Monday, December 26, 2011

The Last Ride of the Year

I am pretty sure today will be the last ride of the year for me. The riding weather has been sporadic at best and there are only five more days in the year.

I went out and met some friends for lunch and then buzzed around the outskirts of town for a while. I probably only put 50 miles on or so.

So if this is my last ride of the year I have put on a total of 6103 miles since the purchase of the bike in July. Not bad for five months of riding and two or three of those months usually aren't the best for riding.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lake Superior

I have been spending a lot of time on the planning of the Lake Superior tour. Right now I am looking at this to be the "Trip of 2012" even though I am looking at Nova Scotia in the spring.

The entire ride around the lake should take about six days but we are leaving plenty of time in there for exploring so the current figure is about eight or nine days.

We will be taking the bikes off the beaten path to explore everything from ghost towns to abandoned cabooses lost in the forest. Two of the bikes will be dual sport and two will be street bikes so we're not sure how far off the beaten path we will be getting but we'll try our best. The big plus is that the two street bikes will be ridden by the guys with the most experience of riding off road with street bikes. Of course they also have the most motorcycle accidents of the group.


South America

So the South America planning accidentally started last night. That doesn't really mean much considering that it will take two to three years to get to a complete plan. Does that mean 2013 or 14 you will see me writing my way through South America? Maybe, who knows what kinds of twists life will throw between now and then.

What will it look like? Here is a rough sketch of the ride.


Total ride should be around 26000 miles and take between 70 to 90 days.

The biggest challenge this early in the planning is finding a flight over the Darien Gap. This is the where the PanAm highway stops in Panama and the Jungle begins. While I find that it would be a fun ride to go through the jungle and it has been done before by motorcycle, the jungle is full of bandits and drug runners. Even if you take the danger of being kidnapped out of the scenario it would add a good seven to ten days on to the trip to trans two hundred miles of unforgiving jungle providing everything goes great. I can't even fathom breaking down in the middle of that mess.

We have found that there is a flight from Panama city to Bogota Colombia for about $400 per person and bike and the flight is only a few hours. Otherwise we could go by boat. Cargo ships come and go from Panama every seven to ten days so we could end up waiting up to twenty days for a ship to arrive and take us. After that it is five or more days at sea to get to Colombia. A flight sounds much nicer even if it is a cargo plane full of chickens.

We'll see what comes of all this silly talk.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ahh Thanksgiving

It was suppose to be warm out today. We left my house at 7am and headed up to the northern kettle moraine forest. We just kept riding in the 30 degree weather knowing that it was suppose to be in the 50's today. 50's never came. It was kind of surreal riding down the back roads with all the leaves off the trees and seeing all the hunters in their blaze orange sitting, dreaming for their buck. Then they see us come zipping along and wonder what the hell is wrong with us.

I will be honest, I was afraid of being mistaken for a deer. We got on some dirt road cutting through the forest and all I could think about is the fact that we are moving through the forest slowly and are about the same size as a deer. Granted deer don't have an exhaust noise coming out of them but you would be surprised at how fast sound can dissipate in the forest.

None the less we made it without being shot and cranked another 100 miles on for the season.

I finally broke my second goal for the year. My first was to get 5000 miles on the KLR before the end of the riding season. That came and went pretty fast so I upped it to 6000 miles. That came today. Not bad considering I got the bike at the end of July. I know some Harley's that didn't see 1000 miles all season.

Between all my bikes I probably put 10000 to 12000 miles on this year so far. I still have the rest of this month before the year is over.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

80 Miles in 30 Degree Weather

Went out this morning before the rain came in. It was a nice ride even with it being so cold, the wind was light. I got another Rustic Road under my belt, I think that is 18 now only 85 to go.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

26 Degrees and 35 miles

After work I got a bug to go for a ride. It is the coldest ride I have taken this year so far. It really was a nice ride but I could have used some heated socks and gloves plus something to keep the wind out of my helmet but even that wasn't too bad. It probably would have been better if the sun was out but I really couldn't complain. I just jumped on the freeway for a while so I was dealing with the cold at 75+ mph. I am sure if I would have stuck with the back roads it would have been much warmer.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

100+ miles in the middle of November... Not bad

Went for a cruise this afternoon. Mid 50's for a temp and it turned out really nice. Hit some rustic roads, saw a ton of turkeys everywhere. I got introduced to a new road with a wicked set of curves.

I still want to make it to Minoqua this year to get some damn popcorn.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Future trips

What I would like to see for my future trips in no particular order except the planned trips.

  1. East Coast / Nova Scotia / Niagara falls (Planned May 28th 2012)
  2. Lake Superior Tour (Planned July 28th 2012)
  3. Colorado and Dakotas
  4. T.W.A.T. Beginning to end
  5. T.A.T.
  6. Arctic Circle
  7. West Coast
  8. South America
  9. European tour
  10. Love to say I rode all 50 states

That's all I got for now.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Afternoon Ride

Went for a ride this afternoon. Even though it was too early and too cold and I was too tired to ride this morning, I am lucky enough to get out of work early on Fridays so I could enjoy an afternoon ride. I didn't go too far, but did get lost on some crazy farmer road. There were all these strange forks in the road and when I finally turned around at a dead end I couldn't find my way back out. Every turn I took led me back to another dead end. Now I am sure I missed something along the way but as far as I was concerned, I was stuck in the matrix.

To the farmer that was plowing the field that I cut across, I apologize and would not regularly do that but in this case I had no real alternative.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winter... time of dreams and plans.

So it is November 1st. Riding time is becoming shorter and further apart. I haven't had the bike out in over a week now. Every night before bed I think I might ride to work the next morning. The next morning it is in the low 30's and pitch black out causing me to lose any interest in riding. I need to force myself to ride. I didn't ride today and now it is in the 60's out there which would make for a perfect ride home. Friday looks like a high of 49 and sunny, maybe that day will be a good ride.

My weekends have been busy or raining, I just can't win.

I have been planning a couple of trips for next year so I will tell you about them.

At the end of May (Memorial weekend) I would like to get out to the east coast New Jersey and then north up to Nova Scotia then back west through Niagara Falls and home. It would be about 3800 miles and I would like to do it in about 8 days. Probably not going to happen as that would be an average of 475 miles a day which would give me no time to enjoy anything. So we will see what spring brings. I am either going to have to cut it to east coast states and home or Nova Scotia and home.

The next trip is planned for the end of July to ride around Lake Superior. This trip would be 1900 miles and approximately 6 to 7 days. Right now it is confirmed that it will be me and two other riders but could be up to five riders total but doubtful. My nephew and I have been talking about doing this trip for about three years now and just never got around to it.


Monday, October 10, 2011

The KLR Farkles

So this little blog is about my KLR but I really haven't told you much about my bike. I bought the bike July 18th this year with 12928 miles, the bike now has 18600. Almost 6000 miles in about three months. The previous owner was a smaller girl that just didn't fit the bike properly even with the two inch lowering she put in it so she only put a couple hundred miles on it. Previous to her a motorcycle instructor owned it. I changed the bike a bit since the purchase and this is a list of what I put into the bike along with some pictures.

SU Happy Trail rack
Muffintop Panniers
Givi Crashbar
Moose Racing Grips
Moose Racing Hand Warmers
Moose Racing Barkbusters
Sargent Seat
LED Blinker Indicators*
12v Adapter**
Renthal Handlebars
DualStar Rear Brake Lever Mount
Happy Trail Windscreen System
Potvin Top Box***
Corbin Tank Bag
Tool/Fuel Tubes****
IRC Trail Winner GP-110 Tires

* The LED directional light indicators I mounted higher in the dashboard because I couldn't see the main one on the bike without looking down because of my helmet. Adding these helped but I need to find brighter ones.

** The 12v adapter I just zip tied to the frame under the tank so it is accessible but yet pointing down not to get rain in it. I do plan on adding one once I get an extra dash for the bike.

***The Potvin Top Box was made by a friend of mine. Great craftsmanship. It is mounted with four screw knobs on the inside for easy on and off access.

**** The Tool/Fuel tubes you see mounted on the back of the bike are tractor manual canisters that you can get from any farm supply place. I paid $4.99 a piece for them. Happy Trail sells them for $19.99.


This pic is from the day I bought it.







Damn Leafers

Today I took an afternoon ride up into the Northern Kettle Moraine for a few hours. Everybody in the state of Wisconsin decided to do the same thing. I have never seen that much traffic in that area before.

All in all it was a nice ride aside from the fact that I almost pissed my pants looking for a gas station. Couldn't just stop on the side of the road either because of all the traffic.

Towards the end of the ride we took a run down a dirt road that goes back into some hunting land. It was a really nice road to go down but too short, although we didn't go all the way down because we didn't want to upset the hunters. We need more roads like that in this area of Wi.


Monday, October 3, 2011

SLimy Crud Run

Went on the Slimy Crud Run today. Started out this morning from my house it was around 34 degrees out. We left at 7 am and headed down to Tosa. From Tosa we headed for Pine Bluff WI. While it was cold in the morning it quickly warmed up. By the time we got to Pine Bluff it was in the upper 60's. We walked around checking out the bikes in Pine Bluff (the only place I remembered to take pictures) and then headed up to Leland WI.






On our way to Leland we watched some guy fall off a perfectally straight road with his bike probably doing 55+ mph. We stopped, I was half expecting a dead guy but before I could even get my kickstand down he was standing and trying to get his bike up.

We got to Leland and looked at all the bikes and then headed back home. The rest of the ride while a great ride was pretty uneventful.

I definitely will be going back next year.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Kari's Bike

My wife Kari got a new bike this week. It is a 1982 Kawasaki KZ250CSR. Picked it up for cheap, wasn't running when I got it. The previous owner told me that they had the carbs cleaned twice on it and still never got it to run right. After some digging around it turned out that when they cleaned the carbs there is a little rubber plug that goes in the carb and it was missing. I plugged it with something that I had lying around the garage and the bike has been running like a dream ever since.







I think it is time to buy her some real riding gear.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nephew and I went for a Ride

My nephew put 110 miles on today, here are some pics from it. I showed him the pictures from my day trip and he wanted to see the windmills up close so off we went. It was worth it.

I didn't realize that the last time I went up there it was 50+ miles away. C.J. was on my 550 which isn't the most comfortable bike for long distance.

I took him to the windmill that I saw just one week ago and it was completely put together.




So we backtracked a bit to one we saw that was still being built.





If you were ever wondering what the inside of a windmill blade looks like here ya go.




Looking out from within.


The nose cone is huge.



The power station.




Sunday, September 11, 2011

Random Saturday Ride

This morning I jumped on the bike at 7 am for a ride. I went out Hwy 33 and getting close to Beaver Dam I saw that they are building more windmills. So I stopped in for a closer look.








After that I planned on heading up to Wildcat Mountain State Park to ride the switchbacks of Hwy 33. That plan changed when I got into a small town called Hillsboro and accidentally took a wrong turn onto Hwy 80 South. At first I didn't even notice, the road was quite similar to Hwy 33 but after traveling for 30 or so miles I did notice that my shadow was in the wrong place. I pulled over to check a map and figure out what I did wrong. When I pulled over I saw this.


I checked my phone and found that I had gone about an hour out of my way to the switchbacks. I was disappointed but really didn't feel like backtracking to get to them. I punched La Crosse into the GPS and it suggested that I continue on 80 South to County Road D. I relieved myself, had a smoke and continued to D. This was one of the best mistakes I have made in a while. D was just a beautiful ride. It was curvy, cutting through hills, real back roads with hardly any traffic except the occasional horse buggy of the Amish. I was probably on the road for a good hour or so and I was still disappointed when it ended. I jumped on 14 and headed into La Crosse to visit a friend of mine.


After meeting with my buddy I headed back south to 90 and cut over to Minnesota. My plan was to ride the river on the Minnesota side down to Iowa. I got accorss and headed down by La Cressent.


When I got to La Cressent I missed the turn for 16 South and ended up going back across the river into the southside of La Crosse. Again with a bit of disappointment I continued on 35 South down the river on the Wisconsin side. I got down by Lansing Iowa and was able to cross over again. The bridge at Lansing is the worst bridge for motorcycles with knobby tires.





Once I was on the Iowa side I continued down to Praire du Chen to cross back over to Wisconsin. I really wish I would have stayed on the west side of the river. I have ridden down the east side many times and while it is a beautiful ride I would have liked to experience the west side. From Lansing to the crossing in Prarie du Chein was a wonderful experience and I feel that the entire ride would have been like that.

I crossed back over and got onto 60 east to start the trek home. 60 east was an alright ride but didn't really do it for me. I came upon Hwy 80 and decided to take that north, if nothing else I could take it back to where I got off of 33 in Hillsboro. While traveling on 80 I came across my good friend County Road D.I was so tempted to jump on it and ride further north west just to do it but then I found the D South. Again just a great road to travel on. I rode D over to Hwy 58 and 58 back to Hwy 33. From Hwy 33 I tried taking a shortcut and ended up running all the way up to Waupun. A bit out of the way. I zig zagged my way back down home and ended my trip 12.5 hours after I started with a total of 502 miles.







Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rustic Roads

Tonight after work I went out and found 9 rustic roads. I went through Waukesha County and got roads 10 and 86 then I headed down to Racine County and got roads 2, 5, 25, 30, 37, 42, and 43. It took a total of 203 miles to complete those. 9 down 99 to go.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rustic Roads WI

There are 108 roads in Wisconsin that are considered "Rustic Roads" as you can see on the DOT website. On their website they have .PDF files with information on the Rustic Roads in each quarter of the state along with each county of each quarter. I found out tonight that their maps are not very good at getting you to the start and end of each rustic road. They offer a rustic roads award program. If you travel 10 of the roads you are eligible for a Rustic Roads Motorcycle Tour Patch. If you travel 25 Rustic Roads you are qualified for a special state certificate. You can see the awards program details here.

I thought this is a good idea and figured I would start collecting pictures of my bike in front of the signs beginning with the roads that are in my area. I went after my first one tonight and let me tell you that the maps provided are less than suitable for quick and easy findings of these roads.

So I am going to start remapping the roads on Google Maps as I do the roads and then post a link here for access to the roads. I don't think I will be doing all 108 roads anytime soon but as I do them I will find the starting and ending of each one and post a small review of the road.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not doing the Iron Butt

I have decided against doing the Iron Butt this weekend. I am thinking I might take a ride up to La Crosse and see a friend of mine. If I take Hwy 33 there I get to go through some sweet switchbacks and then maybe take Hwy 35 down the Mississippi and back home.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Iron Butt

I think this Saturday I am going to go for my Iron Butt ride. The Iron Butt consists of many different styles of rides, the one I am considering is the 1000 miles in 24 hours. I think if I leave at 5:00 a.m. I can ride to just outside or Sioux Falls SD and back for the 1000 miles. My problem is I don't want to ride the freeway the entire way there and back just to make it. I rather take the back roads and enjoy the scenery. I don't know if I can do 1000 miles on all back roads and be able to stay awake the entire time. By freeway it would be about 18 hours, back roads would be about 23 hours which is pushing it for time spent on the bike along with my 24 hour mark.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 3 TWAT... Kind Of

Day 3.

Well we made it home.

This morning I woke up to the sounds of my neighbor snoring and couldn't stand how greasy my hair was so I washed it in the drinking water faucet which was very cold but refreshing. We left Cornucopia along with the snoring man and headed into Bayfield for coffee.



It was surprising how much response we got from our bikes. You would have thought we parked a couple of chromed out choppers for people to gawk at.

Bayfield

From Bayfield we headed down to Washburn to stop by a family friend. After that we headed into barksdale to see my aunt and uncle but they weren't home at the time. Taking a quick look at the beach that I practically grew up on we proceeded into Ashland. I stopped by my fathers grave and then we went to get some breakfast/lunch at the Golden Glow. The Golden Glow is a great cafe in Ashland that really hasn't left the 50's.

Golden Glow Ashland

We were trying to figure out the best way home when Isaiah came up with the idea of heading East into Michigan and then South home. It was a great idea turning our Trans WI trip into a Trans state trip. The ride was going fine except that my shoulder muscle was causing me severe pain. Pain to the point where I stopped at a grocery store and bought Ben-Gay to rub on it. The Ben-Gay would help for about 20 to 30 minutes and then the pain would start coming back. I'm actually not sure if the Ben-Gay was helping or if it was just the fact that every time we stopped I got to relax that muscle and that was helping with the pain.

Our Trip

The ride home was for the most part uneventful. We cruised over to Michigan on Hwy 2 and then grabbed Hwy 45 all the way back down to West Bend.



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 2. TWAT... Kind Of.

Day 2.

We are in Cornucopia WI.

Well this morning was cold and wet and foggy also. The rain started up again around 2:30 a.m. We headed out around 7am, and checked out the view from the park which was fog but quite pleasant.

View From Park

From the park we went and hit some switch backs on Hwy 33 which were fun but would have been even better on a dry day. We rode quite a few miles on pavement, finding a cow along the way, before we found any of the dirt trails which were just gravel roads.

Cow

We rode till about noon before the weather started to clear. We rode the gravel roads and ATV trails ( I dumped it on the ATV trail) until we got to Thorp.


Oops


Butler Town Hall


Hatfield




Watching the GPS and looking at maps we really felt like we were getting no where fast. After talking with my nephews in Thorp we decided to jump on Hwy 13 and run that for a while just to get some miles behind us. We figured an hour or two on the hwy and then jump back on the trail.


Thorp

Well a few hours later we were at the ore dock in Ashland.


Ore Dock Ashland

Looking at the map we would have had to go a long way out of our way to get back on the trail so we just took 13 up to Cornucopia stopping in Washburn at a campground and securing ourselves a site for the night. The campgrounds were all RV style sites and didn't really fit what we were looking for with our tenting but it was better to have a crappy site than have no site at all. We then rode up through Bayfield and almost into Cornucopia I see the trail appear on my GPS so with a quick turn north on to another dirt road we headed for the end of the trail. The trail ended at the northern most point of WI so we got some pictures up there and found a campground.


Northern Most Spot in WI

The camp was strange to say the least. After riding around the grounds a couple of times we couldn't figure out how to pay for a site or if they had firewood on hand. We stopped and talked to a couple who were camping there and they also didn't know how to pay for a site so they were camping for free. We asked them about firewood and they told us that they bought some from the other campers. We quickly decided that this wasn't the place for us to camp and got back on the road. Just outside of Cornucopia we found a nicer camp site that had some firewood and 1 tent spot left open so we took it.

Campground



The firewood was more like crumbs at the bottom of a box but there was enough to keep us going for a while. Our neighbors to the left had a tent set up no more than 15 feet away from mine, while Isaiah had neighbors to his right about 25 feet away.  Our neighbors on the right came back first and were cooking dinner and a while later popping corks getting a bit buzzed up. I thought for sure we would be listening to sexy time from them.

Our neighbors on the left came home shortly before we were hitting the sack for the night. They were there for about ten minutes when sounds of a bear came roaring from their tent. It was the man snoring already. His snoring was so loud that I was having laughing fits in my tent all by myself and worried that they would hear me. It is clear what I am laughing at since my laughing follows his every snore.