Thursday, June 22, 2017

Motorcycle immersion

AMCA/VJMC Motorcycle Show 2017!

Daytona Special 
Ready to tear up the high banks of said Florida landmark.

TURBO! (more cow bell!)

Ninja, GPZ, Ninja, GPZ TURBO! 
I had a chance to talk to the owner of several of these machines,
Turns out he's the MN pres of the VJMC. 
Good guy, shares my appreciation for the Seca 550.

Pictures do not do this paint justice. 
What's orange in photographs is golden honey medal flake in real life.
You just need to see it.


Black and gold CB400 is just so right.





Original sand cast. $$$$



Lilac



One of my favorites.


She's a beaut Earl.

Let the good times roll!

Lots to see in the parking lot too!
I saw a particularly nice baby blue XS650 but I failed to track down its owner.


Last weekend was a total motorcycle immersion for yours truly. The XS had its valves and points set, oil changed, and received a through degreasing. Miles were accumulated. Lots to say but not much time to say it in, the Ride North crew is heading north!

- Ride North


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Anticipation

I took off tomorrow and plan on doing nothing but working on, riding, and looking at motorcycles. My inner child looks like this as I count the hours until I clock out.

"I'm Joe Cool Snoopy." - Jr. North
- Ride North

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Good night Saint Paul


I got out for an old school summer evening bike ride last night. Flip-flops and a helmet, for safety. A casual cruise through the park.


Cottonwoods: kings of the river bottoms

Deer.

I raced the Itasca downstream for a while. 




It's easy to overtake when your opponent is pushing a barge!

The final leg of the journey is to drag myself back up the Mississippi River valley wall, but the view makes it all worth it. 

- Ride North

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fort Snelling National Cemetery



Acres of white head stones. 
Many long lived individuals, many tragically short.
All served a mission greater than their selves. 


I've never served in the military but I do work for the state.
It's tremendously fulfilling to serve the people of Minnesota in my own small way.


No relation that I know of but since I was there, figured I would look us up. 
It's pretty amazing to see your name in a place like this.

Many, thank-yous to our military personnel and their families. 
Many thank-yous to our police officers and their families.

This nation would not work without you.
In fact, many nations from France to South Korea 
would not work without you.

Ride North

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nothing and everything

Mrs. North: "What do you think about all day with no music in your helmet?"
Mr. North: "You guys. Nothing. Everything. Oh but there IS music, just not a radio."

This was the conversation just prior to setting off for three days in the saddle, two solo days and a ride with my Dad and brother (on his new Honda NC700X).

St Paul to Milwaukee.
Milwaukee to Pine Bluff to Leland to Milwaukee.
Milwaukee to St Paul.

t-5 days

The trip started the Monday before when I rolled the Triumph out only to find a nail in my tire, the first in many years. I was able to plug it and ride into the nearest shop for a replacement. Amid the chaos that is spring time at a dealership, Tousley Motorsports was able to source a RoadSmart II for a good price and install it. I quickly filed that expense under "dues paid" and moved on, happy with my new tire.

Day 1

Saturday started out with a quick mountain bike ride and some grocery shopping with the family. The birds were chirping and the leaves were just starting to pop. The plum trees were in full bloom, standing out against the grey forest. By Monday, the leaves had fully popped and the white blossoms were lost in a sea of fresh green.


On the road by 1:00. 70 degrees and sunny.
First stop, a quick view of lake Pepin and cotton ball clouds. 

Selfie with limestone. 
An ancient sea bed in the middle of the continent.

Alma, WI.

More Mississippi River backwaters.
I met a fellow rider and owner of a new Yamaha from Eau Claire. 
Motorcycle people are good folks.

The Elroy - Sparta trail head.

A pair of proper English gents.

From Alma, I took some of my favorite county roads down to Sparta. County roads E - EE - N - D. That little detour up N is worth every second. I didn't have a ton of time to explore county roads so the remainder of the trip was spent on state highways (71 -33 - 60).

1:00pm - 9:00pm (7h 05m of go time)
352 miles

Day 2.

The sun was starting to shine through the windows when I woke up on my brother's couch. A small dog and child came to visit me in the wee hours of the morning, a rare morning that I get to spend with my nephews. I love those little buggers. Each one is cool and interesting in their own way. After some coffee and catch in the backyard the boys and their mom were off to church.

It was a sunny 45 degrees when my dad pulled up on the Tiger, ready to ride. I think we were all excited to spend the day bombing around Wisconsin together. I'm trying to remember the last time the three of us rode together.

There is a "young family" stage of life were nobody is really sleeping, you're just getting going in your career, and money and time are both tight. It's a special time but being Atlas is both rewarding and relentless. (and let us not forget Mrs. Atlas, the true pillar of our world)  This doesn't leave much in the tank for hobbies or long stints away from home.

The work is good and the ride, triumphant.

I think the new bike had bout 100 miles on it when we set off. My brother has had a handful of bikes over the years and I think he really enjoyed being on two wheels again. His job kept him working crazy shifts and most weekends. Now he's getting three out of every four weekends off and I think he's just starting to figure out what that means. (It's amazing what you can get use to, or not.)

I don't think my dad ever gets off his bike but he's retired and can do things like fly to Texas and rent a BMW. (does anyone have an R1200GT for sale?) He's a great pack leader and it was fun to ride behind him and my brother. He's been riding these roads for decades and took us on great little county  two lane roads. It's good to know a local.

It was a real treat to spend the day chasing my dad and brother around some of their old haunts. We rode at a relaxed pace and the ride was uneventful. All the riders and machines preformed excellently, navigating a small handful of technically challenging curves but mostly state highways and flowing back roads.

Gas.

The justification for this ride was to participate in the Slimey Crud Run outside of Madison, Wisconsin. The ride's motto is ride fast, ride short. (or something like that) We did neither but had fun just the same. It's a loosely organized ride with a start and an end but no route. This year was well attended with bikes from all walks of life. The real treat for me is seeing all the old bikes and the characters that keep them going. There's a real chance that you could get behind an old Norton or Guzzi on a twisty back road.

Crud Run gem #1 at Pine Bluff

The Ride North Crew at Leland, a happy bunch.

Norton Atlas 650
(Has there ever been a better name for a motorcycle?)

CB 750 or 900F 


Something about this bike says, "ride me"

What happened to Connie?!? She's changed.

Leland, WI 
There's a fun little road hiding behind that barn.


Ferry crossing on the Wisconsin river.
You're never too old for your dad to buy you ice cream at the Merrimac ferry crossing.

If this goes south, we have a john boat and some duck decoys.

More ferry.

A rest stop on 60 along the Craw Fish River. 
This is an artesian well and runs 24/7.

We stopped at On The Rocks in Neosho, WI for dinner and to congratulate ourselves on a job well done. The "dining room" hangs out over the Neosho Mill Pond and the Ruben came with a slab of corned beef. It's good to know a local.

6h25m of saddle time 248 miles
Day 3

I spent a little less time with my folks than I'd like but there was a child who would be waiting for me to pick him up from daycare. If I had all day to get there I would have made my way back to The River, but this trip would be made at speed and in a straight line. (41 - 33- 94)

Stopped in at Moe's Dinner for lunch and a rest.

I can ride all day and feel great but four hours on the interstate is exhausting. It's deceptively difficult, things can get monotonous while you're cruising at 75 miles an hour. So, you need to come up with games to keep you on the ball. Now that the limit is 70, you'll have some people driving 85 and others doing 65. (plus wind and trucks and the possibility of deer) It's good to take breaks.

5h00m 320 miles

I made it home safely and with plenty of time for pickup. A full fifteen minutes before I had to be anywhere. 

Triumphant.

- Ride North