Friday, October 25, 2019

Good morning St Paul!

Channeling my inner Steve Williams this morning. It pays to double check the temp before heading out. This time of year, clear sky mean cold temps. Luckily I don't have far to go. 

I'll be topping her off with some more non-ethanol gas and Stabil on my way home this afternoon. I don't do a lot of winterization but I do make sure they get good gas and a healthy dose of fuel treatment. And the batteries go on a trickle charge.

Warm winter days happen!

- Ride North

Friday October 25th | 30f | 3 mi

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tour de Wisconsin

Stretching the legs on the Guzzi. Both my grandma and her sister turned 80 this weekend and a family reunion was planned at my folks house in Hartford WI for noon on Sunday. It would have been too much running around for my family to attend but I wanted to go. So I did, and Mrs. North was willing to hold down the home front while I was gone. Which was nice.

I was on the fence about taking the bike. I'd be back late on Sunday and the weather called for light rain and 60 degrees both days. But I did it. I'd say it was good but not fun. Half of my riding was at dusk or dark and on the interstate. It was a learning experience so in that sense it was great. The one thing I would have changed is to add a stop between Osseo and St Paul on the way home. I know I was tired and the difference between 9:15PM and 9:30PM is just not that important.

I-94 to 10 to 41 on the way there, 33 to I-94 on the way back. Both routs took exactly 6h. 15m. including stops. Although Google maps lists them as 5h10m and 4h50m. I think my new cut off for this trip is time. If I have the time to take 61 - 108 - 33 (mostly all 2 lane 55 and 65 mph) at least once then I'm in. If I need to tear down I-94 at 75mph in the dark for more than a few hours, then I'll take the car. 
A stop in Plover, WI. for lunch and a walk. (Stevens Point)

Hot roast beef sandwiches and fluff!

a mint Olds Super 88 complete with clear plastic davenport covers

The canal in Portage WI 
connecting the Wisconsin River (Mississippi) 
to the Fox River (Green Bay)

Another Portage picture.

Saturday night I went out for prime rib and drinks with my dad and brother at a little supper club/ restaurant by Pike Lake. (and the Brewers hit a walk off run to beat the Cubs!) And that right there was worth the trip.

The reunion and birthday party on Sunday was fantastic! I got to catch up with my cousins and second cousins, some of whom I haven't seen in 20 years. I played with their kids and met some of my dad's extended family who I've only heard about (many many times over the years!), all share a classic Wisconsin sense of humor. (i.e. a license plate that says. "HERE I AM") Good times!

- Ride North

9/7 - 9/8/2019 | 621 miles | 12 h. 30m. | 60 F | cloudy and some light rain

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A summer evening samba

It's July. The sun hangs around late into the evening. While it takes its time sinking into the western horizon we give chase. Follow the western road. Make haste. Soon it will be dark.

Deer feed in a cut alfalfa field. Birds follow the river scanning its banks for sweet scaly sustenance. Maybe the road will provide their protein. They'll never make it through the high-viz textile. Better keep an eye out for four-legged intruders. 

- Ride North

July 20th | Henderson, MN | 116 mi.| 7:30 - 10:00 PM

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Good night St Paul

The Mississippi mud is back after a long flood season.

Fresh sand.

Pickerel Lake

Rent a yak at

There's an asphalt path under all that.

- Ride North

Thursday, July 18, 2019

When are you going to work on that thing?

Jr. North asks, "Dad, when are you going to work on that thing?"

Now I guess.

You gotta make hay while the sun shines. I picked up a box full of parts for next to nothing on Facebook Marketplace, a first for me. There's enough in there for two unbroken sets of XL250/ 350 plastics. One is original condition the other will become rattle can black.


The hooker header got a fresh coat of high-temp.

Fresh rubber.

* cleaned and lube the chain
* freed up the stuck clutch
* rebuilt the carb

To do:
* Refresh the forks.
* Adjust everything.
* add fuel and start kicking.
* Paint a set of plastics and the tank (dented and sealed up long ago.)
* install new races and bearings in the steering head
* maybe install an ignition. 
* maybe get one of those little stickers with a '20' on it

Not bad for 47.

What could go wrong?

- Ride North

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Visiting trout streams

I managed a post-4th of July ride over to Wisconsin's open ridge lines and cool valleys. It's been a long time since I last took the XS500 out past the city limits and up into the hills. My goal was to ride O down the Trimbelle River valley and see where the road took me. I took the bends at a leisurely pace, slowing down for blind corners and homesteads. 

Inspired by the Trimbelle, I decided to check in on the Rush. I haven't fished these trout streams in years but I still remember the spots. My first stop was at one of the good river bends about half way between the confluence with the Mississippi and highway 10. The river was in really good shape, slightly off colored and clearing up. This is the best time to fish because the trout can't see you as well, a real issue. Also, they need to be bold if they want to eat, advantage to the angler. I wish I had brought some fishing gear with me! 


Yes, they were delicious.

I wandered back west along 370th avenue, cutting a line up and down the ridge tops. This took me back into the Trimbelle River watershed via the Little Trimbelle River and a few tame gravel sections.

The Little Trimbelle River is cold and refreshing no matter the weather. 

I crossed a few of these bridges, one was recently inundated. 
You could say it was a "water crossing" if only just.

I'm not sure why I went back through Red Wing, guess I just wanted to cross the Mississippi and see Barn Bluff. I stopped in at the Harbor Bar & Restaurant, located in the backwaters with views of old Red Wing, but I didn't stay. The skies were getting dark to the north and I was feeling the need to race the rain home. 

The only other thing of note is that I hit the reserve for the first time ever on the Yamaha. Not one but two petcocks need to be flipped forward, a move I pulled off while pulling off into a convenient turn out. Shortly afterwards the rain found me, a warm summer rain. 

- Ride North

July 5th | 150 mi. | 3.5 hours

Friday, June 21, 2019

Spring ride - day 3

Sunday had me retracing my steps back up the Mississippi River Valley as I made my way home. It was a cool start to the morning, 50s and overcast, but would turn into rainy and 40s. The morning however was just cool and windy, much like Friday.

Todd, my Dad, and I crossed into Iowa almost immediately, just north of Dubuque, and followed the Iowa river roads north again. It's hard to pick a bad road between Dubuque and McGregor, just steer clear of highway 52. There's nothing wrong with taking the highway but you'll miss out on some good experiences.

Guttenberg, Iowa

Just outside of Guttenberg, Iowa, we stopped to take in the view from highway 52 and discuss the trip. 

Our last stop as a group came at LaCrescent, here we parted ways. Todd and my Dad would be staying in LaCrosse for the night and were Googling breweries and hotels. I needed to be at work Monday morning so I spent the time trying to get some heat back into my hands. We all agreed that it was a successful journey. New roads were covered, new trails hiked, new characters met. Classic spring ride shenanigans. 

North of I-90 the temperature dropped off quickly and the rain started to fall. What was a pleasant ride in the 50's turned into a challenging ride in the 40's. By the time I got home the bike said 38 degrees.

I did manage to keep warm and dry for the most part. I only have one heated grip, on my throttle side, and my waterproof gloves were MIA. Thankfully, the clutch-side valve cover made a handy fry pan for my clutch hand. A little heat in my hands and some coffee in Red Wing got me home safely and mostly comfortable. Take your time and make good choices.

When the riding is less than ideal nobody cares if you're late, just that you're safe. (and it helps to call home with status updates) You never know what or who you'll run into when it's spring time in the north land, which is why we keep riding out this time every year.

- Ride North

May 20th | 270 miles | 8 hours riding