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#631206 - 08/29/10 08:26 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]
Twisties Offline
Boots
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Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 5957
Loc: Brookings, OR
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#631257 - 08/29/10 11:00 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: Twisties]
ArmyGuy Offline
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Registered: 07/03/07
Posts: 664
Loc: Fort Huachuca, AZ
Nice pictures and story. Now show me several weeks of -20 degree weather to remind me why I shouldn't miss home that much.
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#631353 - 08/30/10 12:03 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]
ESokoloff Offline
MR. Sweet Pea
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Registered: 06/10/03
Posts: 5772
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Wow, your MILKing this for all it's worth.......
More please lurk
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#631359 - 08/30/10 12:43 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: ESokoloff]
Joe Frickin' Friday Offline

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Registered: 07/28/00
Posts: 17552
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI (USA)
Originally Posted By: ESokoloff
Wow, your MILKing this for all it's worth.......
More please lurk


Hope it's not too cheesy. rofl

Originally Posted By: eddd
I was wondering what you were thinking with the I90/94 route.


It's funny, I've always enjoyed afternoon rides on backroads, but it took me a few years of bike ownership before I grasped the idea of deliberately avoiding the highway when traveling from point A to point B. I think it was around 2001 when I decided to skip I-94 from Minneapolis to Madison, and instead took US61 down the Mississippi to La Crosse, and then found some of those fantastic county roads from there to Madison. US61 was meh, but the county roads were such fun that I dug out a map and picked an all-backroads route from MSN to MSP; I've run that route a few times now, and it's pretty much the same as what I rode on this trip (apart from the 60-mile jog south to Rochester). It takes all day instead of just a few hours, but man, what a treat.

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#631416 - 08/30/10 03:11 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]
Rocer Offline
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Registered: 10/22/08
Posts: 1182
Loc: Haliburton ON
Mitch - part II was udderly enjoyable. thumbsup

Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions. Yes, the tours of the USS Silversides includes a self tour of the main deck. It's now on our "to do" list. Having grown up on the shores of the St. Lawrence River the Silversides may have been one of the subs I saw being towed up river back in the 50's & 60's.

Our riding style is much like yours. A cage trip of abt. 2 hrs. for us turns into a full day (if not overnighter) of meandering to the same destination on the motos. I identify with you being torn to stop to take pictures tho.

One more question if I might. Would you be kind enough to identify the camera you are using.

thanks
Paul
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#631454 - 08/30/10 04:57 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: Rocer]
Joe Frickin' Friday Offline

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Registered: 07/28/00
Posts: 17552
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI (USA)
Originally Posted By: Rocer
One more question if I might. Would you be kind enough to identify the camera you are using.


Camera is a Sony DSC-P92. Case style is similar in shape/size to this DSC-P9:



except our DSC-P92 has 5 megapixels instead of 4.

You may have noticed that infuriating dark blurry spot in the bottom-left corner of landscape shots. That started last year at the Un; I thought I had gotten rid of it, but at this point I suspect it's something that's gotten inside the camera, as the outermost lens appears to be clean. I will have to inspect more closely, maybe take it apart...

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#631482 - 08/30/10 06:02 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]
rogera Offline
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Registered: 11/23/06
Posts: 891
Loc: Haslet, TX
Great tale so far Mich, maybe you could entertain us at
the BRR Saturday night dinner with some juggling. wink
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#631493 - 08/30/10 06:26 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: rogera]
Albert Offline
Member

Registered: 07/27/00
Posts: 4508
Loc: Southwestern, PA, USA
Mitch your ride tales are always unique and entertaining. Thanks.
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"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
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#631508 - 08/30/10 07:10 PM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: FlyingFinn]
Joe Frickin' Friday Offline

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Registered: 07/28/00
Posts: 17552
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI (USA)
Originally Posted By: FlyingFinn
Mitch, a great ride story.
The pictures and vivid description of "Lake Express" almost brings tears into my eyes, I love vessels like that. There's nothing like a big diesel at "all-ahead flank".
The sound, the sensation of speed, the smell of diesel...

Thanks for posting.


Glad you enjoyed it. There's a good video here (not mine) of the departure from Muskegon, showing the transition from "no-wake" to "cruise." There's a surprising amount of soot until the turbos catch up with the fueling <cough-cough>. In fact, there wasn't nearly as much soot on my trip as you see in the video; my guess is that nowadays they're adding power more slowly so the turbos are better able to keep up wih the transient.

To really get a feel for the speed, watch a few seconds at the beginning and then click forward to watch a few seconds at the end.

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#631612 - 08/31/10 02:43 AM Re: Dances With Cows [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]
Joe Frickin' Friday Offline

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Registered: 07/28/00
Posts: 17552
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI (USA)
Day 3: Saturday, August 21
Route: Rochester, MN to Madison, WI
Distance: 378 miles





Up bright and early, I pack the bike up for departure. When I come back inside, Susan has breakfast almost ready. She confesses that itís an experiment; I chide her about the wisdom of experimenting on guests, but the result Ė tortillas filled with fresh fruit and some sort of honey sauce, served with sausage on the side Ė is fantastic.

After breakfast, Wayne shows me an invention heís been working on. He has a patent pending on it; I wonít disclose much about it, except to say that itís a simple, ingenious solution to a serious fire safety problem, and when it becomes widely implemented, it will undoubtedly save lives.

A little after 9:00, itís time to hit the road. I say my goodbyes and hit the highway under cool, sunny skies. 20 miles later, I roll under a thick layer of clouds. The ceiling gets lower and lower, until the fog almost reaches down to the road:




Thankfully, there is still no rain. The forecast is good, so in spite of the current conditions, I still hope to complete the trip without getting wet.

Just before reaching Ellsworth, I turn in behind a group of maybe 10 riders, a mix of Goldwings and touring Harleys. In town, they stop at the same gas station I was at yesterday. I need gas too, but I donít need delays, so I turn in to the station across the street from them, knowing that theyíre probably grumbling to each other about the antisocial bastard across the street on the Beemer.

dopeslap

After fueling up and switching to the clear visor on my helmet, I head north out of town. This seems odd, since Madison is well south of here, but then it is not my intention to reach Madison before about 5:00. grin

Ten miles down the road I putter through El Paso, a strange name for a town in a state with Germanic and Scandinavian roots. grin People and vendors are congregating, some folks are unloading horses on a field and fitting them with saddles, and some folks are starting to grill food; for a town of just a few hundred, they sure know how to party.

A further ten miles down the road I find myself in Elmwood. At the edge of town is Sailerís Meats, a meat cutter/vendor thatís been around for nearly a hundred years. As I roll by I spot an interesting display in the parking lot, and a few blocks later I decide to turn around and come back for a photo:




The display makes me laugh. The whole thing is comical, but thereís actually some quality workmanship in those UFOís. I donít understand the significance of the display until after Iím home, when an internet search reveals that Elmwood is the UFO sighting capitol of Wisconsin. Itís such a big part of the townís identity that they actually have an annual ďUFO DaysĒ festival.

Thankfully the fog seems to be lifting a bit, and after leaving Elmwood, the full-on twisty rollercoaster ride continues:




Herd animals:




Clearly very wary of Mr. Yellowjacket, but they also donít seem terribly interested in re-moo-ving themselves to a safer distance.

rofl

100 miles later (with a short break again in Gilmanton) I stop for lunch at Beedleís Bar & Restaurant in Galesville. The cheeseburger isÖOK. Not the best in the universe, but the venue (and even the not-awesome cheeseburger) is a welcome change from the usual fast food chain. Somebodyís heart and soul is invested in this family-owned business, and theyíve worked hard to establish a personable relationship with the locals.


Afternoon delight:

(click on image to open full-size panoramic in a new browser window)



75 miles later I stop in Viola for gas. Soon after, I come to a stop in the middle of a valley that affords a clear view for a half a mile in either direction:




I pause here for a few minutes, taking in the scenery and solitude. A car passes by, but itís the only one in several minutesí time. Itís pretty nice out here.


Itís August, and so the corn is just about at its full height. When miles-wide fields of it butt up tightly against roads, they can block your view to either side, lending the impression of riding down a narrow chute:




Itís been a long day, but all too soon, itís over: I roll through Crotch Pains (sorry, Cross Plains rofl ) and click off the last few miles of US14 to my west-side hotel. After checking in and resting/cooling off for a bit, I head for downtown Madison to take in the sights.

Just a few blocks from the engineering campus, I pass by a group of buildings dedicated to agricultural science. For well over a hundred years, UW-Madison has been a venerable name in the field of dairy research, and they do in fact keep a herd of dairy cows here on campus; in most cities it would be an exceptionally odd thing to smell cows in the heart of downtown, but around here, it just smells like home.

On the engineering campus, I find my former place of employment:




I spent six years working in this building. Our department occupied one side of the basement, and the nuclear engineering department performed mysterious fusion experiments on the other side of the basement, apparently doing something with scary-strong magnetic fields. A few times a week youíd hear a muffled ďwhumpĒ, and all of the screens on our old tube-style monitors would undergo a most peculiar distortion. eek

Immediately after snapping the above photo, a biker 30 yards away waves and begins walking toward me. He tells me about a great photo op at the top of a nearby parking ramp, which is open/free on Saturdays. We chat for a bit; heís a Ph.D. student in the mechanical engineering department, studying friction welding. His qualifier is coming up, so heís been studying his ass off. I wish him luck as I head off to check out the top of the parking ramp.

The ramp itself is a hoot. Itís Saturday afternoon, so itís virtually empty, allowing a more spirited ascent than would be possible if it were packed with cars. The ramp wasnít here when I was a student; itís been built within the past ten years, concurrent with some modifications to Camp Randall Stadium right behind it. The result is indeed a fine spot to take a photo:




If only Iíd knelt instead of parking my big stupid head in front of the sign! dopeslap

I scoot down to the bottom of the ramp again, where the Ph.D. student is still readying his bike for departure; I give him a thumbs-up and a thanks on the way out.

I wander through town, gradually making my way toward the Capitol building. Itís a grand structure, only a few feet shorter than the nationís Capitol building:



In addition to being the seat of state government, itís also a cultural focal point for the city. During the summer the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra holds weekly Concerts On The Square, during which the Capitol lawn becomes crowded with picnic blankets as listeners enjoy wine, cheese, and live classical music. On Saturdays, the street around the Capitol is closed off for a truly massive farmerís market, providing a mind-boggling variety of locally produced foods.

After looping around the Capitol, I head west again to relax on Observatory Hill. The view out over Lake Mendota is stunning:




This is a great spot to watch the sun go down, but itís still far too early. A quick check of the celestial data in the GPS tells me exactly when the sun will set here. I make a note of it and then head back toward State Street for dinner.

In most well-developed cities, space is precious, especially parking space. Madison has an extra problem, as itís centered on a narrow isthmus between two lakes, like this:




Since the city canít expand past either lakeshore, space Ė especially parking space Ė is all the more precious. Even tiny slivers of space get used, if only to make room for a motorcycle so as to free up some other space that a car can use:




Now that Iíve parked the bike, thereís only one thing I want:




Did you really think I was going to get anything else? rofl

After another round of people-watching on State Street, itís time to head back to Observatory Hill for the sunset. I arrive just in time to settle in on a prime spot on the grassy slope, and after a brief wait, the sun touches the horizon.

Going:


Going:


Gone:



Iím still not ready to retreat to my hotel room. As the twilight fades, I head back to Capitol square for one last photo opportunity. And thatís when I realize itís hard to find a truly unobstructed shot of the Capitol building for a night photo. My little point-and-shoot camera isnít sensitive enough for a quick hand-held shot; it needs a steady tripod platform for a timed exposure, so I canít exactly stand in the middle of the street like I did earlier. After checking out a few locations, I finally park the bike and strap my tiny Ultrapod to the handlebar of the bike. If I sit still with the engine off and the bike leaning on its side stand, the inertia of the entire chassis should provide a stable platform for an exposure lasting a couple of seconds.

And indeed, although I still canít get a clear view of the entire building, the photo still comes out sort of OK:




Finally, Iím done; itís time to degrease and get some rest, so I head back to the hotel to turn in for the night.

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