Hi there Beemer Fans. What a November! Lots to be thankful for. It was a great day for the late fall Martinsburg ride. Great turn-out! The next two Saturdays weren't so good, so thanks to all who were able to go.
Then there's the matter of Thanksgiving Day. A near perfect day to ride. I rode to Newton Hills, (saw two bald eagles) then on to Hudson, Hawarden, back to Newton, then Fairview, and back to Canton. I was on the RT with it’s new back tire. Oh, the turkey dinner was good, too. The dry weather continues. Maybe December will favor us with some good rides. I hope all of you had a very good Thanksgiving.
I hope Christmas will treat all of us well. I'm still hoping for that new R1200RT. (I will settle for a good used one). Looking back, 2011 has been a very good year, it starts off with a car wreck, (but that was good, because Jan & I both survived), we had a good trip to Arizona, some good bike trips, lots of good breakfast and dinner get-togethers, and countless other blessings all of us enjoyed because of when and where we were born and ended up. It is my desire that next year we all will be blessed with good health, good travels, and all the other components that keep us together as a club and a strong country.
I'm going to switch gears just a bit here and announce the date of the annual meeting. We are planning on Feb. 11th with the venue of Hy-Vee at 49th & Sycamore, Sioux Falls. Please let Mary, Jo Ann, or me know what ideas you may have for a program. Club officers are to be elected at that time and 2012 dues will be collected
Take care, ride when you can, have a very Merry Christmas. Gary (lame duck?) Johnson.
Gordon Mulder writes, “I shore 'nuf ain't no riter, but here'z a story”
My journey to my new ride started, unknowingly, the first part of August. My daughter was home from Denver for a long weekend. The usual questions of catching up with what is/was going on in her life—how ‘ya doing?, what ‘ya doing?, what’s happening in your life? And the same question from her to me and my wife.
In the discussion she mentioned that her motorcycle was not running very good. She was riding a Honda something or other, and was going to put it up for sale. I mentioned that my ’94 Beemer was running smooth, as well as my ’87 Goldwing. (I had purchased the Goldwing a couple of years ago because of the super nice passenger seat which my wife liked much better than the seat on the Beemer.) In fact. I had found myself riding the Goldwing by myself a few times because of the greater knee room.
And then my daughter said, “You can’t ride two machines at once. And since you are riding the Goldwing more and more, why not sell me the older Beemer?” ULP! I had never considered that avenue of action, but she did have a point. So after looking at KBB.com for prices, we came to an agreement on price, considering the machine was going to a good home.
Next problem, how to get the Beemer out to Denver. I could ride it out there and thumb my way back -- or not says my wife. We could trailer it out there—what a waste of good riding. And then my wife asks if we could meet in the middle—say somewhere in the Black Hills—Labor Day maybe? My daughter checks her schedule, and she is “good” - as in not having to work those days. We were good as in not having to work those days—and so it was set—we would trailer the bikes out to the ‘Hills’ for a riding weekend, and Jody would trailer the Beemer home to Denver. We called out to Keystone to see if the cabin where we usually stay was open. It was, so great, now we even had a place to stay.
The Thursday before Labor Day, I load the Beemer in the back of my pickup, hook up my trailer and load my Goldwing. Friday after work my wife and I head west to the Hills.
Saturday morning we unload both bikes and decide to go for one last ride on the Beemer before Jody gets to the cabin. We head west to Hill City, south to Custer, south to Pringle, east to the Custer Wildlife Loop and then head back north to get back to Keystone. All along the wild life loop we see signs, “Buffalo are dangerous! Stay on the rode! Stay away from the buffalo! Be careful!” And I’m thinking ya, ya, ya. Big Deal. Seen them before.
The motorcycle must go a little faster than some of the cars, because before long I’m in back of three cars--with no place to pass, and so we puuts along. Suddenly I see tail lights on the first car, and then it stops. I see tail lights on the second car, and then it stops. Same with the third car. And so we also stop. I look ahead and see the road in front of the first car disappear because a herd of buffalo is moving from an upper meadow to a lower meadow—using the road as a pathway between the rocks. The buffalo herd part and go around the first car and come back together. They part the second time and go around the second car. (I’m starting to wonder what I should do—turn tail and give them some room or what?) The buffalo part and start going around the third car, and I decide to zoom up to within 4 inches of the car’s rear bumper. I shut the motor off and tell my wife to hold perfectly still, make no noise, and make no eye contact while the Buffalo pass around us.
We could hear their feet shuffle along, we could hear their breathing, and see their big brown eyes looking at us as they passed within four feet on either side of us. And I suddenly think of a rhetorical question—if a proud member of PETA would get dressed up in a bright red body suit, and get into the middle of a herd of angry buffalo, could they expect not to get charged because they are vegetarians? Hmmmm. And here my wife and I are sitting on a cranberry red bike trying not to look suspicious or threatening. Suddenly two bulls start gouging each other, and shoving each other in a circle just to the side of the car in front of us. Oh boy, they could dance over us and not even know it, but no, they straighten out and walk past us nicely.
The buffalo herd is just about past us when the car in front of us pulls out and away from us. Oh crap—don’t leave us here! I start the bike and follow ever so close until we are out of the buffalo herd.
And then back to Keystone and a nice uneventful weekend of riding the Hills. Monday we load the Beemer on Jody’s trailer and she heads south to Denver. We then load the Goldwing on my trailer and head back to Luverne.
A couple of weeks later I tell my wife that I miss the old Beemer. Yes, I know that it has a new good home, but there was something about walking into the machine shed and seeing it there and knowing it was ready for another ride. And my wife asks, “Well if you need to get another Beemer, what would you get for your perfect dream bike?” Hmmm… good question—first it would have to be a Beemer - it is a quality thing. Size wise—oh, about 1200 cc’s, and I would like a reverse on it if I ever trike it. New one’s cost too much (I still have too much Dutch in me)—so have the bike about ten years old with low mileage between 30 and 40 thousand miles. It needs a radio and a good passenger seat, as well as a good seat for me. I’ve been blessed with long knees, so I need knee room.
And she says, ‘Geez, anything else?’ And I say, ‘Blue, I would like it dark blue.’
The very next day at 12:50pm, Lois calls me and says, “You’ll never guess what I found on Craig’s list - a 2002 K1200 with reverse, 30,000 miles, radio, good seats-front and back, and dark blue.” What is not to love about that?
We go to see it and sit on it. Oh what a wonderful bike! I can hardly stop from grinning! The owner wants to sell it, as he doesn’t ride it enough. I tell him I had to sell my Goldwing first, and then I would be back. He says, “Older Goldwing? That is what I’m looking for!” And so we trade bikes, with some boot money thrown in for good measure. And we are both happy.
(Ed.Note: There is a short history of the Slimey Crud Run following this story for those of you not familiar with the event.)
This report started in August when Kay told me that she would be going to San Diego for our youngest daughter’s baby shower, and would be gone from September 28 through October 5. It was to be a girl thing! I wasn’t invited! Gee, what could I do to entertain myself? Oh, how handy, there was a BMW MOA “Weekend Get-a-Way” in Tomah, WI, September 30th through October 2nd. AND…..I could make it to a Slimey Crud Run that Sunday at Leland, Wi. I left September 30th taking Highway 30 east across Minnesota to Wisconsin. (The farther east I got, the less the wind blew. Imagine that!)
The “Get-a-Way” was headquartered at the Cranberry Lodge in Tomah. It is a large, rustic looking lodge with a log and rock façade, large clean rooms and a huge indoor waterpark. My room was a suite with a 32” and a 29” flatscreen TV. It is the smallest room they have. The staff is pleasant and helpful. The bartenders were off-duty US Marines – no, not Soldiers, Marines.
After registration Friday night there was a reception set up with meatballs, drummies, nachos, and fresh vegies and other assorted finger foods. There were 92 MOA members pre-registered and with the late arrivals there were about 100 people at this gathering. It was there that in addition to the ever present Tom Buttars, I also found Larry Davis and Rod Elsing new Autobahner from Worthington. My apologies if I missed any other Autobahners.
Sue Rihn, Vance Harrelson and Tom explained the schedule and the 4 rides that would happen Saturday. There were 2 GS rides. One was for knobby tires only and had 4 riders. The other GS ride had about a dozen riders and didn’t require full knobby tires. This ride’s off-pavement was hard packed dirt back roads that are part of the Trans Wisconsin Trail. There was a Sport Bike ride with about a dozen riders that was led by our own Tom Buttars. And the last ride was the sedate ride that was all paved and toured a cranberry harvest, cheese factory and some very neat roads through Amish Country. I opted for the sedate ride. There were about 40 riders on this ride which was too many for one group. It was a test of patience for me. The good news about riding through the Wisconsin Amish Country is that the roads are good quality asphalt with lots and lots of curves and great scenery. The bad news was all of the horse apples on the road left a brown stripe on my timing cover and on the inside of my fenders. There is something poetically wrong about having your motorcycle smell like a horse. YUK!!
The rides went from about 160 to 200 miles on paved roads with real curves through very scenic country. The scenery was enhanced with the leaves turning and I think that everyone had a good time. Saturday night there was a banquet with door prizes for dessert. I didn’t win anything. After the door prizes the evening turned into a sort of business meeting with most of the comments focused on how to speed up the closing ceremonies at the National Rally. It was +34F on both Saturday and Sunday morning, I couldn’t believe all the whining about the cold. I should get to see days that nice in Alaska.
On Sunday I left Tomah for Leland, WI and the Slimey Crud Run. Leland is about twice the size of Buffalo Trading Post. There’s a bar on each side of the road. Leland is also the finish point for the Slimey Crud Run and there were about 200 motorcycles there when I arrived. By 2:30 when I left there were probably about 1000 on site with large groups arriving all the time. Most of these were late model rides, but there were a significant number of motorcycles there that you would normally only see in a museum. It was great to see, and hear these machines out and being ridden. Most of the antique machine riders were also dressed in period correct riding clothes which added to the show.
I rode to Austin, MN, on back roads and stayed there for the night. I don’t like riding into the sunset, and I really don’t like to ride at night. A few near misses with deer, raccoons and skunks will make a believer of you. Riding at night in Alaska in the summer doesn’t count, the sun is up all the time. Monday I headed home via US-14. No, I didn’t do the brewery tour in New Ulm. I saved that for another trip. When I was getting gas in Tracy, MN, there were a lot of sirens, fire trucks, police cars headed west on US-14. A corn field was on fire next to the highway and the road was closed for a while to non-emergency vehicles.
It might be some kind of mental thing, but I know with each mile that I rode closer to South Dakota the wind speed kept increasing, and I don’t like wind.
As of Saturday night the MOA had not yet scheduled another “Get-a-Way” for next year at Tomah, but if they do I will be there and will have to choose between the sport bike ride, or the easy GS ride. Also, seeing a Slimey Crud Run is something that should be on every rider’s bucket list.
Slimey Crud Run History as taken from Slimey Crud Run web site:
There are no big ad campaigns, no corporate sponsors, no official website, no local or regional newspaper or TV promotions, not even the usual obligatory one-size-promotes-all beer banners with the name of the event emblazoned on a huge blank white spot.
Despite all the makings of what should be an unknown event, the Slimey Crud Café Racer Run in southern Wisconsin is attended twice each year, on the first Sunday in May and October, by riders from all over the country and routinely has participants from at least five states in the upper Midwest.
Its origins are nearly as murky as Stonehenge, dating back to the early Seventies, according to one of its co-founders, former Triumph/Bultaco/Matchless racer and current Triumph dealer Lyall Sharer. From humble beginnings, the event has become an organic thing that thrives on its own energy. At each gathering, it isn’t uncommon for anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 machines to show up.
The Crud Run meanders across the scenic Wisconsin River valley from Pine Bluff in Dane county to Leland in Sauk County. The distance between the villages is less than 30 miles in a straight line, but the road mileage can vary from about 70 to, well, who knows? No specific route is prescribed, so the best way to go depends entirely on your imagination.
Despite the name, the event is not limited to the sheathed-in-plastic sport bike set. In fact, while there’s something for everybody in every class of bike, the event seems much more like a rolling vintage and classic bike show.
Flathead, knucklehead and panhead Harleys; TR-6, Daytona and Bonneville Triumphs; Lightning and Thunderbolt BSAs; Moto-Guzzi Falcone and 850 Le Mans, Ducati SS-900 and Diana, Norton Commando, Vincent Black Shadow, Munch Mammut, BMW, Velocette Venom, Royal Enfield, Indian Chief, Suzuki RE-5, Honda CB 77, Hondamatic, CBX; Laverda Jota, Kawasaki H1, two-stroke, four-stroke, rotary, flat-trackers, touring, choppers, bobbers, adventure bikes, rat bikes, to name but a few of the types, brands and models seen at recent Slimey Crud runs.
Next Crud Runs scheduled for May 6 and October 7, 2012
The Sioux Falls Autobahn group put out the word early in the week that this would be the week (November 12) for the Fall Ride to Bob's Bar in Martinsburg. I sent out a note to the GLMC and Big Sioux Riders. Some years hardly anyone shows up, but this year we had well over 40 riders. Even some of the Sioux Falls Goldwing club showed up. The weather was pretty darn good, too.
A guy from Minnesota named Vinny rode a Bandit all the way from St. Cloud. They said temps started at 23 degrees ... People from Minnesota make us southern brothers look like ... Anyways, three bikes came down from the twin cities area.
The hamburgers are so large you need to eat them with a fork
Hello winter fans!! Well, I guess winter is coming and so is planning for the annual meeting. So far I have had three suggestions, and I like all three. They are: a meeting room at the new Grand Falls Casino and help ourselves to the buffet, the meeting room at the Empire Hy Vee, and the banquet room in the train depot in Canton with a catered meal. Let me or JoAnn know what you would like. Maybe something different appeals to you. What a great October we've had! I haven't ridden as much as I want, but it sure was good when I could get away. Oh, by the way, my drive problems seem to have gone away after a transmission fluid change to Amsoil 75W140. Don't use it in your final drive, though.
I have a road trip coming up to the Chadron, NE, area soon. Yeah, it's a car trip, but a least it's a trip. I subscribe to the "maybe next year" method of motorcycle trip planning. It doesn't work very well, but it helps keep me sane, sort of... Well, have a great Thanksgiving and don't give up on a Martinsburg trip just yet. Gary "fix it in a bottle" Johnson.
1992 BMW K75S with 35k miles. Major service at 27k - new Metzler tires, transmission, brake, and coolant service, spline lube and new battery. Parabellum and stock windscreens. Bar risers. Wilbers rear shock. Corbin seat. 2 extra lound horns. BMW hard cases. Givi top case. Set of K75C handlebars. $3500. Call Gordon Courbat (6zero5) 35one-one832. Just changed the oil and filter, too.
I have Doug Schafer and Gordon Courbat to thank for my trip. Doug had to work and Gordon was kind enough to invite me to go with him in Doug’s place. Without his call I probably would have wimped out and missed this rally as I had missed the Bear Tooth using the work excuse.
We left Thursday morning about 8:30. It was in the 50s and the head wind from Sioux Falls to Omaha was very strong – perhaps 40 mph. (I took the R 90 because it was supposed to rain on Sunday and Monday on the way back. I could hide behind the Windjammer fairing.) I knew things were windy when Gordon passed me clutching his rear view mirror which had blown off. We stopped at Missouri Valley to get gas and coffee and just get off. I had packed my gear across the back of the seat and had little room to squirm around - so it was a tough trip. My gas mileage was about 35 and his was about 40. After this I shifted down and ran the next two days mostly in 4th gear and got in the low 40s for mileage. It felt like riding my old R69S but without the Georg Meier extra wide dual seat.
The day before we left I had learned that I-29 was open past Omaha but with a small detour in Iowa. Gordon and I turned off I-29 south of Omaha at Exit 35 and took highway 34 east. (I was wary of detours having been lost two times a month earlier on our trip to Arkansas using AAA maps on this same stretch.) However, this time I had the map and was certain I knew where we were going. Gordon sensed my confusion when I was stopping about every six miles to consult the map. He was certain he had just seen an I-29 detour sign so we headed south. We passed through several picturesque Iowa towns and the road kept getting smaller. Finally we were down to a chipped surfaced road. We stopped at the last cross road before it turned to gravel. A friendly farmer asked if we were lost. Of course. A slight turn to the east and we were in Shenandoah where I learned that Castrol now makes a Harley synthetic oil for a mere $16.95 a quart. We turned south, rode through Tarkio with its beautiful old mansions, and the weather warmed up to the 80s and we eventually emerged just north of St. Joseph on to I-29. We gassed up at St. Joe and headed east on highway 36.
I had recently heard of highway 36 across Missouri from a friend but had never used it. This has to be the dummies way across Missouri. It is great. It is a divided four lane and goes from St. Joe to Hannibal, Missouri. Occasional slowdowns through towns but not significant. I think it also goes into Illinois and connects to I-72. Light traffic and few trucks. One can drop down to I-70 to connect with Columbia if needed. We stopped for our first supper of the day about 3:30. We continued east and eventually stopped for gas at Macon, Missouri, about 6:00. This was just under 500 miles for us. A respectable day for two old guys, one who had not had a long run for several years and the other adjusting to a different bike. Gordon decided it was time to shut down and he led us to the nearest Super 8. Two Great Choices. The receptionist told us about AJ’s a small bar/ restaurant within walking distance. We took her advice. Gordon tested the pies and I sampled the supper menu. A great way to end a good riding day.
Friday we had our morning starting adventure. Gordon’s bike was a bit reluctant to start but finally coughed and made it. He was just getting used to a different bike. I had the same problem later. This was the last morning the R90 started right for me. We then headed east to highway 15 and worked our way south to highway 19. Gordon had been told that highway 19 was the scenic route. It was on his tank bag map so we gave it a go. (I think most roads south of I-70 in eastern Missouri are scenic - lots of them in the Mark Twain National Forest, including the area around Potosí - so it was great riding.) We crossed I-70 and stopped briefly for road construction. The flagman gave us directions to the wineries at Hermann. Our first effort was not promising. The parking lot sign said “winery parking.” After pulling off all our gear we strolled into the establishment which looked historical enough. When Gordon asked the waitress about wine he was told, “this is a coffee house.”
Duly chastened and somewhat embarrassed we looked across the street and saw several wineries. The first one was closed. The second one was open. While I checked out the sandwich area Gordon was down to business. The next time I saw him he was behind a massive glass of white wine. I soon joined him. Touring is tough stuff and makes one thirsty. The local wine festival was that weekend but we were a day early. Something to return for. I remember when the rally was in Bland we used to ride over to buy wine and eat lunch.
We each had a tasty German sandwich. We struck up a conversation with another rider who had a Shoei helmet with a really crazy paint job which he described as very rare because it had a Christian Cross painted on it, although I would have missed it (the Cross) if it had not been pointed out. This fellow had had a tremendous bike crash, landed face down on his helmet (Shoei) spread eagle and miraculously survived. Afterward his wife had ordered him a new bike and a new helmet. I guess she felt he needed all the help he could get for the next crash.
Driving south from Hermann we marveled at the vineyards. In the years past I had often driven through at night and had forgotten that there were indeed vineyards nearby.
After winding around for several hours we arrived at the Rally along with about 800 other attendees. We were happy to see fellow club members who were already sampling the various vintage rally brews. We set up our tents and took it easy. About supper time Jerry Zeeb and Lloyd Lunde came in after a one day run from Sioux Falls starting about 5 am. Friday night’s hot dog supper was very good. Without sounding too pretentious, I wonder why at this rally green stuff like lettuce or even coleslaw seems too difficult to find. The showers worked fine.
On Saturday morning others had decided to go to the boyscout breakfast which was a short distance away. I had not practiced my starting drill on the R90 (too much easy starting on the K had spoiled me) so I promptly killed the battery. I borrowed Gordon’s bike to go to breakfast. I lost the crowd and after driving 30 miles gave up and came back to eat rally pancakes.
We spent the day and afternoon enjoying the sunshine. We made a club run to the VFW (or Am. Legion?) for steaks before returning to the awards ceremony. I enjoyed and marveled at the ringing of the anvil. I think due to a wind problem the anvils didn’t connect this time. Club members didn’t win much. But, we spent a relaxing evening enjoying the campfire.
On Sunday morning Jerry Zeeb, Lloyd Lunde and Izzy Szkok decided to make the one day run home. They left at five twenty but only after helping the rest of us sort of wake up to start back, too. Most of us were en route within two hours.
I had starting problems again but Larry Hawes gave me a boost. As I learned the day before, this is a tough group to follow for breakfast, they darn near lost me again. They stopped at Steelville but like others I was lulled into thinking I could get home in one day, too. (I was also worried about restarting the R90 if I shut it down overnight.) So I kept going. Dave McBride had given me all sorts of good advice. I went north to I-70, stayed on 19 and eventually hit Hi-way 161, then highway 61 which runs into 218 in Iowa and then bumps into I-35 and later I-90 at Albert Lea. Once I hit highway 61 I knew the day was going to be a good one. Four lanes of pure cycling pleasure all the way home and a strong tailwind for the next 430 miles. Gas mileage was 47 or 48 most of the day. 200 miles a tank was easy. Somewhere south of Iowa City my thermarest escaped, a sacrifice to comfort and poor packing.
I arrived in Sioux Falls about 9:00. Despite the crosswinds from Albert Lea I was still getting about 41-42 mpg running an honest 70-75. No oil consumption for the trip - thanks for synthetic oil and Dennis Erikson’s June valve settings! A 735 mile day for me. I didn’t know if I could still do the one day ride home. (I had done this in1998 on the K bike. Same distance, including a stop in St. Louis for an hour, across Missouri on I-70 and back to Sioux Falls by 10:30.) All in all it was a great Rally. Although windy, the weather was fantastic - 80s in the daytime and upper 50s - low 60s at night. DRY. No deer accidents. It is hard to imagine more perfect rally weather. I had hoped to stop at Midway Truck Stop near Columbia and also maybe check out Sedalia. However, this just gives me something to anticipate another time, probably at the National or next year on the way down. In the future I think I will try to spend more time, stop more often and eat more. Gordon was right about how to do this.
(Jack Shoalmire was an avid motorcyclist, BMW MOA high mileage rider, Iron Butt Associate, Tour of Honor Participant, etc., etc. from Tulsa, Oklahoma. A heart attack took him from us at the young age of 68 on August 28, 2011. Ed.)
On October 15th I completed an Iron Butt Association certified Saddle Sore 1,000 (SS1K) ride as part of the Jack Shoalmire Tribute Ride. A friend and I road over 1,000 miles in 24 hours within the state boundaries of South Dakota.
One of Jack Shoalmire's goals was to do a certified in-state SS1K in each of the 50 states. Jack was well on his way to meeting his goal when he passed away. His friend, Howard Entman, organized a Tribute Ride for him. The idea was to have motorcycle riders ride a SS1K in each of the 50 US states and some Canadian provinces on the same day, October 15th, 2011, in honor of Jack and his memory.
I don't believe I ever met Jack Shoalmire and I hadn't planned on doing his Tribute ride either, but when a local friend was unable to do South Dakota, he asked me to take his place. I agreed to do it. It was an easy decision. I wanted to make sure South Dakota did not get missed and I liked the idea of the ride being part of something bigger.
Friday afternoon, the day before the ride, my friend Dave "Dreamrider" Weber rode down from Moorhead, Minnesota, to Sioux City. Dave and I have both done certified IBA rides before and we had a good understanding of what was required. Dave initially wasn't overly excited about this ride either, but he wanted to ride with me just to keep me company and in his words make sure I had a good time. Dave is that kind of friend.
Neither Dave nor I are morning people, but Saturday morning we got up at 5:15 AM, finished loading bikes and headed up to Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. The gas station at the Dunes is about nine miles from my home. Dave later remarked that one of the high points of the ride for him was listening and watching me curse and get physical with the gas pump at Dakota Dunes that morning after it refused the second time to give me a date and time stamped starting receipt. To be honest I had been up a little later than planned Friday evening (in no small part thanks to Dave) and my tolerance threshold for stupidity (self-induced, mechanical, or otherwise) was lower than normal on that morning. I was also concerned the credit card company would flag my card. Multiple fuel pump receipts at the same place and time often causes them to put a fraud alert on the card which basically disables it for a while. After my third try I finally received a printed receipt and my credit card was apparently not flagged for fraud. Success!! It’s about 6:30 AM and we were headed north to Sioux Falls.
As we headed north it was a bit cool with a low of 33 degrees. The cold seemed to last a hundred miles, but then the temperature began to rise as the sun rose. Ultimately it turned out to be an excellent day for riding across South Dakota. There wasn't much wind and the temperature reached a high in the low 70's for a short period.
The fall season must have been late in South Dakota's Black Hills because there was a “full fall foliage color show” going on there when we arrived. That show alone made the ride worthwhile and made it difficult to leave the Hills. After picking up a fuel receipt in Hermosa, we stopped at the Mount Rushmore National Monument for photos. (Because of our late start Saturday morning, I was a bit concerned about finishing the ride on Saturday. We skipped the planned photo ops in the second half of the trip due to this.) Next we took a great little road down the backside of the Monument to Hill City. After a receipt in Hill City, it was up Hwy 385 via Deadwood to Belle Fouche the furthest most point of our ride. From Belle Fouche, we road back across South Dakota. We passed Chamberlain just before dark and the temperature fell again. After getting our second receipt of the day in Sioux Falls, we headed north to Watertown. By this time the temperature had dropped back down to the mid 40's and a misting rain had begun, but we managed to stay warm & dry. Watertown was our final destination, we arrived there and picked up an ending fuel receipt shortly after 10:30PM.
Lee "Lunatic" Bruns from the Glacial Lakes Motorcycle Club was our ending witness Saturday evening in Watertown, SD. Lee met us near our hotel and drove us to his favorite burger joint for our first real meal of the day. After a good and filling meal we returned to the bikes where Lee witnessed my mileage and signed my paperwork. According to my Garmin 2610, our total mileage from start point to end point was 1027.5 miles. (I forgot to reset my GPS trip counters at the starting point, so the displayed mileage includes the 8.9 miles between my home and the start point.)
I was watching one of my favorite TV shows and guess who I saw? The show is Cafe Racer on the Velocity Channel, episode "Yoshi Kosaka/Joey Larosso". In the middle part of the show they are at Elkader, IA for the Moto Guzzi rally. I'm thinking to myself that maybe I'll see some Autobahners. And sure enough at about 19 minutes into the show for about 2 seconds, I see Larry, Mary, Deb, Izzy, Dave and Tom sitting in the campground shooting the breeze. Be prepared to hit pause on the remote if you watch it, but there they are clear as a bell in beautiful HD TV. So there you go guys, only 14 minutes and 58 seconds of fame left.
Hello Autobahners, what great fall weather we've had so far! I hope all of you are getting some riding in before you know what. I'm not sure if I'll get much more beemer riding in, it will probably be more scooter riding. Let me explain, I think my splines need lubing and I'm not sure just how to do that. I don't want to ride it too much and risk doing some major harm and I can't afford professional help (either kind). Any advice will be welcome. I am thinking ahead to our annual meeting and would like to hear from you as to where, when (probably Jan. or Feb.), what type (catered, pot-luck, served on site, such as the last three years, or something completely different.) Does anyone have something for a short program or presentation? Shall we get the prez a new bike? These are a few things I'm thinking about and would enjoy hearing from you. I wish I had some more profound thoughts to share, but, I think I’m experiencing "writers block" or something else that might need professional assistance! Take care, ride safe, and often.
P.S. I talked with Lisa (our previous Grandma Max waitress) yesterday. She said she won't be coming back to work. She has been receiving chemo and radiation treatments for breast and uterine cancer. She says she misses us (or our BSing!!) and may come by some Saturday to say, “Hello”. Cards may be sent to her at: Lisa Folkerts, 70five S. Regal Place, SxFlls, SD, 57106. Her phone number is: 605-three7o-2409.
This year I was sent to the Michigan State Police 2012 Police Vehicle Evaluations on September 17th through 19th. With the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor no longer in production most law enforcement departments are looking for a replacement. SFPD is one of those departments. As a side benefit I was able to see some of the testing for police motorcycles as well. With 6 police motorcycles and 19 police pursuit capable vehicles to test, the most they have had at one time, I was in for a once in a career opportunity.
The Police Vehicle Evaluations cover four areas: Acceleration and top speed, Braking, Vehicle dynamics, Ergonomics & communications. Acceleration and top speed tests are done with optical timing sensors connected to the bike and a laptop and run at the Chrysler Chelsea Proving Grounds where they have a 3.3 mile oval course with 140 MPH neutral steer banked turns. Two runs in each direction, and average times reported. Braking is also done there with the same sensors. Twenty 60 to 0 MPH impending skid stops are done with a cool down lap in the middle. A deceleration rate is computed from the data and a projected 60 to 0 MPH stopping distance is reported. Vehicle Dynamics testing is done at the Grattan Raceway. The road course is a winding, hilly, complex assortment of almost every conceivable corner imaginable for a road course. The ten turns include both uphill ascending radius turns, a flat out dog leg off the 160 degree hairpin turn, a hidden apex, a monza bowl, S turns, and even a challenging downhill reverse camber turn. It has been said that if you can master Grattan Raceway you can drive anywhere. Every motorcycle is ridden 5 laps by 4 riders each. Overall average is the average of each riders average lap times. Police equipment aftermarket outfitters and the MSP Precision Driving Team score the ergonomics and communications category. Scores are given on visibility, comfort, ease of use of controls, and ease of installing lights, siren, and communications equipment.
I was able to personally see the BMW make its speed runs at Chelsea Proving Grounds. To stand along the guardrail while the bike passes by you 10 feet away is sweeter than candy. It had the highest top speed of 131 MPH, beating its nearest competitor the Kawasaki Concours 14 which posted a 126 MPH top speed. However the BMW’s 0 to 60 time was 4.41 seconds while the Kawasaki was 4.02 seconds. Also the 0 to 100 times for the BMW was 10.75 seconds, and the Kawasaki was 8.29. As you can imagine the engine computer on the Kawasaki was limiting its top speed.
At the Grattan Raceway in the Vehicle Dynamics category the BMW came in first. The BMW came in with an overall average lap time of 1:40.19 seconds, Kawasaki second at 1:43.26, and Harley Davidson Road King Police third at 1:49.63.
In the Braking Category the BMW came in second with a projected stopping distance from 60 MPH at 140.0 ft. First was the HD Electra Police at 139.0 ft, and third was the Kawasaki at 143.7 ft. Ergonomics and communications scores are not available at this time, but I think the BMW will do well with the new handlebar controls, new accessory switchgear, and new instrument cluster to reduce glare.
The newcomers this year were the Victory Commander 1 and the Victory Vision. As you may notice they aren’t mentioned above, because they didn’t score very well on the tests. In speaking with the police rep. I found that they have a lot of features motor officers want. However by their own admission they are running with over 100 lbs more weight in aftermarket equipment than the other bikes. They are doing this on purpose! Supposedly it is to get real world numbers. However, I doubt the published MSP test will reflect this and it will look bad for them. Better luck next year Victory.
The only change in the HD bikes from last year is the rear view mirrors! Talk about investment. While BMW has the new DOHC engine, improved fairing and windshield design, new handlebar controls and switchgear, new instrument cluster, new cruise lights and alley lights. Also BMW was supposed to have another police bike there, but for some reason I never saw it and it never went through the tests. It was supposed to be an F800GS-P! The final MSP report isn’t out yet, but as you can see the BMW did extremely well. I wish I could’ve brought back pictures of the bikes, but cameras for the non-press is VERBOTEN!
If you attend a rally and no club members know you did, do you still need to write about it?? The answer is, “YES”!! Mary gave me “the look” when she found out that I attended two MC events and didn’t write about them for the newsletter. Contributions are what make the newsletter so here’s my “two cents worth”.
I let the weather channel decide what day to leave and which motorcycle to ride. It looked like it would be a cool and damp rally so I left on Thursday so at least the ride down would be dry. The temperature was 33 degrees on Thursday morning so I didn’t leave until it hit 50 degrees at 11:00. This is the closest rally I attend, only 220 miles, so I pulled into the campground around 3:15pm. For maybe twenty miles north and thirty miles south of the Missouri border there was evidence of high winds. Corn fields were flattened and some older buildings and bins were destroyed. I set up camp next to Lloyd a Guzzi rider I know from eastern Iowa. He and I went into Maysville for supper Thursday night. About 25 people showed up on Thursday. It was a cool ride to the rally and after supper the bonfire felt great. Little did I know but the bonfire would feel good for the whole rally.
Friday morning it started to rain lightly and continued until after dinner. Friday evening they served hot dogs, three kinds of chili and of course cold beer. The chili and bonfire were the best. They had the same band as last year on Friday and Saturday nights. They were great. The bandleader even camps over night at the rally. It was cool and windy on Saturday but only had a little light rain during the field events. The Saturday supper tasted great. Camping in cool weather really makes a person hungry. The number of persons attending rallies this year is down all over, only 101 showed up at Maysville this year. The good news was you could eat all you wanted. The bad news is the club lost money. Since this was the 20th Mo-Kan Guzzi Rally they had some special cakes made with green and red frosting (Guzzi colors). It looked and tasted great.
Sunday morning I went to the showers at five. My tent, bike and even the grass was dry. Decided to have coffee and pack up as soon as I had a little daylight to do it. Not to be. A light rain started to fall before it even started to get light. This is the first time I packed up in the rain for a long time. It’s been a pretty good summer in the rain dept. Skeeter and I and a guy on a GS were the only BMWs at the rally so what happened next was embarrassing. I have had my RT a year now and it usually fires on the third or fourth turn of the motor. After ten turns and no sign of running, I waited for thirty seconds and hit the starter again. My RT backfired. It sounded like a short barreled forty-five going off. Four Guzzi riders nearby pooped their pants and then started laughing. She fired right up after that and ran great all the way home.
I rode in rain, downpours, sprinkles or wet roads all the way home. The good news was my First Gear jacket that I bought in June worked great. It was really the first time I have worn it for any length of time in the rain. The bad news was about every livestock farmer in Missouri had fed their cattle Sunday morning and lost the usual crap & mud from their tires on the roads. This is the dirtiest any of my bikes have looked in a long time. At least the temperatures home were in the sixties. Depending on the weather this might be the last rally of the season for me. See ‘ya all next year. Ride safe.
Gary Johnson and I took off for The Baxter Cycle Rally on Saturday morning. Gary on his faithful 1996 BMW R1100RT and me on a new to me, but not new to the family, 1965 BMW R69S. We stopped in Alcester at the Dinner Bell Cafe for breakfast and from there rode to Bak Victory BMW in Sioux City. When we arrived at the shop there was a note on the door that said the shop was closed and everyone was at the Victory Reunion in Spirit Lake, IA. I put gas in my bike and we continued on our way. We rode some fun roads thru the Loess Hills and stopped for lunch at a slow fast food spot in Woodbine.
We arrived in Marne in the late afternoon and there was already a large group of Autobahners and Big Sioux Riders at the city park. My brother Paul, his wife Trintje, and their friend Kevin had ridden down on Friday with the traveling beer wagon. They had three kegs and everyone did their part to try and empty them. At suppertime some folks rode to the Danish Restaurant in Elkhorn, while others of us went to the Roadhouse Bar in Marne. We sat around a nonexistent campfire and told lies and drank beer into the night.
The next morning, we went to the fire station and had a pancake breakfast provided by the local boy scout troop. After that Gary and I walked up to the cycle shop and drooled over the antique bike collection and then we signed up for test rides on new Triumph motorcycles. I rode a Triumph Rocket III roadster and a Triumph Tiger 1050. Then I headed back to the park to clean up the R69S. I had decided to enter it in the bike show under the Other European categories.
This is a spectator judged event, so I thought it might be a good idea to put a sign on my bike that it is an unrestored original and also that I had ridden it 200 miles to the rally. As I was putting the sign on my bike a woman said that got her vote---so maybe I had a good idea. We had our picnic lunch provided by Baxter Cycles and some more beer. Ballots were counted at about 2:30 pm. The R60/2 won first place with 42 votes. The Laverda and my bike each got 35 votes, tying for second place. The way I see it second place is better since you win a tee shirt rather than the plaque given for first place.
After the awards presentation I hopped on the R69S for a beautiful ride home. Maybe next year I'll put a sidecar on the bike and enter it again!
For years I’d been hearing about this thing some of the ‘bahners went to in Marne, IA, but really had no concept of what it was. This year I decided to go and see. I left on Friday afternoon, took I29 to somewhere south of Sioux City (water still high there), then went across to Denison where I got stuck behind a huge crane which bogged down to about 40 mph on the uphills where I couldn’t pass and then hit 80 downhill where I could have if I were younger and foolisher. We both stopped for gas at Harlan, so I lost him there and soon arrived in Marne.
Marne is sure small. Their web site claims they started with 617 citizens in 1875 and are presently down to 149. The streets are mostly one lane, no curb, and there are numerous empty lots with signs offering said properties at a price of $zero. And at reasonable interest. Of course you have to build a house, and according to the covenant, “No noxious or offensive activities shall be carried on upon any lot…” Always a catch.
The main attraction for those of our ilk is the open house at Baxter Cycle, a business which is a testament to the truth of the old saw about doing one thing and doing it well. They seem to have cornered a large share of the market in used and vintage British bikes and parts. I was amazed at all the old bikes in the back room and the bins of parts. According to their website they have another 125 bikes in another building along with larger parts. They gotta be doing something right to attract the Triumph demo truck to their open house. Which of course in turn attracts free ride seekers such as the following: Larry Hawes, Bill Claussen, Jerry Zeeb, Gary Landeen, Gary Johnson, Dale Nordlie, Dave McBride, Marlin Wolter, Brion Hase, Lloyd Lunde and Tom Buttars. (Ed.Note: This is a test. Match the names above to the faces below.)
I arrived, quickly set up my tent, quickly mooched a beer from Larry, quickly drank it, quickly mooched another and, fortified, hiked up the hill to purchase more. Waste of time and money because there soon arrived a Harley bearing braumeister Paul Nordlie and his wife Trintje towing a trailer containing three wee kegs of his fine product. To wit: a fine porter, a fine IPA and a fine British bitter (my favorite).
The evening passed with dinner at the local bar and grill and some bullslinging and in the morning we took advantage of the pancake, sausage and egg deal offered by the Boy Scouts. Then we rode motorcycles. The ride was 7 miles or so to Atlantic and back, a route with some curves so you could get a feel for what the bikes could do. I rode a Tiger 800 XC, which was fun, but far breezier than my old RT. Later on I was on an America, a cruiser with legs-extended riding position. Adding interest to this ride was the state trooper who sat patiently at a crossroad watching the group pass by at 70 mph. Someone told me I would have trouble adjusting to the forward controls, which I didn’t, but the steering was not comfortable and, again, it was windy. So – no sale. I’ll keep the old Boxer, thank you.
For dinner, some went to the local tavern again, but they were serving only goulash. There was a discussion of alternatives. Brion lobbied unsuccessfully for a place in Atlantic reputed to serve the best pork tenderloin in Iowa, but we all (15 or so of us) ended up at a buffet in Elk Horn which offered fried chicken, shrimp, roast pork, meatballs, barbecued ribs, braised wallaby and prime rib. (Okay, the wallaby is an exaggeration, but the rest isn’t.) Rear tires looked a little flatter when we remounted for the return trip.
More beer and bull and in the morning more pancakes. Also more rides, but I abstained. I also passed on the free weenies. Just packed up and went my way. Brion patiently mapped out a scenic, albeit complex route for those who wished to take such roads on the way home, but I had a hankering to go through Ida Grove again. I happened on this town on my first motorcycle trip years ago and wanted to see it again. A local industrialist with a fondness for castles has built a number of towers and walls and such there, as well as a small lake on which floats a half-scale replica of the HMS Bounty. His own home is a castle complete with moat and drawbridge. It’s harmless enough, I guess, but sorta goofy.
After that, I headed for Sioux City, caught I29 and went home, not omitting to stop at Edgar’s in Elk Point for an old fashioned cherry chocolate ice cream soda, the finest in the land.
Well, this is not the ride report that I thought I would be writing. The bad news: I rode home in a Delta Air Lines jet from Anchorage to Sioux Falls. That is not an interesting ride to report on!!
Tim, the owner of Alaska ATV Adventures and my summer employer, asked if I would be able to be back in Alaska by the end of April next summer. This presented a logistical problem and a dilemma for me. I know that riders have been on the ALCAN in winter months (yes Toto April is still winter in the north), but I won’t be one of them. My solution was going to be to ride my 650 home, fly to Alaska in April, back to South Dakota the end of May and ride to Indianapolis for the race, and then ride to Alaska. Kay did not think much of what I thought was a very common sense solution. She thought I should leave my 650 in Alaska, fly home with her and then fly back to Alaska next spring. It seems that I may have lost my “permission slip” to ride back and forth to Alaska. So on August 12th I put my 650 in an Alaskan cave (heated storage unit), hooked it to an IV (battery tender), covered it and put it into hibernation until I get back to Alaska next spring. Now that solution does present a problem. It means I will be in South Dakota without my 650, a very undesirable solution. The good news: A solution has been agreed to. I have almost worn out the internet looking for a motorcycle to buy to have here in South Dakota. Hopefully in the near future I will be able to arrive at a Wednesday night supper on my new ride.
They say that you always remember your “first time”. I had talked about it, read books and magazines on the subject, even watched movies about it. But I never did it. What I desired was a “real” motorcycle trip. I’ve come close before when travelling to the Black Hills on my 2002 Victory and, most recently, with my 2004 1150 GS. But with my luggage, wife, and kids in tow in a chase vehicle I figured that didn’t count. Now I had the perfect motorcycle to travel with. So – where? I’ve wanted a pair of motorcycle pants from Aerostich for a while. Aerostich’s Rider Warehouse is located in Duluth, MN, where they make and repair their motorcycle suits. So, one stop would be Duluth. Since I would be in the area, a friend suggested I ride up the North Shore drive on State Route 61 along Lake Superior. Last year I took a fishing trip to the Boundary Waters with my Dad. The last stop before we headed to the trail head was Ely, MN. What impressed me about the trip (besides the fishing) were the roads in the area. I could reach Ely via State Route 1 off of North Shore Drive. So another stop would be Ely. Finally, I was due for some service on the bike. Moon Motorsports was in Monticello on the way to Duluth. With the blessing of my wife, I packed the GS up with clothes and camping gear for the trip.
The first day of my adventure began on July 5th. I headed east from Sioux Falls on I-90 and took highway 60 North through Mankato to Belle Plane Motorsports to look over some of the new Triumph motorcycles. I’m interested in many brands of bikes other than BMW. I liked many of the bikes there, but for me, the one model in their lineup that stands out is the Bonneville T100. I’ll probably need to demo a Bonneville some day. After buying a T-shirt, I continued on to the Minneapolis Northwest KOA in Maple Grove, MN, where I camped for the night.
The second day, I packed up and headed North on I-94 to Moon Motorsports. I had been experiencing a strange gas leak on my GS. It happened to me twice after filling the bike full while on its center stand and then parking it on the side stand. My solution had been to run a gallon of gas out of the tank after filling up before parking it for an extended session on the side stand. Consequently, I didn’t fill the bike that morning because I didn’t think they’d appreciate the resulting gas leak. In addition to diagnosing this quirk, I needed a full 30,000 mile check that included engine, transmission, and final drive oil as well as new brake fluid.
I arrived early for my 8:30 appointment and proceeded to wait. There were plenty of things to look over. In particular, I wanted to see the one-owner 1999 VFR800 Interceptor that was identical to the one I passed up in favor of a CBR600 F4 back in 1999 (a purchase that I later regretted). It was in excellent condition – just as I remembered, but I’ve moved on since then and it’s no longer my type of ride. Over the next few hours, I met a number of folks in the lounge area and received a few tips on rides around Duluth and places to camp in the area. In particular, it was recommended that I stay at Spirit Mountain Campground. On a side note, one guy mentioned Bob’s BMW in Baltimore, MD. Apparently, there was a vintage BMW there with over 600,000 miles on it. He also mentioned that there was a one-wheeled motorcycle there. He even showed me a picture of the bike on his phone. The story was that the inventor’s son crashed and was killed while riding it in a parade after a pretty girl caught his eye. I don’t know if there is any truth to this tale, but maybe some of you have heard it as well. I also learned something else that day, if the service manager suggests you demo a bike to head to lunch, take him up on the offer! Unfortunately, since they were going to be done “right after lunch” I didn’t. I waited patiently until my service was complete at around 3:35. Fortunately, they fixed the problem with the gas leak. You can ask me sometime what the issue was. All in all, I was satisfied with the service - I was just surprised it took so long.
Eager to continue to Duluth, and still hoping to make the Rider Warehouse before they closed at 8:00, I loaded up the bike and shot up State Highway 25 like a rocket to Big Lake where I picked up County Highway 5. My plan was to continue to State Highway 23 thereby avoiding I-169 entirely. My plans changed when the reserve light kicked in halfway on my way up 5 to 23. There weren’t a lot of gas stations on that stretch of road so I changed my route and headed due East on State Route 95 to Princeton for a fill up (4.784 gallons) and then up I-169 where I picked up 23 and I-35 to Duluth. I arrived at my destination with an hour to spare. Their new AD 1 pants in regular length worked for me without alteration. I made my purchase, thereby avoiding sales tax and netting 10% off the price of the pants through their factory discount program. I located Spirit Mountain Campground just before dark and found the field they suggested to me on the phone earlier in the day. The only flat spot open was at the bottom of a grassy hill. Riding down the hill “off road” was another first for me - I am happy to say I kept the shiny side up. Scott at Spirit Mountain Campground.
After lunch, I took State Route 1 to Ely. The road was nice and curvy and traffic was light. I stopped at Ely to grab a bite at the Plum Bun Bakery which was recommended to me. They were out of the lemon bars, but the cookie I bought was good. In Ely, as well as other places, I was routinely approached by strangers that were interested in the bike and had a story to tell. I have read that when riding alone, people were more likely to talk to you or help you if necessary. With my limited knowledge, it appeared that was the case. It was something I might not have experienced if traveling in a larger group. After a brief rest, I continued South and West along I-169 to the Grand Rapids area where I bedded down at the KOM-ON-IN campground off State Highway 10 on Trout Lake. The sites were a little cramped for my taste, but the view of the lake at daybreak was nice.
Day four was my largest mileage day. I planned to leave Grand Rapids and arrive in Sioux Falls before 6:00 in time to pick up the kids from daycare. I discerned what I believe was the fastest route while having a beer and food at the El Potro Mexican Restaurant in Grand Rapids the night before. I left the campground at 7:00 and took I-2 northwest to McIntosh and South on I-59 to Detroit Lakes. After which, I went West on I-10 to Fargo where I picked up I-29 South for the remainder of my trip. I put on approximately 500 miles that day which was enough for me. I arrived as promised with over an hour to spare. All told, my first “real” trip was over 1300 miles in 4 days and I averaged around 42 miles/gallon. Hopefully, that was not too bad for a “first time”. At least I did it before I turned 40!
Wow, where do I begin? I haven’t won anything since the 4th grade back in Waverly, IA, when I won a Brownie camera for having the best costume at the Halloween party. Oh well, I guess I was just due again. So, I was sitting in the registration building enjoying a cup of coffee after a day’s ride through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison when I heard someone yell out, “Does anyone have ticket #472?” I was busy reading an interesting article in one of the local publications and even though that number did sound familiar I just raised my hand and kept on reading. A few seconds later a man appeared over my right shoulder and said, “Are you ready to go flying?” And I said, “Huh?” At that point I was told that I just won a one hour flight with a local pilot over the surrounding valleys and mountains. And I said, “What was that number again?” Then this man, Jeff Galligan, who was the head man with the BMW Club of Colorado (the event sponsor) said, “You are the winner!” Hey, I liked the sound of that! He immediately called the pilot and left a voice mail message with my name and phone number and he gave me the pilot’s number also. That was all great except it occurred to me that we had no phone service up here so how were we going to get in touch? Early the next morning I got on my bike and headed for the highest elevation around to see if I could get phone service. I headed north of town with no luck but across the valley on the south side of town was a spot even higher. Following a road up the mountain on the south side eventually took me to the local cemetery that was very peaceful and had a beautiful view of the valley in the early morning sunlight. Yahoo, I got reception and talked to the pilot who told me to meet him at the front gate of the park in 30 minutes and the sooner we got flying the better because the winds pick up as the day goes on.
Friday I went to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. First time I have ever been there. Spent most of the day there. Got in free with my “old man national park free pass”. A really unique canyon. The river cut down through some of the oldest (and hardest) rocks in North America. It has incredibly steep canyon walls. You can see millions of years of geological development from top to bottom. At the painted wall you can see million year old remains of old lava flows that resemble an upside down view of the root structure of plants. The molten lava flows sent out fingers sideways and upward through the rock and they then cooled and hardened into the shapes we see today. Many miles away you can see the results of the lava that reached the surface and produced the mountain where Paonia exists today. Saturday was a day for riding around Colorado. I headed out to Grand Mesa and in Mesa ran into Dale and Gerald taking a lunch break. Also found out that the heavy snow fall last winter means BIG holes in the road. Rode fairly slowly after the first couple of launches from potholes. The view leaving Mesa heading south up Grand Mesa is spectacular. You can look down several thousand feet and see the entire valley north of Grand Mesa. It stretches for miles. It was a hard ride up the north side of Grand Mesa trying to watch for potholes, traffic, and scenery at the same time. With the pass over Grand Mesa above 10,000 feet, it was blessedly cool on the top, almost too cool riding with just my air jacket. After riding down the south side of Grand Mesa it was nice but not as good as the north side. However, I did find a couple of nice local paved roads back to Paonia through some really pretty country. The neat thing about Colorado is the number of local paved roads that are not marked on the state map. However, you must be prepared to retrace your steps as some of these roads may become “cow paths”. About 750 people attended the rally, the weather was really good, the food was excellent, and a small shower sped up the awards ceremony which didn’t hurt my feelings. Top of the Rockies can be crowded but it will also reward you with beautiful views (photo at left), cool riding, and an opportunity to see land that we in the Midwest cannot believe. Sunday morning I packed up and headed to north central Colorado to stay in the mountains as long as I could and also miss Denver. I finally headed east out of the Rockies on Colorado State Road 14 which goes through a beautiful canyon and then spits you out in Fort Collins. Unfortunately, I traveled in a light rain and did not see much of the scenery that SR14 has. The rain ended just as I got to the flatland of Ft Collins and I then had an unobstructed view of wonderful eastern Colorado. In addition to being flat, it was also 100 degree’s - a journey from heaven to hell. Made it to Ogallala where I spent the night. Got up at 4 in the morning to avoid the heat and was almost the only one on I-80. Had cool and fast riding. I saw a beautiful sunrise on the Nebraska plains. There was thin cloud cover in the east on the horizon and when the sun came up through the clouds it refracted the sunlight up into the cloud cover producing a red light over the normal yellow sun and a brilliant orange sunrise. The cloud cover was translucent enough that I was able to see the real sun just behind the refracted sun. Got to Des Moines at 12:15. The temperature was 100 degrees. Into the air conditioning I went. End of trip.
I met Larry, Mary, and Bill in Round Lake, MN, on Friday morning, August 5th. We took back roads all the way to Lake Joy, WI. It was a perfect day for riding, needed a jacket all the way (unlike some of the riding I had been doing lately). We arrived early afternoon, plenty of time to set up camp before the evening meal. The WI Moto Guzzi Rally is at a very nice location, facilities were good and lots of room. The Moto Guzzi people treat you well, plenty to eat and drink. On Saturday I took off on my own for a ride in the area. What a beautiful area to ride in!! The back roads are all black top and you never get tired of them, just kinda mixed-up. The K75C I took on the trip was the perfect bike for that kind of riding. It’s easy to handle on the twisties.
I just wanted to drop you a quick note and tell you about our upcoming events in the next month.
On September 24th I will be putting on Bak Adventure Kamp or B.A.K. for short. This is a class on off road riding techniques for all ages and skill levels. It is primarily designed for dual sport bikes. The class is held Saturday afternoon from 3:00 until ?. Afterwards we will have a steak dinner and a bonfire. There is free camping on site and hotels within just a few minutes if you prefer not to sleep on the ground. On Sunday there will be a competition of sorts that will allow you to test the skills you learned on Saturday.
On October 8th we will have or annual Baktoberfest Open House. Please join us for great deals on bikes, parts, apparel and accessories. We will also have some of my awesome brats. Put this one on your calendar now.
Thanks, Dave Bak Bak BMW Victory KTM www.bakmc.com
Hello Beemer fans and other motorized single track vehicle fans. We made it through the tropical month of July. I hate to say this, but some of those days had me dreaming of December and cross-country skiing in the Newton Hills!! If you don't know it by now, I hate riding in 100 degree heat index conditions. I have trouble concentrating on my riding, I get drowsy, and it’s just darn right uncomfortable. I know, I know, its summer and we have to expect hot days, but this past month was awful.
Oh well, enough complaining, there are better days ahead. Like Baxter Cycle's Open House in Marne, Iowa, for example, and Hawes Biker Days in Sept. By the way congrats to Larry & Mary on there 50th wedding anniversary. Sorry I couldn't be there, I hate to miss important events like that. It's been a busy summer with family from out of state here for two weeks and everything else going on. To those who did attend, I envy you. I did get to one rally, and that was the BMW-RA Rally at Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Several Autobahners were in attendance, and a good time was had by all.
Another motorcycle gathering was held at the Diner downtown on Phillips Ave., Sioux Falls, July 28th. This was the first of what many of us hope will continue to happen on the LAST THURSDAY of every month. I guess there isn't a name for it yet, but it is for anyone that likes motorcycles, especially vintage or unique models, and just likes to mingle with other riders. I counted about 40 bikes there with many belonging to Autobahners. It is a non-Harley sponsored night-out for the rest of us who aren't impressed with "chromed-out noisemakers", but still like bikes. I guess that's how I'd best describe it. It’s not a commercial event, just a place and time to "kick back" with fellow or non-fellow riders. Ladies are welcome, too, of course.
There were several Autobahners at the Newton Hills State Park over the weekend for the 32nd Annual Sioux River Folk Festival. Gerald & Sandy Winters, Gary Wilson & daughters & grandchildren, Dale, Romie, & Will Nordlie, and Jan & I were there for this excellent musical event.
I guess that's all I care to yak about for now. See you on down the road.
“A trip of a lifetime, this rally begins wherever you are and culminates in Dawson City at the Downtown Hotel”
Submitted by Gary Pedersen
First, I apologize for not explaining how I got my 650 fixed in Part 1 (July issue). I took it to Tigard BMW of Western Oregon. Within 10 minutes of arriving at the Service Department they had the bike in the shop. They worked on it for 2 hours, found and fixed the problem and had me on the road. It seems that the computer in the F650GS sometimes decides to “remap” itself. Scary! The tech put all the settings back to where they should be and it runs great. I suppose the “Air-head” guys are now all going: “See, we told you so!”
June 20th. I met my Alaska riding buddy, Tom (who grew up in Junius, SD), in Eagle River at 10:00 and we left for Tok. Tok is only 330 miles so it’s an easy day that starts with a ride up the Matanuska Valley on the Glenn Highway. It’s a reasonably clear day with views of the Chugach Mountains and the Matanuska River on the right, and the Talkeetna Mountains on the left. You could go into scenery overload. From Palmer to Sheep Mountain Lodge is one of the great motorcycle rides in North America. However, the Alaska Department of Transportation is working steadily at changing this part of the road to a great motorhome ride. The DOT projects have removed or straightened hundreds of curves in the last several years. By leaving at 10:00 we arrive at Sheep Mountain Lodge about noon for lunch. Their soup, rolls and pie are legendary. Then it’s on to Glenn Allen for gas, and then on to Tok. The weather has changed to heavy overcast and it will start raining in the next few miles. The first 24 miles of the Tok Cut Off have just had the marbles put on the chip seal. Alaska and the Yukon both use the same method for chip sealing roads. (See picture at left.) A thick layer of oil, and then several inches of ½ to ¾ inch round rock for the surface. You can imagine what this is like to ride on. The temp has also dropped to 40F and it is raining. Just great! With Firstgear Kilamanjaro suits and Gerbings liners we do stay dry and warm. We have never ridden from Glenn Allen to Tok without rain.
June 23rd. We wake up to a torrential downpour. The first thing I do is call my wife and wish her Happy Birthday. Not the best circumstances to wish your wife Happy Birthday. It’s only 195 miles from Tok to Dawson City but most riders spend the night in Tok so they will have an entire day to make the ride to Dawson City. The 195 miles can take from 4 to 10 hours depending on conditions, and the conditions today are bad. The first 74 miles are either paved or chip seal so we’re in Chicken in a little over an hour, even with the rain. The temp is now down to 38F, there is thick fog and the rain is relentless. We arrive at Chicken drenched, and ready for some hot coffee. From Chicken to the border is a sea of mud mixed with bottomless mud pits where the permafrost is pushing clay up through the road. The mud on the surface is like riding on 2 inches of grease on a polished steel plate. It takes us 2 hours and 45 minutes to go the 48 miles to the border. From the border to Dawson City is 66 miles with about 20 of those chip sealed. The rest is more mud! It’s another 2 hours and 15 minutes to Dawson. Yuk! Trying to pick a line to go through the mud is exponentially more difficult due to the fog in the air, the fog on the face shield, and the fog on my glasses. Several riders are down in this stretch, but no one requires hospitalization. I’ve made this run every year since 2002 and this is the worst I have ever seen this part of the road. I guess if it didn’t get like this it wouldn’t be called Adventure Touring. As we start down from the ridges to Dawson the rain finally lets up. While waiting for the ferry to cross the Yukon River I notice that I have a problem. Either my 12 year old Firstgear riding pants are leaking at the crotch, or I relieved myself when I went through one of the bottomless mud pits. Or both? At least the rain has stopped. Dry clothes, coffee, not beer, and I feel much better.
Later that afternoon we notice that we have an interesting development in Dawson City. This is for the record books. There seems to be a large number of people dressed like the Village People walking around the D2D bikes on the street. Besides the 230+ riders in Dawson City for D2D, there are 90 Harley Davidson “owners” in Dawson City. Notice, I did not say HD riders. These 90 HD owners are on a BUS TOUR, a BUS TOUR, of the Yukon and Alaska because everyone knows you can’t ride real motorcycles in the Yukon and Alaska. That was basically a quote from one of the HD owners. They are wearing their leather ON A BUS! They even have special patches commemorating their “Harley Davidson Tour of Alaska and the Yukon.” Someone forgot to tell us, and us includes 3 HD riders, 2 Victory riders and 6 Goldwing riders that made it to Dawson City that you can’t ride motorcycles in Alaska and the Yukon.
June 24th. We wake up to “not a cloud in the sky” and it is going to be warm. The high points for today are the Poker Run and the Banquet. I’m with Joe on check point 5 today for the Poker Run. Check point 5 is at the top of Midnight Dome above Dawson City and because of the rain the day before and the sun today the views are spectacular. Joe’s rear tire is flat when we are ready to leave so he’ll be up later. There are 2 ways to the very top of Midnight Dome from the parking lot at the overlook. The backside has an old trail that the Canada Parks people have tried to make impassible, but not for a GS. The front side is straight up a bluff about 80 feet above the parking lot and is as steep as the middle of a hill climb. Only a couple of riders each year attempt the front hill climb side. Joe arrives and motors up the back trail on his R1100GS. Joe is 74. This year 2 riders came up the front hill climb. They are 20 somethings with 1 on a R1150GS and 1 on a 2 wheel drive KTM. As everyone is complimenting these guys a HD Street Glide comes into the parking lot, downshifts, does a left turn, and comes straight up the hill climb on the same line as the 2 young guys. Now this is a HD rider! After Joe and I are done on the Dome, we head back to the Downtown Hotel. Joe heads into the bar to find the guys with the air compressor and I head to my room to drop of my stuff and then back to the bar to rehydrate. When Joe comes out of the bar his back wheel is missing. He goes back into the bar and someone buys another round, when he comes back to check on his missing wheel it is back on his bike, with a new tire. These are D2D people.
D2D is now too large for any of the available banquet capable places in Dawson City. The Fire Marshall has limited the Opera House to only 150 people, and there are over 230 in attendance this year. We hope to get Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, the casino, for next year but that will be a stretch. The good news is that I ran into Jeff Sar (pic at left.) from the Sioux City BMW Club at the banquet. I haven’t seen Jeff since we ate lunch together at The Dock at Running Water. Since the Sioux City club members are also (well honorary anyway) Autobahners, we’ve had a 100% increase in attendance of Autobahners at D2D. In order to have a similar increase next year there will need to be at least 3 more of you to make the trip. The bike games were over at midnight and the bikes were posted. Jeff now has a “Dust to Dawson 2011 sticker. And he earned it in the mud on Thursday.
June 25th. Another clear, warm day. The Top of the World and Taylor Highways are the best I’ve ever seen. They are still damp from the rain and hard packed like the clay on a flat track oval. Yeeee Hawwwww!!!!!! The bad news is that several riders get carried away and we now have at least 2 that were hospitalized. I have supper with Jeff at Fast Eddie’s in Tok and he heads back to the campground and Tom and I head to the Golden Bear Motel. In the morning Jeff will head home and Tom and I will head back to Eagle River where I have to make amends for missing yet another birthday.
June 26th. There is only a light sprinkle this morning as we head south, and this lets up after about 20 miles. The sun is trying to come out, but the St. Elias Mountains are still covered with clouds. However, a record has been set. The temp is in the 50s and it ISN’T RAINING OR SNOWING! What a pleasant ride. Gas at Glenn Allen, lunch at Sheep Mountain Lodge and on to the curves. Well, some good things do end. It seems that every Ma and Pa Kettle in America is on the road this afternoon. One guy with Washington plates in a Lincoln Navigator is doing 40 mph in the straights and 20 mph on the curves. Sure enough, when one DS passes in a straight section and probably hit something way over 55 mph the Alaska State Troopers were johnny-on-the-spot to point out his errant ways. Tom and I are just patient and take our time.
I’m 7100 miles into this summer’s trip. America is great. D2D 2011 is history. 2012 will be the 20th anniversary of D2D. Now is the time to start making your plans. See you in Dawson City on June 21-22, 2012.
Betty & I arrived at Chippewa Falls, WI, Thursday afternoon, July 21, for the BMW Rider Association Rally. We checked into our motel and then went out to the rally sight to check in. It was held at the Northern WI State Fair Grounds, which had plenty of room etc. I didn’t tent this time but I’m sure some of the Rally attendee’s would have liked to see a few more trees for shade.
After we checked in we walked around a little and ran into Tom Meister and Dave Mc Bride. Tom and Dave were relaxing on a bench under a big shade tree close to the Beer Garden (these guys had their priorities straight). We left the grounds and explored Chippewa Falls, looking for a place to eat and get some much needed ice cream. You see “IT WAS HOT”.
Friday morning our phone rang and Gerald Winter was on the phone. They made it OK last night, and do we want to go for a ride together today? I said well it’s going to be hot, but sure we would go. So we met at the Rally site and headed north. It was very pretty scenery but it got hotter and hotter. When we finally got far enough north and decided to start heading back we saw a thermometer that said 99 degrees. It felt good when you were moving but when you stopped for a break “It Was Hot”. I found out later they set a record high temp that day. I’ve only been to two Rally’s this year so far and they both set record high temp’s while I was there, my luck I guess. Anyway we had a good ride and we found some really nice riding roads.
Friday night the Rally had a fish fry which Gerald and Sandy attended, Betty and I dined with the Veteran BMW Riders’ group. They had brats and all the fixin’s for a donation. I like this group, as we meet new people every time we get together. We sit around and tell how we won the war and how we’d win this one. Have to give Mike Johnson credit for keeping this group going and informed, he and his wife do everything. That evening we were beat from the heat. We went back to our air-conditioned room and crashed.
Saturday morning Sandy called inviting us to join them and Gary Johnson and Dale Nordlie for breakfast. “Thanks for the invite” but we weren’t moving too fast. We ate a little later. Saturday was a lot cooler. A weather system went through in the night and dried out and cooled off the air. Betty and I did some shopping and looking around down town in the morning then went for a ride north east of town. That turned out to be a real nice ride also.
Had to get back to the Rally for the Closing Ceremony and the last walk through the vendor area before they closed. We had supper and hung out with our group waiting for the band to start. And “Start They Did”. I will have to say that band had their sh-t together. Just hanging out there and listening was the highlight of the Rally (that’s only my opinion). I’m sure Betty would say the same thing. Oh, yes, the Mason Shoe Factory Outlet Store would probably be her close 2nd highlight.
Sunday we took our time coming home. Had to stop at Lanesboro, MN, for lunch and a walk, then on to Harmony, MN, for a stop at that big Antique Mall. You never know what you might find there.
June 25th would have normally been the weekend of the Bohemian Alps Rally in Verdigre, but the BMWMOA ON magazine and website reported earlier this spring that the rally had been canceled. By the Monday of June 20th, I knew I was going to need a ride on Saturday and was thinking about camping. Folks had been talking about an informal campout at the Verdigre City Park and Campground, so I called the City of Verdigre to see what was going on. The lady there told me there would be 40 to 50 families camping in the city park there that weekend for a family reunion so I decided that I didn’t want to camp there.
I woke up Saturday morning at 6 AM and it looked fantastic outside… for the first 15 minutes of the day anyway. I still needed a ride. A few minutes after the Big Sioux Rider breakfast with it being heavy overcast, I called Dale Nordlie on his cell phone. Dale said Gary Johnson and he were heading over to look at the Fort Randall Dam, but Gary had to be home by 7 PM. Dale also said that Larry Hawes and Bill Claussen were heading to Verdigre to camp. The weather to the south looked worse so I told Dale I would ride that way from Sioux City and try to run into them somewhere, then maybe drop down to Verdigre to see Larry and Bill.
I got the GS ready and left home about noon. The water from the Big Sioux and Missouri river were nearly touching I-29 as I headed through all the road construction to the Vermillion exit. Figuring I was running late, I hurried to Yankton where after searching around a bit, I went down to the river side park and took some flooding photos. I also got to look at the new and old bridges. From there I followed all the traffic to the Yankton dam where I got a front row parking space below the dam to see what 160,000 CFS looks like leaving the dam. The force of the water coming through the gates of the dam was impressive, but it’s was also one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Dakota at the time.
After taking some photos and looking around for a few minutes, I left the crowds and the water behind and headed towards Pickstown. I pulled off at the Fort Randal Casino to look for Gary and Dale’s bikes and found that the new Casino was open. The new casino looked nice, but I didn’t go in. There was a Pow Wow going on down the hill behind the facilities. I didn’t see any BMW motorcycles in the parking lot, so I headed on.
At the Fort Randall Dam there were signs asking people not to park by the roadway, but to use the visitor’s area. From the visitor’s area one could hike down the dam and watch the water go down the spillway. I decided I would get a better look of the spillway from the Fort Randall Recreation area below the dam. At the gate there was a young college aged gal sitting in a chair, reading a novel, and watching out for people like me… people without a SD park pass. I was able to sweet talk her to let me into the park for a few minutes without paying. I got some nice photos of the park shore and the spillway and generation station in full action.
Next I rode up to the overlook area just west on the south side of the dam were I got some more great photos. After that I headed west on Highway 18 and then down to Spenser, NE, where I intended to take Highway 12 (the “Outlaw Highway”) east to Niobrara. When I got to the turn, the sign said that Highway 12 was closed. I headed south on the detour a few miles and then exited the detour and took the next paved road west, which was appropriately called “Old County Road” on my old GPS. After about 12 miles the pavement, “Old Country Road” ended abruptly. It was only about 22 more miles to get to Verdigre, so I decided to take gravel and hopefully get there in time to have dinner with Larry and Bill. After about 6 miles of really bad gravel, the road was paved again. After this it was a great old road with lots of curves which went directly to the east side of Verdigre.
When I got to the campground the first people I saw were Dale, Larry and Bill. They offered me a beer and a crushed beer can for my side-stand. Well, one beer can was not enough to keep my heavy GS “Pig” from sinking into the soft ground, so the guys threw down 4 more crushed cans and it held. I was guess I was lucky they started without me and had plenty of beer.
After drinking a beer (or two... as I was really thirsty by this point of the day) and some talk, the four of us headed up to what was the Flyway Café in Niobrara. The café was under new ownership and they are still working on a lot of things, including a larger menu and new name. They had built a sandy bank around the restaurant, but it looked like the water still had a ways to go before it would cause any problems for them. We all ordered burgers and had a nice meal. The new owners were really friendly. After dinner we went into town, filled up the bikes, and took some photos of the flooding there. Afterwards we headed back to the campground in Verdigre where we talked for a bit. I didn’t have any camping gear so after saying hello to George Forst, (prior years rally chair) I got back on my bike and headed home.
Riding though Nebraska at night can be… different. Near Verdigre I saw a car which had spun off the road for no apparent reason and slid against a steep embankment. There were plenty of people there and it didn’t look like the car had rolled, so I kept moving. With the 6 lights on the front of “Pig” I was able to see deer out feeding but they were all some distance from the road. I did encounter a raccoon at an unsafe distance, but he quickly got out of the way. Shortly before midnight, somewhere in a flat area of Highway 20, pretty much out of sight of any human dwellings, I passed a 6’ man in a white t-shirt, heading west… on a skateboard. I cannot imagine what the explanation for this would have been had I turned around to ask!!
I got home about 12:30. It was nice sleeping in my bed, but I missed a great night of camping in Verdigre with the Autobahn.
(Check out Brion’s Picasa site with all his flood pictures and more at: www.picasaweb.google.com/brion.hase
Hello Autobahners! Wow, it will be July when you read this, and we all know how fast summer disappears after the 4th. I hope all of you had a good 4th.
I'm planning on riding to Chippewa Falls, WI., for the BMWRA Rally. The BMWMOA Rally is just too far away for someone with little vacation time and even less money! I have the new front tire on the old RT and will be putting in the Autolite 3923's and hope everything else holds together for the trip.
I guess you all know about the Hawes' 80th Anniversary coming up (has it really been that long?) That should be fun. It will be a good time to see old and new friends that I haven't seen in awhile. Wow, 80 years! :)
It has been a busy summer, with too little riding time. Too much rain, too much mowing, too many other distractions. Maybe July and August will be better. Keep riding, keep smiling, stay safe.
I’m Scott Taylor – a recent member to the Autobahn Society. I joined last spring after purchasing a blue and white 2004 BMW R1150GS. I’ve been working at Wells Fargo for the last 12 years as a programmer in student loans. My wife, Marcelle, and I and our two children Autumn (5 years) and Mitchell (4 years) live in Brandon, SD. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1996.
My first bike was a 1992 Kawasaki Ninja 600R, followed by a new red Honda CBR600F4 in 1999. At the time, I had the choice between the CBR600F4 and a red 1999 VFR800 Interceptor. Eventually, I grew to regret not buying the VFR800 because of some of its advantages over the F4. It was more Sport Touring orientated, had a center stand, EFI, and single-sided swing arm. I sold the CBR600F4 about the time my wife and I were expecting our first child. I held out a while, but eventually bought a 2002 Victory V92C in the spring of 2008.
I’ve been interested in cruisers, sport, and sport touring motorcycles for some time, but my focus has since changed to adventure sport motorcycles after reading numerous books and articles and (most notably) watching the “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down” documentaries with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.
The BMW GS has been the favorite motorcycle I’ve owned for a number of reasons. It’s large, comfortable, has heated grips, the saddle bags are great, and it is one of BMW’s most popular models so aftermarket parts and accessories are available. As mentioned earlier, I also appreciate having the center stand which my first bike had and I’ve missed ever since.
I haven’t had much opportunity to tour yet, aside from a trip to the Black Hills in the summer of 2010 for a fresh set of tires at Sturgis BMW and a quick tour through Custer State Park. As I write this, I’m planning a trip to Minneapolis for service at Moon Motorsports and on to Duluth, MN, to visit the Aerostich Rider Warehouse. I plan on purchasing a pair of Darien Pants and (if budget allows) maybe the jacket too. I may also do the North Shore drive along Lake Superior. I look forward to meeting you all in the future.
“What the flock” do these words have to do with each other?? “What the flock” in deed. I will try to explain.
Dave and I have known each other for over thirty-five years but have never ridden together – anywhere. Dave has a history of dirty, non-shining motorcycles. I on the other hand I like clean, polished motorcycles. So why Dave did this to me has me puzzled??? Was he jealous of my much older but much shinier BMW or of my brand new silver riding jacket? ”What the flock!”
We were both attending the Missouri BMW Rally this last weekend at Crane, Missouri. I wanted to go to Bentonville BMW in Bentonville, Arkansas, to ask some questions and maybe spend some money on my Shiny Red RT. I have never been in this area in my life so I rode down in a group ride. We rode over 90 miles on nice, clean, curvy, PAVED ROADS.
Bentonville BMW served grilled brats and hamburgers. Life is good! I wanted to ask the parts lady some questions about my Shiny Red RT so I got in line – a long line. Finally it was my turn. Parts lady didn’t know the answers about my Shiny Red RT so she put me in 1st place in line #2. Waited some more. Mean while the group ride leaves to return to Crane, Missouri, without me. NOT GOOD. After speaking with the shop manager and not buying anything, my biker buddy Dave walked up and wanted to know if I wanted to ride back with him to Crane. “Why the flock not”, I said to myself, because I really could not have found my way back because of all the different roads – PAVED ROADS - we took to get to Bentonville.
Three BMWs in front of us turned left after leaving the dealer’s parking lot. Dave and Shiny Red RT turned right. “What the flock”, I thought. Oh, well, Biker Buddy Dave has been here many, many times and has a GPS to guide us home. The road ahead looked good, not much traffic, curves, this could be fun. Soon the road narrows and starts to become rougher. Dave pushes on with Shiny Red RT behind him. Then to my horror the road turns to gravel, rough gravel, dusty gravel. Shiny Red RT does not like gravel. I do not like gravel. Dave and his confused companion press on. The ride continues. The road gets rrrrrougher and bbbbbumpier. I am eating dust – Biker Buddy Dave’s dust. We came to a dead end! A “flocking” dead end with a GPS???
The ride continues. Came to an intersection with gravel in all four directions. Biker Buddy Dave is peering into the GPS like it was a magic “flocking” crystal ball. Companion on Very Dusty Red RT wants to use his boot to adjust the GPS or Biker Buddy Dave on the pick of roads. I yell at FORMER Biker Buddy Dave, “Where in ‘flocking’ hell does it say GS on Dusty Red RT???” We continue on for more miles and finally come to a paved road that I remember. Yes, we are on the same road & going in the same direction that we took to Bentonville. The sign ahead of us says we are very near Little Flock, Arkansas, not Crane, Missouri.
Confused rider on Very Dirty Red RT and no longer clean new silver riding jacket wonders “where in the flock” is Little Flock, Arkansas? After many more miles former Biker Buddy Dave turns onto a road I recognize going back to Crane and the rally site.
After arriving home Sunday night I drained all my oils and removed my saddle bags. I have custom made limited edition mufflers on Dirty Red RT. The left one was ready to fall off. If I ever go riding with Biker Buddy Dave again it will be with a “flocking” GS. And Dave can follow me.
(Ed.Note: Gary lives in Chester, SD,and spends his summers in Alaska working as a guide.)
I left Chester May 26th for this year’s trip to Alaska. I found a new short cut and my first stop was the Spam Museum in Austin, MN. The museum is on the “should do list” for anyone going to or from the Money Creek Rally. It is actually interesting - for me anyway. But then I do keep Spam in my tank bag.
After the Spam Museum I headed south to Anamosa, IA, and the National Motorcycle Museum. This museum is a definite MUST DO for anyone reading this article. There is a Super 8 Motel across the street and Wapsipinicon State Park is nearby for those who prefer to tent it. I spent three hours in the museum and then headed in the general direction of Indianapolis. I spent most of the afternoon on roads that weren’t on my map and spent the night in Rantoul, IL. The best part of the day was the absolute lack of wind. I had no idea how much trouble the wind would be for the next several days.
I got to Indy on Saturday at noon and helped with the preparations for the Saturday night party. The people that I stay with live about a mile from the front gate of the Indy 500 Track and Saturday night is a big deal. The race was great as always with several of the antique race cars used as honorary pace cars this year.
I left Indianapolis early May 30th and headed back to Chester. By 10:00 am the cross wind was terrible. I had no idea that the cross wind would last until Missoula. I stopped at a couple of rest areas to ease the pain in my neck from hanging onto the handle bars. My mileage had dropped to 45 mpg, and that is very bad for an F650GS. I know what Gary Johnson was dealing with. I had just worked my way through a large group of lemmings as I was coming to Iowa City (lemmings: a large group of vehicles traveling as a pack on the Interstate at the same speed). I noticed a DS (DS is the politically correct abbreviation for a dumb s--t) in a four door S10 Blazer on the ramp with a box spring and mattress on the roof with one orange tie down on it. The DS will get to the Interstate in front of me if I don’t speed up considerably. As the DS gets under the overpass and hits the wind the box spring and mattress pop up at about a 45 degree angle to his roof. When I get far enough ahead to check my mirrors, sure enough, the tie down breaks and the box spring and mattress each land in a lane. In my mirrors I see vehicles in the ditch, the median, the word FORD (reversed) on the tailgate of a pickup, and lots of dust. I did not stop. I spent the day riding west until my neck got stiff and then north for a ways, then west, then north. I finally ended up on I-90 and was out of north. As I was coming to Blue Earth, MN, I could see a huge black, green and blue wall with lots of psychedelic light flashes to the west. That can’t be good. It was 5:30 pm so I stopped at a Dairy Queen for something to eat and to check the news and weather. No radio, no TV, but one of the other customers had an I-Phone and checked the weather for me. The radar screen on his phone was also wild and the voice on the phone was talking about grapefruit sized hail and wind gusts in excess of 80 mph east of Mitchell. I knew I couldn’t make Chester before the storm so I stayed in Blue Earth that night.
May 31st I got to Chester about 10:30 am for my scheduled pit stop. I changed the oil and filter, changed the chain and sprockets (yes Toto, this BMW has a chain), changed the rear tire, did laundry and went to supper at Buffalo Trading Post. This is a culinary delight that I suspect many of you have missed. Tuesday nights are 50 cent taco nights at Buffalo Trading Post and the tacos are a reasonable size and quite good. Bet you can’t eat just one. I spent Wednesday getting the house ready for summer and visiting my mother-in-law and my folks.
June 2nd I left for Portland, OR, another shortcut on my way to Alaska. Our youngest son had called and wanted to know if I could detour through Portland. He had just bought a 2005 R1200GS and wanted to ride to Alaska with me. Another BMW convert from the sport bike set. Yes! The wind was again against me as I headed west. I had also tried 511 on the phone for some non-interstate roads and every road that I was looking at was closed due to flooding. I spent a boring day on I-90 noticing a lot of high water and stayed in Gillette, WY, that night.
June 3rd my 650 decided to have issues. It didn’t want to start cold, and once warmed up it didn’t want to idle. I had again checked 511 and again the roads I wanted to take were closed to either flooding or too much snow. I started at 6:00 am to get out before the wind, but it didn’t work. The wind was already up. I hate wind. I stayed on I-90 all day and spent the night in Missoula.
June 4th, the 650 was having issues again, but what a great day to ride. Lolo Pass is open!!! I got to do Lolo Pass for the 4th time and I finally got it right. The first three times didn’t count. Why? Twice in my mega cage (motorhome) and once in my little cage (Saturn SL) really don’t count. I found myself doing 60 to 65 mph several times coming out of corners which is not good in a 45 to 50 mph speed limit area. I have always seen ID Highway Patrol Cars on Lolo Pass, but I was lucky and did not get a formal written welcome to ID. I got to Graingeville, ID early in the afternoon and was able to spend the night with a retired friend and fellow BMW rider from Alaska.
We left West Linn Thursday afternoon, June 9th, and stayed in Seattle that night at his girlfriend’s apartment. We went from Portland to Seattle on back roads and probably beat the I-5 time by hours. June 10th was on to Canada and the land of good roads. When we got to Cache Creek, BC, we almost didn’t get a place to stay. There was a weeklong celebration in progress call Graffiti Days. There were 300 to 500 hot rods and race cars in town, along with what looked like a very large RCMP convention. We each had “some” beers with supper and then went out to look at the cars. There was a gathering of the owners under our motel window and the owners wouldn’t take no for an answer. We had several more beers. The Canadians are a friendly bunch, eh.
June 11th we were back on the road and stopped at Smithers, BC, for the night. We had supper in a microbrewery/restaurant. They made four beers on site so we ordered a sampler. Each sample was a 12 oz. glass. Great place. We stopped about 90 miles short of Watson Lake for about an hour for a forest fire. At Watson Lake, my favorite place, The Air Force Lodge was full so we ended up in one of the more questionable motels.
June 13th was a long day, 640 miles. When we were getting gas at Destruction Bay there were 2 Harleys out front and 2 riders in the dining area. One was from Faulkton, SD, and one was from Willow Lake, SD. We had supper at Burwash Landing and got to watch a guy catch 2 very large lake trout from the dock. My son ordered the 24 oz schnitzel that he was sure was caribou. We got to Tok, AK about 11:00 pm. I normally wouldn’t have ridden that far, but we had reservations at the Golden Bear Motel and putting the frost heaves between Burwash Landing and the border behind us was good.
June 14th, the last day out, we only had 330 miles to go and only about 30 of those were under construction. We talked to another father and son group from IL at Glenn Allen when we got gas and coffee. We had lunch at Sheep Mountain Lodge and then rode on to Eagle River and the end of a great trip.
I must say, to ride with an ultra-marathon runner who happens to be a professional photographer was interesting. At each gas stop he was on his cell phone with his work, had to eat a large meal, and photo stops were always at least 30 to 45 minutes. To take this trip with one of my sons was the best motorcycle trip I have ever taken.