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Old 07-19-2020, 06:36 PM
orbit orbit is offline
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Almost Viroqua

It's been awhile since I shared a riding story, so here goes......

For 10 years there's been a little rally out in Viroqua, WI called the Lorem Ipsum Vintage Motorcycle Rally.

The rally itself is a laid back affair, with bikes coming and going, people milling around, some pretty neat vintage bikes show up, and everyone is welcome. The host of the event usually sells a light lunch, stuff to drink, event t-shirts, that sorta thing. The riding in the area is top shelf, too. It's a cool destination that merits a good ride.

I've been to it twice, the last time was the last GBNF ride we held up here in '14. dj and Big Cheese were attendees as well.

I'd been meaning to get back up there since then, but stuff always got in the way. Was gonna go last year, but dicey weather kept me at home.

This year was gonna be different. First, this year's LIVMR was gonna be informal. No food or drink or t-shirts, just show up for some motorcycle goodness. Second, I'm retired now, so I got all the time in the world, the weather forecast was good, although highs were gonna be in the upper eighties with heat indices near 100. Like I said, I got time, time to take it slow, time to hydrate, time time time.

In prep for the ride, I found my little insulated cooler, filled it with a few frozen bottles of water and a cold Gatorade, plus more bottles of drink outside the cooler. I brought plenty to drink. Made sure I had my tool kit and tire repair kit, too. You know the rule - If you don't have it, you'll need it.

Right?

The day broke warm, but cloudy, which was a pleasant surprise. I checked the radar for impending doomish weather and, although there was a small band of rain crossing the Mississippi at La Crosse, it was breaking up and no rain was forecast for the Viroqua area. Just sun, warm air, and humidity.

Since I was riding solo, the route was kept to state and federal highways, just in case. No extemporaneous exploration was gonna happen. There and back was the plan.

Traffic through all the small towns and even around Madison was light, primarily because I left early, like seven, and the covid thing still has stuff tempered a bit around here.

As I left Madison the skies to the west began to darken a bit. I didn't pay it much mind as I'd been riding in cloudy weather to that point and I figured that that line of stuff heading my way was probably residual left over from the storm that passed La Crosse earlier. I figured it was gonna be gone by the time I got to where I was headed.

Turns out I was wrong. The farther west I got, the darker the skies became. By now it was a little after 10 and it got so dark that I could see the b's headlight illuminating the highway signs. I passed a wayside that had a pavilion suitable for getting out of the weather, but Spring Green beckoned and it wasn't too far ahead.

I almost made it. Two miles out of town the skies opened. Lightly at first, but soon it was pouring. Couldn't see well as my helmet's visor fogged up, and with it snapped open a bit to clear the fog my glasses soon were covered with water.

Thankfully, a Mobil station appeared on the edge of town. That Mobil was a planned fuel/rest stop, so I gingerly eased the 'b' off the highway and pulled up to the canopy-covered fuel pump to gas up the bike. I took a quick peek around and found a large covered area, large enough for several motorcycles, on the east side of the building and took refuge there.



All hell broke loose once I got the bike under that canopy. Thunder, lightning, wind, heavy rain. It was pretty cool!

I was curious as to how long the rain was gonna last, so I pulled out the smartyphone to get a radar and new forecast. No matter what I did, I could not get that phone to connect to the internet, so I ended up calling home to get a weather report from there. mrs. o was able to get the info I needed (at least an hour of rain) and, after a brief conversation, I said goodbye. Hmm. If the rain lightens up a bit, I'll put on my rain gear and continue west as I was only 50-ish miles from Viroqua.

Remember way back when I mentioned that if you bring stuff along you'll never need it?

Like rain gear, maybe?

Yep, I left my rain gear back home. Took it out of the saddlebag so I could bring along plenty to drink.......



The plan changed in an instant. The casual event in Viroqua, to run two hours, from 11-1, was now out. It was gonna rain 'til at least 11:30, I have no rain gear, and I still had at least an hour of riding to get to the rally. Basically, I'd have to head for home right after I got to Viroqua.

So, I waited out the storm. I dragged out my DeLorme Wisconsin Gazetteer and Atlas (it has every road in Wisco on it's mapped pages) and plotted a new way home. Extemporaneous we were gonna be.

True to mrs. o's forecast, the skies lightened up and the rain had diminished to mere sprinkles by 11:30. I geared up and pointed the 'b' back home.

The road was wet, but light with traffic. I saw more than a few riders in gas stations, drive ins, any place they could find to get out of the weather. I passed several going west who were appropriately dressed for the occasion, too. None looked too pleased. But, hey, each and every one of 'em had rain gear......

I took US 14 to Black Earth and headed south on WI 78 to Mt. Horeb. WI 78 is a tasty bit of road, in top shape, with nice scenery and curvy goodness. I couldn't run as hard as I wished, tho, as the road was still pretty wet and it appeared that heavier rain came down in that area. It was apparent that water had run across that well drained road right before I got there. Discretion became the better part of valor.....

I continued south out of Mt. Horeb on WI 92, through Belleville and Dayton. By now I needed a little rest break and remembered a little park just outside of Brooklyn. The park is called Liberty Pole Hill Park and has a real nice view to the west......



The story.......



The pole.......



There's a nice pavilion there, too, along with five or six picnic tables, a park-issue charcoal grill, and a small playground set for the kids.

And an outhouse.......



Soon I was back on the 'b'. I decided to head for Janesville, via Footville, WI.

I've ridden around Footville numerous times, but never stopped. 'Til Saturday. While idling down Railroad Av., I happened upon this.....



The bank was built in 1909 and was in use 'til 1975. It now houses the local historical society. Pretty neat piece of local history. I kinda dig ridin' through old Midwestern farm towns.

I sorta zig-zagged around Janesville and continued on my way home. By now the storm had outrun me. The sun came out, the heat got hot, and the humidity began to rise. Still, I was comfortable, but getting warm.

There were a few more stops I wanted to make before I ended this adventure.

East of Walworth, WI is a little road called Cobblestone. On a curve is an old cemetary, established in 1825 called, appropriately, Cobblestone Cemetery. Got a pic of the sign and idled through afterward. Lots of ancient local history is buried there.......



Last stop was Genoa City, WI. I think old neon signs are cool and too many are disappearing. I've ridden past this place countless times, finally stopped to take a picture......



Keller's is set up like a classic Wisconsin Supper Club but, sadly, appears to be out of business. It's located on what was once the main road to Lake Geneva. Back then it was US 12. Today it's CTH H.

H is a cool old two lane north out of Genoa City and makes for a pleasant, laid back ride to Lake Geneva. More than several abandoned motels and service stations dot the route. One day I gotta take some pics of that stuff before it all goes bye bye.

I finally rolled into my driveway at 3:45-ish, hot, sweaty and slightly fatigued. Total miles for the ride came to 308, short of the plan, but good considering.

While the rain kinda dampened things a bit, I was still able to tool around central and southern Wisco for the better part of a day, got a chance to shoot a few pics and saw some things that I always meant to stop to see but never did.

Oh, yeah, the heat. It was 88°, with a heat index of 98, when I rolled the 'b' into the garage at the end of the day. The cool shower and ice cold bottle of 3 Floyds YumYum afterward were quite refreshing.

And my rain gear was right where I left it, on the bench, nice and tidy and dry.......

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Last edited by orbit; 07-20-2020 at 07:04 AM. Reason: Tweaked verbosity!
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Old 07-19-2020, 06:48 PM
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Outstanding adventure...... thanks for sharing!!
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:12 PM
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Great post !
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:08 PM
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That's the kind of adventure I'm talking about..

Summer time and rain gear.. Never leave home without it..
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:45 PM
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Sounds like a great ride, intrigue, suspense and great things to see.


Wish I could have been there.
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Old 07-20-2020, 07:31 PM
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Damn I miss those riding adventures with ya Ken.
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Old 07-20-2020, 10:11 PM
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Great "ride" post Ken!
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:15 AM
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Solo adventures are always cool, and my preference as I ride a little aggressive at times. You know those times don't you
It's midnight here now and I just returned from a 75 mile two lane backroad semi high speed run out west of Little Rock to get me a view of the comet Neowise before it leaves for the next 6000 plus years

To note, last time I removed my summer rain gear, I needed it Getting rained out in strange new places can be fun in and of itself. I meet some neat peeps


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Old 07-21-2020, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbo Turtle View Post
Solo adventures are always cool, and my preference as I ride a little aggressive at times. You know those times don't you
Why, whatever do you mean...

I recall a certain September ride that wasn't solo..
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Old 07-21-2020, 07:45 AM
orbit orbit is offline
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Quote:
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Damn I miss those riding adventures with ya Ken.
Ain't much better than gettin' lost with my wingman, dj.

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Old 07-22-2020, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroad Mike View Post
Why, whatever do you mean...

I recall a certain September ride that wasn't solo..
Duuuuude, I've only ridden with a couple other local friends over the last 45 years, save for you doof types. I am blessed and impressed to have met all ya'll and appreciate the acceptance into this fine family. I would ride with any of you any day


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Old 07-26-2020, 09:13 PM
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Cool beans, thanks for sharing this story
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Old Today, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroad Mike View Post
Why, whatever do you mean...

I recall a certain September ride that wasn't solo..

Oh really
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