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Old 12-31-2010, 09:53 PM   #1
alekkas OP
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Location: Far West Chicago Burbs
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Two Days, One River, and an Eleven Year Old

To introduce myself, I used to ride the country then started the family ride. Great ride so far. With the kids getting older (17, 15, 11), I got back on two wheels two years ago. Our schedules with travel hockey, baseball and everything else is CRAZY. But there occasional times when we find a few free days.

Due to a fortunate confluence of events, Evan’s games in Indy were changed, and he was coming home Saturday night. We had Sunday free and no school on Columbus Day Monday. My wife was able to go it alone driving the older two, so Evan and I had two days free and perfect fall weather to go from our home to the Mississippi. Woohoo. This far into hockey season, I honestly didn’t expect back to back free days until spring. The last hurrah.

It was also a good time for Evan to get on a longer, overnight ride. He has always been comfortable on the bike and is very low maintenance when it comes to camping. He is a kid who likes to feel the motion of travel and doesn’t mind time away from electronics. Always up for stopping to take pictures, he enjoys travel for travel’s sake and seldom needs to “get there” soon.

We were off to enjoy an overnight ride and spend some time together. I love the anticipation at the start of a trip. Even a short one.



Close to home, we saw a never ending line of farm trucks dropping off corn and beans. The fields were coming in at a fast pace.



The farther we got from home, the more we settled into the ride. He was constantly aware, looking over my right shoulder as often as the left. To me, that is one of the first signs of becoming a seasoned passenger and rider; too often some focus on the oncoming cars and miss the whole world to the right. Face shields up and talking most of the way.

Due to budget cuts, his is the first group of 5th graders in our town to not go on the three day Lorado Taft outdoor education trip. I had to get him there to at least see. Here, he is standing by the Chief Blackhawk statue.



Evan has always enjoyed the process of travel. It comes naturally for some; to need nothing more than to just keep moving. On countless trips to tourneys or family vacations, he is the one looking out the window almost as much as me.

Here is the foliage turning colors on Black Jack Road as we got nearer to the Mississippi.





Around this point in the trip, I began noticing a consistent theme. Somehow, it all became a quest for ice cream. Forget lunch. What’s lunch? We want ice cream! Heading up on the Wisconsin side to the Cassville ferry, we finally found an ice cream shop, kind of. The sign said to enter at the bar next door. Two big double scoop cones with my son while sitting in a bar listening to Packers fans whine as we watched their team lose. Does it really get any better than that?

Due to heavy rains up north, the river was too high, so the ferry was not running. Bummer. Up at Prairie du Chien, we crossed the bridge and set up camp in Pike’s Peak on the Iowa side with plenty of time to go riding the bluffs. This led to, of course, a stop for ice cream. Only single scoop this time – didn’t want to spoil our appetite for dinner.





We finally did decide to eat at the Marquette Café, and rode back to camp in the dark. Certainly a full day. Playing cards until almost midnight, we decide it was time to turn in. Of course, Evan had to text his mom goodnight…



Morning found us cooking breakfast and ready to leave. I was happy to hear he was all about taking the long way home through twisties rather than the quickest route. Gotta love the kid.



We hit the Mississippi overlook to find some morning mist amongst the high water.



Great morning for a ride. Back on the Wisconsin side, the roads by Wyalusing and further south were traffic free and smooth. We spent the morning talking about many things in his life and about the road. Shields up and talking the whole way.

Ice cream for lunch yesterday seemed like an excellent precursor to ice cream for lunch today.



And some wonderful color.



The ride home got longer and longer each time we shifted to a smaller and more rural route. At each turn, I verified he was still hanging in there. “Do you want to hit the main road or stay on the twisty ones?” “Keep taking the small ones.”



So there we were. Two guys taking the long way home on a beautiful fall afternoon. Still hours away from home.





In the end, I guess that’s what I love most about riding. Hours (or days) away from home looking for the next smaller, curvier road. On this day, I was very lucky to share that with my ten year old son.

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Old 01-01-2011, 04:29 AM   #2
Laconic
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Where would we be without ice cream?

Looks like you had a good time.

Welcome.

P.S. I just saw your comment at the end. I found the MSF courses to be a good refresher after my 15 year break.
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:30 AM   #3
scott63
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Way to go dad. Making memories
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:05 AM   #4
GB
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Lucky kid, lucky dad!! Evan's life long memories in the making
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:41 AM   #5
bobw
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Good job Dad! and a great report.

Safe travels and Cheers
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:50 AM   #6
indianscout
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Great report! Here's to you and your son having many more miles ahead of you!!
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Old 01-01-2011, 03:20 PM   #7
irvfr
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Quality time with your kid on a bike: priceless!!! Way to go, great Dad.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:12 AM   #8
alekkas OP
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I usually go solo, but any time my wife or one of the kids wants to go, all the better.
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Why do I keep thinking I'm gonna wind up in a love / hate relationship with a Guzzi?
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:26 AM   #9
Daleah
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my old stomping grounds

just curious about the route you took to get to PdC and back. i grew up in that area and I know that there are a lot of great roads there. Maybe you went through my home town.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:08 AM   #10
ClearwaterBMW
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fantastic ride report
what wonderful memories you will both have
thanks for sharing
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:01 AM   #11
svenoman
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Great Ride and Report!!!!!
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:32 PM   #12
Cheatin5
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Thanks...

I wouldn't have posted the ride with my son had I not read about yours. Good on you. Thanks for keeping what's important important.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:33 PM   #13
redog1
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Don't know how it could get any better than that...

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Old 01-05-2011, 01:37 PM   #14
tcourdin
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Thats just awesome! Some of my best memories of a child are riding with my dad on his streetbikes. It does a kid good to do fun stuff like that with his Dad. I cant wait until my Son is old enough to do some rides and overnighters with me.
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