Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Post Part Zwei

   I'm back. Actually it is the 31st of December 2014, so I could not have gone any longer without ending up in 2015. It seems lately that I have been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about my health condition. I remember with fondness how healthy I thought that I was when I was younger, now it is pretty much one thing after another, some more serious than the other. It could be the weather, never having been the type to enjoy looking out of the windows at the frozen Earth around the house, although hanging around in the garage with the gang does ease the pain somewhat. Anyhow enough of my troubles, I think that I let off with the month of June, so naturally July would follow.
   The month started with us getting the trailer out again and getting down to Lanesboro for the 4th of July weekend. We manage to get there almost every year, pretty much for the fireworks display they put on, and we get some riding in also in that area. It's not as good as Wisconsin, where most roads are paved, but close. We celebrated Aaron's birthday on the 8th and on the 9th we were back in Rochester to meet with the doctors from ENT for the word. On the 10th I had surgery for another spot of cancer in my mouth in the same location as before. Luckily this was outpatient so we were out of there in the afternoon. A few days later Jan and I went to Winona for the Dale Warland concert, not as good  as last year but still very good. With doctors appointments, and another trip back to Rochester to take a look at my mouth I did get an ok to travel. I loaded up the GS and headed west, again, I just never seem to be able to go east. I spent the first night in, where else but Hot Springs, for the 2nd time this year. Out across Wyoming, I guess that it is hard to go that way and miss that state. A night in Lander then up to Pinedale to try a pass that turned out too rough, which required a detour through the Grand Tetons. Not a bad detour to say the least, but crowded. I did manage to hit a trail I had been eyeing that turned out to be 34 miles dirt in the Big Horns. On the way back to Minnesota I spent the night at an Air Force buddies home in Gettysburg, South Dakota. A nice trip and I managed to stay dry and uninjured.
  Next up August. Jan and I were over to Rochester again, this time to watch the grandsons while their Mom and Dad were out of town. The deck finally got sanded down to bare wood and finished in another product that I hope stands up longer to our weather. I participated in a very special PGR mission one evening We gave a motorcycle escort from Fairmont to the South Dakota line for the remains of a Canadian soldier from WWII on his way home. It was quite an event with Highway Patrol leading the assembly of vehicles. I didn't get home until almost midnight. The next day in Odin they held a sort of softball reunion for the team that we attended. My brother Paul played for Odin for years and managed to play, without hurting himself too bad I  think. It was like old times, with the concession stand open and the same announcer on the p.a.. This was fast pitch softball which bares little resemblance to slow pitch. It is too bad but that style of ball has almost disappeared from this area anyway. In the middle of the month was the Butterfield Threshing Bee which we attended again, and about that time our Rachel had a big birthday, she was born in 1974 so I'll let you figure it out. The end of the month we loaded the dirt bike in the pickup and headed west again through Wyoming and down to south western Colorado. I did some off roading while Jan checked out the thrift stores in Ridgway. I went over Imogene Pass again and if you scroll back to earlier blogs you can get a more detailed account. From there we went to Antonito, Colorado to catch the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge railroad. We did the all day ride through the mountains to Chama, New Mexico, and it was great.
  Then September. We bought a new Ford Escape, I think that the rationale was that 4 wheel drive would be nice in the winter, but we haven't had a chance to try that out yet. We had the trailer out again for our yearly trip to Oakdale, Wisconsin. We spent the better part of a week there getting some riding on the best roads in this part of the country, and some relaxing too, mainly because the weather did not cooperate some days. It was cold and rainy quite a bit, which was unusual. One evening my brother Phil and his wife Laura came down, and we all went to Jackson to the vo-tech school. They were having a 50th reunion and Phil, and Jan are both graduates of that institution. We also laid in 3 tons of wood pellets for the pellet stove, so we are pretty well fixed for the winter. My sister Kathy was home again and we celebrated my Moms 94th birthday on the 28th. The football season is on again so we had football in the yard like we did a couple of years ago. I put the tv on the deck and we sit on the lawn and watch, it always seems like a lot of fun.
  October is next. I ran the BMWs up to Monticello for some warranty work, added some better lighting in the newer garage stall, and cleaned it up afterwards. I rode along with Eli when he went out hunting for a different pickup, having sold the last one for a profit I think. Anyway we found a high mileage Chevy near Hanley Falls and he has been busy spiffing it up. The time he spent working in that body shop has turned into an educational experience that has paid dividends over the years. Our Honda ST1300 got sold to a guy from the Cities area, with Elis' help on Craigs list, so we are down one. We, Jan primarily, have been trying to line up some assistance for my Mom in her home because she really should not be going up and down stairs to the basement. Jan and I ran out to the Hills for her birthday later in October. We spent one night at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge and breakfasted at the Latchstring. It was so beautiful there in the evening and in the morning with the sun coming over the rim of the canyon. That day we toured the National Cemetery at Sturgis, visiting my shop chiefs' grave, and thinking about a marker for us when the time comes, far into the future with any luck at all. That was about it for October.
  November started out with us signing up to get our heating and air conditioning system replaced. We have been running the same air conditioner since 1975, and every spring we wonder if it will take us through another summer, but it always has, so I guess now is the time. Right about then I developed a problem in my eye lid, a sty maybe?  So I started visiting assorted medical professionals to get that cleared up. Veterans' Day has been pretty good now that there are a lot of things available for free. We ate breakfast, lunch and had a haircut for no cost, to me anyway. Hy-Vees' breakfast is actually a lot of fun, kind of like eating at the chow hall with a bunch of guys mostly, from all of the branches, finding out where they served, what they did etc.. Right before that Fall came to a screeching halt with temperatures dropping into the 20 to 30 degrees below average for the rest of the month. I was also working on the XR650 Honda as it has picked up a rattle again, maybe clutch or oil pump, I hope, cause they will be easy to replace. No such luck, those parts did not help the problem, probably a piston again. Jan and I drove over to Rochester for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but we don't get up early anymore with stores being open the night before and sales for extended periods. Motoprimo in Lakeville was having sales on Friday so we ran up there on our way home to pick up some oil and stuff. There was a drawing in the afternoon and I won an electric scooter that was worth a lot more than I would have paid for it. All in all we will have around $600 in it in taxes etc. before it's done. I had hoped to get out of it something like what it is worth, but I have my doubts.
  December, Jan and I returned to Lakeville to pick up our winnings. We took my Mom to Mankato for her doctors appointment, and I got ready for my 3 year colonoscopy, which thankfully went well this time, so I won't be doing that for 5 years this time. I had a PGR mission to Baltic, South Dakota on the 10th. We went to Redwood Falls to a basketball tournament that Leah was playing in and on to the Cities for Donna DeFor's Christmas concert at Wooddale. We spent the night at Phil and Laura's and got home the next day. Jan and I were over to Rochester for Sam and Gus' Christmas concert at Holy Spirit and home late, for a next day dentist appointment, who discovered a broken filling which was repaired a couple of days ago. Saturday the 20th was Christmas at our place, and as usual it was kind of crazy, but a good kind of crazy. Everyone was here including my brothers and their wives, the only missing were the DeFors who are in Japan still. After that Jan spent some time cleaning up and rearranging things. Leah and Aaron had their Christmas program at St. Paul's and we spent a day with them when day care was not available. We get to hang out and catch up on their movies. We got 3 or 4 inches of snow the other day and the temps have really tanked. Yesterday we finally made the decision and bought our tickets for a trip to Japan to visit Rachel and her family, so we will be busy in the coming days.
  So all in all not a bad year, bad things caught before they get any worse, everyone else reasonably healthy, and Jan and I being able to do an awful lot of things that we wanted to do. Jan has been spending a lot of time
with her Mom's things and now she has volunteered to help with Aaron's class. That poor teacher has 20 youngsters to ride herd on and try to teach as well, so Jan has given her a little breathing room. I am spending time this winter planning another trip to the west and who knows what else will crop up. So stay healthy, happy as is possible, and with any luck at all I will be writing more next year about this time. For a more complete synopsis of things scroll back through some of my older blogs AND LEAVE A  COMMENT if you please.
             Pete Kuehl  31 December 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Post Part Ein

  It's funny, when I am not in front of this keyboard, I think of all kinds of profound things to say, but my mind goes blank when the screen lights up. So we shall just have to go with the  run of the mill mid level vocabulary I normally go with, ok? Anyhow, as years go, this one has not been extraordinarily different from the past several years, so I will try to fill in the blanks for those of you who do not read my slowly posted blogs. Traditionally I start with January because, you know, it is the first month of the year and does make a natural starting point, so I will stick with tradition, not wanting to confuse anybody.
  So it's January 2014, let me see. The temps were in the negative region a lot of the time, and we made several trips to the Fairmont ER or Sherburn to help with Jan's Mom's medical problems, and Fairmont scouting out a new refrigerator for my Mom, so we, and primarily Jan, are entering an era of caring for our parents. In the middle of the month we had some freezing rain progressing into near blizzard conditions, and a trip to Rochester to visit the Theobalds. Later on it was brutal cold and high winds, and more trips for doctor appointments for me and Jan's Mom. We did get our new couch in there, and I worked on re-assembling the engine on my 185 Honda. We got a used carpet remnant to replace the several scraps that I have covered the floor in the shop with over the years.
  February is next. It looks as if I spent considerable time on projects that have been hanging fire for years, one, a model of a B-36 that I started on in the 60s I think, and am finally getting together and painted, and second our Honda 185 that has been sitting disassembled in the garage attic for at least 10 years. Eli got the tank and frame all nicely painted with the proper color, and I spent a lot of time with a scrub brush and parts cleaner on the rest of the bike. When it was finally reassembled it looked pretty good, and actually ran, although the carburetor needs work. The weather continued with January's trend of below zero days and nights, and some snow. The 15th was our 43rd anniversary, so we took a couple of days and ran out to the Hills. It was 5 above here and 65 by the time we got out there. Jan and I tried to get over to Rochester one day but had to turn back due to bad roads, watched the Kuehl kiddos, and started to develop a cold.
  March follows, in my books anyway. I was nursing a cold and we had  heavy snow storms, which always means time blowing, and scooping snow- more fun in the snow. We celebrated Leah's 8th birthday on the 8th, and spent early morning hours at the Fairmont ER again with Jan's Mom. The next day I was at Cpl Caleb Erickson's visitation in Waseca. The Cpl was killed in action in Afghanistan. Patriot Guard missions are really starting to slow down, particularly KIA's, which all in all is not a bad thing. Primarily what we are doing now is veteran funerals. I was over to Waseca the next day for the funeral and burial. Luckily it was a sunny day with melting temperatures, so standing in a snow bank at the cemetery was ok. Jan was spending more time with her Mom, who seems to be failing mentally, and is no longer able to stay in her assisted living apartment. The weather is moderating, thank God, and I managed to get bikes out of the garage again. Jan did manage to get her Mom into the rest home here in St. James, so the trips to Sherburn won't be done any more.
  Then comes April. I started getting the trailer out of hibernation, then we had a heavy snow, and then the temperatures started heading in the correct direction. Bikes were running out of the garage and getting serviced in anticipation of trips to come in the coming season. Jan and I ran over to Rochester to see Sam and Gus' program, also here in town for Leah, and Aaron. My brothers, Phil, Paul, and I did some projects at my Mom's house one day. I did get the 185 running, but it turns out that it has a plugged low speed jet that needed to be cleaned. It has got to the point that I can pull the carb off of that engine in a matter of minutes, I've done it so many times over the years. Easter was at Eli and Lindsey's house as is usual, and I see that I must have been trimming trees and cleaning up the yard. Was doing a lot of catch up riding whenever the weather co-operated and made a PGR mission at Yankton, South Dakota. Jan and I went to Leah's first piano recital here in town, it looks like we may have another pianist in the making.
  May, what can I say? We were getting some moisture, because I mowed the lawn 3 times in the first 10 days of May. Jan and I made our first trailer run to the Albert Lea KOA over Mother's Day weekend. This is pretty early in the year so it was not unusual that it was cold and rainy, but we did get some riding in, and there is heat in the trailer so it's not too bad. The next major project to start out was the change of the living room and den carpet, which necessitated getting movers to move the baby grand to another room, pulling all the wood work, and painting the walls. Luckily I was not tasked with the paint job, or moving the piano, whew. With the change of the season came trips to Wooddale for Donna's choir concert, Blaine for our nephew's stepdaughter's funeral, Mankato to pick up my sister Kathy, Rochester again for Sam and Gus' program, and Owatonna for our annual Memorial Day picnic. Jan's Mom, Bernice broke her hip in a fall, and Rachel fearing the worst, made a flight home from Japan, and we went to the Cities to get her from the plane. Rachel, Josiah, Annika, and William are living in Japan, where her husband Hans is stationed in the Navy. Hans is in command of the destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur, so Rachel being a COW (commanding officers wife) has a lot of activities on her plate along with three young children to ride herd on. So May was busy in mostly good ways, and just on the last day, Phil, and I departed on our bike trip to places southwest mainly.
   June started out with Phil and I on the road across Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas for starters. We wandered across northern New Mexico, western Colorado, and Wyoming, South Dakota, and home. We never even got wet or had bike trouble, and while we were gone they had several inches of rain at home. I think that we ran out to the south ahead of the weather and it swept in behind us and had moved to the east by the time we returned, sometimes you get lucky. Less than a week later Jan and I got the trailer out and loaded, and on the road back to the Hills again, to Hot Springs this time. Before Gen, Sam, Gus, Eli, Leah, and Aaron showed up Jan and I managed to get some riding in. One day we ran down to Fort Robinson in Nebraska, it was an interesting trip. Once the gang arrived we spent time touring the area and hanging out in camp. If you scroll back through my blogs you can see a more detailed tale. At home again, we took down another ash tree east of the house that was starting to look a little shaky, so that was the last ash tree of the four that we had at one time. I'm not sure if it will get replaced or not. We made a trip to Rochester again, although this time was to Mayo for a check on another suspicious spot in the same area as my major surgery six years ago. I heard the dreaded word again "biopsy". Anyhow. after that and a pet scan we went home to wait for the results. It's cancer again and surgery was on the 10th of July. They can't quite figure out how it can show up in the same location again since all of the tissue was removed and replaced with skin from my leg. The thinking is that a margin of the original had some cancer in it and developed from that. Phil and Laura were down and spent the night toward the end of the month. That about wraps up Christmas 2014 part Ein. Stay tuned for the next part.


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Bucket list Summer

    This has been a Summer of trying to get as many projects accomplished as possible I guess. Things started off in June with a bike trip with my brother Phil that I had intended to be a really long one, wondering around the West, but I chickened out on part of the idea, and only put on a couple thousand miles. We hit a few states and saw a lot of great scenery, and had a good time.

After we got back, we -Jan and I- hooked up the trailer and drove to Hot Springs, South Dakota, for about a weeks worth  camping. Gen, Sam, Gus, Eli, Leah, and Aaron came out a couple of days later. We had a great time touring around the southern Hills, and showing the younger kids some of the sites we are more familiar with. We had one night with a movie on the picnic table beside the trailer, and some grilling etc..

After we got back from Hot Springs, I loaded up the GS and headed west again, to try and accomplish the route I had tried last year in Wyoming, before bad weather had chased me home. I spent the first night in- where else, but Hot Springs again, and ran out to Lander, Wyoming the next day. Wyoming was just as nice as it was a month before when Phil and I rode across part of it. Out of Lander the next morning I went up into a State park, and over the south end of the Wind River range. It was several miles of good asphalt switch backs and about 20 miles of moderately decent dirt road, until I got back out to the highway. A long run up to Pinedale for lunch and an attempt at Union Pass, which turned out to be longer and rougher than I was willing to abuse the GS, so Union Pass will remain unconquered, unless I can trailer a smaller, less expensive bike out there, but then that will be another story. If you look back a couple of blogs you can get a blow by blow account of the rest of the trip, come to think of it. Oops, I just remembered, before I went west again, we took the trailer down to Lanesboro for the 4th. We were joined by the Theobalds, and Jan and I got to do some riding. We run down there on the 4th, primarily for the firework show that they put on, and it is really great! I wonder how much that display costs, as it goes on for a long time with some spectacular stuff. Jan usually tries to make a reservation a year ahead of time for just that reason. If you look back at some of my earlier blogs, you can get a more detailed account of some of the goings on. Anyhow, toward the end of August, Jan, and I loaded the dirt bike in the pickup and lit off for Colorado. Here we go again, but we spent the first night in Hot Springs, again, for the third time this Summer. The next day was out across southern Wyoming in on and off rain, across a couple of passes, until we got to Craig, Colorado, where we spent the night. Then it was down over Grand Mesa to Ridgway where we had reservations for a couple of nights. I headed up Imogene pass next morning, and luckily the weather was great, the bike pulled all the way to the top, with reserve power. That far above the tree line, engines can get a little anemic for lack of oxygen. I think that this may have been the fourth time that I have made it to the top, and the view from there is so spectacular, it's hard to describe. A few pictures from up there over 13,000 feet will have to suffice. Everybody is so happy, probably just from making it that far, or maybe it's hypoxia. Taking each other's photo standing next to the pass marker is a given. From there it is a tough trail down to Telluride, where there is a pretty important film festival going on around Labor Day every year. A trip out to the airport to look at the private jets parked nose to tail is eye opening as to how the other half must live.

Jan had spent the day bumming around Ridgway, which has thrift shops etc., etc., so she kept busy while I was on the trail. I had planned on trying Ophir Pass after I got to Telluride but I was getting tired after getting down from Imogene and decided to call it a day, and cruised back to Ridgway. We walked uptown and hit another thrift shop just to see the sites, and I ended up with another book. From Ridgway we drove down to Antonito to catch the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge railroad the following day. That was a spectacular all day ride from Antonito to Chama, New Mexico, by rail over a 10,000 foot pass and over a gorge, with a stop for a terrific noon lunch, and a bus back to Antonito. Considering all of what we saw and experienced the $100 fare seems to us, a good deal. I find it a little hard to believe, but the trip covers 65 miles of narrow gauge rail through the plains and over the mountains.

I think that we spent about a week at home mowing the lawn that had suddenly started growing at an accelerated pace, helped along by the several inches of rain we got while we were gone, among other things. We drug the trailer out again and loaded up the GS and provisions for a week in Wisconsin, for our yearly pilgrimage to the back roads of that state. We just got back yesterday-Sunday- and the lawn is deep again. We did get some riding in, but it rained a couple of days and it was cold, so that kind of takes the fun out of it. For once I don't think we took any pictures, so you will have to use your imagination.
I think that the driving force behind this busy Summer has been a realization, that with my cancer scares, and an out patient procedure this Summer at Mayo, that nobody lives forever, and if you want to do some thing, within reason, you had best go for it. So, this Summer, I checked off a few more boxes on my bucket list. It has been a busy Summer so far, and in a couple of days we are headed over to watch the grandsons for a bit, while Gen is in Prague meeting with her sister Rachel. They have been planning this trip for a long time for Rachel's 40th. So take care, leave a comment if you would, so that I know if anyone is out there, please. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

For Ardy on her Big Day

  It's funny how time seems to get away from you, things come and go, and life does go on regardless of what goes on in the world. When we were having our deck sanded just recently I got talking to the guys doing the work, and they asked how long we had lived in this house. I had to do a little thinking and said we moved in in 1974 when Rachel was just a tiny baby, and this is 2014, so it must be almost 40 years. Gosh, it doesn't seem possible that the little girl that Jan and I took home from Waconia Ridgeview in August 1974 is turning the big 4 0 today, if you're in Japan. In between she has been all over the world, so to speak, married, brought three children into the world, and is now serving as kind of the domestic commander of the USS Curtis Wilbur, just without the classy uniform, and salutes. Someday I hope that you can look out on your family scattered across the United States, and maybe the world and be as proud of them as I am of you, and your sister, and brother. I suppose that it is the impossible dream of every parent to be able see what happens to family in the future years, but we all know what a futile desire that is. We all went to the Threshing Bee yesterday, and sat around on the driveway at twilight and got to going over the night, or early morning you were born. It's amazing how lots of details stick in your head about times like that. We were headed into the hospital at the same time as a co-worker of mine, who had had a few too many, and broken his arm playing night football, and the weather was nice too. This will be another letter in lieu of a card which can be recycled. We just want you to remember how much your Mother, and I love you, and can't wait to see you again face to face. Oh ya, Happy Birthday on this your 40th, can you believe it?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Escorting PFC Gordon to his home

   Yesterday afternoon and evening I had quite an experience with the Patriot Guard. We helped escort PFC Gordon's remains across southern Minnesota from Fairmont, where we took over from the riders from Rochester, and took him to South Dakota. Waiting for the group from Rochester to arrive was kind of like the old days with the PGR, just hanging out, getting our flags unfurled, talking to "civilians", watching bikes returning from Sturgis refuel at the station we were assembled at, and waving at vehicles honking as they went by. Dave Muhde stopped by our house on the way to Fairmont, and we spent some time catching up on things, and I took him through the garages to show him our collection. Things have been a little slow in our sector lately so it was good to see so many familiar faces when we arrived in Fairmont. Naturally the escort coming from Rochester to Albert Lea to Fairmont was running late, so by the time they arrived we were almost an hour behind the original schedule. Then the fun parts start when the procession arrives with police escort and local sheriffs stopping traffic, standing a flag line and saluting the casket as he passes by, then quickly stowing our flags and getting riding gear on. Dave, and I, and four others formed the escort pulling out ahead of the vehicle carrying the casket, and we followed a Minnesota Highway patrolman. We ran about 75 in the left lane all the way to the first South Dakota rest stop, about 100 miles or so. By the time we got there it was dark. The South Dakota crew was there waiting for us to arrive. They would escort them to a funeral home in Sioux Falls, and today they will escort him all the way to Rapid City! Anyhow the scene at the rest stop was a repeat of Fairmont, lots of hand shaking, and b s ing about the ride etc., thanking the patrolman. We formed a line and the vets in the line saluted the casket as he continued his journey home to Canada. I headed home in the dark carefully scanning for deer all the way, while a near full moon kept me company, sliding through broken clouds. I rolled into the driveway around midnight, definitely the latest night riding that I have done in a very long time. All in all a very good deed was done by all involved. Sometimes I hate to say things like this are fun but some of our missions are very satisfying to say the least. If anyone is interested check out the website, it is quite a story.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another bucket list trip and assorted July items

It seems that the older I get the fuller my Summers are getting to be. For instance, the end of June my dentist suggested that a new growth in my mouth should get tested. So Jan and I are off to Mayo again for a biopsy, which led to two days of tests, which led to outpatient surgery at St. Mary's in Rochester on the 10th. Anyhow, 10 days later the stiches let go and my internist, Dr. Anderson said "maybe you should go back to Mayo and have THAT checked out". So here we go again, Jan and I to Rochester for a follow-up. My regular doctor there said " don't worry about it, just keep it as clean as possible". With that prognosis my Wyoming trip was back on. The next morning I was on the GS headed west to Hot Springs, South Dakota. After the time we spent there about a month ago, I am starting to get real familiar with that town. The only problem was the fact that it hit 106 in that area as I was coming down from Rapid. The next morning I was off to the south, stopping at what is a ghost town now, Ardmore. At one time it looks as if it was a thriving small town but now it is mostly deserted. One odd thing about this town is the number of old cars sitting in yards. One house looks to have 30 or 40 Ramblers etc. bunched around the yard, and that was not the only group of older vehicles there. From there it down past Ft. Robinson to Lusk, Casper, and Lander, Wyoming. It is a long desolate haul from Casper to Lander, which I have done several times. That is a problem about Wyoming, if you want to get from one end of the state to the other, there aren't many options as far as roads go. From Lander, in the morning, I headed into the Wind River range on a great road through a state park. It was paved up through the switch backs to a couple of lakes, and then was about 20 miles of dirt to get back out on the route west that I wanted. One of the routes that I wanted to hit was a pass over the Wind River Range north of Pinedale. As I started up the road was paved for the first 20 miles or so and the turned to washboard gravel, the to rocky washboard gravel and then deteriorated some more. When I came to a sign that said "Union Pass 32 miles", I said "I am not going to put this bike through that, and who knows how far it is from the pass to civilization on the other side? That meant a detour back to Pinedale, up through Jackson, past the Grand Tetons, ending up at Riverton. I have to admit that it was a scenic detour for sure, but a long one, to end up close to where I had spent the previous night. The next day was up through Wind River Canyon, always a terrific ride, to Greybull, and then up into the Big Horns. I'll throw in a few from that climb too. Near the top of the pass I took a side road that I had tried to make a couple of years ago but was blocked by snow. This gravel/dirt road turned out to 34 miles long before I got down on the east side of the big Horns. The thing that I have a little trouble with, coming down the east side on the mountains on a steep, rocky, and narrow trail, I met a pickup pulling a 5th wheel camper screaming up at the bottom. I cannot imagine being able to get enough traction on that slope to pull that trailer up hill. Plus that there were some fairly tight switch backs on the way up. It's not like if you couldn't make the grade you could just turn around and go back down. I did not wait around to see if they made it or not. I spent that night in Spearfish at the same Super 8 that we have stayed in multiple times. It was the week before Sturgis and the bikes were thick already. I think that there are a lot of riders that go out there ahead of time to avoid the crowds. The next morning I took a round about route through Spearfish Canyon, up to the Terry Peak lodge area, and down to Sturgis. Things were moving right along there, with vendors getting set up, and the bars getting cranked up. Luckily this year looks like the weather is going to cooperate. From Sturgis it was out across the plains to Gettysburg where I made contact with an Air Force buddy John Wilson from 50 years ago. I still think to myself, my God that is a half century ago. Anyhow John and his wife Kris were still in Watertown when I rolled up, so after he told me where the key was, I went in and made myself at home. I admit it did feel a little strange opening the door for them when they got home. They took me out for supper at a resort over looking the Missouri river. Around sunset it was very pretty on the east shore of Lake Oahe. After a good nights sleep and a tasty breakfast we sat around and talked for a couple of hours and I saddled up and headed for home, arriving there around 5:30 in the afternoon. So ends my Wyoming trails bucket list trip with a little more than 2300 miles added to the total. Oh yes, before I forget, the surgery that I had on the 10th, the chunk that they took out this time took 2 days to diagnose, but it was squamous cell carcinoma again, but they said that the edges are clean. I guess that if I can get another 6 years out of this one, more surgery won't be the end of the world. Although, if this keeps up I may run out of tissue in my mouth to remove, then things might get really interesting. So anyhow that is it for now. Lots of time when I am riding I have a lot of free time to think about things, and I keep coming up with all kinds of clever things to blog about, but the sitting down and pecking them out with 2 fingers is

 a little daunting. So read and comment please.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Assorted June Adventures

It's been awhile again since I last posted anything, so I need to get off the bikes and do some typing, I guess. The first part of the month, my brother Phil and I headed southwest through Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, to Clayton, New Mexico. Our first stop was at the SAC museum between Omaha, and Lincoln. I've been there several times but It is always a treat for an aircraft freak. Kansas and the panhandle of Oklahoma was hot dry and windy, not fun. From Clayton I made a short detour to Texline, Texas just to say I have ridden in Texas. From there we went west through Raton, and Taos, to Chama. From Chama it was north through Colorado's central Rockies to Delta, Colorado. From Delta up through a corner of Utah to Rock Springs, Wyoming. The ride from Rock Springs to Rapid City was for the most part very beautiful, with everything so green and blue skies and little wind. From Rapid it is a straight shot home that I could drive with my eyes closed, almost.
A week later Jan, and I were headed west down the same road to Hot Springs with the trailer in tow. Over that weekend Gen, Sam, Gus, Eli,Leah, and Aaron arrived and set up camp. We toured the southern Hills in the next few days, and Jan and I got some riding in before the gang arrived in camp. So anyhow I will post some pictures from both trips to give you an idea of the adventures from June 2014. Oh, and we never got wet on either trip, a major plus in the riding world.

Monday, May 19, 2014

For Josiah on his 10th

Joe, when we got the news that you had made your arrival, we jumped in our pickup and headed for your house in Chula Vista. It took a couple of days to get there, but it just made meeting you for the first time that much more fun. I know that you may hear this a lot, but you were such a cutie. I have been digging through all of the old pictures, looking for some good ones, I'll leave out the embarrassing ones, so I'll include a few.

 Your Gramma Jan, and I spent about a week at your house helping your Mom out with your care. I got the good part, I got to hold you, and watch TV, and entertain you, my favorite part of child care.
The next time that we saw you in California you were just turning 1, and we made it for the party. As I recall it, you did not want the cake. We all went for a walk on the beach at Coronado, and I have a picture of you and I at the beach hanging on the wall here that I have been trying to find, without any luck.  We visited your family in Japan when your sister, Annika made her appearance, and you had the alphabet down pat already. When your Dad was re-assigned to Newport, I flew out to San Diego to  help her drive back
to Minnesota. We had a pretty good trip back here, arriving out at your uncle Eli's home at night. I remember laughing while you chased their dog, Bailey around in the moonlight. So, we have visited you and your family in Newport, Stuttgart, Germany, Chesapeake, and Norfolk, and now you are back in Japan. We still have a world map that you drew for us a few years back hanging on the wall. Your ability to memorize and remember facts has always floored me. Now you are 10 already, with your first ID card, and your first decade behind you. Moving around, and living all over the world will be a terrific education, not everyone gets to experience. Your folks are making sure that you get a taste of the local cultures while you are living in these different places, so don't forget it. Life can be hard at your age. When I was 10 my family moved from Minnesota to California for 3 years. I was back in this area by the time I was 14, and between 10, and 12, I grew a foot taller to about the height that I am now, so you have some changes ahead . I will put a few more photos in here before I close, but I also need to wish my brother Phil a Happy Birthday today too. Happy Birthday Phil on your 66th.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Winter of My Discontent

   I was standing in a  nice warm shower when the title came to me this morning. Has anyone mentioned the weather lately? If this has not been a record setting cold Winter we are damn close to a record. Below zero temperatures are not that common around here actually during this time of the year, except for this year. For instance, todays' high is about 5 above, and the average is around 35, and it has been like that for what feels like since the middle of November. Ordinarily, I manage to get a bike or two out for a run sometime when the temperatures get some what above average, but not this year. I did replace the carpet remnants in the shop with a whole piece of carpet. To do the job I had to chisel the ice away from the door and scrape and salt the drive way just to get the bikes out of the way. To get them back afterwards, I did need to start them up to get them back in the shop. This is the first time some of the herd have been started since before Thanksgiving. So, to keep from sliding into alcoholism, drug abuse, or maybe mass murder, I have been working on some projects that have been hanging fire for several years. Project number one is finishing a B-36 model I think that I started at least 40 years ago, luckily, only missing one of the six propellers. The other being, redoing the XR-185 that has been in pieces in the garage attic for probably fifteen years. A majority of the parts were in well labeled bags, showing some foresight for a change, plus I had to paint some small parts, after Eli did such a good job on the frame, tank, and swingarm. Anyhow that has been keeping me out of trouble the last couple of months or so. This is one Winter, when we have not had some project in progress in the house come to think of it.
        Last month Jan and I made a run out to the Hills for a couple of days when there was a window of weather opportunity. We left town in 5 degree temperatures and saw 65 near Hermosa, quite a change. The next day we cruised up to Deadwood etc. and hit some snowy roads from the night before. As much as I love the Hills, that place just gets more and more crowded every time we get there it seems. We did start out for Rochester about a week ago to go for Gus's birthday party, but turned around and came home due to bad roads, and this week would not have been any better. In this part of the world, making plans often hinges on weather and road conditions. I have noticed a funny thing about TV weather people. When temps are high, they are above normal, and when they are low, they below average, kind

of sticking to the global warming mantra. Oh wait, it's  climate change now, isn't it? Did I mention that I am coming down with a cold? Just to add icing to the cake I imagine. Jan and I did have fun last night though, an invite over to Eli, and Lindsey's for supper and a movie. They picked up "Despicable Me 2" uptown, and we all snuggled on the couch and laughed a lot. Not too many things better in this world than snuggling with your kids, and then grandkids, but then they grow up, so then it is Jan's job, as chief snugglee. Is that a word? Anyhow, that is a brief synopsis of what we have been up to lately. Following are a few photos of the two projects that I mentioned above.