Day 22 – Crandon, WI (Off-road racing)
Date: 06/23/2016 Thursday
Starting Location: Maple Grove, MN
Ending Location: Crandon, WI
Starting Odometer: 11585.9
Ending Odometer: 11840
Mileage Today: 255 Miles
Mileage Total: 4986.8 miles
Today’s MPG: 39 mpg
Total Average MPG: 41 mpg
Leaving Maple Grove
Today’s trip was another reasonable day, with what was expected to be a relatively early arrival. I left the hotel at about 8:15, and was on my way, trying to find a path out of Maple Grove that did not include Interstate highways. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the roads into and out of Maple Grove are Interstates. So, I sucked it up, and rode the interstates for the first 40 miles or so.and then the route settled in, and I got to enjoy some of Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s back roads.
As you can see in the map below, once again the State of MN decided to impose a detour, and reroute me around the road construction. Notice how long of a detour they put in place, rather than routing me around the immediate obstacle.
I crossed another state line today, crossing into Wisconsin from Minnesota. As fate would have it, the state line is just about right in the middle of the detour that the DOT forced me to take. I was certainly glad to get out of MN, even though I had a chance to see some good friends for dinner.
Occasionally, as I’m riding, a song plays which seems wholly and obviously relevant to what I’m doing in that moment. Today, as i was riding through the Great Plains of Minnesota an d Wisconsin, I heard Bob Seger belting out Roll me away, and I let the music set the mood, and I just enjoyed the ride.
It seems to me that this song is perfect for my trip into Southern Wisconsin, but I’ll let you decide.
Bob Seger – Roll Me Away (Lyrics)
Took a look down a westbound road, Right away I made my choice Headed out to my big two-wheeler, I was tired of my own voice Took a bead on the northern plains And just rolled that power on Twelve hours out of mackinaw city Stopped in a bar to have a brew Met a girl and we had a few drinks And I told her what I'd decided to do She looked out the window a long long moment Then she looked into my eyes She didn't have to say a thing, I knew what she was thinkin' Roll, roll me away, Won't you roll me away tonight I too am lost, I feel double-crossed And I'm sick of what's wrong and what's right We never even said a word, We just walked out and got on that bike And we rolled And we rolled clean out of sight We rolled across the high plains Deep into the mountains Felt so good to me Finally feelin' free Somewhere along a high road The air began to turn cold She said she missed her home I headed on alone Stood alone on a mountain top, Starin' out at the great divide I could go east, I could go west, It was all up to me to decide Just then I saw a young hawk flyin' And my soul began to rise And pretty soon My heart was singin' Roll, roll me away, I'm gonna roll me away tonight Gotta keep rollin, gotta keep ridin', Keep searchin' till I find what's right And as the sunset faded I spoke to the faintest first starlight And I said next time Next time We'll get it right
The Weather (Rain is on the horizon again)
Last night, just after dinner ended, Paul, Chance and I found ourselves outside the restaurant, in the middle of a downpour. The rain was very, very heavy, and while taking an Uber back to the hotel, we were driving through water that was at least 8″ deep on the interstate. So, it wasn’t that much of a surprise to hear a hailstorm happen during the night. I guess it was about 2AM that the winds howled, and the sound of hail hitting the window woke me up. I rolled over, and went back to sleep, vowing to look carefully at the bike when I got up.
I woke up to check the bike, and it was in perfect shape. Imagine hat it was pelted with hail for an hour, and it’s still perfect. You really have to love all of that plastic, rubber, and metal.
I was concerned that the midnight storm might continue through the morning as I was riding to Crandon, but when I checked the radar, it seemed all clear. The radar did however show a 50% chance of storms in the morning. As I looked at the sky, it was blue and clear, so i set out for Crandon.
About 4 hours into the trip, I started to feel rain drops. And so, for the next 90 minutes, I was in and out of rain.. As has been the case, I somehow managed to miss the big rains, and i rode carefully between the raindrops all the way to Crandon.
Arriving at the track
As i was riding into Crandon, I was thinking about the race track, wondering where it is, and how far outside of town I’ll have to drive, to get to the track. All of the sudden, as I was thinking, i came on the track, located right on Highway 8, about 2 miles outside of town.
I could have waited until tomorrow, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to drive through the paddock, looking at the teams and gear that has been setup so far. So, I took a ride through the pits, and already started to feel the excitement that comes from seeing and hearing these 900 hp trucks in their natural element.
I can’t wait to get to the track tomorrow, for practice sessions.
The Main Street Inn (The hotel)
The Main Street Inn was likely built in 1960, or thereabouts. It has not been remodeled since then, but these folks somehow manage to make the rooms clean, and quaint. This hotel is certainly not a technical or ergonomic tour-DE-force, but it’s quite nice.
Located right on Lake Ave, which is essentially Main Street, it’s a 5 minute walk from all of the restaurants in the town, and it’s just about across the street from Memorial Park. I think I’ll enjoy my 3 nights at this hotel.
Crandon seems a perfectly nice little town. There are a few bars, a few restaurants, and a few ice cream shops. What’s not to love…
A few random thoughts
Reflecting on 4000 miles so far
People ask about the bike
I’m surprised that so many people stop me and ask about the bike. For those of you that have seen the bike, you’ll understand when I say that the bike has a very intimidating look about it. I’ve retooled it to make it look very purposeful, and extremely functional. So, when folks look at it they usually say something like “Wow, that thing looks like it can go anywhere. Do you take it off road?”.
In any case, these questions are a good conversation starter, and I do my best to describe where I’ve taken it, and also how capable it is.
I’ve been able to get a maintenance appointment scheduled at Max BMW in Brookfield, CT on July 5th. They will be performing the 12,000 mile scheduled service, so it will take most of the day for the service to be completed.
I plan on arriving early, and taking one of their loaner bikes to visit folks, and enjoy the curves of the back roads of CT.
Front tire wear
I’m pretty impressed the my front tire, a Continental TKC 80 has lasted as long as it has. The tire has at least 9000 miles on it, and while it has a whole lot of cupping, and the wear patterns are really, really strange, there’s still plenty of tread left.
I was going to take a picture, but the tires are covered with mud, and it’s hard to see the wear pattern. In any case, I’ve also asked the folks at Max BMW in Brookfield to also install a new tire. So, once I get to CT,
Big towns vs Small towns
Most of those of you that are reading this blog live in big cities. I don’t mean to say that you all live in very large urban areas, but instead, you don’t live in small towns, so you live in big towns. It may sound like I’m splitting hairs, but my point is that most of us don’t really understand what it is to be in a small town, or to live in a small town.
As I’ve ridden, I have seen numerous towns that have less than 100 people living in them. Even Crandon, WI has only 2000 residents, yet in comparison to these small towns, it looks positively gigantic.
So, looking at all of these small towns, I can’t help but wonder how they survive. I’m not judging whether they are good or bad, I’m just observing how these small towns look economically disenfranchised. Many of these towns have as much as 50% of their buildings uninhabited. It’s a pretty dramatic site to ride through a town where many buildings are overrun with weeds, or don’t appear to have been open for a number of years.
Life in a small town must be pretty special for these folks to remain so hearty, and stay there to try to make a go of it. I wish all of them the best. It is usually nice to ride through a town like I’m describing, and enjoy a nice meal, prepared and delivered by men and women who offer me a big smile, and a few greetings that are common in small-town America.
Anything else for you hun?
What’s in store for tomorrow
Tomorrow is a sightseeing day. Well, maybe not a sightseeing day, but a day at the race track. I plan on sleeping in, getting breakfast, and heading to the track at about 10AM or so. I’ve had a bit of difficulty clarifying the schedule for the event, so it’s not clear when the racing and practice starts on Friday. I guess I’ll just find out when I get there…