Oshkosh Trip: Day 9

Day 9 — Beaver Dam, WI to Watertown, SD — 502 Miles


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Our time at the show ended before it got old. I could have easily stayed another day and visited the seaplane base, or just explored more of the show at Whittman. But, my wife was hauling the kids up to Idaho, and truth-be-told, I was missing the family a bit. Also, my sister was due to have her baby any moment now. All things considered, we decided to hit the road and make it an easier 4 day trop to Idaho rather than take in more of the show and have hurry back in 3 days.

I must have been tired from all the walking the last few days — I didn’t pull the camera out until at least an hour into the trip.

WI-16 — Twas a nice road.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/7.1, 1/400sec, 55mm focal L. @65 MPH, map

We popped onto I-90 for a few miles to get to MN.

Limestone spires — Along I-90

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/7.1, 1/250sec, 62mm focal L. @70 MPH ~48mi from prev photo, map

I’d read it was a gorgeous ride following the river up. Probably should have stayed on the Wisconsin side, but, US-61 worked out well. Indeed it must have because I didn’t bother to take a picture until 30 miles off the interstate in this boring little stretch where the river was hidden from sight. Ohh well…

And, BTW — welcome to Minnesota and all that; missed another sign. What am I, 2 for 7 at this point? Have to go back and tally the score.

US-61 — Following the Mississippi toward Minneapolis

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/640sec, 50mm focal L. @70 MPH ~107mi from prev photo, map

For the near 100 or so miles we followed the river, I didn’t see a single barge or ship. ‘Twas a stark contrast to the southern portion of the river that I recall from other trips. Maybe they were all hiding in the sections where the trees blocked the view.

Lock and Dam #5Built in 1935

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1000sec, 34mm focal L. @67 MPH ~2.0mi from prev photo, map

No boats. Must be because it’s a weekday…

Reservoir behind the dam

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1250sec, 18mm focal L. @60 MPH ~29mi from prev photo, map

Marina — I don’t really think of sail boats on a “river”, but, this isn’t just any ole river now, is it?

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1000sec, 18mm focal L. @28 MPH ~8.9mi from prev photo, map

Limestone outcropping

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/800sec, 38mm focal L. @46 MPH ~20mi from prev photo, map

Should have stopped in this town. Something about it that just made me curious. But, instead, I kept the hammer down and we pushed on.

Red Wing, MN — Love the “old” brick buildings.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1600sec, 22mm focal L. ~1.1mi from prev photo, map

More corn — This all looks so familiar. It’s like deja vu, or something.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/400sec, 18mm focal L. @59 MPH ~18mi from prev photo, map

One thing I’d starting taking note of is all the “toys” for sale along the sides of the 2-lane roads. Lotta Harleys, a few dirt bikes, an occasional ATV. Perhaps this area is struggling worse than others. I tried to take pictures of all of them, but, I was too slow on the camera most times. This proved even harder than state-line signs….

Toys for sale

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/320sec, 22mm focal L. @37 MPH ~1.0mi from prev photo, map

US-61 — Said goodbye to the river.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/800sec, 40mm focal L. @62 MPH ~5.9mi from prev photo, map

Irrigation! — Hadn’t seen that since leaving Colorado. Didn’t think they needed it out here…

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/800sec, 18mm focal L. @62 MPH ~641ft from prev photo, map

I’d had a fuel stop plotted out that I’d been watching on the GPS for the last 50 miles or so. I could sense that Dad was getting nervous and I was stretching his comfort level a bit far — both in fuel and just getting off the bike comfort. Such a bad son, I am. At least I bought the coffee :)

Coffee Break — I was slave driving without stopping till we needed gas, so, we could afford the time for coffee and to check out the map.

Canon PowerShot SD870 IS, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/320sec, 4.6 mm focal L. ~18mi from prev photo, map

We skirted south of Minneapolis, and I had the GPS set to fastest route, but, we ended up meandering through lots of stop lights and surface streets. Just as we were about to make some time, we started getting heavy drops of rain so we pulled over to suit up. Dad had been following the storm on his Nexrad capable GPS, and he was ticked that I hadn’t followed the plan we had talked about at the coffee shop.

I hadn’t realized the “plan” was so formidable and I was really just letting the GPS do the navigation work. The confusion seamed to be about the same road that’s labeled with multiple designations (like US-212 and MN-25) and where those designations part company. Somehow it became my fault for leading us directly into the rain. I just bit my tongue and kept it to myself that since he had the superior GPS with weather capabilities, perhaps, maybe he should have taken the lead on a different direction if there really was a way to avoid the weather.

Ohh well, the rain doesn’t really bother me. I already had half of my rain suit on (for warmth), and it wasn’t anything to put the rest on. I don’t really see what the big deal is with riding in the rain in any case.

Gonna get wet

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/60sec, 18mm focal L. ~26mi from prev photo, map

We got some mild-moderate rain for maybe 20 minutes and then it spit on us for a while longer and then it was done. No big deal.

Out of the rain

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1000sec, 18mm focal L. @69 MPH ~46mi from prev photo, map

My daughter would love this town — The planets and spaceship painted under the water tower is classic.

Camera corrupted the file — no info @33 MPH ~37mi from prev photo, map

Round about Clara City, the road was blockaded over the railroad bridge and they had detour signs up. It would have been trivial to get past the signs and see if we could have weaseled our way through the detour. I probably would have investigated more if I was solo. Alas, I just followed the signs and played the good sheeple.

Race’n the train — Wasn’t much of a contest, but the detour was annoying.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.0, 1/640sec, 62mm focal L. @52 MPH ~48mi from prev photo, map

Right around Granite Falls, Dad had built a bit of a lead on me when I saw an oncoming LEO. Of course, I was speeding, (but only a little bit). However, just after he passed me his brake lights are on, and I watched in the mirror as I saw what looked a U-turn. But, I was just rounding a corner at that moment and he was of sight. I didn’t know if he’d actually turned around to follow or not and coming out of the turn, all I saw was a pair of headlights. I was totally freaked out — was he testing me to see if I would speed up thinking the coast was clear? Why weren’t the headlights overtaking me? How many miles would they follow me?

I probably spent a solid half-hour doing the speed limit and checking six out of sheer paranoia from those headlights that just stayed a few hundred yards behind me. Finally someone came and passed us both, and I relaxed enough to step it up. Dad had gotten so far ahead of me, he’d just about pulled off the road by the time I’d caught back up him. In hindsight, it was all rather silly…

Around the detour — by this time, decided there was nobody

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.0, 1/2000sec, 18mm focal L. @65 MPH ~34mi from prev photo, map

Rows of corn… — Can you tell I’m fascinated with the Midwest’s corn?

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.0, 1/500sec, 62mm focal L. @65 MPH ~3.3mi from prev photo, map

Rays of sunshine

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.0, 1/2000sec, 24mm focal L. @67 MPH ~28mi from prev photo, map

The day was starting to wear on, especially with the detour adding another 30-40 minutes more time than we were expecting. I’d stuffed a bag of trail mix in my pocket and so I pulled it out to keep the energy up.

Turns out it’s damn hard to actually eat anything while wearing gloves and a full-face helmet. Most of the trail mix ended up on the side of the highway as rabbit food.

Note the bag of trail mix stuffed tucked into the bars.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.0, 1/400sec, 18mm focal L. @71 MPH ~17mi from prev photo, map

After about a 12-hour day, we finally made it to Watertown. The Motel 8 parking lot was full of hogs, I reckon going to Sturgis.

We did the “where-to for dinner” routine, and I saw a brewery in the search and made the call. It was Dempsey’s Brewery and it was fantastic. Might have been the road weariness and hunger, but the beer was excellent, and the Wiener Schnitzel & Spätzle hit that spot that needed filling; I slept good that night.

Best beer of the entire trip — The glass was layered in frost — just a hint of it left at the bottom by the time I snapped this

, ISO , ƒ/, sec, focal L. ~38mi from prev photo, map


Continue on to Day 10.

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