Droning and Rustic Road Riding on a Snagged Bike

To say I’m “between things” is an understatement.  I’m in the process of building a house, which means I’m living in a basement.  All my moto stuff is in another location….a basement at that.  I’m also between things on what I’m doing with riding bikes.  I’ve got my KTM 350, which was originally scooped up for racing & aggressive dual sport riding.  For the past couple years it’s fulfilled that purpose, yet as of late, I’ve been doing more random day rides.  While the 350 does these, and surprisingly well, you are left with a feeling of “this poor bike should be pulling wheelies in the dirt”.  Enter the snagged bike….

 

A fine specimen at that.  A 2013 R1200GS water cooled thingamabobber.  The bike belongs to my mother, who has followed my fathers lead in taking to these fine Bavarian machines.  Thankfully she is gracious enough to share the bike with me, which means I can blast out some miles, clear my head, and also put some perspective on what I’d like for my “next bike”…..cause it seems there is always a “next bike”.

So this past Sunday, weather was looking nice, I had some free time, and well…..I wanted to grab 3 or 4 more Rustic Roads up in Wisconsin.  Or in this case…..Over in Wisconsin.  The 4 RR’s I intended of riding were near the Illinois\Iowa\Wisconsin Border around 140 miles from home.  The plan was simple.  Take highway to get to the good stuff quickly.  Ride good stuff till I tired, and then meander my way home.  The arrow shows home & the 4 stars were the RR’s I wanted to hit.

By 7:30am, it was sidestand up and I was on my way.  Normally, I need a quick pitstop around the 1 hour mark when I first start a ride.  This time was different, with not needing to stop until a little over 2 hours in.  I needed fuel, as well as a quick break.  I filled up in South Wayne, WI (I’d stopped here before a few years ago on my nighthawk when I took a night trip to Dubuque, IA & back).  This stop I believe is right off the Cheese Trail or something like that.  By this point, I could tell the temps were rising.  A refreshing feeling.

I was quickly back on the bike, as I had only about 30-40 miles until I hit the first Rustic Road #66.  All the roads within 10-15 miles of here just became increasingly exciting.  RR #66 itself proved to be quite exciting.  All these areas bordering farm land and hills and valleys.

RR #66 actually meanders through a couple different offshoot roads.  It’s not a continuous section.  I took a section that which seemed most appealing, and rode it.  In hindsight, I shoulda backtracked and rode it all, but figured…..ehhhh there will be more good stuff ahead.  I will go back to Highway I out there.  That was good stuff.  Up next was RR #99.

About 15 minutes from the start of RR #99, the area began to ring a bell to me.  It was in Dickeyville, WI that I realized I’d been here before when I did the TWAT ride with my buddy Jameson.  I also realized at this point that something was acting up with my sinuses.  I wouldn’t have minded riding out to #99 again, as it’s not far from the Mississippi River and was a fun area.  However it was warming up, sinuses as I mentioned, and I wanted to meander my way North towards RR #70.

I found myself being directed down more open roads via the BMW GPS.  I had my personal Garmin on me, but couldn’t mount it on the bike, so was having to follow the thing.  Then I’d find myself accelerating quickly, resulting in missing some offshoot roads that just looked incredibly appealing.  When I arrived at the next RR, I told myself to slow it down, smell the roses (or in this case cow crap), and enjoy the scenery.  That which I did.

 

RR #70 proved to be quite enjoyable, turning to gravel, and allowed myself a spot to rest away from traffic (or so I thought), adjust my riding gear, and eat a quick snack.

I had just utilized the outdoor restrooms, and was mid selfie when a truck & trailer come flying over a nearby hill.  I figured, ok, farms….one car most likely.  Sure enough 5 minutes later, another car comes flying past.  Good thing I took found the local restroom when I did. haha.  RR #70 as noted before was gravel.  I continued to remind myself that this bike is not mine, and to keep my cool.

I pushed myself to take random roads on my way to each Rustic Road, so that is what I did.  I left RR #70 around 11:15.  I managed to spend the next 45 minutes, making the 10 mile ride over to RR #75.  Along the way, I took some more loose gravel roads.  Oddly for me, I felt so out of my element.  I even put the mighty R1200GS into “enduro” mode.  While enduro mode loosens up the suspension, eases the traction control\asc\abs, it still doesn’t change the fact that you’re riding a 600# road bike, with road tires, on gravel.  I really have a difficult time wrapping my head around it.  Turns where I’d come in at 50, drop a gear or two, kick the bike sideways….I’m coming in at 10-15mph thinking “MOG THIS SHE’s GOING DOWN!!!”

Ok, so there’s some mild hyperbole here, but it does highlight for me some of that which I do, and don’t want in a bike.  More on that later, as for now, I managed to spend some good time meandering to RR #75…..which itself was rather uneventful.

It was noon at this point, and I needed food.  I could sense a headache we be coming on soon, and on top of that I could definitely tell my sinuses were well on their way to screw me up.  I didn’t really know where I was gonna head, but found myself enjoying the roads that twisted their way East, which ended up dumping me over in Mineral Point, WI.  I bopped into the old school downtown area, and saw a little placed called Gray Dog Deli.  This looked like a refreshing place to stop, took a seat and ordered some feed.

Lunch (and possibly dessert), combined with some ice tea and out of the sun rejuvenated me to get ready for the ride home.  This was somewhat uneventful, as I finished lunch at 1:30, I’d been riding since 7:30 and for 230 miles….and I had around 130 or so to get home.  I moseyed my way Southwest towards Monroe, WI at which point I hopped on 81 into Beloit, following 43 to 12 on home.

Not the most glorious, but enjoyable nonetheless.  The big GS really highlighted to me how well it is at eating up distance miles.  Ironically, I set the cruise control right around 70 while on 43\12.  The bike hummed along smoothly.  I thought about how well the GS was on the street, yet on the fun stuff, I found myself riding much as I did on my Ducati Multistrada.  It’s just far too comfortable at going Above The Law speeds (not that I’d know…..).  It also had me not flowing enough through turns, and found me blasting past good looking offshoot roads.  Possibly a factor of speed, dash gadgets, and who knows what else.

All that pondered, I can’t and won’t argue with a free bike ride.  I was able to snag 3 more Rustic Roads, and enjoyed every bit of it.  Next time….I’ll try to think less haha.

-Andrew