Lima Ride -'05

Brainerd - Lima

Marvin & Carol Bohn have a large piece of property, one which used to be much larger until the Division of Highways widened their road from a two-lane surface to one that's four-lane divided, then added a frontage road.

Their address has changed three times in the four-plus years they've lived here.  I found their house okay in the dead of night as the 'highway people' gave me a nice sign.  The one good thing!

We puttzed around the property and I changed oil, did laundry and shopped.  Marv also helped me fix my windshield mounting hardware.  It was HOT!  Temperatures were in the 90º's.  Their grandchild was visiting, Leah Ellis, a bright, precocious five-year old.  We shopped for a 'water blaster' for Leah but had to settle for a water pistol with electric fan thereon.

Two days later, at 6:19 AM we departed for the Rally in Ohio.  Marv took me away via a         collection of country routes to Mille Lacs Lake (over 23 miles wide), and due south.

Minnesota's Answer to 'Easy Rider', Marv Bohn

We gassed in Cambridge at 7:54 where 'super' was only $2.23.9/gallon.  I was getting 42.5 MPG.  We entered Wisconsin at the St. Croix River crossing at Taylor's Falls and 'breakfasted' at an 'Indian casino' in Turtle Lake.  We gassed-up in Colby,
9 for super, I got 42.48 MPG, Marv, 44.49.  Our route took us through Eau Claire, Cameron and Abbotsford (just west of Wausau), where we turned south to pick-up US Hwy. 10, our route 'across Lake Michigan' (there IS a route, just no 'bridge').


Marv, in the Slow Lane?

We wanted to be poised to make our ferry connection without stress the next morning.  We found a very nice State Park on the northern shores of Lake Winnebago after a long circuitous ride.  We went to check-in.  Sure they had a tent site, only $10. but since we weren't Wisconsin residents it jumped to $20. and since there was an additional vehicle, that would be another $10.  $30.00 for a tent site!  Yipes!  (Wisconsin must be pissed about the good cheese from California!)   We excused ourselves, telling them $30. would about cover a motel room.  

We found a beautiful county park, also on the lake, Calumet County Park.  Our campsite was very private, about 1/3rd acre in size, with nice showers etc. for $15.00 total.  We were all set-up by 7:20 PM having tacked-on 425 miles for the day.


Calumet County Park

We enjoyed cocktails and a shower here where I missed a neato-o sunset across the lake as I was on the phone.  Oh well!  

Marv's Photo of Me

Up'n packed and on the road at 0830, gassing-up in nearby Stockbridge, only $2.53.9 here (42.21 MPG) and onto US#10 for Manitowac.  Our plan was to follow US#10 across Lake Michigan for Luddington using the SS Badger, the last coal-fired steamship under U.S. flag.  We arrived early, real early, we had a two-hour wait for boarding.  We met some other riders taking the same route and a 'character' who claimed to be a Private Investigator/Bounty Hunter who worked the dock, recording license numbers and the like.  We could see our ship on the horizon, a large 'tub', with the deck very high off the water line.


                    S.S. Badger       Loads/Unloads from Stern

We noticed that adjacent the dock there were acres of coal piled over 100' tall with D-9 Cats and front end loaders moving the coal about.  For reasons I cannot explain, the steamship company only allows operators of motorcycles and large trucks to position their vehicles on the vessel, everyone else leaves their keys in their car/truck and teams of young people drive the vehicles on-board.  So it took a long time to get the vehicles off the vessel once it was secured; then huge dump trucks loaded with coal backed into the car deck and deposited load after load of coal into an opening that was below the car deck - more time to twiddle for everyone else.  A deckhand eventually approached all the motorcyclists and said 'follow me' and we were directed onto the car deck and directed to park over a steel grate.  We were required to provide two tie-downs, those are the red'n blue things tie-wrapped to the fairing struts in the very first photo here (see Chapter #1).

Marv didn't bring any tie wraps so we 'faked it' by taking one of my tie-downs, wrapping it around his bars then down to the grate floor.  Worked-out just fine!  Crossing here is, I believe, expensive; it was something like $48. for me, and another $39. for the motorcycle.  This high cost would be attributed to the need for all those young people necessary to move the cars and trucks onto and off the ferry itself.  The crossing was pleasant, warm, little vessel pitch and took a little more than five hours as I recall.  

The ferry operators provided quiet rooms, movie rooms, lots of deck chairs, lounges and the like.  They provided Bingo; face painting for the kids, live entertainment, etc., so nobody was bored sick.  The vessel had a cafe that was very reasonable and decent enough food.


             Manitowac Lighthouse           Badger History

We arrived in Luddington, fifty miles north of Muskegon and rode S, then SE and eventually found a city park in White Cloud.  The map showed the park adjacent the highway, which it was not!  We sought direction from locals twice before finding the park.

The park had the nicest shower facilities of any place we stayed and they tapped us for only $15.  We were set at 7:55 PM, having ridden only 112 miles for the day.

White Cloud, MI City Park

We found a breakfast spot, this at the intersection of US#131 and State Route #46; done and back on the road at 10:35 AM.  We gassed at Sheridan, on MI Rt#66 (south of Stanton), where gas was $2.36.9 and my MPG was up to 43.42.  We departed here at 11:35 AM and took a 'nap break' (Marv needs his daily nap mind  I did postcards.)  

We shut down for the night at 7:10PM having only covered 227 miles for the day, but were then less than 80 miles from Lima, our destination.  Yes, we were now in Ohio, having crossed the border about four miles back.  The Lazy River RV Park, or if a tenter, 'Rip-Off Park' would be the more accurate name for this business opportunity.   The facilities looked great, till you found the tenter's amenities.  There wasn't so much as a mirror in the bath/shower complex.  Yes, there was a swimming pool.

Lazy River RV Park , US #20, near OH Rt#15

We gassed-up at 9:35 AM where I recorded a $2.39.9 price for super, and 43.98 MPG.

We rolled into the fairgrounds at 1 PM, 3105 miles from Pacifica, 800+ from Marv's home near Brainerd.  We immediately set-up camp, shade was a priority.  And, while we were there a full day before the rally opened, there were so many motorcyclists already on-scene that shade was hard to find.  A group of Missouri riders were amenable to our choice of set-up.

There were well over a thousand people already on hand.   Pat's admonition for all this was our tenting had to be in proximity to toilets, we had shade and new porta-potties (5ea.) were no more'n 50' away.  I called Pat to give her the news.  She was then at the San Francisco Airport preparing to board her aircraft for Columbus, where I was to pick her up that evening.

    Day before the opening -shade scarce   Marv resting at his green tent; I'm blue.

Still a full day before 'opening'.

Our plan was for me to get a motel room in Columbus where we'd spend the night.

Pat's flight was routed through Dulles International in Washington D.C. with a connecting flight on smaller aircraft for Columbus- the plan called for her eating during the one-hour scheduled layover.

I packed-up all my dirty laundry and setout for Columbus, just a little under 100 miles distant.  I found a Laundromat in Kenton.  Our rally site was located on OH #309, so was Kenton -very convenient for finding one's way in a strange place. I picked-up OH #31 here in Kenton so, with the laundry done, and Hwy. 31 found, I was doing well.  I putt-putted cross country and through a cute little community, Mt. Victory.  I noticed an antique store, something Pat loves to shop.  At Maysville I pick-up freeway that's to take me to the Interstate 'loop' around Columbus for, naturally, the airport is on the far side of the City.  

Great!  Only I take the freeway in the wrong direction, realize my mistake immediately but there's no place to get-off.  So for the next 8 miles I stewed.  Yes, I could have used an emergency vehicle crossover, but each was clearly posted 'emergency vehicles only'.  I rode the wrong way until Honda Blvd.  (Honda has assembly plants in the area).  I could now get myself turned around.

The Columbus area is home to the American Motorcycle Association for which I'd held membership a couple of times, 17 years on the last stint.  They have an historical motorcycle museum in the area that I've donated money for and I wanted to check that out.  My recollection was that the museum was in Westerville so I find a motel convenient to the freeway there, Knights Inn.  Nice lobby, great clerk.  This turned out to be one of those nice motels that had gone to 'seed' and new owners were slowly bringing it back; a king bed, in a smoking room, with tax and less'n $47. it  should've been a clue.   There could be disappointment...  There was no TV in this first room and I was 're-assigned', my new room had the lock installed upside down, which presented a problem till I inquired why my new 'card-key' wouldn't work.   

I marked-time, watched TV, and limited myself to one cocktail, as I had to drive a strange freeway system to a strange airport in the dark, pick-up Pat and find my way back.

Leaving early for the airport my thinking was that I could cool my heels just as easily there as in a motel room, and lower my stress level in the process.  Pat was flying a brand-new airline for San Francisco, Independence Air, one that was so new she had to depart from the new International Terminal at SFO.  However, Independence Air is 'old hat' in Columbus.  I rode-up to 'Baggage Claim', what in San Francisco they call 'Arriving Flights', put the bike on the center stand and lit the pipe.  A security person soon came walking-by and I presented my identification, explaining that I was going to be there 15-20 minutes to receive my wife, would there be a problem?  (No, but security was going to make it one!)  He called his supervisor, an Airport Police Sergeant who directed that I be instructed to go out'n around and come back into the airport on the above 'Ticketed Ramp', going all the way across the concourse to where there were police cars parked.  He'd receive me there.  Oh well, I had time.

Sergeant Woods was very nice, studied my I.D., wanted to see inside the saddlebags and gas tank pack and then walked me into the concourse and sat me down where Pat would pass.  I struck-up a conversation with an LOL who was waiting for her grown son and time passed quickly when Pat came walking toward me, carrying her helmet and wearing one of her new, bright red motorcycle jackets.  She was famished!  Her flight sat on the ground at SFO for almost a full hour so once on the ground at Dulles she had to hustle - no food, no smoke etc.  Independence Air was cheap, $119. one-way, SFO to Columbus but it was no-frills; they'd sell you blankets, or pillows ($10.ea), which would earn you a $10. discount on your next Independence Air flight.

We found our way back to Westerville and I took the proper off-ramp, but almost didn't.  We found a fast-food restaurant that could slake Pat's hunger and our mutual thirst.

It was then back to the motel for cocktails and a good night's sleep.

By now I had found an address for the AMA's headquarters and museum, they were in Pickerington, back past the airport and then some.  We found our way.

AMA's Museum - Pickerington Ohio

We got to the museum okay, beautiful buildings and grounds - your AMA dues at work.

The museum has covered parking for about 70 motorcycles with .25¢ lockers available for your equipment.  There were about 30 bikes there upon our arrival, all but two were BMW's, each obviously destined for Lima.  We paid-up at the door and stepped inside.

The theme of the current display is moto cross, a kind of enduro dirt riding for which I've neither experience nor interest.  The displays were tastefully done.  They have a section devoted to a particular marquee and the current choice was BMW - no accident there I'm sure.


Displays were tastefully done.                                   A veritable history of the motorcross                                        machine development was on display.

 R-5 (?)

Twin Cam -old, rigid rear-end.

Uh, I think this is a '27, R-47!

While I enjoyed the museum, I was also disappointed.  Dirt machines don't interest me, where were the Ace's, the Henderson's, Excelsior's, the British machines?  Not a single early four-cylinder machine on the floor.

It was time to head for the rally; I'd already told Pat that I'd give her a break; she could shop too.


 Pat having fun with hats'n mirrors          1866 dwelling restored, now antique shop

We pulled into Mt. Victory for a stretch, it's just about halfway between Columbus and Lima.  I'd notice an antique store on my way passed, but now I noticed the town had six'er seven such shops, even more as we later learned.  I found a nice English pipe for my price and also bought an empty pull-tap beer can, the latter for a buck.  Yes!  I paid a dollar for an empty beer can...details upon request.

Each storeowner told us of others and we found ourselves walking two blocks to the 1866 dwelling shown above.  It has been beautifully restored.  The curved staircase in the vestibule was nicely done, all natural wood with the stanchions for the railing done in alternating light and dark wood tones.  We talked to the female owner/restorer.  Pat commented on the low railing height and it was pointed-out that people were not as tall then as today.  She directed us down the street four houses to her sister's shop.

Sis's shop was primarily devoted to automotive memorabilia.  Her husband was a garageman all his life and built a new garage in retirement for restoration of several old cars, one was a restored early 20's Cadillac coupe convertible.

We left Mt. Victory with lots of pleasant memories.

Arriving back at the rally site the place was jam-packed and since we were pre-registered we got in'n out of registration almost straight away.  The final tally showed 8048 registered attendees, the biggest rally in the organization's history (2nd Missoula had been the previous 'best').

There were 132 vendors, not all were selling motorcycle stuff, and some peddled interesting foods.  This guy was there making ice cream, this in mid-90ºs heat.  He drew a crowd given his 'equipment'.  I wish I could add the sound that goes with this picture, something like, zzzz-putz, zzzz-putz, zzzz-putz.

Good Ice Cream Too!

I shopped for new gloves, and shopped some more.  Sure, I liked the deerskin gauntlet jobs ah-la Bob Burns', but the $110. price scared me away.  But if you shop long enough you can score a decent pair for less, like my $20. deerskin 'city gloves'.

As always, I spent time in the antique display tents, where it was even hotter!  Pictures from there all had to be re-worked for color as the tent material cast an 'orange glow'.

Now this is a 'single', hard ride with that rear suspension, (what suspension?).

We all agree I'm sure, this would look good in my garage.

Paul Siebert will appreciate the color.

Real pretty work was done here.


Somebody's trying to pull a fast one.

You repair that 'R-15' with Russian tools!

Rare Rotax Machine

I think the white-walls on this twin-cam are a nice touch.

Original R-5 (?)

We test rode, but I decided this motor makes me look fat.

Peanut tank gives R-69S some 'difference'.

Pop Dreyer sidecar - has unusual frame.

Frontal view.  Where'd the swan come from, Imperial?

Avon fairing?

Woman's Motor - skillfully done.

Another view.

Betty Boop Lives (love the decal!)

One must address one's thirst!  Indoor and outdoor beer facility.

I travel in style, even riding partner shaves!


Jeff Wu needs to set his sights.

Meeting new people and making friends - we are 'one family'.

We had a great time together.  We suffered a Tornado Warning and a brief spate of strong winds which blew some tents away; some thunderstorms, which hit our open tent, and a problematic air mattress.  However, our campsite was not 200 yards from the front door of a Wal-Mart, which proved to be exceedingly convenient.  There was Micky-Dee for morning coffee or a sandwich, a great supplier of camping equipment, like the chair Pat's sitting in, and the all important 'ice'.  Our disappointment was in NOT connecting with a mutual friend.   We posted a note for this fellow, Walter Drescher of Mechanicsburg PA, a mutual friend of all of us.  The note was posted in the First Aid office and was removed; we were told Dr. Drescher was there.  He never showed at our campsite, even though specific directions were given.  I'm home, and here comes a letter from the Doctor, with my note enclosed.  He's on the short list!

Pat'n I were to ride home together and our initial plan called for us heading to Walnut IA and Galena Illinois, one for the beautiful history, the other for the antique stores.  However, I'd learned from Carol Bohn that they had a local version of 'Walnut' near their place and we were invited back to Brainerd, a place Pat hadn't visited.  Also, Pat wanted to visit with her ex-sister-in-law in Missoula and I was chomping at the bit to show Pat my 'Route 200'.  Ergo, we changed plans!  Marv wanted to get home to help with the animals and re-stock his firewood sales bin so he took off alone.  We however packed-up and I moved the camping equipment, souvenirs (give-away stuff you get at a convention) and my precious empty beer can over to the UPS concession and shipped all my stuff home.  I was ready to pay a premium, but once boxed, labeled and the bill presented, I had regrets.  $82.  Ouch!  There was no second option but to throw everything away and the down sleeping bags alone were worth $150.  So, I pay the 'piper'.

Time to head home, well, sort of.....