A weekend away


She’s family has a property on Lake Buelah. When I first heard of it, and it’s boat house, I pictured a small, rundown building and tiny, seaweed encrusted lake. Since I’d met her in Fall and we hadn’t really started dating until winter was almost upon us, I hadn’t seen it until this summer. When we were packing up the last day of my return trip from OX14 west, she mentioned stopping there.
The property is now shared by her family. People request a week, but Sundays are open to everyone. That Sunday we stopped and I learned the “lake house,” was a two bedroom, full bath house above a two boat garage. There was a sail boat, pontoon, and speed boat (for waterskiing), as well as half a dozen smaller boats. There was a beach and large area for camping, a large fire pit, and an entire second house on top of the bluff.

Now that I’d seen the place, I was more interested in Sue’s week. She’s scheduled it during her break between chemo and radiation. With a bit of luck, the people who had scheduled the week before her had only been able to stay the weekend, so Sue’s time was extended a few days. I, of course, had to work, so I didn’t arrive until Friday when she and the girls had been there for a couple days.

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I had a long weekend at the lake house, with an option to head back into town on Saturday for one of my friend’s stepson. He isn’t actually her stepson, but it’s complicated so we’ll leave it there.
I’d arrived mid afternoon, and there was swimming and boats. Well, tubes. The lake was already packed, so the boats stayed on their moorings. For dinner Sue loaded us all up and went to a local Italian place which had free ice cream for the girls, though older one noted this was her last year of qualification.
Back on the beach, a bonfire was started and wine opened. She had told me there were no Mosquitos, but I was attacked by them as the sun set. The fire helped keep them away, and after a couple glasses we headed in to bed.
In the morning there was bacon, then a boat ride so I could see the lake.

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After the boat ride I headed back to Milwaukee for the graduation party. It was nice to get a ride in and see friends.

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Back at the lake, Sue’s parents had friends over for a party. There was grilled food, a variety of pasta salad and fruits, and ice cream and cookies for dessert. Another fire, much larger, and s’mores ended the evening.

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Sunday morning had the girls making a second kayak trip across the lake and creepy helicopter overflights.

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After breakfast there was another boat ride, where I saw a sailboat regatta on one of the linked lakes. This made me take a long look at the small Barnett Butterfly that was the family sailboat. It looked a bit neglected, but I was pretty sure I could get it out it onto the lake. I used to sail all the time when I was younger, and had to fix up boats at summer camps during college. So, that would be my next project.

Curiosity, by the way, is still dripping oil. I’m going to need a replacement gasket, which I’ll order this week. The HU events are coming up, so it’s time to get cracking.

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My Summer of Discontent


I’ve been back from the Overland Expo for a while now, here it is mid July already. Since that trip I’ve only been on one motorcycle trip, which I took few pictures off, going back to a friend’s house in Lower Michigan for some cooked food and conversation. I will write more about that later.

This isn’t a lot of riding for me, and I will admit to some antsyness over it. As I mentioned earlier I met someone late last  year, and while she is a huge fan of motorcycling, this summer hasn’t been the best for her (especially for taking trips of any sort). That is mostly her story, and I will let her share it. I’ve also buried myself, what spare time I’ve left myself, writing. I promised myself three books this year, but with half the time gone I haven’t managed one.

So, the truth is I don’t feel like I’ve done much this summer, though close inspection should show that isn’t true. I miss camping and lonely roads, and will be on them again (soon, I expect, since I am going to Horizon’s Unlimited events in September), but right now, typing at this keyboard, I feel like it’s been forever since I adventured.

There is other stuff too, an attempt to move to Squarespace with the website was a complete disaster, and struggling to make it work added stress and took away time I would rather have spend doing something. I get to build another site now, but that will have to wait until winter (I think).

The ride back from OX14 west also caused me to have a sore butt for the first time in years, so I am upgrading the 250’s seat, something I hadn’t wanted to do since most of the seats were valued more than the cost of the bike. I will be sure to post some pictures of that, once I get it.

I will be getting back to gear reviews as well, since that is at least part of what I am trying to do here. I have a list, just need to write it all out. Sounds so easy, don’t it?

In the mean time, keep the rubber side down and watch out for squirrels.

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Overland Expo 2014, Part Five


I am not a mormon. Just thought I’d get that out of the way early.

Leaving Bonneville, I headed into Salt Lake City to see The Temple. It’s one of those things I just feel like I should visit, well that and the tabernacle, and it’s been on my To See list for years. It actually isn’t that easy to get to, the interstates don’t pass particularly nearby, but there are signs and once in the area parking was pretty easy. Maybe I was supposed to pay.

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There is a high wall around the – can I call it a compund or does that make it creepy? Anyway, high wall. There are a few gates, each of which has a small visitor center (yes, seperate for each gate). Each one had a couple of attractive young woman there to greet people as they came in, complete with sexy foreign accents. I not saying that was planned, it was probably just who was working that day, along with the woman traveling in pairs all over the grounds, asking if I had questions.

The tabernacle was, sadly, closed for recording. Not much I can do about that, and there were a lot of other things too look at. In fact, most of the, um, compound, was well landscaped, like a nice park. There were people just sitting and eatting their lunch while others were taking pictures of everything.

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Leaving Salt Lake it was the start of a long slog across country. I had planned to get off the interstate at this point, but trying to shave a day off the trip to meet Sue changed the pace of the ride. So, it was the might I-80, at least as far as Iowa. It’s a road I’ve been on a lot and I know all the stops and distances, but it was still fun to ride over the last pass, where the clouds were just above my head, down on tothe start of the plans and the smells of recently cut grass. And cows.

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The increased speed also meant longer riding days and hotel, rather than camping. This made me sad, but Sue knew that and made sure she found us somewhere nice to stay.

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Mineral Point, WI is a small town I’ve passed often over the years. It was full of cool historic buldings (which Sue loves), but had the feeling of a town on the brink of death. Blocks of empty stores and vacent streets on a nice weekend. Then we went to a bar and grill, choosen at random, and it was packed, had fantastic food, and felt full of engery and life. It was a strange contrast to the row of stores and houses for rent on the road outside.

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The next day we started back to Milwaukee, with a stop in New Glarus for cold drinks and to walk around some. There was a music festival there, and the crowd was a change from Mineral Point.

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The ride was nice, and the firs time she and I rode an distance together. I am not sued to riding with someone, and at the end of a long trip was more than usually nervous (my butt hurt some too, the longer than usual days taking their toll), but Sue didn’t seem to care when I stopped or started, and let me take breaks when I needed to. It was nice to share with her, and gives me hope for rides in the future.

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Overland Expo 2014, Part Four


 

(Sorry for the uneven posting schedule, I’m working on it)

I woke up in Vegas with both kidneys and with money still in my wallet (I had set a limit on my gambling the night before and managed to stick to it). I hadn’t unpacked much, and after another shower I was on the bike and headed north.

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Thanks.

One of the roads I’ve always wanted to ride was the ET highway, which is just Northwest of Vegas. I don’t buy into all the UFO/ET hype, but I am amused by some of the culture. The road itself isn’t much to a motorcyclist – a more or less straight paved surface through the arid landscape, but maybe there will be aliens.

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I realized right here I hadn’t brought any Tim Stickers along with. Sorry Tim.

There was only one town along the ET highway, Rachel. My map said there would be gas there, and I wanted to stop there for lunch anyway, so I headed off.

 

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There was a gas station in Rachel – the pumps were mostly stil there and the building was only partly collapsed. There wasn’t much I could do about it then, so I headed over to the Little A’Le’Inn.

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The Alien Burger was good but not really large portioned. I guess aliens are little guys. The owner was there, a woman who’d moved there with her husband where there had been mining in the area. The mining was gone, and he was retired anyway, but she had bought the Little A’Le’Inn from the previous owners who hadn’t been able to make it work. It wasn’t clear if she was doing any better, but she was full of stories about strange lights and local history.

I shopped around a bit for souvenirs, picking up some shirts and a bottle of hot sauce (Best Hot Sauce this side of Uranus)

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I then asked about gas. The sold it at the A’Le’Inn – at just about twice the rate in the rest of the state. I decided to buy a gallon, just so I could be sure to reach the next fuel stop, and they sent someone I thought was a customer out back to meet me. There was a line of 5 gallon gas cans – the plastic kind – chained to the building. He unlocked one and walked it over, added about 2 gallons to my tank (basically filling it). I thanked him and asked about paying for the extra. He hefted the gas can in his hand a couple times, announced he didn’t think even a gallon had come out, chained it back up and went back inside.

I was just about to ride away when another rider rolled in. First thing he did was ask about gas, and I broke the news to him about the price. I tried to soften it some, saying they didn’t seem to mind giving some extra, but he was on a big adventure bike and I shudder to think about what that would cost to fill.

I headed for Salt Lake City, and had initially planned to spend the night there (Maybe meet up with some nerds I know there), but Sue had announced she wanted to meet me on the way back to Milwaukee, perhaps ride the last day with me. Since I was a little worried about her strength, I decided to try and shave at least half a day, maybe a full day, off my ride home. That meant I would have to press further and pass through Salt Lake around noon.

Heading north from Vegas there was one more place any decent motorcyclist has to stop when they are in the area.

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Someone on my Facebook Wall mentioned they had been through Bonneville a couple weeks earlier and the flats had still been under water. For my visit there were signs everywhere warning how soft the salt still was, and to use caution. Everyone was off driving on it anyway.

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I was a long way from home and without a trailer, so I wasn’t going to really see how fast I could get my loaded 250 going. It fun though, and I can see the attraction of speed. Leaving the flats I saw oil dripping from the engine again and made a quick call back to Milwaukee and The Shop, then I tightened some bolts and got moving. From here it was all east (and mostly downhill).

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Overland Expo 2014, Part Three


Monday morning I packed and stopped in Flagstaff to ship a box of things back to Milwaukee. I had a few books left over, and had picked up several things while at he expo that I didn’t want to have to find room for on Curiosity. I had packed too much for the ride to Arizona, opting not to ship anything other than books. Looking back that was a foolish choice and I didn’t hesitate to send everything extra back to Wisconsin.

There were goodbyes to be said, then it was time to leave. I had decided not to take the direct route home, heading north towards Salt Lake City and then east from the there. It was longer, but I wanted to see more things on the way back, and the weather had turned into something like summer.

So, I rode Northwest, bypassing all the spots in Utah most of the people leaving the Overland Expo were probably headed and made for Hoover Dam.

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It may seem like a surprise, but I’d never actually been to Hoover Dam or Lake Mead. I’d heard the lake level was dropping, and quickly, but I was still surprised at how low it was.

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I didn’t manage my time well, and spend so long looking at things on top of the dam the visitor center was closed when I went to go inside. Okay, I actually hadn’t been paying attention to time at all, and it felt a lot earlier in the day than it was. I had thought about camping on the lake, there were several options, but decided I would check another place of my list – Vegas.

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Yup, I’d never been to Vegas either. I found a hotel just off the strip (much cheaper), showered and went for a walk to check out the neon and sights.

 

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It is a town for tourists – at least the strip is. I didn’t wander too far on to the side streets, as I probably would have if I’d been there during the say. There were performers on most blocks, and some people just sitting with hats and cups out, their heads down and eyes closed. Scantily clad showgirls were available for pictures (for a small fee) and people were handing out cards with a phone number, guaranteeing a woman to your room in 20 minutes. I wondered how that could be legal, but as it turns out, there isn’t anything illegal about having a woman to your room in 20 minutes, it’s the things than happen after that which may or may not be okay.

I had dinner on the strip and walked until after midnight – a long day and my feet and legs were tired. The hotel bed was surprisingly comfortable.

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Overland Expo 2014, Part Two


I might have stayed up late Thursday night. Friday morning broke with sunshine and the promise of warmth, though there was a lingering chill in the shady spots. 8am and most people gathered at the Motorcycle Arena to listen to the official start/opening remarks. That was over by about 820, and I went to my Author Table.

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This was my first time having a table to sell things, and compared to the expansive displays the others had my rookiness was showing.

A lot of people were walking through, but I wasn’t able to linger since my first class was at 9am – which I had thought was going to be the second session forgetting that everything started at 9 on Friday. It was only a short distance from my table, and since it was on packing I had Curiosity with.

I am always, always amazing when people come to hear what I have to say. I understand on a certain level, that is why I am there and why they are there. I am slowly coming to recognize I have a certain expertise which is actually sought after. And I am incredibly flattered (and slightly embarrassed) by the people who compliment me on my presentations and make a point of coming to my other ones (even when they didn’t apply, since my last packing class had a large proportion of 4 wheeler people in it).

But, I’m just gonna assume you aren’t here to listen to my wax on about classes. The Expo itself had all the usual amazing and bizarre stuff.

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The new Power Wagon was being introduced at this years Expo. Personally, I liked the old one.

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Tons of roof tents, because adventure. Actually, I have to admit they are pretty cool, but I can’t convince myself they’re worth the money (which is a lot).

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I feel a little bad about sharing this one so late, but the Tiny Bikes Big Change people where there. Now the ride is over, it was just a week or so after the Expo, but it was for a good cause and full of, well, adventures. If breakdowns are adventure. They probably are.

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Group rides on Urals are not the same as group rides on other motorcycles. Yes, Ural was there, and yes you could go on rides with them. This was not one of those rides, though I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to get onto that motorcycle.

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Cool, but I think one of those tires would buy everything I own.

The weekend flew by, as it usually does. There were parties in the evenings, talks with friends, classes to teach and sit in on. I didn’t get to see as many as I have in years past, since I was trying to sell things (which I did, thanks again by the way).

Sunday morning was the exhibitor breakfast, and since Saturday night had been a late one it was nice to walk around and see what people were cooking. There were a lot of kitchen/cooking exhibits, and they tended to have the best stuff.

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The Adventure Trio had bacon, so naturally that was my last stop – to make sure I was full.

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Sunday was an odd day. I had only a few books left to sell, but there was a large exodus of people in the morning. Some of the food trucks had run out of food, which wasn’t a problem since I had barely touched the stuff I had brought with.

I had only a few books left, so I took some time off and sat in on some presentations. I like to hear about other people’s travels and the things they learned (about themselves or travel, doesn’t matter). Two people can travel together and come away with completely different experiences, even when they were every where together.

Monday morning, it was all over. The grounds, which had been so full Saturday seemed deserted. I hid in my hammock, not wanting to get up and have it all end, while eager to get back on the road again and see more things. Before getting up I wrote and posted this on my Facebook Page -

“Packing up, moving on. Saying goodbye to friends who are practically family. Knowing, buried deep in the backs of our minds, that the world is an imperfect place, and promises, no matter how earnest, can’t always be kept. Leaving

But moving, to see something new or revisit somewhere special. Each day to find joy in not knowing what or where the day will bring. TO move, a little or a lot, to move is a wonder so many people fail to fully appreciate or enjoy.

Leaving always has a pang, a tug which is neither sought or enjoyed. But leaving is a small price for the joy of moving.”

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Overland Expo 2014, Part One


It was early May, and time to head south and west to Arizona and the Overland Expo. I was going to be presenting again this year, and also would have a table in the writer’s area (which would be the first time I’d ever had such a thing and I wasn’t at all sure what to expect). Since my girlfriend’s (Sue) cancer diagnosis earlier this year, I had been struggling with whether to go to the expo, but as the date came closer she made it very clear I was expected to leave. I can’t say she kicked me out, we don’t live together, but that might have been all that saved me.

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Since I was going to be giving talks on pack, I’d loaded extra camping gear onto the bike (so I wouldn’t have to take down my tent every day to show the bike fully loaded). Just like last year, I didn’t like the end result. One of these years I am going to ship everything extra, rather than a bare minimum, trying to save on shipping. The books were already being shipped to someone I’d contact through Horizon’s Unlimited Flagstaff Community, so it wouldn’t have been hard to ship more.

Yeah, I probably won’t next year either. Sigh.

The week before I left, instead of looking at the weather and thinking about my route, I spent working and helping Sue with things around the house. I took only a hour or so to pack and load Curiosity, then rode to her house for the last night before hitting the road. Leaving in the morning was hard.

 

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures my first few days on the road. It was cold and the weather generally sucked. My mind wasn’t on the road and I spent a lot of time wandering around in my helmet. I was also using a new hammock tent – an ENO Doublenest (the OneLink system). I’d only had one test set up, and while I had my trusty Hennessy as back up, in the end I would use only the ENO for the whole trip.

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My route to Flagstaff was direct, along Hwy 50. Since 2011 I’ve been trying to visit Dodge City, with something going wrong each time I was in the area. The weather was all over, cold then hot, then cold again. And there were some impressive storms in the area too, which I opted to wait out rather than try and ride through.

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I was sleeping in my hammock when my phone started alarming.

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The lightning to the west was almost constant, and I wondered whether or not I should bother getting up or just stay in the hammock and wait it out.

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While I thought about it, another alert came in over my phone –

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Tennis ball sized hail seemed like enough to get me into one of the buildings – I was aware of storms in the area and had set up near one of the shower houses. I got up, made sure all the lines were tight, and moved inside. The lightning was near enough to constant I didn’t need a light, and it was very windy, but still not raining. That changed a few minutes after I got to the building. There were a few other campers there, which surprised me since I was the only tent I’d seen.

I never saw tennis balls sized hail, but there were some pingpong chucks – ice cube raining from the sky. It was incredibly loud on the roof. After 10 minutes the hail had stopped, and half an hour or so later the rain had also passed. I walked back to my camp to see the hammock and Curiosity apparently undamaged, so I just went back to sleep.

In the morning it was much, much colder. I could see my breath as I packed up, determined still to see Dodge.

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While I have a complete heated suit for riding in the winter, when traveling on the 250 I only use the jacket liner. It was on for most of the morning and I still was chilled when I parked near the visitor center to walk around the old downtown area of Dodge City.

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I was glad to see it had warmed up into the 40s.

Of course, the thing to see is the the local Boot Hill, which has a reconstructed front street along side it.

 

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Boot Hill was only used as a graveyard (for people who couldn’t afford a real burial) for ten or fifteen years, and the records of who was buried where and when are sketchy. When people started to build on the hill some bodies were moved to the new graveyard, but most people seem to think there are still bodies left behind. Since the dead were usually given a wooden marker (if they had any marker at all), once the marker deteriorated there was nothing left to mark where the body was.

When the bodies were removed from Boot Hill, everyone was impressed with their state of preservation. Apparently limestone had seeped into the bodies, partially mummifying them.

There was also a museum of Native American’s life before white settlers arrived, and the effects of the cattle drives that followed them.

 

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After several hours I went into the gift shop. Only one thing caught my eye, but I didn’t really have anywhere to put it on Curiosity.

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I missed Sue, just a little.

After a simple lunch I was back on the road, heading southwest. Looking at NOAA’s cool weather map, it was pretty clear I was just along the edge of where the weather changed from cold to hot – and I was definitely in the cold part. I had wanted to head into Colorado, but it was even colder there, and snowing, so I decided to head for Albuquerque instead. Not the most exciting route, but it would get me there.

In Dalhart Texas I stopped at a place called Hoogies for some Brisket (it was very good). There is some BLM land just north of there I was thinking about camping in, but checking the weather Dalhart was expected to set a record overnight low. I asked the people in the restaurant about local hotels only to have one of them call over to the Super 8 and get me a discount. Yay discounts!

Not far from Flagstaff I was thinking about heading directly to Mormon Lake, arriving early but saving me a night in a hotel and giving me the change to chat with anyone already there. Hanging out near the Petrified Forest I saw oil all over the engine and the legs of my pants. Checking the level (and, remembering a time in Chile, the oil cap) it hadn’t lost much if any oil and the cap was right where it belonged. I decided I would stay in Flagstaff after all, so I could spend some time trying to sort out what was wrong.

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I also adjusted the valves, but as near as I could tell one of the engine gaskets was starting to fail. It wasn’t that old, having been replaced in 2011, but I couldn’t see anywhere else the oil might have been leaking from (which just goes to show I wasn’t all that focused on what I was doing).

I bought some oil so I could keep the engine topped of as needed, and rode over to Mormon Lake Lodge, the location of the Overland Expo, and set up my camp for the weekend.

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The Moonshine Lunch Run 2014


I freely admit I had mixed feelings about attending the MLR this year. It’s a Ride to Eat – where motorcyclists from all over the country get together for a meal, then head home. The Moonshine Lunch Run was started by a friend (now deceased) years ago, this was actually the 10th year of the event, but in the last few years it has grown into something almost unmanageable, and the event itself is becoming more exclusive (in parts) to the long distance/endurance rider, rather than just people who ride (this might be my impression of the event, rather than any real bias).

The Overland Expo was approaching, though, and I wanted to do some sort of road trip before then. As the date of the MLR approached I thought about riding the Great River Road or just going somewhere along Lake Michigan and camping, but winter clung to the Midwest like a needy girlfriend, and looking at the weather it was clear the only place it was going to be warm and dry was to the south. So, I headed in the direction of Moonshine, still without committing to go. This meant I had to get Curiosity ready for the road, starting with a new rear tire.

Another change I decided to make was returning to stock gearing for the front sprocket. I remembered Curiosity struggling when I was riding across Arizona in strong headwinds, and hoping the stock gear (even though it would cost me some top speed and MPG).

With the bike ready, I packed and headed south late on Friday morning. I had already decided I wasn’t going to camp at the Farm this year, or go to Roberts for dinner (both of which are parts of the Moonshine event, the farm was a particularly hard decision since it’s free and I do like free camping). Instead I headed to a nearby state park that was recommended on the MLR website (in particular the restaurant was supposed to be good).

The ride was on the long side, especially since it was really my first ride on Curiosity this year. A week early it had been snowing and I had promised myself I wouldn’t ride the 250 when there was salt on the roads.

The weather, as expected, improved as I went south. Not long after getting through Chicago (I take the interstate through Chicago, it’s not any less safe than trying to get through on surface streets and a lot faster) I got onto smaller roads that led me through small towns.

Through no fault of my own, I was on some sort of Lincoln Highway, and was greeted by representations of the president in various forms all over the place. There were other things too.

I reached Lincoln Trail State park (see, Lincoln again) and found somewhere to set up my hammock.

My Hennessey is starting to show signs of wear, and I decide I should get a different hammock to use for the Expo trip. I ride back to the camp host’s site and pay for the night. I mention the restaurant only to learn it hadn’t opened this year yet, and had new owners they weren’t fond of. So, if anyone goes they will have to try it and let me know.

I was surprised at the complete lack of people in the campground. The RV area (where the hosts were) had about a dozen people, but the tent area was empty. speaking with the host, there was one other tent there, way on the other side of the tent area. The only traffic I saw was the host driving through right at dusk to look for squatters.

I slept well, as I usually do in the hammock, and in the morning was faced with the decision on whether or not to go to Moonshine for a burger. It wasn’t far and, after grabbing a small breakfast I went to fill up Curiosity. At the gas station there were three riders with Harley’s, sitting in the lot and talking. I said “hi” as I walked into to pay, only to have them all turn their backs to me. I admit to being more amused than snubbed, and wondered if they were also going to get a burger.

I didn’t head to Casey, where most of the events related to the MLR are held, and went ride to the Moonshine Store, beating the crowd. I got my burger and sat down at one of the communal tables with a few other riders. They were locals, whose big rides involved HD rallies and worst stories the poor condition of portajohns. I listened but didn’t add much, and they finished and left. The next group of riders from the New York (the city) and had a lot more travel behind and ahead of them. We talked about places we’d been and places we’d like to go. Modifications to our motorcycles and what podcasts to listen too while riding. One of them streamed Pandora, which seemed like it would go through a lot of data, but I really don’t know.

By the time I’d finished the crowd had arrived and motorcycles stretched for a mile or so in each direction. There were a few trapped cars, and I wondered how they’d get out.

I’ve heard next year they are going to have parking stewards, to make sure everyone parks responsibly. I’m not sure that it would matter, and I have mixed feelings about the increasing bureaucracy. Maybe I’m just an anarchist at heart, and in the end I know where Moonshine is and can go any time I want.

There were the odd and unique machines as well – there always are.

These things are called Stallions, and looked impressive. And hug, more like an open three wheeler car than a motorcycle. And I think one of them came with air conditioning.

There was also this guy -

whose name I wrote and and still forgot, and rode his buddy 150 from St Louis. It was nice to see another small bike there – even smaller then Curiosity – that had also come from somewhere not local. He was starting back that day and seemed to think he would make it.

It was just before noon and I started back north. There were sill bikes rolling in, and they had to hurry since Moonshine stopped serving at 1230 no matter how many people were waiting. I wasn’t sure my GPS and managed to take a wrong turn while making my way north. I had been following a group of motorcycles leaving, and assumed one of them knew where they were going. They might have, but the route they were taking let them to a loose gravel road. They turned around to back track, but the road was still headed where I wanted to go so I passed them and pressed on.

The road wasn’t bad, and not long after the gravel it switched to good dirt and I was able to make better time.

Not long after that I was back on pavement, watching motorcycles stream past towards Moonshine. I wondered if they’d make it, and if they cared whether they did or didn’t. There were more events that night in town, and the next day, so there were still lots of chances to join in. I was headed home, though.

The ride north was uneventful. I took a slightly different route, this one didn’t have random Lincoln statues along the way – and a lot less traffic. I took notes on what went right and wrong on the trip and got ready to head to Arizona a few weeks later.

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A Rock and Road Trip–Part Two


We woke early (because Sue seems incapable of sleeping in) and had breakfast at the hotel. I don’t usually have hotel breakfasts, since I tend towards cheap places that don’t offer it. I’ve always thought the savings was going to be enough for a nice breakfast somewhere else, and this hotel’s cold cereal, waffles, and juice sure wasn’t going to change my mind.

We had come to Cleveland with one destination in mind – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was somewhere I’d never been, though I’ve wanted to go for years (I want to go everywhere). Sue, however, enjoys music at a much deeper level than I do and it was on her short list of stops.

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If you haven’t been, the Hall of Fame is right next to the Brown’s stadium and Lake Erie. I’d checked to make sure the team didn’t have a game that weekend, but there was nothing to do about the bitterly cold wind coming off the lake. We quickly went inside.

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We were greeted immediately at the door and told we weren’t allowed to take any video while inside the museum. I tried the Blue card, but the guy seemed serious about it. Pictures, however, were fine.

The museum starts on the lowest level, below the entrance, and works up. Expect for the top floors, which were entirely devoted to the featured artists (The Rolling Stones when we visited), the exhibits were chronological and started with the jazz and blues that led to the first few “true” Rock and Roll stars. They were also not USA specific, but hopped back and forth across the Atlantic to catch new trends in England before the reached here.

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Most of it I’d never heard of before. There were parts of the history I’d remembered reading here or there and some of the stars were just so famous as to get through even my “who sings that?” level of music knowledge. Other’s I’d actually listened to and knew quite well.

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And there were artists I think everyone has heard of –

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But it wasn’t all the huge blockbuster bands. There were nods and acknowledgements to smaller groups who, while they were never huge, nonetheless affected the sound of rock and roll for the bands that came later.

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Okay, I happen to like Devo.

We had an expensive but decent lunch in the museum and then headed for the Rolling Stones exhibits. They took up the last two floors, and the entrance was…appropriate.

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Most of the exhibits were actual costumes, instruments, and inventories for shows they’d preformed.

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The drank a lot. But I guess we all knew that.

There were also short quotes from the band members about the ideas they had when they started out. The Stones were contemporaries of the Beatles, and they didn’t want to become another clean cut British boy band, even though they were all the rage at the time.

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Later on, even the band acknowledged they had strayed very far down a rather dark path, it was interesting to read how their attitudes changed over the decades.

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We headed back out of the museum as it was getting late, stopping to look at The Wall on the way.

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As we were exiting the museum I asked one of the worker were we should go to eat for dinner, and we were sent to the City Market – which was located in near this amazing market.

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Honestly, I probably could have eaten there.

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We walked over to the restaurant and sat next to a fireplace while we waited for a table. We had gotten chilled and I was tired from all the walking. Clearly I wasn’t in as good as shape as I had been, though I am willing to blame the cold for taking some of my energy. After dinner we went back to the hotel and sleep.

 

Sigh – yes the Hall of Fame did have stuff for modern music stars as well.

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Some Lady Gaga costume. Happy?

 

 

We drove back to Milwaukee the next day, again into a snow storm (which was a theme for us, apparently). Once near my house, I convinced Sue to stop for some pizza at my favorite place – Classic Slice – before heading home.

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A rock and road trip


Okay, that was a terrible pun. I apologize.

At the Harley Davidson 110th I met a friend of a friend, and as we talked about motorcycles (well, I guess there had to have been something else we talked about but I couldn’t tell you want it was), we hung out more and more, and then decided we would take a road trip. She liked music and hadn’t ever been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, some where I had been past but never actually entered, so we decided that was where we were going.

Sadly, winter closed its cold and icy grip on the Midwest not long after we had worked all this out. I am always willing to ride a motorcycle, but Sue was less of a fan of marginal (okay, cold) riding. So, we would use her car.

I haven’t taken a car road trip in a while, apart from trips to Milwaukee for Roller Derby after coming back from South America. Those qualified, I guess, but this felt more like an actual trip somewhere, rather than just a long car ride. Blue was, of course, excited.

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We piled into her car and headed through Chicago, having decided we would break up the long drive to Cleveland by stopping at the RV Museum and Hall of Fame. This was somewhere I’d wanted to visit for years, a classic road side attraction right off I-90. There have been times I’ve been envious of the RVers, with their refrigerators and stoves with multiple burners. And ovens. Seriously, it’s like traveling in a hotel room.

The drive was as boring as the south end of the Great Lakes can be, and we arrived at the RV museum. Oddly, there weren’t many people there.

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We were actually very close to the closing time, having forgotten about time zones. Silly time zones. Since there wasn’t time for the guided tour (which was 2-3 hours, I had the impression the man working the desk would have loved to take us on it anyway), we opted for a quick lunch and wander.

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It wasn’t a meal I couldn’t have made on the motorcycle, but I can’t argue it was easier with the large cooler, and there was certainly more to eat.

After the late lunch, Sue and I headed into the museum proper. There was a Hall of Fame as well, but we didn’t know enough about the history of RVs and Motorhomes to make looking at the list of names worthwhile. To be fair, we still don’t.

The museum had a little road to follow, and the exhibits were chronological along it.

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I have to admit I liked the older stuff – it had less of a production/marketed feel to it. More like something someone whipped up on their own – so something I might have done myself.

As the decades rolled past the anemities of the campers improved, as the road side attractions to lure passersby into a visit.

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Since this was a hall of fame, there were some famous RVs there. Sue, of course, fell in love with one of them –

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This 1937 Hunt Housecar is one of exactly two – this one is named Star and the other Turtle – in the world. It was built by Hollywood cinematographer Roy Hunt, and it wasn’t for sale. It was pretty cool though.

As we moved forward in time, the road expanded into something which might have been a planned campground, with RV stalls and hookups, and little bridges and benches.

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The road ended in the 70s with a large Class A that sat right next to the exit. It didn’t have the character of some of the older RVs, but it was still full of useful things and it was clear how the designers had gotten there.

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Despite being there near closing, no one was in a rush to get us out of there, and as it turned out there was an event there that evening. We could have stayed and tried for free food, but decided to press on and try to make Cleveland. I had actually made a reservation for us there, so there was a reason to press on. Still, we couldn’t resist stopping somewhere for dinner along the way.

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I don’t know if the wings really qualified as World Famous, since we’d never heard of them, but they were good and filling. And cheap – something wings are supposed to be and people tend to forget.

We reached Cleveland late, in the cold and snow (glad not to be on motorcycles). Checking in was a snap and we settled into our room for the next two nights.

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