This will be for my readers that are not on the e-mail lists. Last week I had another round of doctor visits at Fairmont and Rochester, mainly to reassure Jan that I will live another day or two. Fairmont was a visit with my cardiologist to get the results from an echo cardiogram that I had done the week before and things are just hunky-dory with my ticker. Hopefully that part of my body has inherited some genetics from my Mom's side of the family. Jan and I went over to Rochester the night before and bunked with the Theobalds for the night. Luckily we got there in time to chase the boys around a little before bedtime ( see Tatertot Hotdish ). The appointment wasn't until afternoon so we spent the next morning cruising the bike shops and the mall before heading up to 5 west to see Dr. Martin. He poked and prodded and ran the scope through my nose and down my throat to look for trouble and everything was good here too. We skipped out of there and ran for home. Saturday was another PGR mission to Buffalo, Minnesota for an airman's funeral. Ssgt Rory Gavic died at Hill AFB, Utah. He was 25 years old and a dog handler that had spent a tour in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The word was that his birth father had just recently passed away and maybe that had something to do with his passing. I have been to way too many of these missions, but I am afraid that they will just continue even with the efforts being made to recognise and treat PTSD in our warriors. I arrived pretty early after a 0600 departure from home and had the distinct honor of welcoming a new PGR member to her first mission. She also was a Gold Star mother that buried her son 5 years ago this coming February. I have no idea of the pain she must be suffering. She described something in her heart that needed to get out and she joined the PGR. Once word got around everybody was paying attention to her. The time we stood in line during the visitation hadn't been too bad she said when I asked her after that part of the service but she expected the internment at the cemetery to be a lot tougher and I expect that it was, although I did not get a chance to talk with her after that. She was lined up close to the grave site so that all of the ceremonies would be visible. I was surprised to have a comment on my last blog from a Gold Star mother in South Dakota. What a honor to be contacted by someone that is dealing with such a loss. On to sunnier subjects. The weather has been nice- for November- so I have managed to get out on a bike recently and my projects keep moving along. I replaced the timing belts on my 94 Ducati, surprisingly it was not that difficult, except for getting them over the sprockets, and it ran when I got done. I also put a performance silencer on the dirt bike and that helped too. I think that I need to rejet also but that can be a winter project as it sounds as if the temps are headed for the basement soon. Thursday this week we are off to Rochester to the Theobalds again for Thanksgiving. I am sure that it will be a good time. Everyone is staying over so that the girls, Jan, Gen and Lindsey can go shopping on black Friday morning. I suppose the guys will just stay in bed as long as possible. I think that I will post a couple pictures just to brighten up the page. Be well, and stay in touch.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Just a short one today. Yesterday I made the run to Alexandria, South Dakota to attend another KIA funeral. It was cold, windy, and spitting rain on the way down, smartly I drove the GT. I arrived about an hour ahead of time and already there were several members and their bikes hiding on the downwind side of the car wash at the Shell station in Alex. We were there to honor Sgt Eduviges "Duvi" Wolf's sacrifice in Afghanistan on October 25 of this year. She was 24 years old, and leaves a husband, Joshua and two small girls, ages one and three behind. We lined up across from the Catholic church in town for the service. This service was attended by a rather large group of women dressed primarily in black from head to foot. I wondered about their involvement until I talked to Jim, the state ride captain and a local former law enforcement officer. It seems that Joshua's Mom had taught school on several of the local Hutterite colonies, so the group were there because of his Mom. The Afghanistan story is, that the couple were stationed at different posts and she was coming over to visit him when here vehicle was hit by an RPG (rocket propelled grenade). His unit was called out to assist but he was forced to remain behind. Gary the Sioux Falls ride captain had visited with the family the evening before and found Joshua very quiet. I think that the consensus was that he should be watched over carefully for awhile. After the funeral Mass we escorted the procession and the hearse to a small cemetery on the north side of Farmer, another town on the Great Plains that is virtually a ghost town. We, the PGR formed a flag line near the grave site with our flags popping in the wind and held it until all family members had left. A person has a lot of time to think while standing on the line. You wonder how it is that a girl born in Cocula, Jalisco, Mexico comes to be buried 24 years later in a small cemetery amidst the corn and soybean fields of South Dakota on a cold windy day in November, 2009 after dying half a world away in a country she probably never heard of as a child. What makes this doubly bad is the two small children left behind. The last female service member KIA service I attended was in Madison, Wisconsin for Rachel Hugo a couple of years ago. At yesterdays' graveside service Sgt Wolf was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart by a Brigadier General, who also came over and shook my hand when he noticed the Red Bulls 34th division patch that I have on my vest. He related that they were a pretty tough outfit and I said that it was my father-in-laws' (Fritz Thielhorn) outfit. On another subject, last Saturday I attended a PGR leadership conference at St. Cloud. On the way home I stopped in New Ulm to check at Target for an item for St. Jan, no such luck. On the way out of town on Highway 15 I looked to the right at an office building and as I was turning ahead I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked left just in time to see the belly of a deer going over the car, checking the right mirror I saw it land on the shoulder and head off into the weeds. Like I've said before "I live a charmed life", although I don't think that it is a good idea to push your luck. Well, stay in touch be well and as contented as possible. OK? Oh ya, a p.s. here. If you go online, look at station KDLT from Sioux Falls, they have a good video story about the funeral. They were the ones doing the interviews and shooting video in Alexandria and at Farmer. I saw myself a couple times where they film down the back side of our flag line. I'm the guy with the grey hooded sweatshirt over my head.
Friday, October 30, 2009
A week ago Jan and I made a run to the Hills for her birthday. We left home at 5:50am and arrived in Rapid City before noon after a couple rest stops and a refueling in Chamberlin. I was using the gps for an accurate speed reading and as usual the speedometer was a little optimistic by a couple of miles an hour. It still seems a little amazing to be able to make the run in a little over 6 hours and what is really amazing is the fact that in 1964 I rode with a guy and made it back to the base in about the same amount of time, this is before there were any 4 lane hiways between here and there. I have contemplated trying to contact him to find out how fast we traveled but it must have been up there. I think that he said that he had been stopped for speeding three weeks in a row in Mitchell. Needless to say he was going with a girl from St. James that was a year older than me I think. Anyhow, back to the subject. The weather was clear but cool as we cruised up to Sturgis to visit the BMW dealer and check out their t-shirt collection. I added one to my closet. Then it was over to Nemo and back to downtown Rapid. We hit "Prairie Edge" and some other shops. They have one of the few stores left that serve model and radio control builders among other crafts. I did business with them when I was stationed in Rapid 45 years ago. They have model aircraft, ships, armor, etc., etc., from all over the world. It's fun just to walk around and look at all of the things that are out there. I have thought about a KC-135 to go with the B-52D that I have hanging in our bedroom, but first I would have to finish a B-36 that I started 30 years ago and never finished, plus repair a second B-52D that got broken at about the same time. Oh well another project for the future. The next morning we headed home on hiway 44 out of Rapid down south of the Badlands and then through Wanblee on the Pine Ridge reservation. That was a scenic route with very little traffic this time of year. Once we got back on the interstate at Kadoka I stepped it up a little and though we made a side trip to the mall in Sioux Falls we were home by supper time. We had two cameras along and I got a couple shots around Interior, so I'll put them in. It seems lately that I just don't shoot as many landscape shots as I used to because it never captures what it really looks like. Ansel Adams could get it done but it seems to escape me. Anyhow, last Saturday we, Jan and our Mothers made a return trip to Rochester for Sam's birthday party on the heels of a 4" snow fall over there, more proof of global warming I guess. If you want to flesh out the details and more pictures you can jump over to Gen's blog using one of the buttons on the upper right. We had Theobalds, Kuehls, Thielhorn, Joe's girlfriend Lauren and their new puppy Jack. Sam and Leah spent most of the day palling around and Aaron and Gus being about the same size hung out too. What more can I say, the food, cupcakes and fun was fun. I hate re-using that word usual so much but it was a great party as usual, which is a good thing. To flesh things out some I will put a couple of our pictures in on top, just to show our view. I should mention a project that has been taking up some of my time in the garage this week and that is cleaning and replacing gaskets in the carburetors on our 94 Ducati. Amazingly enough it actually started and ran quite well except it was leaking gas like a sieve. So that meant tearing into it again and adding a couple o-rings and a new shutoff in the fuel line. I'll put in a picture of what she looked like while the work was in progress. Take care stay touch.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
For those readers that are interested in following up on my previous blog, you can link off on the " Minnesota is Heaven" button on the upper right of this blog to see pictures of our newest grand child William Friedrich. A couple are of him when he was quite fresh from storage and the rest will give you an idea of the rest of the DeFor family. Joe and Annie are growing up so fast and her hair isn't curly anymore, although it is still thick and beautiful. We, St.Jan and I, still cannot get over how we ended up with such attractive offspring and grandchildren. Such a mystery, but a good one. I was on a PGR mission yesterday afternoon for a Veterans Tribute in Fairmont. We had a pretty good turnout considering the weather was cold and damp and three other missions in the state for KIA's and Gold Star families. It was one of those weeks again with three KIA missions in northern Minnesota, but I'm thinking that they were well covered by members in that end of the state. In Fairmont we had members from Iowa and South Dakota attending. I also talked to a guy from Wisconsin that was gassing up ( we were at Super America) and he was headed for Custer South Dakota and maybe the west coast. Some guys are a lot tougher than I am, probably a lot younger too. Stay in touch.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I am going to put up a short post to inform my readers about a major event in our family. Last night- Tuesday- the phone rang and it was Hans calling from Germany. I and St. Jan knew right away what the call was about, William Friedrich ( I hope that I have the second name correct) had made his entrance. The time was before 10pm in Stuttgart, he weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces and is 21 inches long. Shouldn't we say tall for that measurement? It sounds like a big fish that you just landed. Will joins big brother Josiah and big sister Annika. It feels a little odd not being able to run and see him. When Joe was born in San Diego we loaded up the pickup and headed west and we were waiting to leave the Minneapolis airport on the way to Japan when we got word that Annika had arrived. That time we actually got to the hospital to see her after a 13 hour flight. I'm thinking that Jan and I will not jump the Atlantic as the DeFor family should be back in the States in a couple of months, if they can just get the orders that they have been waiting for for some time. I will post another blog in the future when we get more information. The weather here has been kind of nasty, cold, rainy and just gloomy. We had a couple more windows replaced today with Anderson replacement windows. They are really good looking and tight, but not cheap, but then what good thing is ever cheap, inexpensive maybe but not cheap. I also started into cleaning the carburators on my 94 Ducati. They are really grungy, primarily from spending too much time sitting in the garage waiting for her turn to go, not easy when there are newer and prettier faces getting all of the attention. I am also trying a twist on remembering which part goes where, I am actually video taping the process. Anyhow, stay tuned when I hear something I'll get it on line. Bye
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I suppose that I should bring whomever is out there reading this ongoing epistle up to date. Last Wednesday Jan and I drove over to Rochester to meet the tooth doctors. After yet another x-ray of my mouth that shows the broken titanium strap and that the jaw bone has not fused together. Our concern was with only eating on one side, would it wear the teeth down on that side? Doctor Viozzi doesn't think that that should be a problem. I am eating almost anything that I wish to, although sometimes it takes some extras chewing to break it down. He went over what would be involved in repairing the jaw and it sounded a lot like the original operation. The spot that is not fused would need to be cleaned out and a bone donation from my hip this time to fill the gap. You know, I can do with out that kind of pleasure, just now when I am feeling pretty good. I have a hunch that it would mean another week at Mayo and six months of recovery, no thanks. I am eating just fine, probably too good for the diabetes. Anyhow we decided to skip the festivities for now, unless an infection should get going and then I would have no choice but the repair job. On to another subject. Jan and I took the trailer over to Hixton, Wisconsin over the weekend to do some more riding on those good back roads over there. We left here in a rain storm- the first in six weeks I think- and spent the night in the trailer listening to the rain on the roof. Saturday, the clouds broke up and it turned sunny and pleasant so we headed down to Winona and up the river to Alma. At Alma there is a great overlook from the top of a bluff. We had a short lunch and rode back roads north and east back to the campgrounds. Sunday we went out but were dodging rain at times so we came back early, although I did go out later in the afternoon for awhile and got caught in the rain and high winds when the cold front came through. Yesterday we headed back and bucked high wind all of the way home. It is too bad we were not coming home from the Hills with a wind like that at our back. As it was the truck sucked a tank of fuel from Stewartville to St. James running in third or fourth gear- out of five- most of the way. I thought that this expensive diesel engine would pull the trailer without breaking a sweat, but live and learn I guess. We got home before 4pm, unloaded and got it parked on it's pad. With the temperatures this week I may need to think about winterising the trailer to keep the water systems from freezing up. It would be nice to take it out to the Hills again but time is starting to run out on that scheme . We have been thinking about running out to Rapid City around Jan's birthday but it would not include the trailer if we go for just a couple of days. So anyhow, that should bring me up to date. Any questions leave me a comment, OK? Believe it or not we took no pictures this weekend so I may look for something nice.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I'm paraphrasing John Denver again for this edition of the blog. I hope that no-one is getting tired of hearing about my exploits via motorcycles, but it is my blog, correct? This first picture is Jan and three of our grandchildren on the "boat" on the lawn having some pudding. Sam and Gus spent a night while their parents attended a wedding reception in Mankato. Leah was over for awhile to play with her cousins and some neighborhood girls came over too, so it was kind of wild for awhile. To break the motorcycle cycle I'm adding some pictures from that weekend. I like the one of Gus and I at the breakfast table, he loves to snuggle in the morning and I am glad to accommodate him. It is fun having them around but it seems as if it is more work than it used to be, particularly for Jan as usual. So anyhow, Eli managed to get a couple of days off last weekend so we headed for the Hills on Thursday afternoon and spent the night in Rapid City. The next day we went riding west of Spearfish Canyon in some territory that was new to us. We ended up on Cement Ridge which is actually in Wyoming and has a terrific view of four states, I'll throw some pictures in, you'll have to figure out which is which. The weather was beautiful and just a shade warm, so we were shedding clothes as we went along, although I never ride without my armored gear. We had parked the truck near Roughlock Falls in Spearfish Canyon not far from where the final scenes of "Dances with Wolves" was filmed. I think that this side canyon is prettier than the main canyon, but then that is just my opinion. We spent that night in Hill City and the next day went up riding around Nemo on a marked trail system. After riding that portion of rocky climbs, descents and switchbacks Eli and I came to the conclusion that we thought that this was harder riding than Colorado. We had lunch in Nemo and ended up by Dalton Lake after floundering around in the woods for a couple of hours. We got to thinking that after loading the bikes on the truck that it didn't make much sense to get a motel for the night and then head home, so we just headed east and were home in St. James by mid-night. Last night (Monday) I helped Eli move a couple of things to the new house after they passed the final inspection. A couple of photos from their first real night in their new home. It has been a long road and there is some basement finish work to be done but they are into the new digs.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I have mentioned John Denver in this blog before and I think that he was on to something with that song. I keep coming back to that state year after year mainly for the riding. It is getting to the point where I have been on most of the good roads in the mountains and some really bad ones too. I also just realized something recently that most of my blogs lately revolve around riding, I guess because it is Summer that I would be riding a lot. A couple weeks ago I ran out to Ouray and spent a few nights at a motel that Eli and I stayed in in 2001. This was the first trip to the San Juan's for some off road riding and it was a quite an experience for the both of us, well, me anyway. We did the Alpine loop, Black Bear Pass into Telluride, and Imogene Pass which is over 13,000 feet. The big difference this time was the fact that I was riding by myself and I have to hand it to St. Jan to have the nerve to encourage me to do this trip on my own. The one thing that I miss when I am home again is the people that I meet on the trail out there. If you are stopped they stop to ask if all is OK or just to talk about the view or what everyone is riding. Speaking of what people are riding, I saw the most incredible thing ever coming down from Engineer Pass. It was a BMW R1200GS, like ours, coming up the trail, two up to boot!! I was beating my brains out on a little 250 Kawasaki and here comes this big BMW, did I mention they were two up??, with luggage? I related this to a group from Oklahoma further down and he said that a buddy had done it on a Harley once, but needed to replace the tires afterwards. The scenery is fantastic and the trails can be pretty technical but do-able if you watch what you are doing. Jeep rental is very popular and also guided tours over most of the Passes is available although I am sure I could never get Jan on one of these tours without sedation. The trip to and from was not to bad except for grasshoppers on the way out in Nebraska. I left Ouray early on Thursday and got to watch Venus come up over the mountains before I got to Gunnison. One other thing, In eastern Colorado, across Kansas into Nebraska, every corn field that I passed by was nearly or totally destroyed by hail. This went on for hundreds of miles, so a lot of crops are nearly wiped out in that area. Since getting home we have been helping Eli and Lindsey some with their home project, although once again it is primarily Jan either watching the kiddos or staining grout. We did get the whole house re stained and the new garage done and hung some new outdoor lighting on the garages. I have to admit the Jan picked out some nice ones. It is kind of unusual but since the flurry of Patriot Guard activity earlier it has been quiet lately, which all in all is not a bad thing. I have a hunch that with things ratcheting up in Afghanistan we will have more missions in the future and we do go for vets from any branch if requested. So stay in touch drop a comment, please?
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This will be a short version of my most recent trip to Colorado. I just got back on Friday from a six day trip back to the San Juan mountains of south west Colorado. I actually stayed at the same motel that Eli and I stayed in when we were there in 2001. I had to find out if I still had it in me to do those rough trails again and I guess that I do. One of the fun parts of riding in terrain like that is the people that you meet, everyone friendly and having a great time. I have to give a great big thanks to St. Jan for encouraging me to do crazy things like this. One of my favorite motto's is, there is more to life than just living. I have a tee shirt that has a similar saying on the back that I should take a picture of and include in the final draft. Anyhow, I had a great time and just came home a little sore from doing so much riding standing up. I'll add a few pictures to give a taste of the riding. Oh yah, I was riding down the main drag of Silverton when I heard my cell phone ring and it was St. Jan with news that the two biopsies turned out to be benign, so that was a real day brightener. Stay tuned for more updates.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I suppose that this blog could be for the other readers that are not on my e-mail lists. St. Jan and I drove over to Rochester on Monday afternoon for a stay at the Theobalds. Our supper there was a good summer feast again, with sweet corn, green beans, and assorted items from the grill. Tuesday I had a follow up appointment with the doctor at Mayo in the afternoon and it went well. According to Dr. Eli things are looking good so he doesn't need to see me for another three months. We visit every three months for the first two years and if everything continues to be clean we go every six months until the five year mark. So, the next few years will tell the tale. A week ago or so I visited the dermatologist in Mankato for a check up and he biopsied a couple of sites on my chest and back. Although they have been carving moles etc. off of me for years, with my recent history the wait for results is a little more anxiety ridden. On to other subjects. Tomorrow, Mom and I head up to Alexandria for the annual Horman family get together. This year my brother Phil will meet us enroute to the festivities. I have also been trying to plan an off road bike trip to Colorado again or as an alternate, Wyoming. Things keep switching around so the destination is still up in the air as I type. I really want to hit the high passes in Colorado while I am still able, because as past history shows us, you can't always count on tomorrow being there for you to use. I have done these passes before except for Mosquito Pass which is well over 13,000 feet, the highest in the lower 48. If we go to Wyoming it would be the Big Horns, of which I have some maps. I also have been hitting some Patriot Guard missions, one in Rochester Saturday and one in Fairmont yesterday. Also, yesterday I was offered the job of assistant ride captain in this sector, I accepted with trepidation, I just hope that I don't screw this up. The ride captain and assistant ride captains in this sector which ends at state highway 15 in the east both live in the southwest corner of the state at Pipestone and Hardwick so I will cover this end of the sector, I hope. We also have been helping Eli and Lindsey some with their home building project but it has kind of moved on from the rank amateur helper status to the skilled labor stage. I helped with moving some appliances in and watching the kiddos so they can work there has been Jan's' contribution as well. The driveway was poured Tuesday and the cabinets were installed too. Today Eli and I may run up to Maple Plain to get a lawn mower/ snow blower that he found on the net. I think that I may browse some old photos and throw them on for your amusement. Take care and stay in touch. The pictures are from our 1974 trip to California.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
It seems as if I have been commuting to the Twin Cities area for about the last two weeks on and off. Last Saturday we - the PGR- had the memorial service in Rosemount for cpl. Benjamin Kopp U.S.Army Ranger. He was wounded in Afghanistan and died at Walter Reed about a week later from complications from his wounds. He was hit in the leg while trying to break contact with the Taliban and must have picked up an infection or something. It seems hard to believe in this day and age that he could have been transported back to Walter Reed and they could not save him. The service at the Rosemount High school gym was almost like attending a church service, with three of his Ranger friends eulogizing him with quotes from the scriptures and the chaplain giving the main address. There were no dry eyes in our group as we were invited to stand around the mezzanine above the gym during the service. Today will be his send-off at Holman Field in St. Paul for his final trip to Arlington National Cemetery in DC. I ran into Phil afterwards and we met for lunch at a Mac and Dons' down the street, and hit a bike store in Lakeville on the way out. I'll add some pictures to the blog, some are from Rosemount and some are of the flowers blooming from the plants that we started way last winter. I almost forgot, But last Friday I was in Sioux Falls for the memorial service for a Viet Nam vet killed in a motorcycle accident. This guy had spent two tours in Viet Nam as a Force Recon Marine and gets killed by a kid that turned left in front of him near the Harley store. He was the member of a couple biker gangs, not Hells Angels but "real" biker gangs, and there were guys from all over that showed up for the service. The first couple of photos are from Sioux Falls, then one from Rosemount and the last few should be self explanatory, ok?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It has been an extremely busy week or ten days for us. I have attended 4 different visitations and funerals for our fallen heroes from Minnesota. A week ago Sunday I was in Hastings for a visitation for Sgt Wayne Hosford, the following Friday I was in Cottage Grove for Spc Carlos Wilcox and the next day I was in Woodbury for Spc Dan Drevnick. The mission for Spc Wilcox was quite large and followed a thunder storm so the weather was fairly cool and it was on Friday which tends to limit the amount of the turnout due to jobs etc.. Saturday was clear and cool for spc Drevnicks' funeral and we had a large turnout of around 250 bikes. Dave Mude and his wife Jan and I figuring that the ride to Fort Snelling with a group of that size was more fun than we wanted, headed home through Hastings again. We had been riding the same route for all three of the funerals in that area because it is a much quieter and less traveled way to get to the southeast metro. Yesterday-Monday- we were at Bird Island for the services for spc James Wertish and we had a tremendous turnout, Patriot Guards from all over Minnesota and some from South Dakota too. I am not sure but I think that we must have had close to 200 bikes again. The procession from Bird Island to Olivia where he was laid to rest was well over a mile in length riding two wide, with people along the route with flags etc.. As I said it has been busy and we have another coming up on Friday in Apple Valley. As long as there are people out there wanting to do us harm I am afraid that we will continue to have these missions. I am just proud to be able to honor these heroes in this way. This country is lucky to have these young people that will step up to do their turn on the front lines of keeping us free. Remember freedom is not free!! Spcs Drevnick, Wilcox, and Wertish were National Guardsmen from the 34th Red Bull division out of Stillwater that were all killed in a single rocket attack on their base near Basra, Iraq, which was a relatively safe area in the sand box. I have included some pictures. The upper ones are from spc Wertish's funeral and the one on the bottom is from the visitation in Hastings for sgt Hosford.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
When I left you in the last episode I was in Price, Utah. I met another older gentleman with a Yamaha FJR from the LA area who was returning from a rally up in Canada, at least he looked older to me. In all actuality he was probably my age but he looked older to me. Anyhow, the next leg up to Duchesne was great and cool at higher altitudes, then northwest from there and over Soapstone Pass on a dirt road. One thing that boggles me is seeing several trailers as big as ours parked in the trees up there. I can't imagine dragging something that large up the grades and around the corners on those switchbacks, but there they are. Perhaps they hire a big helicopter to airlift them in? Then up through the Uinta mountains to Wyoming. What can I say but that the run over the Uintas was beautiful ( I'm running out of superlatives here ). I cut across the south west corner of Wyoming to Bear Lake in Utah again, a blue lake in a mountain setting that is totally surrounded by houses.To get a picture I had to shoot through a chain link fence. Then it was head east for the run to home. Most of the afternoon it seems I was running off to the south of the Wind River Range and they look like a likely destination in the future. I have used Google Earth to pre-run some areas there and it looks spectacular. Spent the night in Lander, Wyoming and spotted a GS1200 Adventure from Florida with tags from Canada and Alaska including Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean. Now there is a long distance cruise. From Lander to Casper is a long drone across a less scenic part of Wyoming. I stopped for fuel in Casper and had a long conversation with another interesting person. I was just saddling up to leave when a guy in a pickup ran over and asked about my bike. We talked for a time and I noticed that he had a unique accent and I just had to ask. It turns out he was from Australia, then I had to ask why in of all places did you end up in Casper? It turns out he sheared sheep in Australia and came here to do the same thing, and Wyoming has lots of sheep. He had gotten out of the shearing business and was doing building contracting now. I think that he said that his wife is from the Twin Cities also. Another chance encounter with an interesting person. It must be the mentality of people that ride that opens them up to meeting other riders, as 9 times out of 10 they are either riding or have in the past. Heading east from Casper I passed several coal trains headed my way and by the time I was south of Rapid City I could see a big black cloud in my path and sure enough I ran into a down pour with high winds, but luckily no hail, which is quite common in that area. East of Rapid I pulled under an overpass to get out of the weather with the hope that it would pass by. Another bike pulled in with me, so we sat on the guard rail an hollered at each other for awhile ( we both were wearing earplugs ). He and a partner had been on the road for 26 days already and were heading home to Oswego, New York. It sounds as if they had been all over the lower 48 states. He was on a Harley so they were going to do the pilgrimage to the museum in Millwaukee. That night I was in Wall, South Dakota, at the time I thought that if I just keep going I could be home tonight but it is a good thing that I stopped to dry out. In the morning I was on the road early and had a nice ride home. Oh ya, in Chamberlin for breakfast I was seated next to a couple and when I went to leave I noticed that he had a Butterfield Threshing Bee t-shirt. It turned out that they were from the Trimont area, small world. I think that I was home by about 1pm without getting wet again. Come to think of it the guy from New York had not hit any rain until the downpour we both endured in South Dakota.
As an addition, Jan and I spent the weekend of the 4th at a KOA in Oakdale, Wisconsin. We went riding Saturday and Sunday on the back roads in that area. Wisconsin back roads are one of the best kept secrets in motorcycling as they are all paved and go up and down and round and round and are quiet to boot! Anyhow, we had a great time and brought our lunches along and ate at a couple of interesting locales, one at a downtown picnic table and another at a shelter in the country next to an old country school. We will be going back in the future I am sure. Well, that is about it for now, maybe I'll do another posting in the future on the Fallen Hero's ride I participated in over this weekend. I'll throw some pictures in here and try to get them in proper order for a change. Bye. Phil and Paul may recoginise the picture of the sign for Farsn, Wyoming. Think about our 1973 trip.