our home away from home.  We turned onto a county road and discovered it had recently been covered with oil and gravel.  Most of us quickly maneuvered around and back off but Jim wasn't so fortunate.  He hit a loose spot and went down.  Jim was laying on the road with his bike on his leg!  We got him and his bike up and accessed the damage which fortunately was slight.  Jim was only bruised and there was a part on the bike bent but usable after some rough on-the-road repairs.

We made it home and cooked supper of brats on the grill, sweet corn and watermelon.  A fine day of riding and fellowship.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Summer Trip 2016 SW Wisc. Day one

We took a four day weekend in August in the hills of SW Wisc.  Five fossils strong: Greg, Jim, Bill, Lloyd and Wayne.  It was suppose to be eight guys but one had bike troubles and two others had last minute obligations.  We had rented a house in the woods near Montfort.  It was a great trip in spite of a lot of rain.  Most of the rain happened at night at which point we were glad to have a roof over our head.

Day one: Thursday August 18. MSP to Montfort Wi.  Met at Wayne's house and after prayer and scripture reading headed south.  The plan was to take mostly side roads all the way through SE MN into NE Iowa before crossing into Wisc.  This would make the four hour trip into eight.  But that would be OK, since we were on vacation and the trip is about the ride not the destination.
At noon we stopped at the Covered Bridge Restaurant for lunch in Zumbrota.  From here we'd continue on fun roads south, bypassing Rochester.  (We dislike riding in cities).  But there was a wrinkle I (Wayne) couldn't find my cellphone.  I surmised that I threw it on top of my duffle bag at home and it slid into the street.  After borrowing Bill's phone and making some calls/texts we decided to head into Rochester and pick up a new one.   That was a fine solution except it forced us into the city and onto not very much fun roads.   BTW, it turned out that I hadn't lost my phone at all but merely left it on my desk at home (!).

After we finally got south of I90 we were back onto some fun roads but the sun was getting low and we had a long way to travel before we rest...   Did find a DQ though:

We twisted our way down and around SE MN and eventually dropped into Iowa and crossed into Wisconsin at Lansing.  Then we crossed some hills east rising off the Mississippi valley on a nice road through multiple large apple orchards before getting onto US61.  It was now getting very late and we needed to get rolling.  The trip into Rochester ate up way too much time.  South on 61 and east finally got us to Montfort Wisc as the sun was going down.  Didn't look forward to taking the side roads in the dark to our rental cabin but figured it'd be OK.  Stopped at a gas station/convenience store to buy some food.  But then we looked at the sky.  The western sky was darkening quickly not because of the setting sun but because of huge thunderclouds moving in.  A quick look at weather.com confirmed the worst, a huge thunderstorm was bearing down on us!. We donned rain gear and were about to head into the now beginning rain but when the wind picked up to what felt like hurricane gusts we decided to wait it out.  Graciously an employee let us park our bikes in a car wash bay so the wouldn't get blown away.

While we were eating gas station sandwiches I got a call from the owner of the cabin wondering about our status.  I told her we were in town waiting for the rain to quit then we'd head out in the dark and try to find the place.  Turns out she wasn't actually expecting us until tomorrow night and was surprised to hear how close we were.  But she said we'd never find the place on our own in the dark so she'd send her son into town to show us the way.  And turns out that this was sage advise because this place was hidden!  Her son showed up and we loaded up.  The heavy storm was over but it was still drizzling.  He said, "you know we have no potable water at the cabin, right?"  "Ah,,,, no not really"... Lloyd ran into the store and bought a couple of cases of bottled water for the weekend.  Then we followed him to the farm where the cabin is located.  From the farm, the cabin is through a corn field, across a creek and through the woods on a glorified cow path.  In the dark and wet we didn't dare try to make that trek on our bikes.  So he let us park our bikes in a farm building.  We loaded all the gear and ourselves into the back of his pickup and made the foray to our home away from home.  The house was way cool in a great back woods location.  As advertised, the cabin was "off the grid" which normally was not a big deal since they have a generator.  However, at this time, the generator was broken so the only lights we had were 12v battery lights and our own flashlights. Still, we each found a place to sleep, three on beds, two on couches and hit the hay.  A long, adventurous day that had it's share of challenges but we were all glad to be there and looking forward to what was to come.

Caleb, our host and chauffeur. 

Our rental home:

Friday, May 13, 2016

Spring ride June 11, 2016

We spent a nice day zooming around Wisc alphabet roads on Saturday the 11th of June.  Met at the Fleet Farm on Lexington Ave then headed across the river.  Had brunch at the Friendly Grill in Star Prairie.  After riding around in circles ended our ride (of course) at the Dairy Queen in Osceola.  Good day of riding.  Here are the pics:

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer trip last day. Kearny Nebraska to home

Got up early and headed east.  Got across Nebraska and into Iowa, no problems.  But then things started falling apart.

First, after another DQ lunch (where they had smoked brisket!) all of a sudden the bikes didn't want to stay strapped on the trailer anymore.  The back two were coming loose of it's moorings and bouncing around.  Fortunately, not all the way off and we got them tied back down well.

Then, we decided to take a detour around DesMoines to get away from the road construction delays we had run into on day one and just south of Ames, a tire on the trailer blew off it's tread and we had no spare.  We stopped at a fix it place in a little town but they were not able to provide a tire but pointed us to a place near Ames that would.  We limped the 30 miles to that place and had them replace two tires of the four.  I almost bought a spare too but decided that we wouldn't need it after we fixed the two worst tires.  That was a mistake...

We jumped back on the interstate heading north but about 60 miles from Mason City another tire blew it's tread.  It was now to late in the day to get any help from any tire place in the small towns so we slowed down to try and get to Mason City.  At about 40 miles out the whole tire blew and we were running on the rim.  We decided to keep going on the rim because we were going to have to buy a new rim with a new tire anyhow.  Eventually we got to the Fleet Farm in town, bought the new wheel and got it changed.  Jim and Keith decided to unload there bikes while I was shopping for the wheel so they could get home sooner than later.

We had a time of thanksgiving to God for the great week and bid farewell in the parking lot.  We finally made it home at about 11:00 PM.

Wrap up:
It was a great trip with great roads, great weather, great scenery and great fellowship with great Christian Brothers.
Praise the Lord!

Summer Trip Day 7. Cottonwood Pass to Kearny Nebraska

Friday July 17, 2015

We had visitors over night.  A bear had tried to get into Steve's saddlebag after some good smelling morsel and had knocked it over.  Fortunately, Yogi and Booboo left after their failed attempt.  Steve's bike had only slight damage, a broken turn signal.

After standing his bike up and accessing the damage we headed back to the "best coffee shop in the world" for breakfast in Buena Vista.  Over breakfast sandwiches and coffee we planned our last day in the mountains.  I called my cousin who lives near Denver and set up a meeting.  Did our normal scripture reading and prayer and headed east.

We took US285 north and east through more beautiful country to my cousin, Randy's house.  There he showed us his motorcycle collection, shared a cool drink and then it was time to head out of the mountains and get around Denver to our waiting trailer.

Randy pointed us to a nice twisty road down to the interstate called "Turkey Lane".   The ride down Turkey Lane not only brought us out of the mountains but also out of the mountain cool.  It went from about 75 degrees to 95 degrees in one quick swoop.

The ride around Denver on the interstate was fast, busy, hot and miserable.  But we stopped about half way around for some lunch at a Chick-Filet so that was nice.

We got back to the KOA at around 2;00 PM.  Loaded the bikes back onto the trailer, tied em down good and hit the road for home.  We pulled into Kearny Nebraska at about midnight, where we had reserved rooms at the Ramada.

What a difference a day makes.  We went from a cool mountain camp site to hot prairie flat land.  But all good things must come to an end.

Summer Trip Day 6 Black Canyon to Cottonwood Pass

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Another delicious breakfast over the one burner and after scripture and prayer we were on our way.  First a short ride down to the Gunnison river dam then east on US 50 through the town of  Gunnison then into the Gunnison National Forest and Monarch Pass.  The road up to Monarch Pass is another very twisty fun road.  We stopped at the Visitor's Center at the crest of the pass and asked a young lady to take our picture for the momentous occasion.  It was this very pass which had been Steve's first mountain ride 14 years ago when he and I and my favorite brother-in-law, Charlie, were here in 2001.  At that time Steve was a novice rider and to say he was tentative about this pass is an understatement.  Steve is now one of the fastest, most fearless rider I know.  He has come along way, baby.

From the crest we headed on east down out of the mountain, then north up US285 to Buena Vista where Keith's most favorite Coffee Shop in the world is located (whose name escapes me at the moment).  Something about a Brown Dog, as I recall.
We had some lunch and pie and planned our afternoon.  I was leaning towards heading up to another beautiful pass I had riden on two other occasions, Independence Pass.  However it was a bit of a ways away and we were trying to google road constructions on the road when all of a sudden Keith interrupts a phone conversation to say "Cottonwood Pass is a great place to go".  I looked at him like he was crazy and said "what, who was talking about Cottonwood Pass".  He shrugged his shoulders and went back to his phone conversation.  After he hung up he brought it up again, "Yes Cottonwood Pass is great and it's just west of town here up a county road".  We looked it up on the map and had to agree, it looked good on paper.  And it was close and there were campsites up there.  Sounded perfect and it was!  A great twisty county road up beautiful country and the crest of the pass has some outstanding views. And we were able to make snow balls!

The road turned into gravel as it continued west down the mountain.  Steve headed that way on his dual purpose bike.  The rest of us headed back east the way we came but stopped at the campground where we found and claimed the last camp site in the place.  We rested as we waited for Steve to make his way back up the mountain and find us.  Then we set up camp and headed back into town for Pizza.  After supper we carefully headed back up the mountain watching for deer in the dark as we found our camp site.  Another great day of mountain riding!

Summer Trip. Day 5 Naturita to Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Had breakfast in the same restaurant as our really bad supper and they make a much better breakfast and the service was fine!  The day is starting out good.  We loaded up and headed south on Colorado state Hwy 145.  A beautiful, twisty road through the San Juan National Forest.  After our morning ride the traffic got heavy but that let up after we got past the big tourist destination of the Teluride ski area.  Then it was a great ride again.  Stopped for pictures at Lizard Head pass.  Named for a huge rock out cropping that looks like a monstrous lizard.

Then it was a nice ride south down the mountain to the little town of Dolores, then we headed east to Durango where we found lunch in a DQ and prepared for the great road known as "The Million Dollar Highway" (US 550) north which I fondly remember from my last trip to Colorado in 2001.  This beautiful road was still as beautiful as I remembered but unfortunately it was stopped up with traffic from road construction.  They were stopping traffic for one way travel which put us into a pack of slow moving vehicles.  But we stopped at the delightful tourist town of Silverton and did some shopping.  I bought an anniversary present for my bride of 38 years which I was going to miss because of this trip.

After Silverton we got back onto the great twisties of the Million Dollar Highway (still road construction) to Ouray then further north through the high plateaus to Montrose where we bought supper and breakfast for the campground.  Headed east on US 50 and found a campground along the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

.  Around the camp fire I got a hot ash into my eye which caused not a little concern and pain.  But Dr Jim had just the treatment in some high power eye drops that was just the ticket.  That night we were able to continue the bible study from I Tim 6 on pursuing righteousness.  It was a long day but we saw some great scenery and hit some great roads

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer Trip Day 4 Colorado National Monument to Naturita

Tuesday July 14, 2015

Some sprinkles on the tent as the day broke.  No reason for most of us to get up in this.  Except for Keith, since he decided to sleep under the stars, sprinkles caused him to scramble while the rest of us rolled over in our sleeping bags.  Fortunately, it wasn't much moisture and it didn't last long.  Breakfast was omelets cooked over the one burner by Steve.  Yum!

After loading up and scripture/prayer we headed back down from the top of the park on the same great road to Grand Junction.  Stopped at some pull outs for more great views of the red cliffs.  In town we made a stop at a Walmart for some more gear then headed south.

We had noticed on the map a very interesting looking highway with some nice twisties which would bring us down into SW Colorado and get us into place for our foray back east into the high mountains of central Colorado.  It was State Hwy 141 from Grand Junction to Naturita.  After riding it we can all agree that this is a GREAT road and is HIGHLY recommended! It follows the Dolores river valley with cool looking tall red mountainous cliffs on each side.  The curves are fun and the scenery is amazing.  (remember to click on the pics to make them full size).

We stopped at a little town called Gateway for gas and lunch.  Fortunately, the only place in town had both.  Next to the gas station was a old fashioned dining car which a couple from India had brought in and was selling really bad, greasy American food.  Someone at the pump had warned us not to eat there but the suggestion of where else to eat didn't pan out so we ended up back there and filled our stomachs.  There were a few tables set up in the veranda between the dining car and the store and at some point I turned to the family next to us and said "So, where are you from?".  Their faces lit up as they said "Why, we are from England!".  It turned out they were on holiday for three weeks in Colorado and we were delighted to spend some time sharing our stories.  The dad is a surgeon, Mom is a dentist and the two daughters are college students.  I shared our Fossil business cards with them and promised them I'd put their picture on our web site if they'd pose for me.  They did, and here it is:

Hi folks, sorry it's taken me so long to post this, hope you still see it.  It was great meeting you!

After lunch we continued on south on Colorado 141 not sure how far we were going to get that day.  There had been some light rain around all day making some wet, even flooded roads.  But the light rain turned heavy which settled for us where to call it a day.  Steve had zoomed ahead and tried to make it to a town called Naturita without stopping to put on rain gear, He didn't make it dry.  Us slow pokes, however, saw the dark clouds and pulled over to gear up before the wet started.  It was really pouring heavily as we pulled into town and saw Steve waving us into an enclosed car wash bay where he retreated from the rain.  From there we pulled up the weather radar on our phones and realized this was going to last a couple more hours.  We decided that this was the town and the only motel in town would be our home tonight.

Supper was in a restaurant across the street.  This day is the day that will go down as the day when our food was the worst.  Supper was even worse than lunch.  The service was lousy and the food was slow, un-done and yucky.  Otherwise, it was a good evening and the much needed shower felt great!  
The real bed was nice too.