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Old 08-23-2010, 09:29 AM   #1
Grainbelt OP
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Turtles, literal and figurative: First ride with Dad!

I got my motorcycle endorsement in May of 2005, and moved to Saskatchewan, Canada that October. I've done a fair bit of riding since then, and somewhere along the way, my Dad got it into his mind that he should start riding again. Again, since he had 80cc dirt bikes on the farm, and rode my mom's Suzuki GT185 to commute to work in the early 80's.

He took the MSF last summer, and bought an R1200RT. No worries, its only about ten times larger than any other bike he's ridden. Anyway, he's been having fun on it, getting more comfortable with it's heft. Great, but I'm in Canada, he's in MN, the proverbial snowball's chance in hell we'd get a ride in together.

Well, I moved back to Minnesota August 3rd, and had already been conspiring to get him out for a short ride together. Its been a long time since the two of us had a few days together without the rest of the family, since I used to only get back for major holidays and such. This past weekend was the time.

Route was to meet in Wabasha, ride at random into SW Wisconsin, stop someplace for the night, and come back thru SE MN past the farm. Should be pretty good riding the whole way.

Day 1

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I headed out of Minneapolis on US 10 south, entered WI, took 35 to 63 and crossed over to the Minnesota side. I got stuck behind a rolling cruiser roadblock for a while on 35 - none of the 6 cars or one bike had any intention of passing them as they ambled along at five under the limit. I made my way thru the cars and passed the six of of them on a nice open stretch - this silly yamaha of mine really likes to scream.

If you take MN 58 south out of Red Wing, head east on county 3, then 2, and finally 5, you end up in Lake City, having ridden some great twisty farmland valleys instead of parading behind tourists on 61. Highly ecommended. I then took 61 to Wabasha, where the meeting point was to be Slippery's (of Grumpy Old Men fame).

I rolled in ten minutes late for our 11:30 lunch. One of these things is not like the others....




I hung around for a bit. Checked voicemail - nothing. Went inside, in the event he'd parked somewhere else. Nope. Grabbed a table, got an iced tea, then headed back outside around noon.



Better late than never! I took advantage of the opportunity to give him a hard time for being half an hour late (the whole ride from Rochester is maybe an hour) and not calling or sending a text. 'yeah, I thought about that when I was buying gas and knew I was going to be late'. Freaking irresponsible parents.

Now that we'd identified that he wasn't smeared all over the road somewhere, we had a light lunch along the river and decided to head over to WI, find SR 108, then cross 90 and head into the hilly farm country down toward Viroqua.

There was another RT and two open piped HD's leaving as we were gearing up. The two HD's fired up and the riders spent a few minutes blipping the throttle, making all kinds of racket. Once they settled into something resembling an idle, I revved my bone stock FZ6 to the moon and laughed like a hyena. The RT rider had to try pretty hard to contain his laughter while his cruiser buddies just gave me a funny look and rode away.

WI 35 south of Nelson is pretty boring, but somewhat scenic as you stay above the river and the railroad tracks. We got stuck behind another rolling noisemaker roadblock in a small town, and as soon as the 'end 35mph zone' sign was in sight we pulled around them into the silence of the early afternoon.

If you take Hwy 35, then continue on 54/93, you can turn east on County Road T, (marked 'to Stevensville'). From there, head south at Mindoro on WI 108, and be ready for some fun!

Lots of turns marked at 15-30mph. We ran it south to 16, then I ran it again while pops looked for a bathroom. I'm going to need some more time with the FZ6 before tight roads like that are any fun - the torqueless wonder needed first gear at 30mph to pull out of the hairpins with any enthusiasm, I need to smooth out my shifts to really get after it. I may decided to drop a tooth up front to give it a little extra snap in lower gears.

From 108 we cut down to 33 and headed east to Cashton. In Cashton WI we ran into another ADV'er and father at a gas station, they were headed east, we decided to take 131 south. I grabbed a picture of the RT while we were stopped. Yep, she's a big girl.



A nice lady loading her kids into her minivan asked how fast the FZ6 would go. I said 'I'm not sure, I gave up at 120, and it had a lot left'. 'Isn't that scary?'. 'No, I picked a long, straight road'. She just gave me a and bailed. We ended up heading NE out of Cashton on county U thru St. Mary. We had to slow to pass an oncoming hay wagon full of a wedding party that had just departed the church in St. Mary. Love the small towns.

Hwy 131 south is a nice scenic road, not much for twisties but the usual sweepers market at 45 or so. I had plenty of time to pull out the camera and attempt some action shots.





Dad was leading at this point, and after a long left hander he put on his signal, nailed the binders and headed for a turnoff. WTF? I pulled up next to him, and he was all excited. 'I think there was a big turtle on the side of the road. Did you see it?' Uh, no, Dad, I didn't.

We doubled back to check it out. I figured I'd get all three turtles in one picture.







I figured I could set the timer on my camera and set it on the guardrail. No idea how long the timer goes for, and I didn't use the flash, so I got this:




From there we continued on 131 past the little touristy rent a canoe place. I didn't see anything other than jailbait, so no pics.

We had thought we might try to stay in Boscobel, but hadn't really planned anything out. It was about 6, and we figured we better get off the road before the deer came out. I topped off with fuel, and missed the best photo op of the day: a purple mid-80's camaro with a motorcycle fork and tire grafted on the front to make the worlds fugliest tricycle. I'm still mad I didn't have the camera out, or just grab my phone. Stopped by the one reasonable looking hotel in Boscobel - sorry, we're full, unless you want the Jacuzzi suite . Uh, no thanks. Try Prairie du Chien.

So we headed half an hour east, with a goal of finding a hotel with food within walking distance. First try: sorry, we're full. So we started pulling phone numbers off the GPS and calling places. Sorry, we're full. No vacancies tonight. After four failures, I remembered a place we passed coming into town that wasn't listed, and we headed back there. Got a room, and the Angus Supper Club was next door.

Now, some of you haven't been to a supper club in the midwest. Before we even walked in, I knew there'd be a prime rib special. I was also hoping for a classic WI cocktail - the brandy old fashioned. I was right on both accounts, and I went to bed fat and happy.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:57 AM   #2
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Day 2

route linky


We woke up to some heavy fog, hit the continental breakfast pretty hard, and hit the road around 9:30 after deciding to try to stop at one of the locks between PdC and LaCrosse.

Hwy 76 routes north along the west side of the mighty mississippi and past a whole bunch of trailer homes on blocks. not one or two blocks, but six-foot piers, in the event of flooding. It looked like hell on earth - a shanty town along the green backwaters of a polluted river - but there they were, boats and atvs at the ready.

We turned north at Hwy 364 and had a a fantastic ride thru the hills and down along the river. I never saw a turnoff for lock number 9, and soon we found ourselves in Lansing, IA.



This is the steel grating bridge we crossed to head north on 35 to Genoa, and lock number 8. I hate those things. I can't imagine the extent to which they would suck when wet, or god forbid, frosty. not sure who designed it, but it appears it was a committee of three, and they were each allotted one section.



We eventually made it to Genoa to check out the lock. I had really hoped to see some commercial traffic, going thru it, but the only barges we saw were obscured by trees. Still very impressive that they push a couple football field's worth of cargo down a fairly narrow channel.



I had thought (incorrectly) that he locks were primarily to facilitate passage thru areas that otherwise had rapids. Not so, these were to maintain the minimum 9-foot depth required for navigation. As such, there wasn't much of a drop, as they were primarily just retaining water behind the dam to maintain depth.

A little pleasure boat made their way thru.





From there we made a slow pass thru southern LaCrosse, crossed the river on 16 and headed to Houston, MN. 16 is a nice scenic road as well, with some gentle curves.

I saw Hwy 26 on the map and decided we should ride it - great call. Head north on 76 out of Houston, then turn at Money Creek and take 26 to Rushford. 26 has a few very twisty bits, I bailed on Dad and had some fun.

Quick lunch in Rushford, then we took 30 back thru Chatfield, and over to Olmsted 1 and up to Rochester. I've driven county road 1 many times, as my dad's family still farm down near Chatfield. We had swapped bikes in Chatfield and I took the RT thru some of the big sweepers on 1 at a rather elevated pace. It was a bit of a handful, didn't want to hold a line real well, and seemed underdamped in the front. The tires are a few thousand miles from needing to be replaced, and still have a decent profile, so I'm not sure what the deal was. Helped me understand his sedate pace thru the curves the last two days though.



Altogether a fantastic way to spend a couple of days. We both commented that we need to get my brother to sell his stupid RD350 and get a road-worthy bike, so the three of us could get out and do some camping. Last time the three of us camped was probably a boy scout trip fifteen years ago - time to get back into it, now that we live within striking distance of each other and some good riding.

--Mike
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:11 AM   #3
Klay
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Sounds like a great weekend, thanks.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:17 AM   #4
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Ya should have gotten your brother to buy yer old Kawi
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:19 AM   #5
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You are one lucky bugger. Keep living the dream buddy, you deserve it after putting up with Sask winters for so long.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:25 AM   #6
DAKEZ
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainbelt
Your bike looks almost as big as the RT!!

Nice report.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:59 PM   #8
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You went through Money Creek, where they have the Guzzi Rally and the Hiawatha Rally. Nice riding in bluff country.
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:01 PM   #9
MacNoob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainbelt
We had swapped bikes in Chatfield and I took the RT thru some of the big sweepers on 1 at a rather elevated pace. It was a bit of a handful, didn't want to hold a line real well, and seemed underdamped in the front. The tires are a few thousand miles from needing to be replaced, and still have a decent profile, so I'm not sure what the deal was. Helped me understand his sedate pace thru the curves the last two days though.
That's what the magic adjustable suspension button on the left bar is for.... he probably had it set for 'comfort' rather than 'sport'
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:12 PM   #10
Grainbelt OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdiaz
Your bike looks almost as big as the RT!!
its the perspective, with the FZ6 in front. Scroll up a bit, the girth of the RT is evident when we were parked by the guardrail.

Ergonomically, they aren't all that different. Pegs are farther back and higher on the Yamaha, but they are both pretty standard and comfortable. Mine is quite a bit more lively, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNoob
That's what the magic adjustable suspension button on the left bar is for.... he probably had it set for 'comfort' rather than 'sport'
All I saw on the left bar was cruise control and radio volume.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:13 PM   #11
BillsR100
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Fun report.
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