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Driftless Glen - Autumn Cigar Ride 2017
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Cormanus Offline

Queensland, Australia
Posts: 11,323
Joined: Dec 2013
Post: #11
RE: Driftless Glen - Autumn Cigar Ride 2017
Great read indeed, MTC. Glad to see another of your ride reports.
10-26-2017 04:45 AM
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CTsCB Offline
Break-In Period

Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 39
Joined: Mar 2017
Post: #12
RE: Driftless Glen - Autumn Cigar Ride 2017
Really enjoyed that read, almost like being there....
10-28-2017 05:05 PM
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Mandrau Offline
Break-In Period

Posts: 44
Joined: Jul 2017
Post: #13
RE: Driftless Glen - Autumn Cigar Ride 2017
(10-23-2017 09:06 PM)EmptySea Wrote:  “Drift" is the geological junk that is left behind by receding glaciers. The enormous pressure of the ice as it melts and creeps over the earth crushes hills and mountains into relative dust, flattening smooth the topography it touches. The most recent glacial period in North America, the Wisconsin Glaciation, flattened much of the Midwest including about two-thirds of what is now the State of Wisconsin. The southwestern part of the state that was left untouched by the glaciation is called the "Driftless Area".

I have a good friend, a great friend really, named Glen. Glen and his wife Laura ride with Cheryl and me often. Glen is an attorney with a very successful practice in Chicago. He recently began the process of retiring so that he and Laura can spend more time together and with their children and grandchildren. They recently (very recently -- they have not closed yet) purchased a home in Baraboo, Wisconsin which will move them a little bit closer to their loved ones. Baraboo, as it happens, is located at the western edge of the Wisconsin Glaciation or, more appropriately, on the eastern edge of the Driftless Area.

Baraboo is mainly known as the one-time winter home of the Ringling Brothers' Circus. There is a large circus museum there which seems interesting, although I have never been and so cannot tell you more than that it exists. The town is somewhat known for being on the leading edge of the Driftless Area and recently a distillery opened named Driftless Glen, which one can only presume is named for the local geography and not for my friend and soon-to-be Baraboo resident.

A few years ago, Glen and I, along with our friend Mike headed out for a late-season day ride into southern Wisconsin to absorb the fall colors and grab a bite to eat. After lunch that day, we stopped in a state park and enjoyed cigars and conversation before turning our bikes southward toward home. Thus was born the first end-of-season "Cigar Ride", a tradition that is now in it's 3rd or 4th year. Mike was unable to join us for this year's ride, so it was just Glen and I for the 2017 rendition.

Glen and Laura currently live in Milwaukee so it made sense to meet someplace along our independent paths to our destination, wherever that was. Since they just agreed to purchase a home in Baraboo, I suggested riding there so I could check the place out. A quick look at Google Maps and I came up with the small town of Cambridge, WI as our meet up spot. Specifically, a new little coffee shop in a beautiful old building right on Main Street. Kindfolk Coffee was indeed a perfect meeting spot; a clean and bright spot with excellent coffee, pastries, and a darn good bacon, egg, and cheese bagel. It's right on the main drag, too, where there are a variety of small shops, including a famous pottery works and a gallery featuring works in all manner of media from local artists. We didn't get to explore the town much, but it would be a great place to spend a couple of hours with our wives.

Here’s an overview of my day’s travels.

I had my bike ready the night before. I really need to do that for every ride whether a day trip or a tour. It makes things so much easier in the morning. I left my house at about 7:30 for the 112 mile ride. Glen would have a much shorter ride from Milwaukee to Cambridge and would leave his house around 9:00 for our 10:00 planned rendezvous. My route consisted of about 45 miles of interstate at the start with the remainder of the miles mainly on US highways. Google told me that it was about 2 hours and this was one of the times when Google Time and Motorcycle Time were in sync and I knew it -- no gas stops, no rest stops, light traffic, and a stretch of interstate that routinely runs 10-15 mph faster than posted. If all went by plan, I would arrive at the coffee shop around 9:30 and could have a cup of coffee and maybe a snack as I was unsure if Glen would be anxious to get going.

I was making great time. Temperature at go time was a seasonably warm 61f and highs in the upper 70s were predicted. Clouds were slated to start rolling in in the late afternoon. I got an early enough start so traffic was just as light as I had hoped for.

Then there was the tractor.

Someplace west of Whitewater, a big John Deere tractor was chugging a long in it's highway gear at just under 40mph. There were 5 vehicles, including a dump truck, between John and I and the passing lanes were very short. I dared not attempt a pass. For 15 miles. John was just getting his job done, I know, but it was frustrating none the less. Still, once he pulled off, the road was wide open. A bit later, I passed one car and noticed the low fuel warning flashing as I returned to my lane. Luckily, I was far enough ahead of schedule that I could easily make the 10 miles into Cambridge, gas up, and still have time to get into my coffee and snack before 10:00.

Then there was the County Sheriff.

She clocked me at 74mph and I'm sure she was accurate. Posted limit was 55mph. I typically would run no more than 10 over on a road like that, but I think I simply forgot to slow down after passing the car. I pulled over, took off my gloves and sunglasses, and waited with my hands in plain sight for her to exit her vehicle and approach me. I immediately admitted that I knew I was over the speed limit which is when she told me how much over. I asked her if she wanted me to remove my helmet. She didn't. She asked me where I was headed, if I was from Illinois, if I rode up this morning. I explained that I was meeting a friend in Cambridge. She said she was going to have to write me up. I asked her if she could make the ticker for 70 rather than 74 as it would look better on my insurance. She agreed, but just laughed when I then tried to get off with a warning. I waited for 5, 10, 15 minutes, thinking that Cheryl's going to be PO'd and that I was lucky that I left a half-hour early. After about 20 minutes she returned to my bike, handed me back my license, and said "I changed my mind. Buy your friend breakfast. Watch over your left shoulder as you pull out." I thanked her, donned my glasses and gloves, looked over my left shoulder and rode the speed limit into Cambridge where Glen was waiting for me and in the mood for a snack and a cup of coffee himself. I paid -- police orders.

A Clean Well Lighted Place

It was a beautiful day. I may have said that before, but it cannot be overstated. It was windy which was the only thing that kept it from being a perfect day. Just about as perfect as one could ever dream of for the third Saturday in October in Wisconsin. Glen was responsible for the routes for the day and he picked a nice one to his new house that combined a little 4 lane for speed then a healthy dose of winding 2 laners to his house.

A closer view of the more interesting part of our ride

On my last ride in this part of Wisconsin, for the Slimey Crud Run, I scraped my Yoshimura pipe on one of those sharp right-handers that is banked enough to create a sort of a dip at the apex. This happened once on my old bike and I found that tightening up the front fork springs gave me just enough clearance and the problem didn't recur on that bike again. So I got out my handy flat-headed screwdriver and dialed in a little stiffness. Works pretty well, but obviously the ride is a bit harsher. The odd thing is that it takes a little more pressing to get the bike to turn. I wouldn't describe this as 'understeer' because once the front end urns over, the bike tracks just fine. Besides, from what I have read, a softer front end creates understeer not a stiffer one. It took me a bit of time to get used to this phenomenon and then it began to feel more normal. I wonder if the stock Bridgestone tires on this bike, as opposed to the Michelin PR3s on my previous one, contribute in any way to this new handling characteristic. I'm going to still with the suspension adjustment for now and see how it goes. Aside from the handling issue, I got to test the combined braking/ABS systems on Bluff Rd. which was over-seeded with a thin layer of gravel that was essentially the same color as the roadbed itself. Fun times.

We checked out Glen and Laura's new homestead, walking the grounds, checking out the pond and the giant pole barn, and speculating on how to remodel the lower level into a "bunkhouse" for visitors such as Cheryl and yours truly. A wonderful piece of property and should be perfect for this wonderful couple.

A few pictures from around Glen’s house

After the tour, we took the long way into Baraboo's downtown, including the trip on the aforementioned Bluff Rd., and past the magnificent Devil's Lake State Park, its quartzite cliffs peeking through the hardwood forest. I don't think the fall colors are at maximum hue yet, but there were close. From a distance, the drumlins and other bumps in the topography appeared to be covered with red, green, yellow, and orange cotton balls. When riding close to these forests, though, the trees looked more like black matchsticks lit afire. My lack of a lanyard-camera was particularly frustrating on this ride.

Lunch was at Driftless Glen. If you are ever in town, stop in here for a good meal with a great view. They have an outdoor patio overlooking the Baraboo River. I don't know why I forgot to take a picture of my Italian beef and sausage sandwich, but my apologies to the originator of the Eat to Ride Ride to Eat thread. I'm confident that I will be back there sometime soon and I will take food photos at that time.

From Driftless Glen

After lunch, we headed out for our cigars. County Hwy W to PF to C to Natural Bridge State Park. No picnic benches were waiting for us, so we lit up and hiked the .3 mile loop that brought us to the bridge, through some woods and back to our bikes. We had spent a lot of time at the house and at the restaurant so it was fortunate that I brought the small cigars. I guess we spent about 45 minutes or so at this park. We talked about retirement, future trips, a little bit about business, and of course about how lucky we were to be able to ride motorcycles to such beautiful places. We also texted a selfie to our wives, wishing them a happy Sweetest Day. I'm pretty sure that none of the four of us realized that it was Sweetest Day until sometime that afternoon.

From Natural Bridge SP

It was about 4:30 when we left the park. Glen was relatively close to home, but I had a a good 3.5 hours left in my riding day. The weather forecasts were dead on and the clouds were coming in. The temperature was dropping, but not dramatically so. Darkness would soon be upon me and I wanted to be on the interstate by sunset. Glen and I rode together back to I-94/I-39/I-90, stopping in Lodi to fill the tanks. We rode south together on the interstate until I-94 turns due east toward Milwaukee where Glen turned off. Just after we waved goodbye to each other, a police car went screaming past us in the same direction I was headed. It wasn't long before I saw flashing lights everywhere and the traffic slowing almost to a stop. Luckily for me, the white motorcycle crashed on the exit ramp only a few minutes before I came upon the scene and I was not delayed very much. I read later that the rider was rushed to the UW Madison Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The report said it was a single-vehicle accident. Thinking that Glen might see a news report about the crash and wonder if it was me, I made a mental note to text him upon my safe arrival home.

I made excellent time home. No more traffic incidents. Generally light traffic that was moving fast and was only disconcerting in the 15 or 20 miles of construction zone through which I had to travel just north of the Illinois border. Lane shifts onto the median or shoulder are difficult enough in daylight and at reduced speeds; in the dark at +10, they can be nerve wracking. A couple of deep breaths, a deliberate relaxing of my shoulders and grip, and I managed to navigate the treachery just fine. Once on I-90 in Illinois, where they have widened it to 4 lanes each way from (at least) Rockford to O'Hare Airport, I was able to barely keep up with traffic, but still fairly flew home.

A couple of restaurants, working with our local park district, had the perfect evening for their Oktoberfest which Cheryl and our friend Angela were attending. I rode straight there, arriving just after 8:00, had a bratwurst, a pretzel (Again, no pictures. What is wrong with me??) and a ginger beer before heading home. 418 miles spread out over 12.5 hours. Not bad considering the number and length of our stops.

I texted Glen.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

So that’s how it’s done. Enjoyed the read and pics. Thank.
10-29-2017 01:59 PM
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