Sunday, August 19, 2018

Riding with Coopdway

Today, I had the absolute pleasure to go on a 100+ mile ride with Coop, aka Doug.  He's a fellow moto-blogger who lives in the country, perhaps 57 miles or so from his work in the city of Minneapolis.

We met up at 9AM as arranged and soon he was leading the way through some really nice winding roads, with many twist and turns at times, dips and climbs and all this while surrounded by the lush and verdant foliage that is this part of Wisconsin!

Temperatures were fine for most of the day, it did get a bit warm towards the end though.

 Did I mention how green everything is here in Wisconsin!
Funny thing is the locals were saying that more rain was needed.

 See the peaked top of the silos?  That's apparently how
you identify an Amish Farm, the ones with the round cupola
are just farms owned by "the English".  

 Coop in his natural habitat, cruising along with his
Moto Guzzi 750

Coop took me through Amish Country as part of the ride, I was quite fascinated at witnessing the contrasting transportation choices of this religion.  And, I can see why the government makes them put a "slow vehicle" sign in the back; it's very easy for them to become invisible in low light conditions.

 Coop pulled ahead so I could get in front of these two 
horse drawn rigs for photos.  I tried to be somewhat discrete
but I suspect they knew I was taking pictures.

 These young fellows did wave back at me when I waved 
at them while they passed my position.

 Old vs New

 More of a wagon than a buggy?

 Note how easy it is to miss seeing one of these carriages
when they're in the shadows ...

 Coop passing, slowly, a fancier buggy.

I shot many pics of Coop as he rode ahead of me, and sometimes I got lucky and it came out in focus!

 I think this is Carlson Ridge or perhaps Clinton Ridge

The last planned stop was the Mindoro Cut, where the third deepest cut through rock for a road by hand had been done.  Sadly, the road was closed for unknown reasons.

So Coop got me to County Road D and let me lead all the way to my FIL's home.  Unfortunately, my FIL was out doing errands I guess so I wasn't able to introduce him to Coop.

Coop and his Guzzi

My heartfelt thanks to Doug for his time and expert knowledge of the many back country roads in the area!  I know that without a GPS, I would have been completely lost.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Coffee with Coopdway, a family reunion and a smoky sunset

Friday was mostly spent driving from west of Des Moines, IA to Holmen, WI.  Not much to report, parked the URRV in the side portion of my FIL's yard in Holmen.

Martha flew in late and joined up with us shortly before midnight.

Saturday.  Busy day today.

A foggy morning in the Holmen, WI area

Left my FIL's house at 6:30 AM to ride north along US Highway after picking it up at Winona, WI and once again being in Minnesota.  You ride on the west side of the great Mississippi River but fog would block whatever river views were available this morning.

Soon, almost 60 miles later, I was in the town of Wabasha, the home locale for one of my favorite movies: Grumpy Old men.  Nothing that would show up in the movie is actually in the town that I could find though.

I wandered about a bit taking pictures; since I wasn't due to meet up with Coop until 9:00AM.

 Bridge in Wabasha, Minnesota, leading to the town of Nelson
on the far side, which is Wisconsin

Monument to Chief Hapahasha II, three Dakota chiefs
with the name....leaders of their tribes.

I then went over to the Eagles Nest Coffeehouse and met up with Coopdway aka Doug.  He's a motoblogger as well: LINK.

We spent about 90 minutes chatting, getting to know each other and in general solving the problems of the world as riders are wont to do when they gather.  :)

We parted company around 10:30 or so, me to rejoin my FIL and Martha as they prepared for the reunion in the afternoon and I believe Coop went for a ride.  We discussed doing a ride together tomorrow, Sunday.

The reunion had a great turnout and folks enjoyed meeting or rekindling relationships, everyone trying to figure out who was who within the Granum family tree.  Genealogy materials were on displayed for those who were interested, lots of food and drink of course as everyone contributed something to the gathering.

After everyone had left, I went off to see what kind of sunset we'd get with the smoke that had drifted down from the ongoing Canadian forest fires.  It proved a bit disappointing in terms of colors.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Boondocking at Badger Creek State Park, IA, day 2

Such a nice location and having the time, I decided to stay an extra day.

The dawn's colors were not bad:

This allowed me, thanks to Martha for the reminder, that I was a short distance from the small town of Winterset.  It's where John Wayne, one of my favorite actors of all time, was born and the town has a museum there dedicated to the site and some memorabilia.  Back in 2013, on a road trip to Wisconsin (deja vu) and the first time towing my rig (deja vu again), we had stopped by this museum but it had been closed.

Martha told me to read the last part of that old posting and deja vu for the third time:

"Long day on the road and yet it was done in guilty comfort within the confines of the BMW X5, I could get used to hauling my rig over the long boring interstate slab portions of trips."

The museum is pretty small but has some nice exhibits:

 Memorabilia from John Wayne's boat: The Wild Goose

 One of John Wayne's cars...caring more for comfort
than style.  1972 Pontiac Grand Safari Station Wagon.

 The cart from one of my favorite movies starring John Wayne:
The Quiet Man.  

 My favorite John Wayne movies were of the U.S.
Cavalry theme.

After watching the 11 minute film of "movie moments" showing John Wayne, I wandered outside to go to the small house he was born in.  On the way, there's the Madison County Freedom Rock:

The house itself is quite small by today's standards, all the furnishings are donations from the area so nothing really belonging to John Wayne that I could establish in the very short time I spend inside.

The house where John Wayne was born.
He was a 13 lb baby....big boy.

This being Madison County and me having ridden partly on the Madison County Covered Bridge Scenic Byway, I stopped at Hogback Bridge which is three miles from State Highway 169:

I also stopped at Cedar Bridge since it was along the way but found it burned down and torn apart.  Bummer.

Spent the rest of the day back at the URRV,  working on minor things for work.  Sunny weather replaced earlier overcast skies and the predicted rain happened while I was inside the museum.

Not as hot as yesterday either, a pretty nice day overall.

Here's a nice Iowa sunset to round out a pretty good day of boondocking.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Boondocking at the Badger Creek State Park, Iowa

Finally got across the long and rather boring state of Nebraska, at least, from the confines one has when transiting the state using the I-80 Superslab!

Made it just short of Des Moines before calling it a day in terms of driving.

Found a really nice spot among several which were less level, in the paved sites that comprise part of the Badger Creek State Park.  Not sure it's officially maintained anymore as the pavement's cracks are overflowing with very tall weeds but it's free!

There's also a boat launch area where there's a pit toilet for the boaters but the spot I picked remains empty except for yours truly as I type this at 9:25 PM.  Good stuff.  Loving the solitude.  Occasionally, a car passes by checking the site out, but they move on.

 View of the water reservoir from the campsite

 Nearby flowers

 Absolutely no shade.....and it was a hot day too...
even cranked up the AC for a bit while eating.

Sunset proved rather mild, when compared to yesterday in Nebraska.  Still, it had some color and some interesting clouds to light up.

 Sunset at the campsite

 Sunset near the boat launch

Back at the campsite, a view of the last cloud to be illuminated

As I finished typing this post, I can see someone is shooting off fireworks near the boat launch.  Sigh.  Then again, it's probably those three pickup trucks with youths I saw earlier, guess you gotta find the fun where you can in the middle of Iowa on a weekday.

I think I will stay here one additional day, I've got 300 miles to go to get to Holmen, WI and I'm not due there till sometime on Friday.