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Old 08-27-2014, 10:41 AM   #1
andrewgore OP
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Rustic Roads to Ruin: Musings on a Silver Duc

A month or so ago I sold my Nighthawk and picked up a fancy Italian bike. I've never had a Ducati before, I've honestly never ridden a Multistrada before. The closest I had to trying a 1st gen Multistrada was sitting on a friends several years ago and thinking "Sweet Zombie Jesus this clutch is sure that's a hydraulic clutch?" But what can I say. I had ridden my Nighthawk to test ride a new Ducati 848 Streetfighter as well as a 2014 Hyperstrada, and was bitten by the bug. I made some things happen, and wound up with a fancy 2004 Ducati Multistrada 1000DS. Rough around the edges yes......Raw Italian Beast through and through.

The real purpose of this thread is to document my trips collecting Rustic Road Signs in Wisconsin. All 115 of them spread out around the state of Wisconsin. If you don't know what they are, they're basically a series of roads in Wisconsin that are.....Rustic. I'm documenting these rides in a spreadsheet on my computer, but will use this as more of posting pictures & thoughts of what is going on in my head during the rides. More than likely....nothing

Wisconsin's definition here:

What's that got to do with motorcycling.....well, Wisconsin is nice enough to send you a patch if you snap a picture of yourself in front of 10 signs. Their rules are here:

Now I'm not the first, nor am I the last to take on this little challenge. I think there are even a few reports on this site of other Wisconsin locals taking on this challenge. I however can say that I'm doing these.....all based out of Illinois. Now in reality, that's not really fair. I am in Illinois, however I'm only about 10 miles South of the IL\WI border. On top of that, I've got the minimum 10 Rustic Roads within a 30-45 minutes ride from my house.

Rustic Roads in relation to my house (bottom right):

Rustic Road GPS Tracks HERE: GPS FILES

I devised a simple plan of attack for how I'm going to snag all 115 of these Rustic Roads. Wisconsin split these up into 4 main segments:

I'm close enough to most of the stuff in the Southeast area to attack them in rides after work. My wife works nights as a nurse, so if she's working, I'm flying solo. If not, I'll be getting her to tag along. Pictures with her will be far more appealing than of just me & my mug or just the Ducati. I've got a cabin I can base out of for the Southwest portion of roads, so when I'm out there, I'll snag those. Next spring when I do the TWAT, I'll aim to snag those that are based around that route. In October or early November, my wife & I weather pending will be doing Cannonshot's loop around Door County. I'll snag any Rustic Roads there while in the area.

That's my plan. I may (or may not) stick to it

So the cast of characters:

My wife & I (I gotta burn that BMW Jacket):

The Silver Duck (truck is backup if I break down ):

All that said, allow me to begin. Stay tuned......

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Old 08-27-2014, 02:59 PM   #2
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Loop 1

Section 1: Southeast

I think Wisconsin is deceptive in its' size. Or maybe I just think everything should be a closer distance to my home. I don't know. What I do know is that getting home from my 3rd loop out to Rock County last night took me about an hour and a half to get home.......more on that later though.

I'll start at the beginning. Loop 1

This was probably the easiest loop for me to get, as I've ridden so many of these roads specifically before. I was familiar with the roads, and to be honest, I've been on them so many times before, I kinda just wanted to get them knocked off my list. That said, I was out riding, so I was out enjoying.

1st stop RR 43

This RR is just North of Bong State Recreational Area. I've camped there before, nice place. If you're on an enduro bike, they may call the rangers on you think that you're riding around on a dirtbike.

2nd stop RR37

I didn't feel like I was on a Rustic Road. Yeah it was rough & bumpy, but come on......the houses & pampered lawns had me kinda....ehh. It didn't help that the further East you are in WI, the straighter the roads.....though there are a few exceptions.

3rd stop RR30

Go figure, both ends of this route don't list the RR number on their sign. I assume the Wisconsin folk are drunk on cheese

4th stop RR5

This was a nice slow road right by a little park. I stopped there for a quick Gatorade break.

5th stop RR85

This road follows a creek for a bit, had some minor elevation changes, but beyond that, not too much going on. Pretty smooth.

6th stop RR12

This road is right at the entrance to a subdivision, so a bit slow, but once past that, you've got some more decent riding coming up

7th stop RR11

This road kinda loops in with the next could have some fun in this area, but it is only about 10 miles from the more populated Lake Geneva area

8th stop RR36

From here, I shot West on Highway 50 through downtown Lake Geneva, on to collect one last RR. I should have just skipped this one for the night. My brother had ribs & sausage on the smoker, but I figured I was there, why not get it. I got into Lake Geneva only to realize that there was some festival going on. Oodles of people. Not too big a deal, but I feel kinda bad with my dry clutch clackity clackity when sitting at a stop light. Ducati People Problems

9th stop RR29

This is probably the windiest road of the day. Unfortunately it is right outside Lake Geneva, so kinda prime LEO area. The road winds through some $$$$$ houses\farms\etc. I wouldn't mind a house here, but sweet word I can only imagine the taxes.

After that I ran myself over to my brothers to chat for a bit. Looking back now, I need to really start snapping some better pictures of stuff other than my bike. I'll work on that. I get caught up in the moment of riding, and at the time, couldn't care less about pictures, but we all need pictures

Trip Odometer - 120 miles

Loop 2 to follow.

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Old 08-28-2014, 08:04 AM   #3
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So Loop 2 was supposed to take place end of last week. Unfortunately there were a few things working against me.

On the upside, the rain was heading East, so I figured by the time I actually went to head out, I'd be all clear to roll. Unfortunately there were a few other hiccups. Like I said, my wife works nights as a nurse. She was gonna be starting her 3rd day in a row and.....well a little tired when I got home from work. In her haste to get out the door, she realized she was too late to grab some coffee and also forgot her coat she likes to wear.

I thought for a bit, and based on the humidity, my late start, etc, etc, I knew I wasn't in the mood to really snag some Rustic Roads. I wanted to get a short(er) ride in and enjoy the evening. Aside from that, my motorcycle was supposed to be a coffee delivery service for my wife, so I figured I'd be a proper courier.

Off to the local BMW Hangout.....err Starbucks

Minimal amount of Latte was lost on the trip from Starbucks to the hospital. I was quite pleased with the cupholders performance, and my wife was quite pleased to not have to freeze all night in the hospital.

I felt I had to pay some form of penance for having parked at a Starbucks, so I found one of the few gravel roads I could find in the area, and promptly spun the tires as best I could.

Now this is where my mind seems to go each time I see a picture of a big bike on gravel, or guys talking about hitting some gnar singletrack on their beast of a motorcycle. I competed pretty heavily for a few years in trials. I now race Harescrambles on a KTM 350 and do quite well in our local events. Suffice to say, dirt doesn't scare me. Heck I'm far more comfortable on dirt & gravel than I am on the street (and I did a bit of road racing awhile back). What boggles me is each time I've gone onto gravel on a street bike (yes I'm considering the Multistrada a street bike) is how out of place the thing has felt. Yes, I've been on gravel roads and such on a fancy BMW R1200GSW....the pinnacle of off-road beastliness (or would that be a KTM?). I get it....but at the same time I don't. To me, it's just so out of place that it doesn't make sense. But to each their own, ride your own ride, and all that lovey dovey stuff. I can only say so much. I'm planning on spooning some TKC80's to my Multistrada to ride the TWAT.

What can I say, I'm more comfortable on my KTM doing this:

But I digress. After delivering coffee, jackets, and meandering down some mediocre gravel roads nestled between rows of corn, I slipped on up to kick my feet out & relax up by Lake Geneva. Years back it was my "last stop" before heading home when I would go for cruises on the bike, so it's been a nice spot for me to relax and enjoy the quiet. Weeknights, there are minimal people up there and the lake tends to be calm.

Not the best pic, but it is what it is.

The Duck patiently waiting under the streetlights:

I was rested up, so chose my route home. I can't remember if I took the main highway, or the back way. Must not have been too memorable. I suppose that's both good & bad. Then again, not everything needs to be memorable.

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Old 08-29-2014, 10:24 AM   #4
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Rustic Roads Loop 2

Rustic Roads Loop 2

This past Tuesday I wanted to get some more Rustic Roads in. IIRC, the weather was iffy in the morning, but leveled out by the time work was done. I topped myself up with a dinner of refried beans, chipotle cranberry cheese, kale, all upon a wonderful Udi's gluten free spinach wrap. Health conscious and all that . I geared up and I was fillup with gas.

Here was the rough route:

The map is a little off. I wanted to get away from the main area as quickly as I could, so I hopped on Rte 12 North and set my mental cruise control to get up and away from the local area. I really enjoy being able to make quick time on these roads in Wisconsin. The minimal traffic, wide open roads, 65mph speed limits, and all, it adds up for making up quick time.

I wanted to take a more back way into the first rustic road, and so I kept south of 12 just as I got past Elkhorn. I found some nice roads that while not the windiest, they were still scenic in their own right. I was basically right at the very South end of Kettle Moraine. There was a nice spot to stop for the Ice Age Trail. If you're into walking\hiking in the woods, this is supposed to be quite nice. I'm not a fan of walking, so any time I've spent in this area has been on their Mountain Bike trail system just north of here. I stopped here for a quick restroom break:

I then worked my way up towards Whitewater. I forgot that they are still doing construction in the downtown area. If you're in the area, check out the Sweet Spot Cafe. They do great coffee and they may or may not have delicious pastries & snacks My wife & I like stopping in as they do have a good selection of gluten free items if that's how you roll.

As I worked around the construction, I ended up riding around Whitewater college. It was kind of odd, as the only real memories I have of being in that area were from around 2001\2002 when a band I was in at the time recorded with a friend who was a DJ for the college radio. While I'm not in any bands anymore, the guy who recorded us is, and they're pretty darn solid. Check em out:

I worked my way out of town and hit the first rustic road for the night.

RR 88:

This was a mostly straight road. Nothing super about it, but it got me in the mental mindset for chasing down the signs. I've noticed that some roads have the # designation at both ends of the road. Others, it's only at one end or the other. Then there are some that as noted before, have nothing. It keeps things interesting. I reached the end of the road, and worked my way North to the next one. I saw an absolutely rundown road that seemed to be someones driveway, so I hopped on it. It was a real adventure....all 1/8 mile of it A nice smooth road followed and I was then lined up West to hit the next RR.

RR 84:

This road was mildly populated, but on the West end worked its way around some mucky looking river\creek. I didn't hang around there too long and really shoulda snapped some extra pictures. I'm seeing there is a minor flaw in my attempts at snagging as many RR signs in an evening, after work, while trying to get home early enough to get enough sleep for work the next day. Minor details.

After 84, it was South from Fort Atkins to catch RR87. This one based on the map had some promise to it.

RR 87:

You could even get your Seal Coating done here. Though there was no phone number. . This road was quite fun. It wandered along quite a few farm areas. I think one road was called Creamery Road. You could smell the pungent farm smell as you wound round the turns. Not really many sweeping turns, but some fun blind 90 degree bends that I seemed to go around far slower than in my mind I should be going triple digits through.

The reality was also that the sky is darkening earlier and earlier. I had planned for 2 more Rustic Roads for this ride, but the last one would put me getting home around 1030pm. I don't really mind the lowered amounts of sleep, but I know that deer & other wildlife were gonna be more prevalent now. It reminded me I need to add some additional lighting to this bike. The OEM lights are good, but I'll never argue with having MORE lighting.

At the end of RR87, I was greeted with a bridge under construction:

I had no reason to go over it, but every reason to hop on the highway just below it & zip on down to my last RR for the evening.

RR 35:

I had the high beams on for most of the time at this point. It was full on dark out, and I was out in the sticks so to speak. I snagged this last sign and began working my way towards Cr-M. Or at least I thought I was. I hadn't realized that they were doing all this nice construction up there, so roads I thought were there.....were not. A minor detour later, and I was back on Cr-M (that road on the 45* angle in front of Harmony Twn). I used the moon, open road, and my high beams to my advantage here. I may or may not have made some really good time here. Towards the end of M, there were some nice smooth sweeping 90 degree turns. They had some minor elevation, and needless to say, I would have much preferred to do them during day time. I took what I could get though.

The only issue I had on the route home was as I came to a 2 way stop after my making time on cr-M. It gave me a good sampling of the lovely Brembos on the Ducati. Oh how they grab and pull you top a stop. Just lovely. From here on out, I opted to hop on the main roads to get myself home. I figured there was a bit more safety from critters with this, and it'd get me home quicker. 43 North to 12 South. Both with 65mph speed limits. I set myself to cruise and got myself home.

Trip mileage: 142 miles.

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Old 08-29-2014, 01:29 PM   #5
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Nice job, Andrew. I'll stick around for the rest.
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