Lima Ride -'05


With both the packing, and shipping tasks completed, we pulled free of the fair grounds in Lima at 9:45 am and started our return home via highways all number '200'.   We were now expected to pay a visit in Missoula and have a layover with my Brainerd hosts, Marvin and Carol Bohn.  Marv left well before us, as he wanted to hustle home, this by going around Chicago for Minnesota (I supplied his map).  I wanted Pat to experience the water crossing of Lake Michigan.  Pat'n I stopped for lunch in Hillsdale, MI, a very conservative college town from whom I regularly receive a quarterly newsletter.  (Marv and I dined in this community enroute to the rally.)  We gassed in the Battle Creek / Springfield area where 'super' was $2.43.9/gallon (I was then getting 41.63 MPG).  We generally followed the path taken to the rally, deviating at White Cloud, where we continued due North for US#10.  We found a place to eat dinner along the highway, 'Government Lake', just above Baldwin.  It was after 7 pm when we arrived.

We had a window seat overlooking the lake itself and watched both frogs and fish cavort below us, also watched them head for the weeds when some much larger fish came into the area, large Pike I'd guess.   We needed to be in Luddington for the morning sailing so we began 'motel shopping' right after dinner as we were close enough.  The first motel was older, clean etc. but they wanted $75. /night plus 8%.  That seemed to us a little 'steep'.  We next visited a Super 8, what a deal $111. plus 8%.  Luddington was starting to look a lot like a 'TT' (tourist trap).  Days Inn was just down the road and it had started to rain, and before I was off the motor 'the motel lady' came around the corner and commented on the quiet motorcycle.  We went inside and rather than have her set the price, I said what could you do for $75. tax included?  Also, that I wasn't about to be 'bit' for $111.   She'd 'deal' and we did.  Nice room too!  Only drawback was the second story location and those damn security doors that needed negotatition with arms full.  We'd covered some miles for the day, 338 to be exact.  Cocktails were in order!  We left a 6:15 am wake-up call.

We used-up our 'time cushion' and arrived at the ferry dock behind two Canadians, each riding a Vincent, one a Rapide, the other, an early Black Prince.  Both seemed complete and original.  (A Black Prince is worth about $20,000. on today's market so we're talking RARE!)

I gave Pat my used, one-way ticket and sent her off to the ticket office as I could see the deck hand directing the loading of motorcycles.  I so wanted to get a picture of those Vincents but it'd have to wait.  I had just finished tying the motorcycle down when Pat approached.  She was able to get the motorcycle and me the 'round-trip cost' which saved us some $$'s.  This crossing, for the cycle, and us was $111.00

We had breakfast on board, nailed down a couple of chairs where we could smoke and enjoyed our crossing.  The jackets and T-shirts worn by many of my fellow travelers identified them with 'aircraft'.  One fellow, whose company we enjoyed, was a commercial pilot for a Florida based airline that specialized in serving the Caribbean.  He, like his fellow 'buffs' were all enroute to the Aircraft Owner's Fly-in in Oshkosh WI.  Nice town, Pat'n I were in Oskosh about ten years ago when the National Rally was held there.  A great aircraft museum is found there, but we weren't on-track for Oshkosh this trip.  

When it came time to unload the motorcycle the guys on the Vincent's were off'n gone in a flash and I didn't get pictures, DAMN!


Newer Black Prince from my photo files; Rapide on the right.  The Canadian's Black Prince was sheathed like this, but the forks were of the old girder variety with a 'duck-bill' front fender.  These are both Vincents, noted for their speed (faster production motorcycles of their era), and their unusual suspension, they 'flexed' right beneath the seat; that and the huge speedometer (note the Rapide's).

We bought Wisconsin gas in Appleton, $2.47.9/Gal., I was getting 44.196 MPG.  The weather was intimating 'showers', and we had some by our 'lunch break' in Lola (on WI Hwy. #29 and County 'J'), but getting there was great.  We found a beautiful road, WI Hwy. #49 which we picked-up in Waupaca and rode North to WI Hwy. #29.  We gassed again in Stetsonville and guessed we were getting closer to California, gas jumped to $2.51.9, but I was then getting 42.73 MPG.  

The sky was dark and we were getting a little 'spit' from above (at 6:30 pm), when I passed this intersection with a flashing yellow light hung overhead; it was the turn-off for Bloomer, Wisconsin and there was this small motel, the 'Twi-lite' sitting all alone, right there.  Elderly couple ran the place and there was no indication that any room was 'occupied'.  Rate was a flat $35. /tax included we were told.  Could we see a room?  Sure, but first the gentleman, who was barely ambulatory, had to find out which one room had been rented by his wife earlier - she'd forgotten to notate the room number on their registration card.  So, we waited; she went peering into the window of each of maybe 16 rooms before deciding which room she'd let.  Pat was thus given a key to inspect a room with while I thought, 'Sure hope she likes one, it's about to POUR!'  She did!  We registered and unpacked the motorcycle, while I covered the gas-tank pack and seat with rain covers and not a moment too soon.  It came down as expected, complete with both thunder and lightening.  The TV had a banner running across the screen about Tornado warnings in six counties and we were smack-dab in the middle.  It got real dark and the wind blew!  Then came the rain, thunder and more rain.

The TV's banner kept appearing.

Since neither one of us were eager to sally-forth and forage for dinner in 'Bloomer', wherever that was, we agreed to forego dinner having had a late, large lunch.  It'd been a relaxing day; we'd ridden a modest 232 miles and had a 4+-hour boat ride.

We'd learned that Bloomer was just down the road, not two miles so we went off to breakfast before checking out.  Bloomer Wisconsin, what a treat!  Darling little community with flowering potted plants on all the lampposts, ah la Quebec City, neat clean, original restored downtown with a nice cafe.

We were clear of the motel about 8:30 am and headed west again.

It was over an hour later when we stretched in Amery WI on WI Hwy. #46.  Enroute to this community I'd rounded a left turn (which you need to 'look into') leaving Pat in back to enjoy the sights as it were.  She did!  She told me that on this one turn the 'guard rail' consisted of large, but short, white posts set into the ground and atop each was a different woman's high-heeled shoe.  She told me she 'thought' of directing my attention to this 'road-side art', but didn't (the sweeping turn, remember).  I should have liked to see it, country 'art'!  We left Amery on US Hwy #8.

At Cambridge MN we called Carol Bohn and bought liquor, the state had licensed Rite-Aid to be their 'outlet'; it was almost like shopping at home.   It was noon when we gassed in Princeton; loved that place!  Super was $2.10.9/gal. and I was getting 41.06 MPG.

At 3:10 PM we rolled into Marv'n Carol's driveway, Marv had gotten home just the night previous.  Distance traveled from Marv's Brainerd location to the Rally (dash into and around Columbus), and return, 2001 miles.

I changed-oil and adjusted valves, first time for the latter since leaving home.  Only two needed minor adjustment; Pat did laundry.  All four of us took Carol's car for a day-jaunt to Crosby and Ironton, two near-by communities about 30 miles from Marv's.  Each of these communities are chocker-block with antique stores where, in one shop, I was able to buy three pipes, two of which were Comoy's (all English made), for $11.00.  I gave Marv a chance to take his pick of the three and he did.  What a deal!  The name 'Comoy' to pipes is akin to Lincoln for cars.

We cleared Marv'n Carol's early the next morning to pick-up MN Hwy #200 outside Walker.

Departing Brainerd - 1s t Time

All we had to do was turn left at Marv's driveway and wait till we got to '200' up near the top of the state.  Beautiful day for a ride too!

However, I soon became aware that my ampere gauge was not registering a positive current.  These gauges are 'fickle' and I wasn't too concerned until I'd ridden sixty miles'er so.  At Hackensack I seek-out some shade.  Engine won't re-start - drained battery (headlamp is always 'on' mind you).  Oh fecal-matter!   It's time to get out, get under and get dirty.  I find the diode board for the alternator 'cooked'.  I carry a spare diode board at least.  I take-off the cooked board and see why I had a failure, the twisted wire used for the ground had fatigued and broken at the connectors.  I know 'squat' about electricity 'cept it flows in a circle.  I try and fix it but it's no-go, a couple hours have passed.  I push the motor across the highway to a garage shop and get the battery fast-charged.  I disconnect the headlamp.  We load-up, call Marv and ask if we can return?  The nearest dealer is in Monticello in suburban Minneapolis, about 85 miles south of Marv's.  We're welcome to 'land' again.  

We ride back to Marv's, call the dealer, Moon Motors, and get an appointment for first thing in the morning.  I've done business with Moon Motors twice in the past, once when a riding companion 'broke-down' in Bemidji (which caused me to meet Marv in the first place), and again two years ago when I lost a starter motor in Ontario Canada where one could not be had.  Marv and I were then enroute to that year's National Rally in Trenton, Ontario; Marv would have to tow me to start where there was no hill, something he had to do for the better part of 2000 miles.  In that instance we'd called Moon Motors from Canada when we found that no starter motor would be available; they ordered-in a new starter for my eventual arrival.  You non-riders might like to know, the 'un-printed rule' dictates that a dealer drops other efforts to put an on-the-road rider back on the road.  Yeah Moon Motors!

While still at Marv's, I put the battery on his trickle charger, there's nothing I can do until the next morning and that means an early up'n out.  I arrive in Monticello within five minutes of my directed time.  I have to wait a few minutes for them to move motorcycles out of the building and they put Marv's favorite 'wrench' (Earl) on the job.  Meanwhile, I walked up the street two blocks to a restaurant and ordered-up some breakfast.

While waiting to be served I noticed this fellow road rider coming into the restaurant, his motorcycle, loaded with equipment told me he too was out for a long ride.  I introduced myself and asked if he'd like to share a table.  Yes indeed!  He turned out to be Canadian, riding out of Edmonton.  He was a Minister by 'trade', early 50's I'd guess, who used to run a very successful computer services business.  He was returning home from Chicago where his brother, a fellow motorcyclist, practices law.  They'd been on-tour together, having been in the southeastern U.S.  We had a nice chat.

I returned to Moon Motors just as Earl, was buttoning everything up; 'fixed' said he.  I asked if they'd mount a new rear tire for me and they offered-up three tires, two 'V' rated; only one 'H' rated.  'V' rated tires are made of a softer compound, needed for riders who stretch the limits of cornering; they're high-speed and faster wearing.  I want long life and opt for the one 'H' rated tire, a Metzler.   I'd left home with a very high- mileaged Dunlop Touring Elite 491, thinking I'd have to replace it by the time I reached the Rally.  However, it still showed enough rubber left that it probably would have taken us to Missoula and home.  I didn't chance it though, change it!

It was well worn when I left home, over 4000 miles previous.  Here it is just before removal and it still has lots of tread life left.  Tire?  Dunlop 491, Touring Elite.

I was impressed with the shop's static balancer design.  Two steel 'arms' were pulled from beneath a table, each with a small square hole in the end.  The shop has an aluminum hub that the wheel bolts onto, the center drilled for a rod onto which a bearing is slipped-on at each end.  Presto!  A static balancer that takes-up no room, yet is readily available.


$412. later I was headed back to Marv's to get Pat and hit the road.  I did, we did, the very next morning.  I had bought gas in Little Falls on my way to Moon Motors, $1.27.9 for super, and was registering 37.51 MPG.  Pat'n I gassed at Hackensack (where we'd broken-down three days previous; here super was $2.37.9/gallon and I was sitting at 39.39 MPG.

Shortly thereafter, we picked-up Hwy 200; and at Halstad gassed-up again, $2.38.9/gal; 40.24 MPG.  We lunched in Cooperstown, ND at 2:40 pm and bought supplies (think 'Kentucky' products), in Mayville where a local 'tractor-pull' was then in progress.  We'd have stayed to watch but it was HOT!

Gas'n stretch in Hursfield at a card-lock station where I had to accept 'regular' at $2.24.9/gal; my mileage dropped considerably, to 30.93 MPG.  We left the station just before 5:00 pm.  I rolled into Pick City at 5:40 to find the motel I was targeted for had 'no vacancy', but the proprietor got us a room at a much upgraded operation in Hazen, another 35 miles'er so down Hwy #200.  We picked up an hour here due the time zone so it was 6:15 local time when we checked into the motel, the Roughrider.  Nice facility, big queen bed, great restaurant next door and the room was only $43.74 with tax included.  We were ready; we'd knocked-off 456 miles on the day.

7:25 am the next morning (8/1/05) saw us leaving the motel's lot with the intent to have breakfast in Killdeer; we arrived there at 8:30 am and used a cafe I don't recall having been there while passing through two years previous.  Gassed next door, $2.28.9/gal, and only 35 MPG.

We left Killdeer, crossed the Little Missouri and swung into Teddy Roosevelt National Park -North.  You'll recall I visited the southern unit on my way east, commenting that I liked the northern portion better.  The northern portion gives the visitor vistas that the southern unit doesn't.

Roosevelt's Badlands, Little Missouri River, high left here.

We had lunch in Montana, at Fairview and gassed in Sydney, gas was up to $2.40.9/gal and mileage was up too, 43.44 MPG.  Sure miss those Minnesota prices!

We rolled through Circle, Montana, but not by choice.  Circle has a really neat museum at the western edge of town and I was looking forward to showing it to Pat.  However, the museum was closed so we pressed forward.  In Jordan I took Pat shopping at what passes for a supermarket in this country, she wanted to replace a child's swim 'ring' and visited the bar next door for a cold beer (me) and some tonic water (Pat).  We gassed again, $2.63.9/gallon, my mileage had dropped to 37.25 MPG - must have been traveling too fast again.

The countryside was taking-on more character now.  We were well aware that Lewis (or was it Clark?) had left a girl at home named 'Judith'.  There's the 'Judith Basin', the 'Judith Mountains' and of course, the Judith River.  We found a Chinese restaurant in Lewistown (now where'd that name come from...) and then, eventually a motel.  Nice place, came complete with a very friendly cat that would walk-through and inspect you and your stuff.  All you had to do was leave the room door open.   

We'd had a good day, knocked-off 466 miles since Hazen ND.


On the road the following morning (8/1/05) at 0730, we gassed after only 25 miles because I 'forgot' back in Lewistown.  We were in the middle of Montana and I had to pay $2.52.9 a gallon (wide open spaces - mileage was down to 34.7 MPG).  We saw our first Antelope in this stretch, (none seen headed EB mind you).  12:30 pm saw us rolling into Lincoln MT on 1st reserve.  We'd stopped in Great Falls and bought some supplies (travel shampoo and sport drinks) at the same Target Store I'd visited while EB.  Gas in Lincoln was $2.58.9/gallon; mileage 35.11 MPG.  We dined in Lincoln and headed-out for Missoula.

We found the ex-sister-in-law's place mid-afternoon and visited, we were expected.  This was the first time I got to meet my brother's Daughter-in-Law and his grand kids.  They all hail from O'Fallon Illinois.  We departed after pictures and refreshment a couple hours after arrival and staked-out a motel downtown by 5:30 that afternoon.  We'd knocked-off another 283 miles since Lewistown.

It started raining just after we checked-in, very pleasant rain and much needed too!

There was a restaurant right across the street so no need for us to suit-up.  I'd parked the cycle anticipating rain.  After dinner we were treated to a spectacular rainbow and I regret that my camera couldn't capture the whole thing as both 'ends' were right there.

Missoula Rainbow

It was still raining at 8:30 the following morning when we pulled free of Missoula, we'd donned our raingear but it was hot'n muggy just the same.  We tried to follow the directional signs for our route south, enroute to Lolo, but we must have missed one.

Knowing I was going south I stayed with the direction of travel and got into a little spat with Pat who wanted me to go back - that I was 'wrong'.  The usual 'beef'!  I was right!

We got onto US Hwy#93 for Lolo and got gas, $2.49.9 a gallon (36.86 MPG).  I didn't need much, not quite 2.5 gallons having just gassed in Lincoln but I knew that there'd be no gas available over Lolo Pass so I wanted a full tank.

We had breakfast at a western motiffed restaurant and bar complex right at the

US #93/US #12 intersection.  We ate well and took-off rain gear, the sun was out!

We rode the pass and didn't stop at the Visitor's Center, Pat wasn't interested.

We stretched off a private driveway that led to an exclusive guest ranch (which also had gas available, the only place on the Pass), and again at the Historical Ranger Station.

Pat was impressed with the beauty of the Lochsa.  We shopped for smokes and used the Post Office in Kooskia and rode on, stopping for gas in Riggens; super here was $2.69.9, my mileage since Missoula, 43.36 MPG.  It was just after 7 pm when we checked into our motel in Ontario Oregon, we'd done 346 miles on the day.  We were able to walk to a restaurant (Rusty's Pancake House), and call Roy Hick's to come by for a cocktail, a message he didn't get till much later.

We got a late start out of Ontario, it was 0850 hrs.  We went back a mile or so, just into Idaho and turned south for Marsing, stopping for breakfast in Wilder (at 10:55).  Gas in Marsing was $2.59.9 a gallon, mileage 42.93.  We climbed the grade into Oregon and paused to check on the beaver.  No critter to be found.   We got held-up for road construction in downtown Jordan Valley, where I passed a couple of cars to park in the shade of a 'big rig',

a 15 minute wait, and gassed again in Nevada, at McDermit (state line) where gas was $2.74.9 gallon, mileage 38.51.

We dined in Winnemucca and gassed-up in Fallon.  Gas was more reasonable here, $2.49.9 for super, but the high speeds were taking a toll on mileage, I was down to 36.26 MPG.

We'd figured to shop for liquor and a motel in Fernley.  I scored the booze with the help of a nice young lady I'd previously winked at.  She flashed her 'Club Card' for my sale and saved me $1.50 in the process.  Perhaps I don't wink enough!  Our motel 'shopping' was fruitless, we'd found one motel well-off the main highway and they wanted big bucks, Pat inspected one room and said there wasn't enough room to change your mind.  We were back on the road.  The big motels adjacent the highway here had 'no-vacancy'.  No vacancy?  In Fernley?
What's going on!

I roll into Sparks and see marques making reference to Hot August Nights, a car show in which the different casinos host different venues all around the same theme.  I pass a large marquee for a club I'd never heard of, 'Western Village'.  The marquee said rooms from $34.

I decided to take a look; Pat never saw the sign.  The circuitous route into the parking lot revealed a jamb-packed operation.  I found 'registration' and was shocked to find that yes, they had rooms, and a king-equipped room on the ground floor, with tax, was a bargain,

$44. something with tax.  I was able to park the motorcycle near the room, remove the screen and pass the detachable saddlebags through the window.  A really nice set-up!

Tight slots, but good food.  We were 428 miles from Ontario, Oregon.

We arose the next morning to find the 'jammed lot' stripped of a good 70% of the cars

from the night previous.  We paid our dues to the host's slots and rolled-out for home at 10:35 am, gassed in Roseville - we knew we were close to home, super was up at $2.73.9 and mileage was back-up just over 40 MPG.

Fog came into view, gorgeous, white, cotton-like, we were soon in Pacifica and home after scooting across the Bay Bridge sans toll, our timing was good, (we ARE an HOV mind you!).   The odometer indicated 6732 miles, Pacifica to Pacifica.  I did the trip with a weeping head gasket and following our arrival here I discover that I have a stripped head-bolt.  Oh well, the machine purred just the same.

Now, I've got to start thinking about next year's rally - it's being held in Vermont, that should be a real ride!

Weeping head gasket from stripped bolt - made the pant cuff

dirty over time.