Sunday, May 4, 2014

Day Ride Section Below

Big ride to Washington and Oregon added.   (to the right ---->).

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

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



An EBR



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:

And a sculpture in the city park - very nice area:

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 like this:

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.








Saturday, April 7, 2012

Indian Creek Massacre - Day Ride

I've been withing a mile of this marker and park probably 20 times. No idea it was there nor any signs pointing to it. One day on google earth, I saw some pics. I knew we needed to get out there and check it out. Six hour ride with several other stops was only 160 miles - but it was a great way to spend a beautiful day.

The early spring gave us some cherry tree blooms as we left our house.


We made the Millbrook Bridge part of our twisty two lane route. It is an 1897 Pratt Truss bridge that is 600 ft long. Love to stop off and walk it.

Lisa with the new bridge in the background:


Here is one of the full length:

From there, we followed the Fox River for about an hour of back twisty roads to the memorial. There are no signs on the main road. Once we crossed there was a small sign for Shabbona Park. There, we saw the memorials.

Here is a bit of history from wikipedia:
"The Indian Creek massacre occurred on May 21, 1832, when a group of United States settlers in LaSalle County, Illinois, were attacked by a party of Native Americans. The massacre was sparked by the outbreak of the Black Hawk War, but it was not directly related to Sauk leader Black Hawk's conflict with the United States. Instead, the incident stemmed from a settler's refusal to remove a dam that jeopardized a food source for a nearby Potawatomi village. After the Black Hawk War began, between 40 and 80 Potawatomis and three Sauks attacked the settlement. Fifteen settlers, including women and children, were killed. Two young women kidnapped by the raiders were ransomed and released unharmed about two weeks later."

This pic shows the original memorial which was the marker at the time along with a newer memorial erected by the state.



There is also a marker telling about the two girls that were kidnapped.
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The park is clearly a respected part of this area's history. I wouldn't say any buildings or shelters are newer than the 80's, but it is clear there are structures here from pre 1900's and several decades in between. One building clearly looked turn of the century, another post WWII, several more from the 70's and 80's. Even the dual memorials span a large gap of time.

There is NO population center are near here, yet the park seems to be tended to pretty well. As we pass by this summer, I am curious to see if locals use the shelters and picnic / enjoy this area. I know we will be back for the shade and water.

From there we headed to Starved Rock State Park - about as cool and tight of twisties as you will find in this area. Gotta say, could have been smoother with the new to me concours. Very easy to lug the old cruiser around there, but I was choppy on this ride. I am thinking the revs should have been kept higher with fewer shifts. Lisa was kind about it and didn't rip on me for riding so lame.

Stopped off in Utica for a wine tasking at August Hill Winery. Very nice and relaxing. Talked her into letting me take one pic....
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As we started turning for home, we discussed dinner - and Cajun Connection! Lisa and one of my three sons is vegetarian. Well, wouldn't you know it, Cajun Ron makes veggie Gumbo for lent. Gave them a call, and though the restaraunt wasn't to open for two more hours, they were there prepping and said to stop by. Knock knock knock on the kitchen door and there is Ron calling us in.

Mmmmmmm, smells so good. We got a quart of the meat and a quart of the meatless gumbos. Ahhhheeeee! This is not the first time he has sold us gumbo out the kitchen door! Ahhheeee!

Ron was just about to chop up this gator tail. The blur in the pic is from me moving - NOT the gator!
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Loaded with the goods for dinner, we stopped off at our usual return from a trip place for one pop, and home for dinner with the boys. Great way to spend the day.

Lisa really took to the new bike. Surprisingly, much smoother over road imperfections than the fat cruiser. She found the seating position comfortable and relaxing enough. Of course, we had to get it to triple digits just once

Good day, great ride, nice bike!
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