Another Rookie Went to Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by 72 Yamaha RD350, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Thank you for the compliment.
  2. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  3. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    A short ride through Lead, South Dakota.

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  4. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    That's it for my long ride out west in 2020.

    I recorded some local rides during the season. Let's start with this Fall Color ride.

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  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    There's this thread over in JoMomma commemorating the passing of an ultimate father.

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/walter-gretzky-goes-skating-on-his-backyard-rink.1491263/

    In it, one commenter wisely noted that "Any man who builds a skating rink for his kids is a good dad."

    I don't recall telling you this previously in this thread, but my father built an ice rink for my brother and I when I was five years old. I still have a vivid memory of going to a specific hardware store by the Indianapolis Airport (Weir Cook - back in the day) and him buying the Visqueen plastic sheeting to hold the water in. We got home and he had a stack of 2x6's to frame it out. The only problem was - there was a young maple tree squarely where one end of the rink needed to be. My father was a resourceful and determined man when it came to the ice rink. He emerged from the garage with a handsaw and cut the tree down while my mother was at work. With the frame built we laid down the visqueen and stapled it to the frame. Out came the garden hose and the first layer of water went in with the Vizqueen holding it tight.

    I imagine it was late November and subfreezing nights were only days away. Once frozen he added more water every day when he got home from work. In no time at all we had ourselves what must have been a 16'x32' rink with a single lightbulb adjacent to the utility door in the rear of the garage to light it up at night. Mom was working 3-11pm so my brother and I would skate from the time my dad got home until he had finished cooking dinner. I have only the faintest memories of him lacing up a pair of size 12 brown leather skates and helping us learn how to skate. Once we learned, I never saw him lace up his own skates ever again.

    Recently my Mrs.RD was bitching (or complaining - take your pick) about the narrow menu at our house and I told her, "Fry up some kielbasa sausage with some sauerkraut and cook up some potato soup with it..." - exactly what my dad would cook on some of those winter nights. Other nights it would be fried Spam, or fried bologna. He also liked to fry thinly sliced potatoes with onions and peppers. He liked everything slightly burnt - which must be where I got the same preference. [Mrs.RD now fixes sausage, sauerkraut, and potato soup on a regular basis but she struggles with getting just the right amount of burnt. :D]

    That ice rink started my brother and I on the road to skating every weekend at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum until we began playing hockey. He took us to every skating session, hockey practice, and hockey game until my brother was old enough to drive. Saturday morning practices and games typically started at 7am so it was a 5:45am alarm and eighteen mile drive to the Coliseum. My brother and I spent most of our teenage years in the Coliseum. The nearest men's bathroom was a long walk from the main entrance to the northeast corner of the building. On one of my walks around the main level corridor I found a small plaque commemorating a tragedy in 1963 that killed 74 people, injured 400, and severely damaged the building.

    https://www.indystar.com/picture-ga...dy-1963-coliseum-explosion-in-photos/4495129/

    I skated from age five until age 23. I think I took every girl I ever dated ice skating - even if we only went out once. I even took Mrs.RD ice skating at Tower Plaza Mall on our first date in Phoenix. It was a good thing that the rink was attached to the mall because her shoes were stolen and I had to go into the mall to buy her a new pair! Three of our four kids learned to skate when we moved to Minnesota. Unbeknownst to me, skating is an excellent foundation for learning how to ski and it paved the way for me to enjoy the last five years on the slopes, including three days this week in Colorado.

    unnamed.jpg

    Back in the day, my father took us to see the Indianapolis Racers WHA hockey team a few times each season. Ticket prices back then weren't what they are today. In 1978 the Racers signed a scrawny 17 year old kid from Brantford, Ontario. Although he didn't impress then playing against full fledged men twice his age or more, he grew into his own and became "The Great One".

    If you read anything at all about Wayne Gretzky you came across stories of his father, Walter, and how influential he was on his son's life in a soft handed positive way. As it says in the thread referenced above, Walter was unlike the parents of other superstar athletes. He did not force the game on his son as so many parents do. An overly ambitious dad once complained that he had to constantly remind his son to practice and asked what he could do to get his son to practice more. Walter responded, "I never once had to tell Wayne to practice."

    My father was cut from the same cloth as Walter. They were good dads - men who built skating rinks in their backyards and let their kids be kids.
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  6. Bruincounselor

    Bruincounselor North Plains Drifter Supporter

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    Love your stories and writing style

    Moar please....
  7. dirtyleg

    dirtyleg Been here awhile

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    Great story you are indeed a good writer and story teller
  8. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    @Bruincounselor & @dirtyleg: Thank you. I grew up reading stuff by talented writers who were published in major newspapers, magazines, and books. Some of their styles sank in. The difference between me and them: I can make something out of something - they could make something out of nothing. And that’s why I went to engineering school instead of becoming a writer like my cousin (who is a published writer in the real sense of the word).

    A story like the Walter Gretzky one above is relatively easy for me to write if I can personally connect to it. Otherwise, it’s a chore. I enjoy the luxury of picking my stories.

    Riding a motorcycle has taught me what it means when writers talk about getting inspiration. For whatever reason, seeing something from the seat of my Road King inspires me in many different ways - and one of them is writing.
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  9. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Wonderful "Dad content" my friend!
    Just lost mine a year ago and it still stings


    My dad wouldn't have been able to form the right words right away to comfort me if it was possible for a dad to comfort a son regarding his own passing. So he would just hug me for a few minutes and then he'd know what to say.

    I hope I'm half as good a Dad as he was.

    Sounds like you had a great one too RD!

    May they RIP
  10. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Some more central Minnesota Fall Color from the year of the Covid.

  11. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  12. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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  13. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    We had our first real day of Spring yesterday with a high of 70F and only a slight breeze. I was able to get Elvis out for my first ride of the season after getting my yard work done. There's a gem inside this video - but you have to watch it to find it.

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  14. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    It was a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. With the searing heat wave I took the time today to stay indoors and finish editing a ride video from last month.

  15. ArdenLoneWolf

    ArdenLoneWolf Been here awhile

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    Wow, blown away from reading this RR. Thanks for sharing your experience. My dad passed away 2018 unexpectedly in his 50s and he and I always had great adventures all over out west with his rv and my jeep and motorcycles during my 20s. He had the Milepost book on AK also that I have with his personal notes and places underlined. He really wanted to go to AK in his RV but never did. I did some wildland firefighting in AK on a hotshot crew in 2015 and got a taste of the wild digging in the tundra with chainsaws and taking homemade natives boats up the Yukon river from Tanana. I've wanted to go back and explore on my own terms. At this moment I'm deeply inspired to ride up there on two wheels. One of my first motorcycles was a $800 72 Honda CB450, not a 2 stroke but still a small cc 70s bike. Loved that thing! I'm 33 but always been an old soul, really enjoyed the old pics and family stories of how things were. Cheers!
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  16. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    @ArdenLoneWolf: Glad you enjoyed it and that it inspired you. My sincere condolences on the loss of your father at a young age. My life has never been the same since losing my father - I suspect yours will be the same.

    Riding a motorcycle to Alaska is probably not the most important thing at your age or in your life. But similar to losing my father - there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him or my Alaska ride or a few other inflection points in my life.

    I apologize if I wrote this in the last few months: The difference between a Goal and a Challenge... is that a Challenge can kill you. If you have an unbounded schedule and somewhat of a generous budget then riding to Alaska is a goal. But if you are constrained on schedule - it is a challenge and one that is, at the very least, going to test you and possibly going to hurt you. You are going to need that Old Soul and Young Body to make wise decisions in difficult situations.

    I hope you make it happen some time in your life. Spend plenty of time in upper BC and Yukon - they rival Alaska in remoteness and beauty.

    mike
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  17. ArdenLoneWolf

    ArdenLoneWolf Been here awhile

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    @72YamahaRD350 I learned that lesson in 2019 trying to make it to one of my favorite Fort Kent, Maine off the grid campsites before the sun setting during a 1500 mile trip. I had already logged over 800 miles with lots of dirt roads in VT, NH. I was ripping a logging road on heavy Tiger 800xc like it was a drz. Came down a steep hill with a quick turn and those 50/50 tires slide right out and I flipped into the woods and gave myself a big chest contusion and damaged my bike. It was a brutal scene, somehow I pulled 600lbs back onto the road but it wouldn't start. I slept in the road that night in my sleeping bag 50 miles from the nearest town, no cell signal and was prepared to walk 20 miles to nearest paved road when I decided to check the woods and found my bikes ecu. Plugged it in and the bike fired up and rode to nearest ER and then back home to Boston. It was a lesson I needed to learn, 2019 was very rough year in my life that included a breakup and high level work stress. I sold the top heavy bike and have never rode like that again by myself. And riding to AK is not important all for me currently but with working full time year after year the time really goes by quick. As for my Dad I miss him everyday and miss our long distance summer rv trips when I was child. And weirdly enough I have been getting quotes on Harley FLHC Heritage classics last week. Thanks again for the RR and look forward to seeing new reports.
    IMG_20190820_064015964.jpg
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  18. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    @ArdenLoneWolf: That was a serious situation but it sounds like you handled it well. Stories like that remind me to be glad I got the off-pavement out of my system with a Jeep when I was younger.

    Writing Ride Reports are to me like writing a song or playing music (not that I do either of those things) - there has to be something meaningful inside that needs to come out. I'm doing local riding this year - I don't think there's a big trip in my calendar. Some years are like that. But I'm doing something new with Elvis next weekend and we'll see how that goes. It will likely produce some inspiration and worthwhile thoughts and photographs that will show up here.
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  19. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Elvis got out yesterday for a ride down WI-35. I left at 6:15am and swore to myself to turn around at 8:45am because the temperature was headed to 100F. I wanted to get home before it got to 90F. My Schuberth helmet doesn't cool very well behind the big windscreen. I was disciplined and executed to plan which was a good thing because it heated up faster than forecasted. It was so tempting to keep heading south toward more twisty curvy roads but I wasn't willing to pay the price in comfort. Once I headed northbound I was passed by dozens of bikes headed southbound. Most were helmet-less Harley riders but there was a fair number of sport bikes too, including one that got pulled over for speeding. Here's some video I pieced together.





  20. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    As I was working in the garage one day last week - Bear says to me “You know, the Egyptians built a pyramid in North Dakota.”

    Bear.jpg

    Me: “No Way”

    Bear. “Not only that, but the Dutch colonized the region and built windmills.”

    Me: “I think you are full of sh!t”.

    Elvis: “No - he’s correct. We should go see them!”

    Me: “Exactly where in North Dakota is this so-called pyramid and windmills?”

    Bear: “Approximately 48.5872N and 98.358W.”

    Me: [consulting Google maps] “That’s 391 miles one-way from here!!!”

    Elvis: “Exactly!”

    Bear: “But you aren’t going just to see the pyramid and windmills - we’ll see other things too!”

    Me: “Like the only part of North Dakota we didn’t see on our trip to Alaska?”

    Elvis: “Exactly!

    Bear: “We’ll see Spartan missiles, a Minuteman launch complex, a giant Elk overlooking a gorgeous river valley, Lake Wobegon, and Prince!”

    Me: “Hmm, I’m not sure… but isn’t Lake Wobegon in Minnesota.”

    Elvis: “Exactly!

    Me: “And Prince? As in the 80’s rock star whom I’m indifferent about?”

    Elvis: “Exactly!

    Me: “Wait a minute. How do you know all this?”

    Bear: “Because you registered for the IBA Team Strange MN1000 Rally and that’s where we’re going!”

    Me: “But I don’t even have the rally pack yet!

    Elvis: “Exactly!

    I have finally figured out that it is Bear who has all the grand ideas. He and Elvis conspire to get me out on the bike so they can get all the attention of the female persuasion… none of which is directed my way - Geezer mode invisibility cloak is fully engaged.

    In this Chronicle of Elvis I will tell the long story of my first and, likely last, IBA-type rally from yesterday... 960 miles in 20 hours. Stay tuned. It's long but something I think you'll enjoy.
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