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#800102 - 09/09/12 03:04 AM Dances With Cows Too  
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Joe Frickin' Friday Offline
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Here’s Day 1 of my ride tale for a recent trip I took to Wisconsin.
For noobs, the title is a reference to a similar trip I took two years ago.

========================================================
========================================================
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========================================================

Day 1: Thursday, August 9
Route: Ann Arbor, MI to Madison, WI
Distance: 268 miles in the saddle plus 78 miles by ferry




The last time I visited Wisconsin on my RT, things went so well that it would have been silly to expect the same level of perfection. And indeed, things on this trip got off to a questionable start. After weeks and weeks with no rain, southern Michigan was experiencing a troublesome drought – and then, on the day I was supposed to depart, it was raining hard enough that instead of riding into work that morning for a lunchtime departure, I opted to drive in, come home from work at noon and then ride out. On the plus side, that gave me a chance to have one last lunch with my wife before leaving town for a few days, so maybe it wasn’t all bad. (Hey, Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, right? grin)

Once I got on the road after lunch, it didn’t rain terribly hard, but it was enough to require rain gear – an annoying proposition when it’s warm out, especially since my Airglide jacket’s waterproof liner was also insulated. Still, a wet ride is better than an afternoon at work, so I didn’t grumble too much as I made my way toward Muskegon.

A few uneventful hours later, I arrived at the Lake Express car ferry terminal where I was greeted by three other riders who also happened to be taking the ferry that afternoon. I had timed things pretty tightly, and the ferry appeared in the harbor only about half an hour after I had arrived:

(If you’re unfamiliar with the LE ferry, it’s the sexy-lookin’ ship on the right)






Once I had my bike tied down on the vehicle deck, I went up topside to watch the crew finish departure preparations:




I was a bit puzzled when the deck crew finished their rope work and stood with their hands over their ears. I should have taken the hint: a few seconds later the ship’s horn sounded, alerting everyone within a fifteen-mile radius that we were about to back away from the pier.

dopeslap

Making our way down the Muskegon river to Lake Michigan:








The Muskegon shoreline has several lighthouses, and of course the ferry passes by all of them before reaching open water. First, the Muskegon Pier Light, which has been around in its present shape since 1903:




The last light before reaching open water is the Muskegon Breakwater Light, which has been around even longer, since 1871:




If you’re a lighthouse fanatic, don’t worry: ownership of both of these sites were recently transferred to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy, so you can expect them to be maintained for a long time to come.

Once we reached open water, the ferry promptly ramped up to full speed. Despite a very light drizzle falling from the sky, the sun deck had been crowded during the low-speed run across Muskegon lake. But once we reached Lake Michigan and hit our 32-knot cruise speed, the drizzle and cold gale coming across the deck proved too much for the rest of the passengers, most of whom were dressed for more mild conditions:




Me? Hey, I was head-to-toe in rain gear, and I still had my earplugs, so I was all set to enjoy pretty much anything Mother Nature cared to throw at us:




The teeny-bopper a few seats down from me wasn’t up here for the weather or the scenery. I’m pretty sure she was looking for privacy from her family as she busily exchanged text messages with the boyfriend she left back in port. grin

This spring was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. One of the most famous facts about the Titanic was that it only had enough lifeboat capacity for about half of the people on board. A stroll around the Lake Express reveals how far maritime safety has come in 100 years. For starters, if you’re a fan of Deadliest Catch, then you probably know what this is:



EPIRB stands for Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon. If the ship sinks, this device automatically separates from the hull and floats to the surface. An on-board GPS receiver determines its position, and then begins broadcasting that information to orbiting satellites. If the ship goes down, stay close to this thing: the US Coast Guard will be on the scene shortly.

The edge of the deck is also festooned with several of these large drums:




Each one contains a self-inflating life raft – and yes, there’s more than enough capacity for everyone on the ship. Moreover, they will not go down with the ship: that small yellow cannister on the hold-down strap is a pressure sensitive release mechanism. If it gets more than six feet below the surface of the lake, it will release the strap, allowing the drum to float free to the surface.

Off to one side, the ship also has a davit crane and a Zodiac boat, suitable for water rescues:



Life jackets are hidden in plain sight:




As well-equipped as this vessel is, her crew do their part, too. In early summer 2005 The Lake Express reported a signal flare that led to a Coast Guard rescue of another boat. Later that summer they directly rescued a hypothermic man from his capsized boat 20 miles out from Milwaukee (and a year later he got married on the Lake Express). Nice to know you’re in good hands when you’re on this ship. smile

After a half-hour of high-speed running, the lonely teeny-bopper headed below deck (no more cell phone service this far out grin). My only remaining topside companion was a middle-aged woman who was dressed for the weather, and seemed to be enjoying it as much as I was:




After enjoying the solitude on deck for a while, I retreated to the stern. This was still an outdoor area, but the relative shelter from the winds made for a more suitable environment in which to read:




By the time I finish this book, I expect to have all of you agreeing enthusiastically with whatever position I choose to espouse. rofl

Before long we arrived at the pier in Milwaukee, and I made my way the final 80 miles to Madison for a late dinner. If you’ve read my first Wisconsin ride tale, then you know exactly where I went for dinner:




And yes, that was almost enough ketchup. rofl

A short ride to my hotel on the west side of town finished my day. I had survived the least pleasant day of the trip – it wasn’t all that bad – and sheer riding bliss was just hours away.

#800127 - 09/09/12 12:24 PM Re: Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Kathy R Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday


I just LOVE that photo!

I was intrigued by that book cover and found this interactive page

lurk





#800130 - 09/09/12 12:31 PM Re: Dances With Cows Too [Re: Kathy R]  
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Paul Mihalka Offline
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Great start to a new ride tale. Dancing with cows: Just don't let them step on your toes... wave


Age is a issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter... (Mark Twain)
Many years and 1 million (s)miles.

'05 R1200GS lotsa miles (sold)
'09 Yamaha Majesty - yes, a scooter
#800201 - 09/10/12 02:47 AM Re: Dances With Cows Too [Re: Kathy R]  
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Originally Posted By: Kathy R
I just LOVE that photo!


I have to confess: that's just a scan of a post card. dopeslap (but hey, at least it's a post card I bought in Madison... grin)

#800202 - 09/10/12 02:49 AM Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Kathy R]  
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Day 2: Friday, August 10
Route: Madison, WI to Hudson, WI
Distance: 392 miles




Although the first day had been rainy, the forecast for the remaining three days could not have been better: sunny, with highs in the mid-70’s. This was remarkably good timing, considering the blistering heat that had assailed the upper midwest for the previous month or so. I got up early to take advantage of it.

7:30 AM, my eisenpferd stood ready for departure:




My first stop of the day, greeting some locals:




Apparently cattle rustling is (mostly) a thing of the past, and so farmers resort to ear tags instead of branding; I rarely saw a cow on this trip that wasn’t sporting brightly colored plastic ear tags.


They say the cheapest thing on a BMW is the rider:




My tires were a bit low that morning. I would have happily paid for air, but in Wisconsin they’re just giving it away, so yay for me. grin

Corn country:








Yeah, it’s the dairy state, but they’ve got horses too:




Not my road, but I wish it was:




Don’t bother trying to corner a cow in this barn:




“My realtor sold me a real piece-of-crap house:”




When I first moved to Wisconsin as a little kid, I laughed and laughed at all the references to “Kickapoo.” It’s the name of a native-American tribe, but it has been co-opted by numerous businesses and landmarks in the state. No disrespect intended to the Kickapoo people, but if English is your first language, Kickapoo is funny.

Some damn big grain elevators (yes, that’ s a train going by in front of it):




For this shot, I removed my artificial leg and leaned on the bike for support:




(If you’ve never met me, no, I do NOT have an artificial left leg; it’s just resting on the footpeg, hidden by the sidecase. grin)

I’ve spoken before of the Mindoro Cut. It’s one of the twistier sections of my route, named for its summit where the pass through the ridge was notched out by hand a hundred years ago. Other riders know about this section of road, too:




And before anyone gets any ideas, yes, the town of Mindoro already has a hair salon called “The Mindoro Cut.” rofl

In stark contrast to southern Michigan, central Wisconsin seemed to be getting quite enough rain this season. The corn there was tall and healthy:




Cows are funny, funny animals. Coming down a straight stretch of road, I spotted a field with a dozen cows lying down in the afternoon sun. I rolled to a stop on the far side of the road, intending to taking a snapshot of them. The cows decided they weren’t going to take this lying down, so they all jumped to their feet and stared at me:




I don’t know what their deal was. Nervous? Curious? Or maybe they’re just used to being fed by a guy in a bright yellow jacket. Who knows…

These cows were, um, less interested in me:




The perfect weather and idyllic roads continued:







In Elmwood, I stopped at Sailer’s Meats to say hello to the UFO’s:





This cute little grill was also out on display:




After reaching Hudson a few miles later, I checked into my hotel, got tidied up a bit, and headed a few miles north to the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter for dinner. Shortly before leaving for my trip, I posted a public dinner invitation for this evening; Brian Hagen (mnTwin on the board) accepted, made a reservation, and told me he and his family would meet me here. I arrived early and had an awkward time explaining myself to the restaurant’s host. I told him I was here to meet up with a guy I met over the internet – but I didn’t know his last name (for the reservation), didn’t know what he looked like, and I didn’t know how many people were going to be in our group. I wasn’t even sure whether he was here yet or not. I took a walk through the restaurant, hoping that if Brian was there, he might recognize me in my motorcycle gear. No joy, so I sent Brian a text message, and was rather relieved to find that he was still enroute. They arrived soon enough, and we sat down to enjoy some great German food together:




That’s Brian on the left with me, and his wife and kids on the right. Some of you met Brian and his son at the UnRally in Colorado this past June. If you want to know anything about Jimmy Buffet (especially where his next concert will be), ask Brian or his wife; they’re Buffet’s biggest fans. grin

Oh yeah, Mama’s got a squeeze box:



This lady was roaming the restaurant with her accordion all evening, and she played it like she had been playing her whole life.

On the way back to my hotel I stopped in Lowell Park in downtown Stillwater to behold the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which spans the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin:

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



This bridge has been open for 81 years now, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. For more info on the bridge, here’s a shot of an informative plaque I found in the park. Through-truss bridges like this one are becoming increasingly rare as they reach the end of their useful life and are replaced by newer designs that are more in keeping with modern engineering and aesthetic sensibilities. I saw something similar on my previous trip to Wisconsin, when I found that a truss bridge near Durand had been replaced by a low, stout concrete-and-steel bridge. (The fact that I scoured the internet and could not find any pics of Durand’s new bridge speaks volumes about its aesthetic appeal. grin)

After taking in the scene for good long while, I trundled the last few miles back to the hotel and called it a night.

#800213 - 09/10/12 04:38 AM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Mitch, still kicking myself because I haven't done much riding in God's country this season. I did go to Torrey and the UN, but still...

Kudos to the squeeze box player--she played The Entertainer without breaking a sweat. Good music, good food, and good times!

#800240 - 09/10/12 01:34 PM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Albert Offline
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I always love your ride reports Mitch. Keep it going! thumbsup


Al (that's not my picture!)
06 RT

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
Ernest Hemingway
#800286 - 09/10/12 05:20 PM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Albert]  
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Parrotheads in dairyland, who knew?

Al Capp's comic strip Lil Abner had Kickapoo characters and touted Kickapoo joy juice.

but I think the recipe was different even though this waas produced by Capp enterprises.
Keep the pics coming...


If my mind wanders, should I follow it?
Tim
Conch Town Krewe
2003 K 1200 GT
1996 R 100 RSL
1980 R 100 RT
1972 R 75
1968 R 50
All now gone...

#800309 - 09/10/12 07:51 PM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: mnTwin]  
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Thanks for "Cows Too" Mitch and also for another look at the Milwaukee Clipper as you sailed past her. She's under renovation with tours available for the parts that are finished but there's also an online video tour.
The M.C. made round trips on the same route in either 6 or 7 hours depending on whether they fired up it's 4th boiler. Compared to the Lake Express running at 32 knots the M.C. ran at 18 knots consuming something like 5,500 U.S. gal of fuel. Ticket prices in 1950 were $3.33 / passenger + $8.00 / auto. This all from Wikipedia that you linked the first "Cows" ride report. How do these numbers compare with your experience?

It's always great to have a little boating thrown in with a ride report. Thanks again.

Last edited by Rocer; 09/10/12 07:53 PM.

Paul
“Stay where you’re to till we comes where you’re at “

00 R1100RT
#800321 - 09/10/12 09:04 PM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Rocer]  
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Originally Posted By: Rocer
Compared to the Lake Express running at 32 knots the M.C. ran at 18 knots consuming something like 5,500 U.S. gal of fuel. Ticket prices in 1950 were $3.33 / passenger + $8.00 / auto. This all from Wikipedia that you linked the first "Cows" ride report. How do these numbers compare with your experience?


Round trip for me was $135; round trip for the motorcycle was $80. So grand total, $215, or $108 one way (compared to your $11.33 one way for the Milwaukee Clipper).

Re: fuel consumption, I couldn't find any specific figures, but I did an estimate based on typical diesel engine fuel consumption rates and the assumption that the Lake Express uses 10,000 of its available 12,000 horsepower: I came up with 1100 gallons of diesel used for a single crossing. That's a lot less than the Clipper, but then it also carries far fewer cars and passengers.

#800349 - 09/11/12 01:59 AM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Nice report, Mitch. Love the pix. Keep it coming!


beemerman2k
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<11 year haitus from motorcycling cry >
'09 K1300GT U of Michigan Blue, baby! thumbsup
Defeat is my teacher, not my master - Bruce Lee
#800351 - 09/11/12 02:40 AM Day 3 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Day 3: Saturday, August 11
Route: Hudson, WI to Madison, WI
Distance: 347 miles




I had a long ride ahead of me to get back to Madison on Saturday, and I was planning to spend some time with someone when I got there. The time zone change helped me crawl out of bed at 5:45 AM local time; an hour later, I hit the road. Opting to free up even more time in Madison, I trimmed my planned route for the day by skipping backroads and staying on I-94 and WI-28 for the first 38 miles to Elmwood. For 26 miles on I-94 I stared directly at a newly-risen sun hanging low in a clear blue sky – but once I turned south on WI-28, things became magical: the sun was at my side, traffic was nil, and the whole world was shrouded in silvery dew. I regret not stopping to take more pics early in the morning, but I did capture a few.

Amber waves of grain (OK, corn):






At a city park in Gilmanton:




Up over the ridge into the next valley:




Descending toward Arcadia:




In Arcadia, I was surprised to find this store:




The town is 3 percent Latino, unusually high for a small rural Wisconsin town; that probably accounts for the success of this unusual store. In turn, Arcadia is the headquarters of Ashley Furniture and the site of a major Gold’n Plump chicken processing plant, which together probably account for a large number of those Latino residents.

Some new friends just south of Arcadia:






Squiggling my way down toward Dodge:



Some time after refueling in Salem, I started getting hungry for lunch. I wanted to have something local this time – no chain restaurant – but it seemed like all I could find was bars, and that wasn’t very appealing. I passed through several towns without seeing anything attractive. Finally in Viroqua, I spotted some young girls on a streetcorner holding brightly colored signs: a brat sale was in progress at Nelson’s Agri-Center to raise funds for the town’s high school athletic program.

Perfect. thumbsup

I parked in front of their stand and enjoyed a couple of brats and some chips while I watched the goings-on in town:



Nelson’s is basically a True-Value hardware store, but not like any other. If you don’t believe me, head to your local True-Value hardware store and ask if they can rent you a cow lift or an electric de-horner. grin Viroqua isn’t the smallest town in Wisconsin, but it’s plenty rural. While I ate my lunch, every few minutes a tractor rumbled by on the street; on the far side of the parking lot, an Amish couple sat in their horse-drawn wagon. It was the perfect spot, and the perfect food, for a lunch on this trip.

A high-riding bull in LaFarge:




Fans of Bucky Badger:



If it’s hard to make out in that picture, here’s the close-up:




Amazing Bacon:




I finally arrived in Madison around 3 in the afternoon, and just for grins I stopped by my childhood home. My parents had this house built in 1977, and the trees were just newly planted saplings back then. What a difference 35 years makes. Here’s the house back then:




And now:




Closer to downtown, I was glad to see that Mickies Dairy Bar was still thriving:




I had my share of griddle cakes and malts here when I was a grad student at UW in the ‘90’s.

After about an hour of sightseeing I finally managed to contact the person I came to see: my Ph.D. advisor, whom I’m embarrassed to say I lost touch with several years ago. Blessed with good weather and reasonable winds, he and his wife and I went for a nice early evening sail on Lake Mendota and spent a few hours catching up with each other.

Me and Jay (my advisor):




It was a great way to cap off a fantastic day of riding.

#800355 - 09/11/12 03:00 AM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Gregori Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
<...>snip<...> Through-truss bridges like this one are becoming increasingly rare[/url] as they reach the end of their useful life and are replaced by newer designs that are more in keeping with modern engineering and aesthetic sensibilities. I saw something similar on my previous trip to Wisconsin, when I found that a truss bridge near Durand had been replaced by a low, stout concrete-and-steel bridge. (The fact that I scoured the internet and could not find any pics of Durand’s new bridge speaks volumes about its aesthetic appeal. grin)


That's 'cause you didn't look hard enough. (Took me 2 mins to find it on Google street view. Not exactly a tourist photo, but it is A photo...) laugh


Last edited by Gregori; 09/11/12 03:06 AM.

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#800360 - 09/11/12 03:19 AM Re: Day 3 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Mitch, I wish you'd travel more often. Your ride tales are terrific.





#800369 - 09/11/12 08:03 AM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Bravo on the ride report. 21 days without a day off. I needed that. I feel like I went on vacation! If Wisconsin wasn't so far from CA I'd leave in the morning!


'08 F800ST
'02 R1150RT - Gone
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#800371 - 09/11/12 09:58 AM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Bmr Deacon]  
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Bravo Mitch.


If my mind wanders, should I follow it?
Tim
Conch Town Krewe
2003 K 1200 GT
1996 R 100 RSL
1980 R 100 RT
1972 R 75
1968 R 50
All now gone...

#800377 - 09/11/12 11:17 AM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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You picked a very scenic route. I've been over those roads many times and spent hundreds of hours on a tractor on a farm near the Mindoro cut. Everytime I go to visit family in Wisconsin I make it a point to ride the back roads.


12 Kawasaki EX650
13 Yamaha XT250
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96 R1100RT - forced retirement at 175,000

#800381 - 09/11/12 12:02 PM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Gregori]  
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Joe Frickin' Friday Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gregori
That's 'cause you didn't look hard enough. (Took me 2 mins to find it on Google street view. Not exactly a tourist photo, but it is A photo...) laugh


dopeslap Damn, I didn't even think of Streetview. Thanks for tracking that down!

#800389 - 09/11/12 01:10 PM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Punctured my vision of WI in a very nice way. Never thought it would have so many squiggley roads. Enjoyed being taken along. Bill

Last edited by Highway41; 09/11/12 01:11 PM.
#800404 - 09/11/12 04:14 PM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Highway41]  
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Originally Posted By: Highway41
Punctured my vision of WI in a very nice way. Never thought it would have so many squiggley roads. Enjoyed being taken along. Bill


The are lots of squiggly roads, but they aren't the best for spirited riding. The problem is sight lines. You not only have the drives from the houses, but barns, outbuildings, and entryways into the fields. Add in tractors pulling hay wagons, balers, haybines, chopper boxes...you get the idea. Don't forget to add in Amish buggies in certain areas of the state. If you're really unlucky you might also get to follow a leaky manure spreader. tongue


12 Kawasaki EX650
13 Yamaha XT250
16 KTM RC 390
96 R1100RT - forced retirement at 175,000

#800543 - 09/12/12 02:33 AM Re: Day 2 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: eddd]  
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Originally Posted By: eddd
The are lots of squiggly roads, but they aren't the best for spirited riding. The problem is sight lines. You not only have the drives from the houses, but barns, outbuildings, and entryways into the fields. Add in tractors pulling hay wagons, balers, haybines, chopper boxes...you get the idea. Don't forget to add in Amish buggies in certain areas of the state. If you're really unlucky you might also get to follow a leaky manure spreader. tongue


There's plenty of everything, which is maybe what makes it so enjoyable (to me at least). There are indeed spots where you need to proceed carefully: in some places the farmhouse, barn, machine shed and other buildings are within a few feet of the road, and the abundance of muddy tire tracks attests to the frequent crossing traffic. And, as you mentioned, there are plenty of fields where the corn grows close to the road and there's potential for farm equipment to pop out onto the roadway. But there are plenty of other places (e.g. the winding roads that traverse the ridges between valleys) where those hazards don't exist, and hen you're just down to the usual hazards: oncoming traffic, gravel in the corners, and deer. grin

#800545 - 09/12/12 02:37 AM Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Day 4: Sunday, August 12
Route: Madison, WI to Ann Arbor, MI
Distance: 268 miles in the saddle plus 78 miles by ferry




After a leisurely breakfast, I headed out to wander around town and see a few sights. The ferry wasn’t scheduled to leave Milwaukee until 12:30, so I had some time to kill.

First stop? The engineering campus, for a shot in front of Máquina, a sculpture and fountain that had been erected while I was in grad school here:




Crap, the flash went off on that one. Lemme try again. Let’s see, kill the flash, set the timer, run to pose with the bike…shoot, that guy on the bicycle is gonna get here just when the camera goes off…




GAH! dopeslap

OK, one more try. Set the timer, run to pose with the bike…uh-oh, here comes a car…




Screw it, good enough. grin

A short distance away, the new Union South building opened its doors about a year ago:




I saw this building in progress during my previous trip here. Some folks were happy to see the demise of its predecessor, but just like with those disappearing old truss bridges, I have a bit of a sense of nostalgia. The old Union South building was a familiar part of the skyline while I went to school here, and while the new building is grand and well-designed, I will miss the old one.

A little ways down the road, the Saturday-night drunks have eschewed cow-tipping in favor of scooter-tipping:




Makes me glad I opted to stay far out on the west side of town.

Speaking of scooters, they’re a huge part of the student culture at UW. Scooter vendors and repair shops here are almost as numerous as the bicycle shops, and the scooters contend with bicycles for parking spots:






If that doesn’t seem like many scooters, keep in mind that this was mid-August, and most students were away for the summer. In fact, this was the last weekend before “lease day” – August 15, the day when residential leases around campus all seem to start, and the vast majority of students move in – and I was already seeing moving vans and pickup trucks hauling hoards of stuff around town. If I were to come back a week or two later, the sidewalks (and streets) would be overwhelmed with scooters.

A few blocks away, the Memorial Union is situated on the shore of Lake Mendota. In a nod to the state’s largely Germanic roots, there is a Rathskeller here:




Not only does it provide seating for a cafeteria, but there’s a bar on the other side, and a stage for live events. A fun place to be on Friday and Saturday nights.

Speaking of which, if you were ever a student here, then you recognize this view:




And these chairs:




This was Sunday morning, so the Terrace was pretty much deserted except for the cleanup crew. But on Friday and Saturday afternoons and evenings, there’s live music, a big crowd, lots of good beer, and a beautiful sunset across the lake.

Finally I had to say goodbye to my alma mater again and head for Milwaukee to catch the ferry. I arrived to find half a dozen Harleys in front of me, and within thirty minutes, another half-dozen had pulled in behind me. It seems BMW bikes are a rare bird.

Before long the ferry appeared on the horizon, rocketing toward shore at warp speed:




On board the ferry, posing for a shot while Milwaukee recedes in the background:




The weather was more hospitable for this crossing: no rain, and somewhat warmer temperatures. Families lingered up on the sun deck, with little kids running around like drunken monkeys as the deck swayed and bobbed. I found a comfortable seat and continued reading my book about arguing:




Watch out, I’m learning. I now know about eristic arguments, dialectic arguments, and rhetoric (not the pejorative rhetoric people attribute to modern-day politics, but classical rhetoric, the art of persuasion). Soon I will be the source for all of your opinions. grin

As we approached the Michigan shoreline, I saw a weird phenomenon. It was fog, but only very low on the water, such that you could still see the hills beyond:




Soon after I noticed this, we went through the sharpest weather front I have ever experienced. The temperature dropped from 70 to 50 in about ten seconds (granted, the apparent rapidity was probably enhanced by the ferry’s high speed). I later learned that the two were related: the shallow fog I had seen was sea smoke, caused by cold air moving over warm water. 50 degrees is no exaggeration: within a couple of minutes, I was shivering uncontrollably, the deck rails were painfully cold to the touch, and I had to retreat below deck to warm up until we reached the Muskegon breakwater and slowed to just a few knots.

The final cruise home on I-96, normally not a noteworthy affair, was interrupted by an accident that resulted in closure of the highway east of Lansing. Relegated to a dirt-road detour for several miles, I found one last photo opportunity. Here’s how tall the corn was in drought-stricken Michigan:




Compare with Friday’s picture in central Wisconsin:



This will be a tough winter for Michigan farmers. frown

Across the road, there was a small pasture with several cows off in the distance. I guess they don’t get much company, because they were thrilled to see me – they literally ran across the field to come get a look:







Boy, if they’ll welcome you home like that, they might make good pets after all. grin

And that was about it for my trip; the final hour rolled off without incident, except for that one last important stop:




You must always remember to buy flowers for your wife when you come home from a solo trip.

Thanks for reading. wave

#800553 - 09/12/12 03:46 AM Re: Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
Joined: Sep 2004
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Bill_Walker Offline
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Bill_Walker  Offline
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San Marcos, CA USA
Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
Speaking of scooters, they’re a huge part of the student culture at UW. Scooter vendors and repair shops here are almost as numerous as the bicycle shops, and the scooters contend with bicycles for parking spots


Lazy bums! When I was in college, we pedaled our two-wheelers!

Great tale, Mitch!


"Dry-Town" Crew, San Diego
'15 R1200RT
'12 Kawasaki KLX250S
'04 R1150RT (gone)
'02 Suzuki V-Strom (gone)
#800569 - 09/12/12 10:03 AM Re: Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Bill_Walker]  
Joined: Sep 2001
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Marty Hill Offline
The Energiser Bunny
Marty Hill  Offline
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Atlanta, Ga.
Nice tale Mitch. I'm going to try to take that ferry next summer.


Marty
49 states/32 countries/3 continents

700GS/white...old age moto



WWMHD...ride till you can't

Semper Paratus
#800608 - 09/12/12 03:01 PM Re: Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Marty Hill]  
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BFish Offline
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BFish  Offline
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Melbourne, FL
very nice. lotsa cows, water, and great roads. fantastic trip.


Brian

"Integrity can accommodate the inadvertent error and the honest difference of opinion; it cannot accommodate deceit or the subordination of principle."

2004 RT (Silver)

#800609 - 09/12/12 03:05 PM Re: Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Lone_RT_rider Offline
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Lone_RT_rider  Offline
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Germantown, WI
Originally Posted By: Joe Frickin' Friday
You must always remember to buy flowers for your wife when you come home from a solo trip.


I'll try to remember that if I ever have one. Nice ride tale my friend. smile I wish I could have been there with you.

Shawn

#800655 - 09/12/12 07:50 PM Re: Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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tobyzusa Offline
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tobyzusa  Offline
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Southlake,TX
Very Nice!


Brad
'05 1150RT
#800760 - 09/13/12 11:39 AM Re: Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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Kathy R Offline
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Kathy R  Offline
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Quote:
Soon I will be the source for all of your opinions.


grin , is right!

Please go somewhere real soon. We'll pass the helmet and all send your wife flowers thumbsup





#800836 - 09/13/12 09:32 PM Re: Day 4 of Dances With Cows Too [Re: Kathy R]  
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Rocer Offline
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Rocer  Offline
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Haliburton ON
Originally Posted By: Kathy R
Quote:
Soon I will be the source for all of your opinions.


grin , is right!

Please go somewhere real soon. We'll pass the helmet and all send your wife flowers thumbsup


+1 Kathy!

Mitch, "Across the road, there was a small pasture with several cows off in the distance. I guess they don’t get much company, because they were thrilled to see me – they literally ran across the field to come get a look:" it's pretty obvious the cows like mootorcycles.


Paul
“Stay where you’re to till we comes where you’re at “

00 R1100RT
#800887 - 09/14/12 07:28 AM Re: Dances With Cows Too [Re: Joe Frickin' Friday]  
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BabyCow Offline
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BabyCow  Offline
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Sydney, Australia
I read most if not all ride tales and I do believe that yours are (in my view) the best. Thank you for the effort to do them

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