The Best of N.E. Illinois Dirt and Gravel: A ride in Memory of KLRFred's KLR.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by matthaiduk, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    DISCLAMER: No KLR 650s were harmed in the making of this ride.

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    Memorial rides are bittersweet occasions. Bitter in that you're confronted with the loss-- that painful realization that some thing or somebody you knew and loved isn't coming back. Sweet, though, for the memories-- the great memories of times enjoyed doing what you loved with people and things you care about.

    Maybe it's because of the bitterness, or maybe it's because my KTM has been in the shop for about 340 of the last 365 days but we've been putting this ride off for almost a year. Today was the day we gutted up and did it. Today was, finally, the day for closure.

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    Last year saw a departure from the WOODLAWN ADV riding posse. The group was, at the time, comprised mostly of myself, @Three Crates (N.E. Illinois' most prolific wanderer and the photographer of most the images in this report... follow him on Instagram) and this dude @KLRFred.

    Nobody has seen KLRFred on a motorcycle since he rode off into the night's rain and darkness on a DR650 last August. While we know KLRFred is still alive and fine, we don't know where that DR is.

    Wait. That's a lie. He sold that DR650 earlier this year. And he only bought it after he bought a KLX250sf, which he only got because he sold his KLR650... all in a very short period of time.

    And THAT is what this ride is about. The KLR650 Fred had 3 bikes ago. He crashed it on this route hurt his ankle and thumb, and broke the mirror off (which lead to him selling it for a smaller bike which lead to him selling that for a bigger bike, which turned into him selling that for NO motorcycle... don't ask questions).

    Joining @Three Crates (DR650) and I (KTM 690 Enduro R) on this pilgrimage was TJ (KLX250s), whom you might remember as one of the riders who did NOT crash in the great kidney caper of 2017. We also had John (CRF 250 Rallye)- which leads us to the second important reason we were riding. Today was going to be John's baptism into the WOODLAWN ADV club.

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    We start our rides at the donut shop. Here is a pic of our bikes outside Fresh Donuts in Geneva. These weren't the only donuts we saw on this ride, but they were the only donuts we saw on this ride that weren't in a dumpster. But they weren't spiritual. There's something to be said for spiritual donuts, no matter where they're found.

    Fresh Donuts does great breakfast sandwiches. Give them a try. You won't regret it.
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    From there, ride captain @Three Crates guided us out towards the scene of Fred's last crash on his third-to-last motorcycle. We high-tailed it out Seavey, Scott, Greenacres and a few other great gravel roads before making it to our first stop about an hour later.

    Chief Shabbona forest preserve adjacent to Shabbona Lake State Park is a great little property to ride through. The twisting forest road looks a lot like... not Illinois. We rested at a quiet picnic area known historically for being the site of Chief Shabbona something something something something words and more words.

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    With heavy hearts, it was a somber, funeral-style procession to the sight of the last accident of Fred's KLR (while he owned it, anyway). Only a few fun, twisty, gravel miles away, we made it over the treacherous "Woodlawn Pass" without incident.

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    I'd brought a mirror- snapped off when my KTM fell (in the trailer, on the way to the dealer... where it literally has been for like 340 of the last 365 days have I mentioned that yet?). While it wasn't an exact replica of the one Fred lost to this stretch of road on that fateful day last year, I thought we could still use it for a fitting tribute- We wanted to mark the spot of the accident so that Fred's KLR's mirror would never be forgotten.

    It wasn't difficult finding that stretch of road. It's been burned into my memory since the day it all happened. The ruts, the bane of Fred's KLR's mirror's existence, were still there.

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    In a former life TJ must have been a boy scout or handyman or MacGyver or both. Before we could wonder what a fitting tribute would be, he used a combination of sticks (locally sourced), the mirror, and orange paracord (locally sourced from my tool kit because when you have a KTM you don't ever go anywhere without the stuff somebody else can use to tow you home) to erect a beautiful cross-and-mirror.

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    After the memorial was placed, the Reverend @Three Crates lead us through a moving ceremony.

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    "KLRFred's KLR mirror lived life to the fullest and never regretted it. On that fateful day last year, KLRFred's KLR mirror could have been doing what so many other KLR mirrors do- collecting dust in the garage, or making coffee runs..."

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    "...but KLRFred's KLR mirror was not content living like that. It wanted to ride the gnarliest, toughest, bumpiest farm roads in all of Lee County. Although there's no solace to us in the manner of its demise, KLRFred's KLR mirror went out doing what it wanted, when it wanted on its own terms..."

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    "...so long as we live, we use your memory as inspiration for our lives. KLRFred's KLR mirror, we are honored to have known you. Godspeed."

    <Insert brief moment of silence for the mirror here>

    With that, we headed to the creek crossing for John's baptism into the Woodlawn ADV club:

    You're going to have to take our word that John's creek baptism went well (which is sad, because if you've ever seen anybody fall in a creek it's really funny). Nobody seemed to capture any of John's creek crossings on camera. You'll just have to picture his Honda in place of Three Crate's DR650:

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    Or TJ's KLX
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    Or my KTM, (which SHOCKER OF SHOKERS was still running just fine):



    With that, we did the only thing you can do after a memorial service and/or baptism. We threw an after-party at a venue befitting such a beautiful occasion- the parking spot in front of a dumpster at Caseys' in the DUAL SPORT CAPITOL of DeKalb County (Shabbona).

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    The circle of life is a funny thing. Sometimes life is happy. Sometimes life is sad. Things always seem to end up where they start, though. Death, in many ways, brings on new life. We end where we start.

    This dumpster could not have been a more beautiful reminder of that circle and just how wonderful it is. We'd started the day at a donut shop, just hoping to get out for a few hours an pay homage to the memory of a mirror gone before its time.

    And here- after recognizing that death, after honoring new life with the baptism of a new member into the crew- we were standing in front of a dumpster that happened to be filled with...

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    DONUTS HALLELUJAH!

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    (he actually paid for that donut. Sadly it wasn't from the dumpster. And, yeah, he's in his underwear... it got hot... don't judge).

    With that, our day could not have been more touching. We packed up, hit a few more cool, but not-as-spiritual-spots, and headed home.

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    If you want to say you don't believe in miracles, that's fine. If you say that dumpster donuts aren't the sign of something "bigger than us" at work, that's fine too. Believe what you want.

    At the end of this day, though, my KTM made it 180 problem free miles. It left under its own power, did the whole trip under its own power, and returned under its own power. If that's not a miracle, nothing is.

    Another great day riding in N.E. Illinois. Miracles or not, that's what it's all about.
    #1
  2. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    Hey thanks for the report! Never thought of myself as a prolific wandering ride captain, ha! Has a nice ring to it. I feel that @KLRFred will someday be resurrected, wonder what bike he'll get next??!
    #2
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  3. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    the Reverend is so humble!

    Next baptism is at White Pines. We just need to find a new victim... er... I mean friend to go with us.
    #3
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  4. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    I just wanted to take a quick moment to let you know that this wonderful memorial was still standing as of a couple weeks back. If you happen to do this ride, please take a brief moment to check back and let us know if it's still there. Pics would be best.

    Godspeed, KLR mirror.
    #4
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  5. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    A68780E7-A44C-4C4E-8F59-F31C0E9419E6.jpg EAFAA07B-BACE-4E72-81F8-571A0372817A.jpg
    #5
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  6. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    #6
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  7. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    ..if we don't meet up for a ride soon or I at least see proof of you on a moving bike, there will have to be another memorial erected for a fallen comrade. And with all the time I spend making out in a Honda Fit nowadays we cannot afford to lose another member. Come to think of it, when's the last time TJ's tossed a leg over the KLX?? And John? Well, he's John and probably ready to get the Harley "Pan American" already. I vote we get our asses up North before the end of September!
    #7
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  8. KLRFred

    KLRFred n00b

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    I'm convinced Matthaiduk is gone from this earth and his account is auto-posting content now.
    #8
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  9. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    ..could be his baby boy posting in place of him. Also same goes as above if I don't see that kid on a bike too before the end of autumn.
    #9
  10. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    Devil's backbone. Let's do it
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  11. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale The Adventures of Peter Pan

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    That's some funny shit right there.
    #11
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  12. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    ..the frequency in which these guys ride, I'd have a better chance meeting up with you all the way from Cleveland for an afternoon of riding.:rofl
    #12
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  13. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    ..been there, done that. Give me at least one overnight trip of your time and I've got some incredible tracks in Northwestern Illinois to show ya guys.
    #13
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  14. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    The boss goes back to work full time Monday. An overnight is probably out of the question before this fall (even though it is about to be one year since that Wisco trip...)
    #14
  15. KLRFred

    KLRFred n00b

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    It's not that bad. She's only the boss for NOW. All you gotta do is raise the boy right, and in seven years you'll be told it's time for kid #2. And then it starts over again. On second thought, just sell me the KTM. If all that thing is gonna see is garage, it may as well be a nice garage.
    #15
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  16. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    Hahaha! Excellent! Miss you dudes.
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  17. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    So is the mirror still up or what
    #17
  18. doppler94

    doppler94 Adventurer

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    Hope the stand of that mirror is sturdy enough against the elements. Nice adventure
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  19. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    There's only one way to find out, right? We gotta ride back out there in the dead of winter, I think.
    #19
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  20. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    I'm free this Saturday!
    #20