(remember, click on a picture to enlarge it)
Our final ride to finish the first decade of the new century happened on Saturday, October 2. It was a good ride if a bit on the cold side. The skies stayed cloudy for most of the day and never topped 50 degrees. I think most of us were dressed for it, however, so all was fine and at least it didn't rain.
The northwest Fossils meet at MGCC and were 7 strong: Lloyd, Jim, Greg, Bill, Eric, Steve and Alan. They came down and meet the southern Fossils at IKEA: Wayne, (the other) Steve, Shaun, and (the other) Wayne. For a total of eleven Fossils on this trip. Scripture reading this day was Psalm 25: "... For You are the God of my salvation,..."
Our plan was to head southeast to Red Wing and meet Fossil Gordy at the Liberty's Restaurant for brunch. Fortunately, Greg remembered the scenic route from Hastings to Red Wing so even this first leg was nice once we got out of the city. This road is called Ravena, or Ramona Road or similar. Like I said, it's a good thing Greg has a good memory...
The breakfast at Liberties was fine as well as the company. It was good to head down the road on a full belly after catching up with old Fossil friends as well as acquanting some new Fossil friends. We then headed across the Mississippi to Wisconsin and turned south on State Hwy 35 to Pepin, Wisc. State Hwy 35 is a famous road for bikers and a fine ride/nice scenery in it's own right. But, we were heading for something twistier and less traveled...
Time for some Wisconsin Alphabet Roads! We got to the south end of Pepin and took a left onto County 'N'. Immediately the twisties began as well as the great scenery of turning colors on the hills as we pulled up out of the Mississsippi valley and along the Chippewa River Valley. We kept heading north and east on county 'N' for about 15 miles until the intersection of county 'SS'. There was a nice parking lot for a township hall there to stop and make sure everybody was still smiling (they were). The porta potty there was a help to a few of us as well...
County 'SS' twisted west for about 10 miles then it was south and back down the hills to the Mississippi on County 'CC' and into the north end of Pepin. We had just rode about 35 miles to get back to where we began. This is my (Wayne's) favorite kind of ride: Great twisties and scenery around and around to nowhere. In my book there is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
At Pepin, I was desiring a pop (or soda if you prefer) but could not find one at the Amish shop we stopped at (go figure). So, we headed back up State Hwy 35 to Maiden Rock, WI. This is a nice little river town that is filled with sight see-ers on weekends. We found a bakery which hadn't expected such a large crowd this weekend so was out of baked goods. But I was able to buy a Coke, Jim a Root Beer, and Lloyd got a coffee. Then we gathered around their porch for more enjoying each other's company. During this time, Lloyd informed me that I had deviated from my planned ride which he had inputed into his GPS. I had forgotten that I was going to grab county 'J' at Stockholm and head back into the hills but had missed it in my mission of buying a pop. But, not a huge deal, in our lost state we noticed an intriging looking road called county 'AA'. No one had it on a map but it was only a couple of miles back and I surmised it would probably head up into the hills and get us onto County 'J' as planned.
Turned out, I was right, it was another fun, twisty road heading up the hills and, sure enough, it ended right at county 'J' as hoped for. We then turned left there and took 'J' to 'CC' to 'U' to Plum City, WI. Another great bunch of roads and great fun to zoom through. What a great ride!
Plum City was the end of my planned Alphabet route. From here it was decision time as to whether we wanted to try more side roads or start heading home. Since it was now getting late (around 3 PM as I recall) the decision was to start heading home. From here we took US 10 west to state Hwy 65 north to Interstate 94 west. Even though this was more of major routes they still were pretty nice.
When we got onto the Interstate I was privately bemoaning the fact that we were about to complete an authorized Fossil Apostle Ride without ever stopping at a Dairy Queen. This, I thought, was a dangerous precedent that would be a travesty. But I then remembered a small DQ in downtown Hudson. Unfortunately, since I was towards the rear of the pack at this time I was unable to communicate my intentions to all. But, Greg and Lloyd saw my frantic gesturing and followed me off the super slab and into the DQ parking lot. Disaster was diverted as we ordered up the appropriate Blizzard, cone and/or cheese curds (Lloyd thought it was too cold for ice cream).
Thus ends another year of Fossil Apostle's rides. Again, we all had a great time and appreciate the opportunities to enjoy the fellowship of Christian brothers and the fun of riding motorcycles. Thanks guys, see you next year!
Grace and Peace from God the Father and Jesus our Lord,