Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hidden place names

Place names provide context. Some place names are clearly marked like roads and towns. Others are out there if you know to look: lakes, river crossings, historical markers. Some are tucked away neatly on the pages of your gazetteer: the town’s of Avalanche and Urne, WI. (Erine, but sadly, no Burt);Timms hill (who’s Tim?); Irish Valley.  While others owe their genesis to the creativity of the namer and only exist in residents’ memories: hog’s back ridge, the basschanted forest (a favorite fishing spot of Mrs. North), Words, WI.

“I can’t relax until I get a sense of my surroundings. I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” - the Roosta Which, as far as I can tell, includes a ten mile radius and/or any nearby towns. Context is important.

Hitting the trails with the Roosta and Jr. North

One of the go-to rides out of Saint Paul is highway 10 and 35 south of Prescott, Wisconsin. It can take anywhere from three hours to three days depending on where your meanderings take you. I chose the three hour version, making my way up and over the little river valleys from Prescott to Bay City.

Here are some of the hidden place names along the way:

Heading south out of Prescott on highway 35, one of the first valleys traversed is that of the Big River. It’s a sandy little trout stream that starts just north of highway 10 and ends at The River.

The Trimbelle River Valley contains a class-A trout fishery. Much work has been invested in its water quality and fish habitat. Among bikers, it’s known for the Great Motorcycle Road that flanks the fishery, county road O. The Trimbelle River shares its headwaters with the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls and meets The River at Diamond Bluff.

Isabel Creek, another tiny little cold water trout stream, is entirely contained within its own river valley, a world onto its own. I ventured into its hardwood forests and ravines to find a few small farms and a family cooling off in a pool just downstream from a dirt road crossing. They seemed surprised to see me; we exchanged smiles. I like to imagine previous generations, jumping in this small creek with their children. Isabel finds her terminus in the Village of Bay City.

The mighty Rush River, a trout stream to rival the famous Kinnickinnic River. A rural cousin of the Kinni, you’ll recognize its features but its clothes appear well lived in. Like the Trimbelle, a fine motorcycle road ascends its valley.

Lost Creek, a cold little Trout Stream and tributary to the Rush. While fishing, I was once caught out after dark several miles from the next road crossing and the car. Perhaps the namer knew of both its allure and length. It’s banks are also home to a seasonal winery and wood-fired pizza shop if you're into that sort of thing.

I can think of no better way to develop a sense of place than on just travel through it for no good reason at all.

- Ride North

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Good night Minneapolis

Just a quick evening ride, after the heat and thunder storms took a hike.

Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

 - Ride North

Friday, July 14, 2017

Motorrad Nacht in der Brauerei

Good times at Bauhaus Brew Labs.


The next Bauhaus Vintage Bike Nights are August 10th and September 14th.

7:00 - 9:00 PM
After a week of 80s and 90s. 
Back into the 90s tomorrow
Smelled good, like fall at times and 2-stroke.

- Ride North

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Nope, not a metaphor this time, just good olde fashioned metamorphosis.

We named this one Blake because she was set free at Blake Lake, WI. It was the first of three eggs to make it to butterfly stage. We're 2 for 4 so far but I have high hopes for #3 and Mrs. North found 14 more eggs this weekend!

Hope everyone is enjoying summer.

-Ride North

Monday, July 10, 2017

A new toy that goes click

The dust lay thick on the DSLR, a chunky lump of precision equipment, loved but untended. There's just no way to wedge it into a jacket pocket, and the phone camera just isn't cutting it. Thankfully the world of point-and-shoot photography has evolved since the last time I set foot in a camera store.

I used my go-to opening line, "I need a cheap <whatever> that does what I want." To which I received the equally standard, "we have that but cheap is relative." Ultimately I settled on the camera with the least features and the biggest sensor that still fits in my pocket. A Sony RX100. It has some dials and settings, no touch screen, a really nice lens, wide F1.8 aperture, and a big honking 1 inch sensor.

Caution: you may notice an improvement in the image quality if not content and composition. Here are the obligatory test shots. So far I'm happy but it's more involved that "set it to the green A and start clicking." Time to get back in the image making game!

Jr. North got in on the excitement too

- Ride North