Thursday, October 2, 2008

2008 Fall Ride

Fossil Apostles Fall Ride ‘08

Gordy nailed it! His proposal of an Oct. 11 date for a fall ride may prove to have been the best day of the Autumn of ’08. The confluence of mid-seventy air temps, a partly to mostly cloudy sky, light breezes and some peak color combined for a great day for biking in river bluff country along the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Just six of us – Lloyd, Bill, Jim, Keith, Jeff and I (Greg) met up at Woody’s Grille, along the west edge of the 494 loop at 8:00 Saturday morning.

We got underway at about 8:30, after getting apprised of the most recent updates to Gadget Guy’s (Jeff’s) bike (check out the new surface-to-air missile launcher---). Within a half-hour or so, we escaped the metro freeway network, following highway 55 south toward Hastings. Once in Hastings, Jeff took the lead to escort us to Red Wing via a nice, somewhat curvy road-less-traveled, namely, Ravenna Trail to County 18 Boulevard. It emptied back onto Hwy. 61, just north of Red Wing – a nice alternative to Hwy. 52 to County 50 through Trier and Miesville.

We arrived in Red Wing at 10:00, where we met up with Gordy for breakfast at Liberty’s Restaurant, downtown. Gordy was sporting a new aftershave called “87 Octane” that attracted the attention of all the waitresses. The food was outstanding. The conversation drifted in and out of politics, the economic collapse, and talk about our foolish car purchases in years past. We enjoyed a few laughs, sang “Happy Birthday” to a waitress named Sherry and left to enjoy our ride. Regrettably, Keith had to return home to make good on a previous commitment. We said our goodbyes, then we headed south toward Lake City, down Hwy. 61.

It was somewhat chilly riding in the shade of the river bluffs for several miles below Lake City, but not enough to be of any concern. The fall colors were spectacular, the vistas along the river breathtaking at times, and I could not help but be reminded of how very privileged we were to be experiencing this ride together, in this extraordinarily beautiful place. God’s workmanship – at the peak of it’s beauty, and here we were riding motorcycles though it. Man, we are so blessed!

We exited Hwy. 61 at Weaver, then followed County 74 toward Beaver and the Whitewater State Park basin, where flooding had ravaged the area just months earlier. We found ourselves on hard-packed limestone gravel that stretched on for several miles. The Box Elder bugs and Ladybugs were hanging in swarms in the warm October air. We made our way to the town of Elba, where Jeff had to leave us to make his way back toward home and a to-do list.

The remainder of us went to plan B, which took us eastward, back toward the river and bluff country, in lieu of the original route which would have taken us northwesterly toward Zumbro Falls, Oronoco and Zumbrota. I think we followed county 26 toward Altura, then east along Hwy. 248 back to Hwy. 61. We rode into downtown Winona to find the river crossing into Wisconsin. Once across the river, we headed northward along the river on Wisconsin Hwy. 35.

Hwy. 35 was magnificent! A good deal of the way you are looking at the river or the backwaters of the river. It takes you through these quaint, small towns like Fountain City, Maiden Rock, Stockholm and Pepin. Every biker and his brother (or his Mama) was out on the road. The river to the left, the bluffs and the leafy palettes of color to the right – wow! - what a treat! And this kind of eye-candy stretched on for miles and more miles. At Gordy’s urging (now we know where Keith gets it) we stopped for ice cream at a great little ice cream shop, I think just south of Pepin. We took plenty of time to sit and enjoy enormous ice cream cones (a bargain at only $2) and watch the endless parade of motorcycles go by. Before getting underway once again we said our goodbyes to Gordy, as we knew he would soon be crossing the river, back to Red Wing via the bridge at Hwy. 63.

Shortly after Gordy left us, we saw the skies threatening rain ahead, so we pulled off one last time to suit-up for rain. A light rain soon started, but in no way dampened our spirits nor spoiled the ride. We crossed back into Minnesota from Prescott, Wisconsin, linked up with the superslabs – Hwy. 61 to 94 to 35E to 694/94 and to home, arriving there around 6:30, just as it was starting to get dark.

Bill mentioned to me the next morning, at church, the melancholy that he felt as he pulled into the garage that night. “I was thinking about the fact that it may be six months before we can do this again.”. As I left him, I felt a bit of that same melancholy, but also the thought that maybe those six months are a part of what make a day like today so precious – the fact that we don’t know when – or if ever - we will have this opportunity again. We receive it all the more as a treasured gift from our Creator and Father. Thank you, Lord for the gift of today.

Until we ride again,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 9, Saturday, Glendive Montana to Home.

Discussion over the supper table last night was about whether to stick with the plan today of visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and then stay at a hotel in Jamestown or to push all the way home. The trip all the way home would be a long hard one in that we were about 640 miles from home and may take 12 or more hours on a motorcycle. Keith and Eric had already decided to go for it and the rest of us decided to join them. The trip has been great but it is time to go home.

So, the new plan was to get up extra early and leave by 5:00 AM central time. It was a beautiful morning as we were packing our bikes. The full moon was setting in the west and the eastern horizon was starting to lighten. Filling our bikes with gas, reading a psalm, saying a prayer, and we were on our way....

The ride was indeed a hard one. It was chilly in the dark but our first problem was that at times we were driving directly into the rising sun. It also is tough to spend a lot of miles continuously on a motorcycle. We needed to stop about every 60 miles to stretch and and every second stop to fill with gas. But, we stayed with that regiment and made relatively good time, into North Dakota fairly quickly. Each stop we were shedding layers of clothes as the rising sun kept adding heat into the equation. After a lot of time and miles though, we made it, getting home around 7:00PM.

At our last gas stop we re-capped our week and said a final prayer of thanksgiving. All agreed that it was a great adventure and we were very pleased with the week. We rode at or around 3,000 miles total and not a single breakdown. Except for some rain in Spearfish and snow in the BigHorns, the weather was great and the scenery greater. We grew in our appreciation of God's creative wonder and the fellowship of a bunch of Christian men. And we had a heck of a lot of fun. Thanks guys! See you next year.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 8 Lovell, Wy to Glendive Montana

Custers Last Stand.

Today's scripture: Psalm

Plan today was to zoom through the Big Horn Mountains on US14A to near Sheridan and then visit Custer's Last Stand and finish the day in Glendive Montana.

The motel in Lovell, WY is not far from the Bighorns and we could see them from the parking lot. There was some clouds around and the forecast has a slight chance of rain. But, feeling optimistic,we did not put on the rain gear. As we travelled closer to the base of the mountains we could see that it was raining up there and we were getting some drops on our windshield so we stopped and remedied that oversight at the base of the mountain.

As the highway began to get twisty and work it's way up the mountain we noticed that the pavement was wet which required attention for any slipperiness. But it was not too bad and we still enjoyed the beginning of the drive up. We stopped at a pull out which presented a beautiful view of the valley below and also rainbows would appear occasionally in the clouds. Very nice!

Then a truck would pull into the parking area that caused all of us to drop our jaws... it was covered with a deep layer of snow! We rushed over to the driver and asked where he'd been to pick up this snow. He said, "up the mountain where you are going". Wow, this day was turning into an adventure we had not expected. The truck driver did give us some encouragement by saying that he had been up to his cabin high in the mountain range and he figured that the main highway which is lower in elevation would not have any snow. Boy was he wrong! We drove on with this hope in mind but after not too many curves and switchbacks we were in an actual accumulating snow fall. We stopped for pictures of this unusual sight and Greg even did a snow angel!

We had little choice but to carefully proceed. The road was snow covered except where the 4 wheeled vehicles had left 2 paths on each side of the road. As long as we stayed in one of these paths we were fine, but then we got behind a pickup who felt he couldn't go more than 15 MPH and we had to try and pass him. This didn't work to well so he pulled over and let us by. But then the adventure intensifies as the we see a snow plow barrelling down the road from the other direction. His plow blade was very wide and reached across the yellow line onto our side. We had to quickly pass through the snow in the middle of our lane to get out of the way or turn into a snow bank!

Shortly there after we drove out of the snow and into just rain. We worked our way down the mountain to Burgess Junction and found a nice restaurant to dry out and have a breakfast buffet. Right in the right place and at the right time.

After breakfast we mounted up again and continued out of the mountain range. The roads were wet but the rain was ending. We got down to town for gas and laughed over the strange conditions we had just encountered. In 30 years of riding motorcycle I had never rode in snow in August!

Next we jumped on the super slab and headed up to Montana. Destination: Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. By then the sun was out and drying everything out. We took off the rain gear and headed to the park information center just in time to hear the ranger give a historic presentation of the events that led to the battle and of the battle itself. It was very informative to hear and to stand in the very place where this fight occured. We then toured the monument and viewed the gravesites.

After all this it was time to start heading east in preparation for our drive home. Glendive is in eastern Montana on Interstate 94 and we arrived after a long drive at or around 7:00PM. It had been an interesting day full of suprises and adventure.

Day 7, Thursday, Red Lodge to Lovell, WY

(Click on a picture to enlarge)

Todays Scripture: Psalm 139

Another beautiful day in paradise. We got up and gathered the crew for a group photo because some were heading in different directions. Jim and Bill were needing to head straight home and Steve was going to spend more time riding the mountains. We took the picture, read the scripture, prayed and headed out.

Today's plan is to head back across the Beartooth pass, take a left at Chief Joseph Highway, and spend some time in Cody.

The Beartooth was even more enjoyable because we knew the road better now and are more experienced in leaning into the curves. We stopped at the top and took a video of the riders heading down at the other side. We also stopped at a campground/store near the top called Top of the World. The place is run by a very friendly man and his store is remarkable well equipped considering how far up the mountain and desolate his location is. A few of us bought his nicely priced "do rags" and tasted the large muffins he offered.

The road to Cody called Chief Joseph Highway (state hwy 120) offers some fantastic scenery as well as a nicely maintained mountain road. Very nice. Great ride.

We pulled into Cody at around 1:00 PM and a guy named "Cowboy" pulled up to talk to us. You can read about Cowboy below. We then headed to Irma's in downtown Cody for lunch. Irma's is a national historic place built by Buffalo Bill Cody for his daughter Irma. It is quite the building. After lunch we spent about an hour walking around the town and checking out the shops.

Next it was onto the town of Powell where Larry had left his car and trailer. As we were pulling out of Cody the wind was picking up and rain was in the horizon. I thought that perhaps we would get wet but we made it there dry. I checked ID when we got there to see who was actually Moses becaus it appeared that someone parted the sea as there was rain on the right of the highway and rain to the left but blue sky straight ahead.

We quickly got the bike back on the trailer and hightailed it to our motel in Lovell as the wind was really picking up. And, in deed, we felt our helmeted heads were about to be torn off our shoulders the cross wind was so strong. But we made it without getting wet or with parts of our bodies blown off. That is except for Lloyd and John. They had been delayed in Cody and got caught in the wet stuff.

Supper was at Taco Johns. Bible study was Luke 10 the good Samaritan. Who is our neighbor?

Tomorrow: through the Big Horns and then a visit to Custer's Last Stand.

People we've met

Wayne's daughter, Sara, and her dog, Roxy, who met us in Yellowstone.


Couple who took our pic at Missouri River

Dick & Sally

Guy who brought the news about the snow ahead

Along our trip we have been praying for opportunities to be a help, encouragement or bring a smile. We have also been wanting to share the love of Christ with them, share the Word and pray with them.

Here are a few of those who we have met:

This is Mary who was the head waitress at Irma's in Cody. Irma's is a historic hotel that Buffalo Bill built. Mary's job is to be rude to people. It is part of the routine that she picks someone out in a group such as ours and berates him and bosses him around. That lucky person today was Pastor Keith. Keith played along well but asked her at the end of the meal if she would let us take a picture of her. She said "no, leave me alone and sit down". But we kept after her and she had us go behind their huge antique bar for pictures which she took of us but in the end we got her to pose with us and gave each of us a hug and she even smiled.

This is "Cowboy". He drove up to us on his old Harley and told us that if we are ever in Denver and need a Harley mechanic that his son is an excellent Harley mechanic. This was strange since we told him that none of us are going to Denver and none of us rode Harleys. Cowboy then told his life story from running moonshine as a teenager to fighting vietcong in Vietnam to working in Mississippi and divorcing his wife and working with famous people in Vegas. This took about five minutes. He also told us he is in Cody because his brother who had been estranged from him is gravely ill. We offered to pray for his brother which he was glad to let us do. We then asked him if he knows Jesus and he said he does and has some acquantances who have brought him to Christian biker ralleys, etc. We promised to pray for him and his brother and are very grateful that God sent him our way this day. Please pray that some of what we said will encourage him towards serving the Lord.

(more to come)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 6, Yellowstone to Red Lodge, Montana

Wild flowers at Beartooth Pass (click on image to enlarge)

Sulfur pool at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Park

Fossils at Beartooth Pass

Todays scripture: Psalm 122.

The overnight was not as cold this morning but still quite chilly by MN August standards. The plan is to meet for a quick cup of coffee and morning snack at 8:00 AM, then travel up to the north part of the park and get a meal at Mammoth Hot Springs. As mentioned in yesterday's blog most of the guys did not make it up to the north end of the park yesterday. After Mammoth Hot Springs we'd head back to the Northeast entrance and head up to Cooke City and Red Lodge via the Bear Tooth Pass. Here us what Greg has to say about the Beartooth: "Beartooth, good."

As mentioned previously, the ride up the eastern side of the figure 8 to Tower Falls is very dramatic. And, of course, it did not change from yesterday to today. We enjoyed it very much. At Tower some took in the falls, some just rested. At Mammoth we ate and filled with gas then everyone was to drive to the upper parking lot of the Mammoth structure to get the view from up high. Unfortunately the turn off into the area was not easy to find and many drove right by and had to come back and a couple never did make it so it took quite a while for all of us find one another. But we eventually re-grouped and were ready for the drive out of the park and up to Montana. By the way, I should point out that our numbers now are much less than the high of 17 we had on Monday night. Many of the guys had other plans or other things to see and places to ride. At this point we were 9 in number.

The ride up to the Northeast entrance was nice and scenic. We hit road construction immediately upon exiting Yellowstone and it was gravel the 4 miles into Cooke City. But from Cooke City to Red Lodge we were free and clear. The ride on 212 up to the Beartooth pass is one of the nationally known greatest motorcycle rides in the USA. The road is so remote and high in the mountains that it is closed in the winter and only snowmobiles take it. The pass is just 60' short of 11,000 feet above sea level. The road has many switchbacks and hairpin turns and outstanding views of mountains and valleys including large patches of snow. I (Wayne) remember taking this road on a motorcycle decades ago and the one other thing I remembered of the pass is the mountain wild flowers that grow amongst all the rocks. Well, they are still there and quite interesting. Again: "Beartooth, good".

The town of Red Lodge is a nice little town just at the bottom of the pass. It caters to tourists and a lot of motorcyclists during the summer and to skiers during the summer. We stayed at the Beartooth Hideaway in the town and ate supper at a Chinese joint.

Tonights bible study: Mark 15 Jesus and Simon of Cyrene and His passion.

Tomorrow: Beartooth again to the Chief Joseph Highway to Cody and Lovell Wy.

Day 5, Tuesday, Yellowstone Park

The night was very cold in the campground. Someone had heard of a forecast down in the 30's and I believe it. I had many layers of clothes on under my sleeping bag and pulled my riding jacket over the top of the bag to try and stay comfortable. But the morning dawned bright and pr0mised to be a nice day. We had our group campsite for two nights so we didn't need to tear down our tents this morning which was nice.

We met over at the Lake Side Inn cafeteria for breakfast. A few of the less hardy Fossils had stayed in a cabin there. After a gas fill we split up into smaller groups to tour the park. Whereas I know best of the trip I took, I will write of my adventure.

Steve and I have been to Yellowstone before and wanted to be sure and to make the largest amount of the big picture and not necessarily hit every viewing area. If someone were to stop at every stop Yellowstone has to offer he would need to stay in the park a week or two. So, Steve & I decided to make the large loop in a counterclockwise direction. If you have not been to Yellowstone you may not know that the highway around the center of the park is a huge figure 8 with many sight seeing areas along those main routes. The guys who spent more times at the sights only made a loop in the bottom half of the figure 8.

The road to the top right hand corner of the large loop from our camprground on the middle of the eastern side is very dramatic with steep drives and curves through majestic mountains with great long distance views. Though I had been to the park twice before decades earlier, somehow I had never been on this road. Before taking this road I was under the mistaken impression that Yellowstone was only a place for viewing dramatic natural wonders but didn't really have good motorcycle roads. Man, was I wrong! This route is an excellent motorcycle road and I was very happy to learn of it's existance. The end of the road in the top right of the figure 8 is Tower Falls. The falls is nice, not the most dramatic falls you will see but quite nice.

Next was across the top of the figure 8 from Tower west to Mammoth Hot Springs. The hot springs is very dramatic of what can be best described as what looks like a giant mountain of very colorfull salt with bubbling hot water with colorfull pools at each spring. Very interesting.

Then we headed south along the west side from Mammoth to Old Faithful. This sounds easy to write of but actually takes a long time of mountain driving in traffic. The views are always great, of course. Also, Steve & I were getting hungry and Steve needed gas so we stopped at a couple of places looking for both but found neither. Gas and food are only available at the select larger venues of the camp. We arrived at the Old Faithfull complex mid afternoon and filled up and eat at a gift shop/cafe. We then left the bikes there and began to walk along the boardwalk which runs for a long ways amoungst the many lesser known geysers and hot spring pools to the west of Old Faithfull. We walked for quite a long ways along this path and we could have probably made a day of it as the walks seemed to go on forever.

Back on the bikes we started the final leg of the loop along the bottom and up the right along the Yellowstone Lake. The lake is huge and one of the most beautiful lakes you will ever see anywhere. It is really dramatic to see the huge expanse of perfect blue water up against distant mountains. The lake shore at places are thetall pines found throughout the park, at places there are green grassy pastures running gentle up to the blue waters. As mentioned, very beautiful.

Steve & I were the first group to arrive at camp at I would guess was around 6:00 PM. I took the time to buy somemore firewood and call home. No cellphone or internet access in the park, so used an old fashioned phone booth. The rest of the groups were back within the hour and had all had similar stories of riding and viewing this amazing park. Animals we saw were Buffalo (we actually got guite tired of the buffalo because of their tendencies to walk on the roads) One group was stuck behind a buffalo herd for almost an hour. Also saw Elk and Bear.

Supper was back at the Lake Inn cafeteria. Bible study was Acts 9 the road to Damascus.

Tomorrow is more driving in Yellowstone and then across the BearTooth Pass to Red Lodge Montana.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 4, Monday, Buffalo to Yellowstone

The day began a bit chilly. The plan is to motor west on route 66, er, I mean 16 through the Big Horn mountains, across the high sierra of Wyoming into the Rockies and Yellowstone Park.

The ride through the mountains west of Buffalo started nice and ended up magnificent. This has to be one of the most beautiful rides in the USA. The cliffs and valleys and rivers and scenery was amazing. The road was nice and curved and well maintained. We kept stopping at pull offs and exclaiming "Wow, Praise the Lord!". Truly a great road.

The far side of the mountains broke into high plains at a little town called Ten Sleep. There we stopped for brunch at the "Crazy Woman Cafe". We saw no crazy woman there but there was a very efficient, driven waitress who had us fed in no time. Breakfast was great!

From Ten Sleep we continued west into the town of Worland for gas and discussion on what route to proceed on towards Cody and then Yellowstone Park. Part of the discussion included how to get rid of Larry's car and trailer. Lloyd knew someone in the town of Powell who said he could park his rig. That was north up US16. Some of us however noticed an interesting state hwy straight west across the high plains that looked as it may be less traveled. So, we split up, half went up with Larry to ditch his car, half down and across on the afore mentioned state highways.

The state hwys proved very nice with great scenery and little traffic. The northern route guys took a little longer because of the car/trailer situation buy Larry was onto two wheels in no time at all. Both routes brought us to Cody and then it was straight west to Yellowstone. The southern group made it a hour or so earlier than the northern group.

The road across from Cody to the Park was a very nice road as well. Starting with the Buffalo Bill Reseviour on the left side of town to the high cliffs and mountains shortly there after. The scenery was, again, awesome.

Someone at the gas station in Cody had told us that there have been on-going forest fires in the area which have at times closed the road. But today the wind was straight out of the west so there was no reason for concern. We did see much smoke billowing from some of the mountains in the distance. Also an encampment for the fire fighters was set up along side the road.

We got to the Park entrance and paid our fees of $20 dollars per motorcycle. Then we needed to travel to the center of the park and find our campsite at Bay Bridge Campground which was near the shores of beautiful Yellowstone Park. The travel around Yellowstone looks like no big deal but in actuality it always seems to take longer than expected. The roads are curved, (which is a good thing), the traffic often heavy, often stopped because of animals in the road or to the side causing tourists to stop and take pictures and the speed limit is only 45 MPH. But we (the south, state hwy group) eventually got to our camp site at or around 6:00 PM. My (Wayne's) daughter, Sara, was there already as well as Steve who had left before us and had already spent time in the Grand Tetons. Sara was passing through from her home in Portland Oregon to visit friends and family in MN. I was very happy to see her and she me.

Sara and I decided to head off to see Old Faithful yet that evening and get some supper even though it would mean we'd be returning after dark. We got there just as the geyser was sceduled to blow so we saw that without much waiting. The restaurant at the Inn was full and taking reservations at 9:45 PM. We decided to settle with a couple of sandwiches from the deli. When we got back, it was indeed dark but Steve had a camp fire going and many more Fossils had found their way to our encampment. Jeff, Rod, Keith R and Brian from the Tetons. The northern route crew from Powell and Cody. Also joining us for the first time was our "cheesehead" Fossils Mark and Les. We were quite the force in the camp!

It had been a long day, many of us drifted off to their respective tents. A few watched the ambers die in the fire ring but most were to bed at or around midnight. Thus ending Day 4 in this great Fossil trip.

(personal note from the Blog author: we had no internet service in the Park. I am writing this blog re day four at the end of day 6 in Red Lodge Montana. It is now past midnight. I will continue to try and catch up tomorrow, perhaps I can find a WiFi in Cody, otherwise at the motel in Lovel. Whatever, I willpost a couple of pictures and hit the sack.... type some more soon! In the mean time click on the video I uploaded earlier to get a taste of ridin in-group in Yellowstone) Wayne.

trip videos

from Lloyd's windshield camera: Road in Yellowstone north of Fishing Bridge towards Canyon (watch for Buffalo!)

Links to other videos we've taken:

Chief Joseph Highway overlook:¤t=vidfromchiefjosephhwym.flv

Beartooth Pass:¤t=vidfrombeartoothpass2.flv

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 3, Deadwood, SD to Buffalo, WY

Scripture today: Psalm

Today, Sunday the 11th, we spent a lot of time in the saddle. Some of us wanted to see Mount Rushmore so we headed south to Keystone from Deadwood for breakfast on US385. Then our plan was to circle around the west and then north on US85 to Spearfish via Alt14, the Spearfish Canyon.

But before that we unloaded Larry's trailer so he could join us on two wheels. We found a parking place in Lead at the Highschool and were on our way. I, Wayne, had a restaurant in mind that we had a breakfast buffet at two years ago on a previous Fossil's trip. However I was confused as to what town this buffet was in. I thought that the town I wanted was Hill City but when we pulled into Hill City I knew of my error in thinking. But since we were there we decided to try and find some breakfast. There was only one cafe in town serving breakfast and it had seating for about 20, which was all filled with a waiting line. So, we decided to try and find the original target buffet in the right town this time, Keystone.

Fortunately, Keystone is relavtively close to Hill City and the really good news is that we noticed on the map a county road between the two which none of us had ever travelled before. I checked with a local store owner who assured us the road did go to Keystone and it is paved. He said it follows the train track and crosses the track about a dozen times. Sounds intriging, we thought. So off we headed with the store owners instructions on how to find the turn off to what they call "Old Hill City Rd" and the map calls county 352.

This road turned out to be a delight with many curves and switchbacks and it turned out the road ended in Keystone right at the breakfast buffet we were looking for. We were very happy with the turn of events in spite of the slow Harley riders we got stuck behind and were forced to try our best to pass since they refused to pull over. We all have bitter sweet memories of the lady on the pink Harley with the white frilly saddlebacks, hugging the center line at 10 MPH.

Breakfast was delicious though late and next on to Mount Rushmore. Some of us have see "the faces" more than a couple of times so we decided to find other things to do while the others went on in. The other thing to do turned out to be a quick run up the Iron Mountain on Alt16a. Another delightfully twisty road with unique tunnels and bridges some of which frame Mount Rushmore.

We all meet back at Keystone, and realized it was getting too late to make the planned long westward cirlce around to Lead so decided to head back the fastest way which was the same way we came, US385. All the way north, we were skirting rain showers buy were not getting wet enough to stop and put on rain gear. But, when we got to Lead to put Larry's bike back on the trailer it was another story as we were hit with a steady downpour.

Our plan now was to still head up to the Spearfish Canyon but to take it a little slower than normal what with the wet roads. Some of the group, however, decided to take the quicker route on the Interstate to Spearfish, SD. So, again, being as accomodating as possible we split up again to each rider's taste. Some to the Canyon and some to the town. The Spearfish canyon is another beautiful ride with some breathtaking views of the cliffs and rocks jutting high above the curving road which follows Spearfish Creek. To top off the great ride there is a Dairy Queen at the end of the road which we felt obligated to partake in their tasty delights.

We then meet the rest of the group at the Spearfish Walmart for the gear needed for the long trek into Wyoming. Things like new rainpants, etc. By now, the rain which had let up during the ride through the Canyon was falling harder than ever. But by the time we got out of the store to hit the Interstate west, it was letting up again. And, indeed we really didn't get wet at all after that. The sun was shining nicely after 50 miles or so into Wyoming.

The scenery in Wyoming was very nice, improving with each mile as we traveled west. With more rolling hills turning into the mountains in the distance as we got closer to our final destination of the day of Buffalo. Our accomadations tonight is in a small by nice motel on the west end of town. Perfect for our final push west on US16 into the mountains tomorrow. We had a late supper tonight at a steak shop which served a great steak.

Our "meetings on the road" bible study tonight was about Elisha meeting the mean kids who made fun of his baldness. Last night we studied the Ethiopian Eunich meeeting Phillip on the road in Samaria. Every evening's Bible study will be about a meeting on a road.

Tomorrow Yellowstone!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

day 2, Saturday, mitchell to deadwood

Saturday Aug 9,2008.
Today's Scripture: Psalm 34.
We took I90 west most of the day today. Stops at the scenic overlook at the Missiouri river, Badlands, Wall Drug and Sturgis. All the stops were very interesting and enjoyable. The day turned quite hot at the Badlands through our visit to Sturgis. The Sturgis ralley is closing down but we are still seeing thousands of bikes around, mostly Harleys. We ate a late lunch in Wall and spent about an hour working through the crowds in Sturgis. The ride through the badlands and from Sturgis down to Deadwood were the nicest today.
We are staying in the basement of the Masonic Lodge tonight. It is a huge stone room filled with beds. There is also a open, common shower. A bit primitive but cheap. Supper is at Mustang Sally's. Bible study will be tonight as well.

Tomorrow will be rides around the BlackHills and then west into Wyoming.

Friday, August 8, 2008

yellowstone trip day 1

(click on image to enlarge)

Today's scripture: Psalm 121
The day has finally come to stop planning and start riding! The first meeting place was Maple Grove Covenant Church where 8 guys (Keith S, Keith R., Lloyd, Jim, Bill, Greg, Eric, and Larry) showed up at the appointed time. The next stop was at US169 & MN41 in Shakopee where Wayne joined the crowd. Al & John had left from Owatanna earlier in the morning.

The weather was nice and the traffic not to bad yet as it was still fairly early in the afternoon.

First stop was in Mankato for gas and to check on how everyone was doing so far. Everybody was fine except Larry discovered that he left his wallet at home and couldn't pay for gas! Someone lent him a credit card but he still needed to solve this no I.D. and no money problem. He ended us calling his wife and heading back to meet her at a halfway point. This put him a couple of hours behind us but problem solved. By the way, Larry is driving a car with a trailer and his bike is on the trailer. The rest of us are on two wheels.

Supper was at the Blue Line Cafe in Worthington, MN. Nice time to catch up with everyone and get some good grub. We then got on the super slab and headed west. The sun was getting low by now but the weather still nice. The sun went down beautifully red and glowing. We stopped at the next gas station to switch out of the sun glasses and prepare for the final 60 miles to our appointed stop in Mitchell, SD. Pulled in at 10:00 PM just like Al said we would (he must be a prophet). Rooms at the Thunderbird Motel are nice, we are upbeat and looking forward to tomorrows drive to the Black Hills. We are seeing a lot of Harleys heading the other direction than us as they are leaving the Sturgis ralley.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Meeting times and places, July 8

Here are the two meeting places on Friday August 8 and who is going to meet there and when:

A. Maple Grove Covenant Church: 1:30 PM meet, kick stands up at 1:45.
(1) Keith S.
(2) Greg
(3) Eric
(4) Bill
(5) Jim
(6) Lloyd
(7) Keith R
(8) Larry

B. MN41 and US169 at the Holiday Station: when the group arrives should be @ 2:30.
(9) Wayne

If any of this is wrong please let us know ASAP. If your name is not on this list it means you are joining us somewhere else on the trip:

Joining us at Mitchel, SD on Friday night:
(10) Al , (11) John.

Joining us at Deadwood on Saturday night:
(12)Brian, (13)Jeff, (14)Rob, (15)Les, (16)Mark.

Joining us at Yellowstone Monday night:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Revised Itinerary (08/04/08)

(click on image to enlarge)

Changes to our plans:

Friday afternoon, Aug 8.
Meet at Maple Grove Covenant Church at 1:30PM. 9350 Upland Lane N, Maple Grove.
Twin Cities to Mitchell, SD via Mankato, Windom, Worthington. - 300 miles about 6 hours. – 5 rooms at the Thunderbird Lodge motel off I90 exit 231 – 1 room has 3 double beds and 4 rooms have 2 beds. The rooms run about $50 per bed since it is the tail end of Sturgis week.

Saturday, August 9.
About 350 miles - Mitchell, SD to the Black Hills via I90 with stops at the Chamberlain overlook, through the Bad Lands loop and Wall, SD - I’m looking into staying in the old Mason lodge on main street in downtown Deadwood, SD. I’ve stayed there a number of times before during Sturgis week. They have about twelve double beds and showers in there basement that we may be able to get for a low cost. We will probably be getting in late in the afternoon or early evening. Some may also want to go into Sturgis either Saturday or Sunday before we head out to Buffalo, WY. It will probably be pretty quiet since Sturgis week ends on Saturday.

Sunday, August 10.
About 180 miles and 2.5 hours – I90 all the way. Since it is a short riding day we can spend some time in the Black Hills if we like. Maybe Devils Tower or Rushmore etc. Keith will meet up with us somewhere along this route. There is a motel I know of in Buffalo, WY for Sunday night but I haven’t called them to check on availability at this time.

Monday, August 11.
Buffalo, WY to Yellowstone through Ten Sleep, Greybull and Cody. This could be 260 to 350 miles depending if we decide to go into the Bighorns via Burgess Junction or not. This is the southern pass through the Bighorns so it’s not as dramatic with the switchbacks as is will be when we come through on the way back on Friday.

Monday, June 30, 2008

group riding pointers

taken from another web site:

There is security but also risks in numbers for motorcyclists who choose to ride in groups. Here are a few things to consider before you join a motorcycle convoy. From the Fall 1996 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine.

Riding in a group can pose a variety of safety challenges. The proximity of other riders, as when you are close to any other vehicle, presents a potential risk. If you wander into each other's zones, you can cause one or both to crash. I have observed riders run onto the shoulder by other riders in their group who overlooked them or wandered off their intended paths while distracted. I have been rear-ended twice by people I was riding with. And I have heard of several riders who were injured when two or more bikes in a group collided. In one case, the lead rider slowed to make a left turn, but the riders following him did not signal and then got on their brakes hard. A rider farther back in the group was taken by surprise when they suddenly jumped on their brakes. He couldn't stop and sideswiped the bike in front of him as he tried to avoid it. One rider had his foot severed by a floorboard.

Ride the Plan
Ideally, you know and trust the people you ride with. However, there has to be a first time for any riding companion. A pre-ride discussion of your plans, preferences, and requirements helps everyone avoid surprises. Talk about a pace, signals, details like fuel stops and routes, and make sure everyone gets to offer something. If you ride with a club, it may have a fairly detailed set of rules for group rides, with procedures for a variety of situations. On the road, use those signals liberally and be sure that other riders are aware of your intentions so that no one is caught by surprise, which can lead to a collision like the one described above. The group's leader should signal early and slow gradually. Ideally he knows the route intimately and has a plan to get everyone safely along it without disrupting other traffic. But if it is his first time there, he may get surprised too and have to make a quick decision such as whether to turn abruptly or miss the turn and try to find a way to get everyone turned around safely on down the road. It's always good to have an experienced rider at the back of the group to ride sweep and attend to those who have problems. He should have a cellphone to call for help.

If you aren't comfortable with the riders you end up riding with, give yourself plenty of margin until you discover your companions' habits. On one new model group ride, one rider consistently slowed and made lane changes into riders on his right. He didn't turn his head far enough to really see his blind spot and I think his glasses blocked his view. His loud pipes also drowned out the sounds of bikes near him. It wasn't long before this guy had a large buffer zone around him. He compounded the problem by getting upset and denying it when someone tried to point out the problem. He ended up riding -- and eating -- by himself.

If you aren't comfortable with what others in the group do, drop out before it causes trouble. A common problem is a speed differential. Slower riders often feel uncomfortable trying to maintain the pace of faster folks. They shouldn't try to. If the other riders complain that you are slowing them down, tell them to go ahead. You don't need the risk or the tickets. Problems can also arise when some group members have "a couple of beers" at a lunch stop or if they behave recklessly in other ways. Tell them to go ahead or go ahead yourself. Or take a side trip. If you have an exhaust system that you think saves lives, other riders will probably be pleased if you deploy it at the back of the group, even if it means a loss of protection. Sidecars and trikes are also best at the back of the group or in a group of their own.

Keep It Together
When traveling with friends, you may be mutually dependent. For example, you might have one first-aid kit, one tire-repair kit, one set of good tools, and one cellular phone (to call for aid), each packed on a different bike. In this situation you probably want to stay together. The most certain way to do this is to make each rider responsible for the one behind him or her. If you don't see the rider behind you for a few minutes, signal the rider ahead if possible, then slow down or pull over and wait for the rider(s) behind you. If everyone in the group does this, you can avoid that 100 miles of back-tracking at night in the rain. However, it's still possible to get separated, such as when a rider who has fallen behind turns a different way than those ahead. To help your group get together again, use these three systems:

1. Give everyone an emergency phone number in writing to call (perhaps someone's answering machine which everyone knows the code for) or everyone's cell phone numbers. If you have just a single number, Murphy's Sixth Law of Communication says that phone's battery will be dead when the lost boys try to call it.
2. Agree on the next stop every time you all pause for gas, grub or sightseeing. Be precise, "the first gas station on the west side of town," for example.
3. Make sure everyone knows the evening's destination, preferably in writing.

Formation Flying
The basic group riding formation is familiar to most riders. The lead rider rides to the left of the lane, with the second rider to the right and a few lengths back. The third rider is a similar distance behind the second, and so on. This staggered formation leaves room for each bike to swerve to the side and provides reaction time to brake. But you can't change speed and the side of the lane at the same time. Riding side by side limits escape routes when a threat arises. When overtaking and passing traffic, the second rider follows the first, and the third hangs back to let the second pull in to the left to make the pass.

When roads get twisty or narrow, you should open up into a single-file formation. When you come to a stop at an intersection, tighten up into a two-abreast configuration at the stop. If you all stay in a single lane at intersections with two or more lanes each way, it gives the traffic behind you a chance to pass. While it is tempting to block an intersection so your entire group can go through, it is against the law. So is going leaving in large bunches at a time from a four-way stop. More than two (you can each say you thought the other was waiting) is also a request for citation.

One common problem I see with large groups is a failure to provide gaps for other traffic. On a two-lane road, it may be impossible for overtaking traffic to safely pass a line of a dozen or more motorcycles. Some members of the group may get run off the road if a driver tries to pass and has to pull back into the right lane when oncoming traffic appears. On a multi-lane road like an interstate, a long double column of motorcycles may trap a car on one side of it, blocking it from reaching an exit. Some riders act as if permitting a car to cross their column of bikes is a violation of their religious and constitutional rights, and can make a driver already in a panic about missing his exit quite dangerous.

To address this problem. It's best to ride in sub-groups of four to six bikes and provide a gap of four or more car lengths between each sub-group. These groups can also be responsible for each other, taking care of other members of their group so that the entire fleet of bikes doesn't end up trying to squeeze onto the shoulder, which can create a real hazard.

If the group is stopping, make sure that everyone gets completely off the road. If you are arriving at a destination with a large group, bikes at the front should keep moving to allow room for the one behind to pull off the road.

Stupid Passing Tricks
Motorcyclists riding in large groups consistently do a bad job of passing slower traffic on two lane roads, which can create a dangerous situation. Typically they cut back in too close to the car
they just passed and immediately slow down. This not only annoys the driver, it leaves little room for the next rider coming up behind. He or she has to wedge in even closer to the front of the car being passed. I have seen riders get locked out of the lane because those ahead left no space for them to pass. When passing a car on a road with only one lane going each direction, keep your speed up after you have completed the pass, and don't slow back down until there is a gap large enough for all the riders behind you to pull back in and safely decelerate. Stay aware of what the riders behind you are doing. If you are farther back in the group, don't begin your pass until there is a gap ahead of the car for you and the other riders in your sub-group.

The social aspect of group riding has much to recommend it. You have someone to share your experiences and anticipation. There is also security in numbers when the unexpected happens. Pay attention to new riding companions; you may learn something. Working through initial adjustments to each other is worth it, because when you find someone you enjoy riding with, you have usually found a special friendship too.

more info:
A PDF file from the MSF on group riding:

A video from the MSF on group riding:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Spring Ride Report

We had our spring ride on Sunday, June 22 (yes, I know that is actually summer). It started at Al's house in Owatonna where we met and introduced ourselves, discussed the Yellowstone Trip and talked about important matters. There were around 20 of us in Al's garage, including some new Fossils. Some of the new guys were very envious of those of us wearing our "Fossil Apostle" t-shirts and were wondering how to get one. The link to the web site is posted to the right. A poll was taken of who are planning to join us on the August trip and there will be around 18 coming along! Al had an excellent presentation and handout on safety and the rules of group riding.

From Owatonna we rode points east on country roads to Waubasha MN. The weather was perfect for riding, the roads were nice and twisty, the scenery was great and the company even better.

From Waubasha we headed north on US61 to Red Wing to Gordy's house. He had called ahead to tell his wife of our plans and she got the pizzas, snacks and soft drinks ready for us. Thanks, Mrs Gordy! We enjoyed the refreshments in Gordy's backyard patio. A very nice end of a very nice ride.

The sun was getting low as we left Red Wing so we choose the most direct route back to the Cities.

All in all an excellent afternoon of fellowship and riding. Thanks to all of you, and a special thanks to Al and Gordy for the hospitality.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

meeting report

We had a nicely attended breakfast meeting on April 5th. We passed out proposed routes and itineraries. It was good to meet some new guys who are planning to come along. We also decided that it would be very advantageous to get as early a start as possible on the Friday we leave. So, the proposed start time will be around 2:30PM on Friday, August 8. Those of us working on that day will take the afternoon off in order to make the meet time. This will help us beat the afternoon rush hour out of the city and get us into our first night motel in NoDak sooner.

Also discussed was a desire to have a spring or early summer ride. More to come on that....

Monday, March 3, 2008

Yellowstone trip update, reservations.

As of today, March 3, we have reservations at Yellowstone for Monday and Tuesday nights, Aug 11&12. As mentioned before, half of us wanted to camp and half wanted to stay in a lodge. However, a problem developed in that there was only a lodge available for Monday night. So, it appears that if we want to spend a second day and night in Yellowstone the rest of you will need to join us in tenting it. At this time, we have camping reservations set up for that situation. That is, up to six tenters on Monday night and ten or more on Tuesday night (we have a group site reserved). Lloyd will continue to call as we get closer to the date to see if a lodge reservation opens up for the 12th.

We will want to have a meeting sometime this spring to go through all of this. Details forthcoming.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fall Ride, 2007

In September, 2007 we took a fall day ride to Red Wing, MN. It was well attended with around 20 riders in spite of the forecast threat of rain. The forecast was correct and it started to drizzle short of Red Wing and was pouring in buckets by the time we made it to Gordy's house. Fortunately, Gordy was ready for us with chairs set up in his garage and drinks and snacks in his foyer. The fellowship was great as we sat, waiting for the rain to let up. After a couple of hours we realized that the rain wasn't going to stop anytime soon so decided to forgo any more of the planned ride and find a restaurant for lunch.

After lunch we headed home and halfway back, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Half of the group wanted to go home and dry out and half of us wanted to continue our ride. So, we split up according to our desires. Those of us continuing the ride headed west over to Le Seur area and found a Dairy Queen so we could eat again! (we ate a lot that day). Then Jeff lead us onto some twisty roads around the MN River back to the cities. Turned out to be a great day in spite of the rain.

Greg wrote a great synopsis of his impressions of his ride:

Psalm 133:1-3
1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

The challenge for the day was to see the glory and the grace of God in the created things that we saw and felt and heard throughout the day. We saw His grace in the beauty of the colors and textures and motion. His creative nature displayed in the rolling hills and valleys. His peace could be felt when viewing the ponds, lakes and streams; his power in the wind. Even in the neat, even rows of crops winding their way over the wavy landscape - the beauty of the Lord was on display in all it's magnificence. While waiting out the rain at Gordy's, the sound of the wind outside and the rain falling on the pavement was like pleasant music. But it was hard to top the expression of God's love and grace more than in the time spent with this group of men - the uniqueness of each individual, the capabilities and giftedness carefully dispensed by our loving creator to each one - spoke clearly of His grace and wisdom and power and love.

I hope you all benefitted, as I did, in the time spent together - the encouragement, the laughs, the opportunities to get acquainted with some new guys, or better acquainted with some you had previously known. The gift of hospitality given by Paul and Liz, and Gordy and Nancy evidenced lives sprinkled with grace and joy and the love of the Savior. Thanks for a great ride and for what each of you brought to it! I hope you all experienced God's love and grace in all the created things... Maybe that wasn't rain after all - maybe it was precious oil poured on the head, or the dew of Hermon...

Until we ride again, God's peace,

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Link to an interesting site on safety and other riding tips:

50 tips for safety I found on another web site:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our History

The Fossil Apostles began in 2005. It was an out growth of a men's bible study group from Maple Grove Covenant Church in Maple Grove, Minnesota. The men had decided that a motorcycle trip would be an interesting group dynamic. Within the group the men had differing degrees of biking experience from decades of history to basic newbies buying a bike and taking the state learners course for the first time. But all were united in their enthusiasm and excitement at the possibilities of hitting the open road and spending a week with Christian friends. Wayne was not a part of that original bible study but was graciously allowed in because of his friendship with Greg. Since then, the gang has grown to include others not from the original bible study but sharing the same vision and passion for the Lord and biking.

The name:
The name was chosen because it ryhmes and it points out, humorously, that we are followers of Christ and none of us are as young as we used to be (most of us over 50). My recollection is that Lloyd first coined the phrase, but I am open to correction on that point. We call ourselves a "gang" because of the irony. We are about as far from a gang as a group of graying, balding men who like to pray and study the bible can be.

Our Trips:
Trip # 1 in 2005 was a ride around Lake Superior. From Minneapolis we took the northern Wisconsin, Upper Pennisula Michigan, Ontario, northern Minnesota route. Some highlights were the first night at Wayne's hunting shack, the day and night in Paradise, Michigan and the stay at Bill's friend's cabin in Finland, MN.

Trip #2 in 2006 was to the Black Hills. We tried to stay off the superslabs by taking US 212 across South Dakota and back. Highlights were trying to keep Jim's bike going in spite of a dead charging system, (good news is he made it back home, got the bike fixed and caught up to us near Deadwood), helping Gordy "pack" his new bike, sights and roads around the Hills, breakfast at the Sylvan Lodge, and the heat at Belle Fourche.

Trip #3 in 2007 was to Northern Minnesota. We had decided to take a little shorter trip this year. It was a loop north and west to Brainerd, Thief River Falls, Roseau, International Falls, Duluth. Highlights were breakfast at The Logging Camp, the twisty road at Itasca, the picnic at Lloyd's sister's place, the twisty road to Finland, and, unfortunately, Bill breaking a throttle cable on WI state 35 south of Superior.

Trip #4, Lord willing, will be to Yellowstone in August, 2008. See another post, below, for planning details.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

2008 trip: Yellowstone

Our next trip is scheduled for August 9-17, 2008. Our destination is Yellowstone National Park. We hope to hit the Big Horn Mountains as well and other stops in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. A proposed route is above. Our plan is to make reservations in Yellowstone soon. Options will be to stay in a cabin and/or campground. Lloyd is in charge of the cabins, Wayne the campgrounds. Let us know which you prefer.
Currently Bill, Eric, Greg, Steve, Lloyd, Wayne, Jim and Keith are planning on making the trip. If you want to go as well, just let us know!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

first post test

Hi, guys, welcome to our blog site. I hope to put up pictures and write-ups of our previous rides as well as information regarding our future trips. I am new at this whole thing so any suggestions/advice is welcome.

Grace and Peace through our Lord Jesus Christ,