#148c Rustic Roads Leading to Shonah!

 Fleeter Log #148c
Rustic Roads Leading to Shonah!
2009 August 27 - 29
Entire trip here on Spotwalla  

After witnessing the start of the IBR in Spartanburg, South Carolina, then welcoming the ralliers at the first check-in point near Chicago, I wish them well as they continue the rally to the West Coast. Myself? I feel an inner tug to stretch my trip west of the Mississippi and into Minnesota before turning back to the East Coast.

Day 7 - Thursday
August 27, 2009
173 miles
St.Charles, IL to Dubuque, IA 

I slept in while the rain hammered down on the covered GS a few feet from me in the parking lot. The storm is moving eastward. The skies lightened up and the heavy rain turned to a drizzle about noon, so I loaded up and headed northwest toward hopefully, clearer skies. In 2008, I followed the Mississippi River down from its headwaters in Minnesota all the way to its mouth where the ol' muddy waters dump into the Gulf of Mexico. During that trip, I experienced the St. Croix area for the first time. I learned that this area of Wisconsin and Minnesota is among my favorite places to ride. So I left the Chicago area heading to Minnesota.

I reach the Mississippi River at Clinton, Iowa and turn north.
I stop in Dubuque, Iowa for the night just as the light rain turns heavy and starts trying to seep through the seams. Finding a restaurant sharing your motel's parking lot is always a plus when one hasn't eaten all day.

Day 8 - Friday
August 28, 2009
344 miles
Dubuque, IA to Savage, MN

Before leaving Dubuque, I located the waterfront just off downtown and found the Mississippi River Visitor Center.
The Mississippi River Visitor Center is also home to another ink stamp. The collection grows!

I leave Dubuque and head into Wisconsin on US151 with the intention of taking US61 to Tennyson, but somehow find myself in Platteville. No worries, I missed a turn. Not the first time and won't be the last time. That's okay WI81 is a nice road. I take it to Lancaster to find my way back to US61.

North of Lancaster, off of US61, I turn onto Liberty Ridge Road (county road F), otherwise known as WI Rustic Road 70. This detour is to add to my collection of WIRRs. Wisconsin Dept of Transportation developed the Rustic Road Program in 1973 to help preserve the state's scenic, lightly traveled country roads. Sounds just like the kind of roads I seek out to ride.

When I learned that Wisconsin DOT offers an Award Program for Motorcyclists seeking out the RRs, I was IN! There are 108 roads designated as Rustic Roads. Document your travel of at least 10 scenic roads and WIDOT will send you a patch. Travel 25 or more, and receive a certificate. You know I'm going for the certificate!
WI Rustic Road R70
WI Rustic Road R70
Following county road F, I find Stitzer and its small post office. Love these little communities!

I loop over and connect back to US61 at Fenninmore.

Boscobel, The Wild Turkey Hunting Capital of Wisconsin.

Typical views riding along US14 between Boaz and Viroqua. Farmlands in Texas are never this interesting!

Coon Valley Post Office
Rustic Road 26 between Coon Valley and Chaseburg was an especially scenic and twisty ride.
WI Rustic Road R26

I meet a new rider on an older Honda CM250. This was close to the same model I started out on in 1980. I am amazed at where I am today as I tour via two wheels, compared to where I was almost 30 years ago when I was running around on my 250. I barely crossed COUNTY lines back then. Now I cross STATE lines like I'm riding across town. Am I lucky, or what!

I turn left in LaCrosse, Wisconsin ... cross the Mississippi and arrive in Minnesota. About now I'm thinking about my friend, Shonah, that I used to work with in Texas. She is from Minnesota. So, I decide to call her at work to tell her where I am. But the surprise is on me when her co-worker tells me that she is off today. Apparently, she has gone to Minnesota to visit her family!

I immediately start calling her cell phone. But, she left it in Texas. I start leaving messages for her at all the numbers I can think of that she might have contact with. It's about 3:30pm.

I decide to head on to Minneapolis to snag another ink stamp for my collection and then head the in direction that her family lives. I have no idea of the local address or phone number. I just hope she gets my messages while I'm still in the area.

Sure enough ... about 6pm, as I'm leaving Fort Snelling with a fresh ink stamp, my phone rings as I am walking from the visitor center to the GS. It's Shonah! I get an address and leave Minneapolis heading to Apple Valley to the south of the city.

How cool is this?! I get to see my good friend, Shonah, while in Minnesota!
After meeting her family and visiting with Shonah until about 9pm, I head over to a motel in Savage where I have a reservation. But I have an invitation to come back tomorrow and have lunch with Shonah's family. I wasn't planning an the extra day in Minneapolis. Matter of fact, I thought I'd be back across the Mississippi River into Wisconsin or close to it by now. But to spend time with a close friend ... it's worth some schedule adjusting! I told the family that I'd accept their invitation and see them for lunch tomorrow!

Day 9 - Saturday
August 29, 2009
20 miles
Savage, MN to Apple Valley and back to Savage

I didn't get settled into the hotel until after 9:30 last night so I wasn't eager to get a very early start. I lazed around my room, making notes in my journal and updating my routing map until almost noon. Then I headed back over for my lunch date with Shonah's family.

The family that took me in for the day and treated me like a special guest.

I enjoyed my visit so much and felt so comfortable with my new friends that it was sunset before I left Apple Valley and headed back to my motel in Savage. The beautiful sunset was apropos as a perfect ending to a wonderful day!

Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs

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