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JackJack 09-11-2011 07:43 PM

Minnesota Two Lane Tour 2011
 
Around a campfire in the dark of night, a young boy breaks a long, still silence, "Grandfather, sometimes in my heart, it feels like a good wolf and a bad wolf are fighting. How do I know which one will win?" The Grandfather placed another log on the fire. A time passed, punctuated only by the hissing and popping of wood on the fire. Finally Grandfather replied, "The one you feed."

This would be my meditation as I started my vacation. I should feed the Good Wolf before returning to the rat race. So with that I packed my bags, a map, and headed out to explore my backyard.

The trusty but decidedly bum-numbing Shakira (Shakes) M'Alloy:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...202011/001.jpg

So I took off heading North on US 65 toward the closest Minnesota State Park - Father Hennepin State Park in Isle, MN. Since my morning was spent changing oil, lubing the chain and installing a battery-tender adapter to charge my phone, I got a late start. Father Hennepin SP was attainable while still allowing me to set up camp before dark. My destination didn't matter as long as I could get away.

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...11/Day1Map.jpg

I found a nice little campsite at FHSP across from the shore and set up camp:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/01.jpg

I even had enough daylight left to snag a pic of Mille Lacs lake before doing a grocery run:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/02.jpg

Then it was off to grab some firewood. I was fortunate to find a bed of hot coals in the fire ring at my site. The Labor Day campers must have left a huge fire that morning when they checked out. It made starting my campfire easy:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...02011/03-2.jpg

It was a cold night, but the loons calling back and forth across the lake brought me solace. My peace was short-lived when dawn came and I woke to find I had all this to pack :eek1 :

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/03.jpg

I had plenty of time to pack and peruse the map as the sun warmed the land to a temperature I found suitable for riding. :D I don't bother with a GPS, for many reasons, but the main one being that I like maps. My normal modus operandi is to memorize the next two or three roads and turns and just go. This has worked well for me for a couple decades, but when I came to the first intersection it suddenly occurred to me that I remembered the highway numbers, but not my final destination. :huh

Before panic could ensue I spotted a sign on a cafe that read, "Breakfast Served All Day". Today, pancakes and bacon would solve my problem. After having my fill and visiting with some snow birds at Svoboda's Cafe, I motored on:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...11/Day2Map.jpg

As the day wore on the wind picked up so I took a little break and a couple photos at Leech Lake in Walker, MN:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/04.jpg

This guy was enjoying the wind:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/05.jpg

I thought about the packing and un-packing of my bags and my cold bum during the ride from Walker into the late afternoon sun. I decided I needed a base camp so I could run around unburdened for a day. I called Sara at the Mississippi Headwaters hostel and found that they were open and I would be guest number 2 for the night. Yay! I wouldn't have to unpack my tent and I wouldn't have to share a room. No Stranger Danger! :D

Knowing I would have a base camp, the little worrying voice in the back of my mind was hushed and I motored on to Nevis, MN where I found this guy. Too many locals lurking about kept me from creating a grand photo of the fish slurping my Chartreuse, er, Hi-Viz jacket.

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/06.jpg

Unpacked at the hostel in Itasca State Park:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...02011/06-2.jpg

Day three of my little Two Lane Tour found me in the one horse town of Emmaville, MN where the locals have a fine sense of humor (or are incredibly bored during the long winters). It was at the Emmaville Cafe that I had breakfast and caffeinated myself for the day's ride:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/07.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/08.jpg
http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/09.jpg
http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/10.jpg


And this canine fellow was reminding me what I am out here doing:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/13.jpg

The next stop on my list wasn't too far off the twisty and scenic County Road 40 at Dorset, MN. I was surprised to find it a one block village straight out of an old Western movie (with the exception of the paved road down the middle):

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/15.jpg

The irony is that if you are standing close enough to read this sign, you can see everything it points to:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/16.jpg

No pizza, burritos, or ice cream for me as the shops all closed at the end of the tourist season: :cry

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/17.jpg

But what is this I spy?

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/18.jpg

A closer inspection is warranted. Hey BurRo! Your tire's looking a little squared off!

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/19.jpg

Since no one was around I decided I should spank that *ss! :rofl

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...202011/23a.jpg

Then I took a water break in the shade here:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/21.jpg

As I sipped some water I contemplated the cleverness of a local hoarder. "I don't need to clean any of this up, I'll just throw up a sign claiming them's antiques I'm a sellin'."

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/20.jpg

Then I motored on over to Osage Beach, MN. It's a little less touristy than the Osage Beach in Missouri that I frequented as a kid:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/24.jpg

I headed back to the hostel so I could enjoy the park itself before moving on. I hiked up to the Mighty Mississippi's meek headwaters where I met two nice fellows who get to haul this thing around the country:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...2011/car16.gif


On my hike back to the hostel I found these tracks on the beach:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/25.jpg

And the Wild Rice being backlit by a setting sun finished my day:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/26.jpg

End of day 3.

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...11/Day3Map.jpg

I woke up on Day 4 and didn't want to leave Itasca SP, but I had been there before and needed to see something new. Plus I really wanted to go to Aerostitch and get a pair of helmet speakers. So I decided I would ride the beautiful and near desolate Hwy 200 East toward Duluth, MN.

The riding was so nice that I only stopped once to stretch my legs and take a photo. Remer, MN:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/27.jpg

I found a matching Soo Line engine in Two Harbors, MN, but didn't want to get eaten alive by hummingbird-sized mosquitos to get a good photo. :cry

Research is normally my strong suit and I tend to find out directions to a place before I go, but not so with the Aerostitch Rider Wear House. I decided to try my luck with my new Android phone's navigation app. It worked beautifully and led me right to Aerostitch. Once inside I spotted a fellow inmate in an ADV shirt and struck up a conversation. We discussed roads to ride on the North Shore and parted ways.

A quick stop along the Scenic Route of old Hwy 61:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/28.jpg

Having eaten a late lunch I decided to forego picking up groceries in Duluth and motored up Hwy 61 to Gooseberry Falls SP. I would later go to sleep hungry as I chose to stand out on the cliff and take photos instead of ride back to Two Harbors for grub.

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/29.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/30.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/32.jpg

These guys were pointing me in the direction home:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/31.jpg

And this guy lit my way back to the tent:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/34.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...11/Day4Map.jpg

Day 5 brought more glorious sunshine and a warm start. Packing the bike went much faster as I learned my lesson the morning of Day 2. And I was hungry for breakfast. :D But I did walk back to the cliff for a couple shots of the shore in the bright late morning light:

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/35.jpg

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...%202011/36.jpg

So I motored onward toward breakfast and home. That wraps up my Two Lane Tour for this year. If all goes right next year, I will explore the North Shore and Ely area and report again.

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/...11/Day5Map.jpg

My Good Wolf has been fed.

:1drink

VAKen 10-19-2011 07:56 PM

Awesome ride report!

Great bike, great pics, good times!

:clap

Klay 10-19-2011 11:42 PM

Very nice.

Unstable Rider 10-20-2011 12:14 AM

Nicely done.

sgtpaco 10-20-2011 06:26 AM

Nice report. Brings back many memories since my family started vacationing on Cedar Lake in Aitkin back in 1963.:wave:wave

JackJack 11-13-2011 01:57 PM

Thanks for the compliments guys! I wasn't getting notified of comments. :doh

Quote:

Originally Posted by VAKen (Post 17114035)
Awesome ride report!

Great bike, great pics, good times!

:clap


Fly-china 06-24-2012 11:03 PM

Hello Jack
 
Here to see you report, it's very nice! :clap

JackJack 06-25-2012 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fly-china (Post 18985904)
Here to see you report, it's very nice! :clap

Thank You! It's good to see you online! I was a bit worried when I didn't see your Piaggio trip conclusion. Hope all is well!
:D

TraumaQueen 06-14-2013 08:32 PM

Hey, great report, JackJack!

Cat

JackJack 06-14-2013 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TraumaQueen (Post 21647954)
Hey, great report, JackJack!

Cat

Thanks, Cat! I was just trying it out and promoting MN. :-)


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