Monday, June 6, 2016

Day Rides Below - Long Hauls to the Right

Big 2015 Summer ride to the wonderful land of Colorado, canyons of Utah, Nevada desert, and Death Valley soon to be added.  (to the right ---->).  This summer's rides coming up!

Still not sure where the 2016 big ride will wind up.

As always, click on pics to enlarge. Day rides continue to be added below.

Actually stayed in Illinois - not too bad

Well, surprisingly, with a full day of great weather to go riding, decided to stay around home, mostly flat, straight roads.  First got back into riding 5 or 6 years ago, enjoyed finding little quirky places in rural IL before discovering the great roads just a little further away for some fast, sporty, twisties riding.

Today, just a smooth day cruising.  Stumbling on roads leading me to places I haven't been to in years.  Honestly, except for making a few passes at Starved Rock, no traffic, scraping pegs once or twice - except for that - all the other miles were slow and smooth and no WOT.  Honestly, could have done it on a harley with no fear of needing to use the front brake and lay 'er down..

The Indian Creek Massacre monuments that I wrote about several years ago, now have been joined by a third.  A great rural park and a rather cool story.  Wikipedia Story about the Indian Creek Massacre

The creek that was dammed by settlers - causing problems for the Potowatami further downstream.


And, several hours later, going in a general "my house is north and east of here" direction, came across the Cherry, IL.  Miles away, the mountain of a slag pile rises above the absolutely flat landscape.  Their story of disaster in 1909, costing the lives of 259 men and boys can also be found on Wikipedia.  Wikipedia Cherry Mine Disaster.

Driftless In May

A couple of early season getaway weekends to the Driftless area of Wisconsin.  Some winter gravel left on the tighter turns the first time, great, clear roads the second.  Great open sightlines that early in the season as the trees are just beginning to bud.  Great roads and great fun.  Wasn't stopping in the tight stuff - too much fun - so this is the best I have.

And a great trip to the Iowa side of the river tearing up county route 9.  Enjoying Marquette.

About as good as it gets for the Midwest.  Great roads, countryside, and folks.  Gotta get back soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Columbus Day Weekend Riding - Oh Boy!

Some great riding in SW Wisconsin!  The boys were moving the pace and I was doing my best to hang on.  A stop in the action for some colorful pics.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The U.P. With Ken and Judy

Always a pleasure to ride up there each summer and spend some great time with two great people.  Their cottage is on a beautiful lake that allows only electric motors.  Quiet.  Listening to the loons, the occasional single prop flying over head, some kids laughing from across the way.   Days of fishing, dinner, some Kesslers, playing guitars, and winding up on the dock looking at the milky way, shooting stars, and satellites flying over.  Great way to go to sleep.

From the boat:

Plenty of fishing!

A little off roading:

Great company:

And great sunsets:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

2015 Riding Season

Well, riding season is upon us, and I have been lax in keeping up with some great day rides.  Plenty of longer rides in the plan for this year.  New bike in the fold.

Here fully dressed:

And here a little more stripped down:

Everyone enjoy the season!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Slimy Crud Run

So, my biker friend Rick has been doing this ride since the 90s.  Got me to go this year.  Can't believe I never have been before.  I don't know 500 bikes?  More?  1000?  No clue.  The first picture shows about half of it.  

Unlike many these things, VERY small % Harleys.  All sorts from all parts of the world.  And, some great beater / screwball design / cruddy bikes too. 

Of course, click the pics to enlarge... 

Every time I looked back at my beauty connie, people were gathered around looking at her.  Maybe the badass z1000 had something to do with it?

One of my faves

And another


Favorite clothing gear of the day

Shriner ride - different exhaust on each one

Great day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Everyone Loves a Parade / Iowa Ride - June, 2013

Finally, some good weather here.  Closed on Friday’s in June so I headed out to the Mississippi for one night camping to ride all day long on some great roads.  It was all good riding, but once in the groove, found that transcendent feeling we know as motorcyclists but don’t always find.

Something kinda odd happened on the way.  In the town of Oregon I came up behind a long train of Harley’s in parade formation – at least 50 bikes.  For about 15 miles!

As we were leaving town, I pass the last pick up between us, and the tail gunner with his day glow green gloves waives me on to join the group.  My headlight must have looked round in his vibrating mirrors, cause I sure didn’t fit in with all those individualists riding in a pack.

There was no way I was passing a parade this long, so I just fell into formation going 50 on wide open roads.  Hmmm...  Well Rt64 zig zags through a few rural stop signs / turns.  So I just followed the train and at least we didn’t stop at any of them.  Since I had to call home anyway, I pulled off at a road side park, waived to the tail gunner as he passed and fell out of line.  Weird. 

Going from Savanna to Galena I usually take Black Jack Road.  Over the winter I saw Irish Hollow and wanted to try it.  Most of it looked like this.

Some of it like this.

Either way, turns were a little too tight to be fun and a little too much gravel on the road to go at high speeds, but I am sure all this technical shifting in tight quarters prepared me for what the day was to bring.

So north of Dubuque on rt 3 is the turn off for Sherril and Balltown – the hill towns on County Rd 9Y.  Always ride this road.  Always love it.  It is about a 30mi run to Guttenburg where the roads become just as good but lower in elevation, amongst timber, and paved.   County Rt 9 is elevated, hilly, grooved, flawless concrete, wide open site lines with the crops this low early in the season.  And the 70 deg temp is just pouring through my jacket’s open vents keeping me cool.

I’ll leave it at this – I heard no wind noise – only the revs.  Only looked at the speedo in one turn - don't ask.  Didn’t think about riding gear, tires, valve lash, the next better bike, or work.  Every curve was exactly where it should be, every shift was right on, every 40mph posted sweeper was perfect in 5th gear at high rpm.  Every straight away was a 6th gear duck and pour it on, and no law enforcement was present.  The whole stretch, I think I had to pass 3 pick ups who politely moved over.  If I or someone else was watching me, I am sure they would have said, “too fast.” Sitting inside my helmet, it all was effortless and perfectly on pace.  We’ve all been there.  It is why we ride.  And this particular stretch is why I don’t ride a cruiser.

Set up tent at Pike’s Peak and kept riding up the river to La Crescent, MN.  Countless perfect turns and so little traffic.  Coming back, still cool in the jacket, clear head in the helmet, and the ride felt like it was going to go on forever.

But, alas, it’s a physical world we live in as witnessed by bug splatter and the sun eventually going down.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cherry Mine Disaster - Day Ride

Finally, it might be Spring.  By this time last year, I had ridden 1,000 miles.  Not so lucky this year, but did get a chance to go out today and rev the engine a bit while checking out something I had read about over the winter.  Headed out to some twisties at Starved Rock.  Took a few passes, little traffic, and the gears wound out perfectly.

Started heading to the the town of Cherry, but stopped off in Troy grove for a few pics.

Too cool.

Stopped off at the Wild Bill Hickok memorial.  Pretty cool story - especially focusing on his efforts for equality.

And a cool statue.

So I headed out to Cherry, IL to see the Cherry Mine Disaster memorial.  I was surprised at how large the slag piles were.  On these open plains, I could see them several miles away.  They look small in the pic, but they are quite large in person.

In the end, 259 men and boys died here including 12 rescue workers.   Tragedy for sure, though the event did lead to safer mining regulations by the state. 

From Wikipedia:
"On Saturday, November 13, 1909, like most days, nearly 500 men and boys, and three dozen mules, were working in the mine. Unlike most days, an electrical outage earlier that week had forced the workers to light kerosene lanterns and torches, some portable, some set into the mine walls.
Shortly after noon, a coal car filled with hay for the mules caught fire from one of the wall lanterns. Initially unnoticed and, by some accounts, ignored by the workers, efforts to move the fire only spread the blaze to the timbers supporting the mine.

The two shafts were then closed off to smother the fire, but this also had the effect of cutting off oxygen to the miners, and allowing the “black damp,” a suffocating mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, to build up in the mine."

There is more at Wikipedia if you would like to read it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day Ride for Curves and Fall Colors

Columbus Day allowed us a chance to sneak out.  Lisa wasn't up for riding in the cold unless it was to chase some great Fall foliage.  Upper 40's and a ton of wind led to us needing to bundle up and hang on.  So around here, Fall colors and great riding mean Starved Rock.

First stop, just couldn't resist the old Schlitz sign.  You know how it is...

The tight turns of Starved Rock were just awesome with sun, color, and dry roads.  We really poured into turns and the connie was running great to power through.

After a short stop in Utica for a warm up and a drink, we headed back.  Here are some more colors at Shabbona Park - site of the Indian Creek Massacre.

Five hour ride capped off with a stop at the local grocery for rum and apple cider.  Great day to ride and a great time to warm up!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Some Illinois River Towns- Day Ride

In June, I got a chance to get down to the Illinois River and see some of the towns along the way.

It was a beautiful day to get out there and enjoy some great sites.  As always, click on the pics to enlarge.

Met up with the river at Ottawa to see some sites and ride through Starved Rock State Park.

Lincoln Douglass Debate Mural:

Crossing the river, there is an excellent example of a railroad lift bridge.  Viewed here in the up position:

Down by Ogelsby - old school:

Still old school:

Nice ride to the town of Hennepin (the canal was named after it.

Then a great ride south.  Smooth twisting roads with overhanging trees.  Just great.

Some looked so good, just had to turn off.

And, many great views:

So, if you are ever by Lacon, you'll see a pretty cool town.

But don't forget this:

For this or many other made to order meals.  Mmmmm:

 Crossed over:

Tough times.  Lots of this:

Henry is a cool river town:

Caught up with the Hennepin Canal for a great photo op:

Then started away from the river and headed for home.  Saw this great covered bridge outside of Princeton:

With a sign harkening to days of old where bridge fines were levied for too many or too fast cattle:

Great day for a ride.  Perfect weather and plenty of cool things to see.