Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: cowboy up

  1. #1
    Oscar
    Guest

    Post Cowboy up part 1

    Cowboy Up for Fish & Chips
    By Milt Russell


    It all started several months ago in June when my Fireman friend, Malcolm, returned from a motorcycle rally in Texas. He made the trip on his Harley Davidson non-stop all the way to S. W. Michigan. I had learned of the Iron Butt Association from reading ride stories on several BMW motorcycle web sites. I told him about the 1000 miles in 24 hours Saddlesore 1000. He told me he still had his receipts from the trip except for a few lost from his pocket enroute. I offered to help put the paperwork together and urged him to submit the trip to the IBA for a SS 1000. It was all after the fact but I thought it wouldnÔÇÖt hurt to try.

    At this point I decided to design my own SS ride. If he can do it on his HD, I can do it on my BMW K1200LT. A bike much more suited to this task in my opinion. Several routes were researched. Malcolm stated he would like to go along. This time everything would be planned upfront as it should be and not as an afterthought. I was leaning toward an out and back route. Malcolm suggested something straight line where we could have a leisurely return ride preferably with some nice scenery.

    In viewing the IBA website for pointers on how to do this right, I discovered the Great Lakes 100 ride. Circle all five of the Great Lakes in 100 hours. Wow, what if we combined the two. First leg being the SS and then finish the rest in the allotted 100 hours. Seemed a bit ambitious for someone who has never completed any iron butt yet, but it looked doable. So new planning began. The route would start in S.W. Michigan from the city of Saint Joseph and head east along the south side of lakes Erie and Ontario. Cross into Canada, back west toward Toronto, and then north enough miles to complete the 1000 miles for the SS. Most of the ride would be on interstate highways and it would complete 1/3 of the Great Lakes 100 trip in the first day. The next three days could be a bit more relaxed with some great roads and scenery. Just what we wanted and weÔÇÖll get two awards out of it to boot. Malcolm invited his brother Colin, another HD rider, to come along too. Colin is a professional truck driver and a good asset to have along I thought.

    So there we were, all set to go. Plan A would start September 9th at 6:00A.M. That is until the remnants of Hurricane Francis came along. On Sept. 8th weather sources were predicting rain, and lots of it, for what would be many hours of our first leg. I was feeling pretty nuts enough as it was with this grand adventure without the rain. I didnÔÇÖt care for the idea at all. So here we go, the day before the ride, scrambling for plan B. At first we thought to just change direction and go the other way around. We would also cut the trip in half and come back into Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie after crossing the north side of Lake Superior .I now had a family commitment on what would have been our forth day which was another reason to make a different plan. A niece of mine had finished her training as an Air Force HH60G Pave Hawk helicopter flight engineer. I really wanted to see her during her short time back home before she reports to her next duty assignment.

    I decided just reversing the route would not work as the slower roads going to, and in, Canada would make it difficult to make the 1000 miles in 24 hours. I was now considering just canceling the SS and just making this a fun ride around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. But, Malcolm would have nothing to do with it. He wanted his SS1000 and fish & chips in Canada, or nothing. Malcolm is originally from Scotland, a great bagpipe player and apparently, likes fish & chips. So here we go looking for another route to still do both those things, but out of the way of Francis.

    The west of us had much better forecasted weather. So plan B became plan C that went from St. Joe, to Omaha to Duluth MN for the SS1000. Then do the north side of Lake Superior to the Sault (pronounced soo) and return home through Michigan. Maybe tour around the U.P. (MichiganÔÇÖs Upper Peninsula) then cross the Mackinac Bridge. The bridge connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. It is 5 miles in total length and is the longest suspension bridge in the U.S. and third longest suspension in the world. Then weÔÇÖd travel south through the lower back to the S.W. corner. Get the work done the first day, and take two more days to enjoy the scenery.

    We agreed to meet at the local B.P. gas station at 5:30 AM to start the trip. Colin was the first there. This was the first time IÔÇÖve met him and it was easy to see we would not be strangers long. HeÔÇÖs a real great guy and easy to get along with. Colin has a new Harley Davidson Fat Boy with just over 2000 miles on it. This trip will double that. Malcolm then arrived on his Dyna Wide Glide. We looked quit the mixed up bunch. The LT and me dressed all in textile and full face helmet. Malcolm in the more ÔÇ£traditional HarleyÔÇØ black leather jacket, black chaps, and black half shell helmet. And Colin dressed someplace in between.

    I called for one of our local St. Joseph Township Police officers to be our starting witness. It didnÔÇÖt require much explaining as to the whys and whatÔÇÖs of what we were doing being that I work for the SheriffÔÇÖs Dept and we knew each other. With that paperwork done, we next gassed up and got the first of our receipts. It was just before 6:00 AM Eastern Time when we left east on I-94 under a beautiful star lit sky.

    Then came Chicago. More often than not it seems you canÔÇÖt get near Chicago without running into either road construction or a traffic accident. It was the later of the two we would find out that brought us to stop and go, bumper to bumper traffic. At one point a truck driver next to us asked where we where going. ÔÇ£AnywhereÔÇØ answered Colin. The trucker just nodded his head in an all too familiar understanding.

    We were lucky as we werenÔÇÖt that far behind the accident scene and soon we were back up to full speed. We only had one toll booth to go through before entering I-80. I was in the lead and just paid for all three of us at once. Our first gas stop was in Joliet IL. At the station was another HD rider. We talked for just a few minutes and he was kind enough to take a picture of the three of us. Off we were again. I was always in the lead during the SS portion of our ride. The plan was to always stop at the first gas opportunity after each time my trip meter turned 100 miles. The ride was going smooth, especially so for me. When it was colder in the early morning, the LT and I were doing fine. Heated grips on. Electric vest. A book on CD playing on the head phones in my helmet, of which I got teased a lot about. The other two were just slugging it out. No frills at all, except that Malcolm did at least have a heated vest to wear.

    It was at the stop just before getting into Iowa that Colin said he knows a place with the best steak & eggs. You know what they say about truck drivers knowing the best places to eat. Sure enough, it was pretty good. I said we had to enjoy this meal because I did not intend to make another long stop until after reaching our final destination. At this stop we used a tip I learned I think from the IBA wed site. We ordered the food, went back outside to gas the bikes, and about the time we returned, breakfast was served.

    It was at one of these first few stops that Malcolm used the expression ÔÇ£cowboy upÔÇØ when we were all set for the next leg. He had heard the expression in some movie. After that, it was Colin who adopted the saying whenever we were ready to leave and Malcolm was still trying to finish that cigarette or get in that last half cup of coffee. ÔÇ£Come on, cowboy up, the motors are runningÔÇØ became his urging to get his brother going. Poor Malcolm, ÔÇ£your rushing me, your always rushing me!ÔÇØ was the response.

    Running a bit behind schedule we made our half way point. It was actually in Council Bluffs IA, about five miles short of Omaha NE. It was sunny and about 80 degrees. Just a beautiful day. Thinking we might start getting tired a bit later in the ride, I bought a bag of War Head hard candies and divided them up between us. If youÔÇÖve never tried these before, they start out VERY sour before becoming a more normal sweet. They can give quite the pucker especially when you donÔÇÖt know whatÔÇÖs coming. As was the case with Colin. Boy itÔÇÖs always fun to watch when someone tries one for the first time.

    So now the plan was to double back to Des Moines and turn north on I-35 to Duluth MN. A few more stops. Quips about my cruise control and ÔÇ£time for the next chapter of my book.ÔÇØ Malcolm always trying to drink a full cup of coffee and smoke an extra cigarette. And Colin giving the ÔÇ£cowboy upÔÇØ as soon as he and I were ready to go again.

    I found out after the trip, that Colin and Malcolm could tell when it was soon time to stop. They would see me duck my head down for a few moments, then before long I would signal a stop at an exit. I think what was happening was that each of the book CDs I was listening to would last about 90 miles. When the CD ended, I would know to start looking at the GPS to see how far the next gas stop might be. To those two beat to death Harley riders, it was the ÔÇ£thank goodness weÔÇÖre going to stop soonÔÇØ signal. I do believe I deserve half the award for riding my bike as compared to them riding theirs.

  2. #2
    Oscar
    Guest

    Post Cowboy up part 2

    It was well into dark when we reached Minneapolis with the temp dipping down to 44 degrees. More clothing came on as did all the electric stuff. These last legs were starting to get tuff. More so for Malcolm and Colin. They were kind of stuck in one position on their bikes. I at least could move around a bit shifting my feet from the foot pegs, to the J-peg highway pegs I added to the bike (thanks Dennis) and to the rear passenger foot pegs. The final run to Duluth took us 170 miles. A bit of get there itis, at least on my part, took us way past our normal 100 mile leg range. Malcolm had to switch on his reserve fuel. The last gas stop was at 00:44 ET. 19 hours, 56 minutes after leaving the BP station in St. Joe. We were done! We did it!! Now just to fine someone to sign off for the end of the trip.

    Less than a mile from our gas station was a Country Inn & Suites hotel. Malcolm was the first to go into the lobby. As soon as the night clerk, Beverly, saw him come through the doors dressed in his ÔÇ£traditional HarleyÔÇØ garb, she put a finger to her lips and went ÔÇ£Shhhhhhhh.ÔÇØ We believe she must have thought he was going to be a loud drunk or something. She looked a bit scared. But that changed as soon as she saw he was well mannered and could speak without slurring his words. We also assured her he had papers and his shots were up to date. Malcolm was still made to fill out some extra paperwork with additional information other than the normal registration card. After the room was taken care of, I explained what we had just done and the need for an official to witness our ending paperwork. Beverly was kind enough to provide two different non emergency phone numbers for the local police. My plan was to explain who I was and what I needed and ask for an officer. If they were busy, I would be more than understanding. Well, it seems both non emergency numbers go into an answering machine. The only way to call the police in Duluth at night is if you have a real emergency, which we didnÔÇÖt. After explaining that no police were available, Beverly was considerate enough to sign our forms for us.

    Part of me wanted to celebrate somehow but most of me just wanted to go to sleep. That was Malcolm and ColinÔÇÖs vote too. Besides, we had to get up in the morning and do some more riding!



    Day 2

    It was around 7:30AM when Colin got up and took a shower. I was next and was soon ready to go down for the hotelÔÇÖs ÔÇ£freeÔÇØ breakfast. Sleeping beauty Malcolm was still fast asleep. Colin and I went downstairs and found the usual assortment of cereal, bagels, fruit, donuts, juices and coffee. The nice surprise was the do it yourself waffle iron. We each had our fill and was expecting Malcolm to show up any minute. I kept calling the room and got no answer. Must be in the shower I reasoned. After some more time passed I took a cup of coffee to the room. Sure enough, there he was still in bed. I fanned the aroma of the coffee towards his face and he struggled to open one eye. ÔÇ£Get out of bed!ÔÇØ I yelled. ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖve got places to go!!ÔÇØ ÔÇ£What time is it?ÔÇØ says he. ÔÇ£Nine O clockÔÇØ says me. ÔÇ£I thought we were sleeping till 11:00ÔÇØ he groans. I told him of the great waffles downstairs with Malcolm reporting heÔÇÖd be right there.

    Returning to the breakfast room I gave an update to Colin who was in fear of his brother just going back to sleep. If Malcolm wasnÔÇÖt coming to breakfast, we would bring breakfast to Malcolm we decided. We fixed a couple of trays including a fresh hot waffle and real plastic flowers and headed up stairs. ÔÇ£Come on, cowboy up, the bikes are runningÔÇØ is what Malcolm heard Colin say as we entered the room. After Malcolm finished his breakfast, he went to the front desk to check out. The day clerk asked why the extra paperwork was with the room information. Malcolm explained that we think we scared the night clerk. ÔÇ£You didÔÇØ was the day guyÔÇÖs reply.

    It was pushing noon when we finally had the bikes loaded up and were heading out the parking lot. Up highway 61 to the Canadian border was our route. Compared to the Interstates, this was a beautiful road with lots of curves, tunnels through hills and views of Lake Superior. After 2 ?¢ hours and only 100 miles we stopped at a scenic roadside park. Although prettier than the interstate, it sure was slower. It was time now to start thinking of plan D. Originally I had wanted to get all the way across the top of Superior. At this rate, no way was that going to happen. Plan D became going back to Duluth, then cutting across northern Wisconsin, through the U.P. and to the bridge.

    We also decided to look for food after getting through Duluth as we were getting pretty hungry. But before we left, eagle eye Malcolm spotted.wellan eagle. A good Ol American Bald Eagle! I think this is only the second time in all my born years that Ive ever seen one. It circled around overhead for awhile before taking a perch high up in the branches of a dead tree. Talk about picture perfect! And here I am with just this dinky disposable box camera. My wife Suellen wouldnt have cared for the Iron Butt portion of this trip but I was sure sorry she wasnt here for this part. Maybe someday I can complete the Lake Superior trip with her. She would enjoy that.

    So, we turned around and headed back. Only this time, since we saw the scenery once already, we thought weÔÇÖd ÔÇ£seeÔÇØ how well these bikes would corner in all these curves. We made it back to Duluth in a bit less time than it took us to get out. But still, here it was 5:00 PM now and we are back where we started from. Somehow I got us lost trying to find Hwy 2 heading east out of Duluth and into Superior WI. As we were fumbling around, I spied a fellow motorcyclist in front of a bar. Hwy 2 was not far away and he gave directions. In fact, he was going that way himself. Off we go now a pack of four.

    We were a bit outside of the city with Malcolm and Colin in the lead. I followed and somewhere behind me was our new friend. Suddenly the break lights come on ahead and the two of them ahead turn off into what I now see as a mom & pop type restaurant. Who pulls in behind us but our new friend who gave us directions. Seems he works at this place. Strange how things happen sometimes. We go in, clean up, and sit down. ItÔÇÖs Friday night and they have a all you can eat fish fry special. ÔÇ£There you go Malcolm,ÔÇØ I say, ÔÇ£hereÔÇÖs your fish and chips!ÔÇØ Not quite what he had in mind but it was the closest thing he was going to get.

    Once again we started to evaluate the progress we were making (or not making) and started to look at other routes. Plan E became cutting down south through Wisconsin until we decided it was time to quit and find a place to spend the night. Saturday we would finish the trip and be home.

    After gorging ourselves on the all you can eat fish, and a piece of pie, we hit the road again. Highway US 2 through northern Wisconsin is a beautiful road in that it looked as if it was brand new and was smooth as glass. These two lane roads seem much more enjoyable to ride as compared to the slabs. It wasnÔÇÖt too long before we needed gas again. We pulled into a non name brand station. I went inside to pay and walked right out again to look for the right place. The bar I walked into didnÔÇÖt look right. Boy, you could tell we were in the north woods. Sure enough, you belly up to the bar to pay for gas. Outside, Malcolm, ever the new friend maker, was conversing with a young fellow who was up for bear camp. Seems he bagged a 200 pound bear yesterday. From the manner of his speech, you could tell he wasnÔÇÖt from to far away of these parts. (Ever see the movie Fargo or Escanaba in da moonlight? In short order he had his young friend on a four wheeler going after beer from back at bear camp. That fish we just had must have made Malcolm a bit thirstier than the other two of us because he was the only one of us three to take up the offer.

    Down the road about fifteen more miles we turned south on US 51. We got as far as Mercer Wisconsin when Colin, then the ride captain, stopped us for the night. Our requisite was someplace with a lounge, which we visited as soon as we checked in and settled in the room. The Great Northern Motel was fashioned as a hunting lodge and had stuffed animals all over. I took a few pictures including the back side of black bear. I couldnÔÇÖt wait to go home to tell my wife and friends of the bar we went to and of the picture I got of a ÔÇ£bear butt.ÔÇØ Anyway, back in the bar, as a way to make up for not going into Canada, Malcolm ordered a LaBatts, and I had a Canadian mist & seven. Colin didnÔÇÖt feel like paying homage to the Canadians and had some other kind of drink. Even though the planned route got changed a couple of times, it was a good day of riding.

  3. #3
    Oscar
    Guest

    Post cowboy up part 3 (last part)

    Day 3

    Saturday morning we were ALL up at a reasonable hour. Across the street from the hotel looked a nice little restaurant that was open for breakfast. On the menu was homemade corned beef hash & eggs, which is what I ordered. IÔÇÖll tell you, IÔÇÖd be worth the ride back there just for the breakfast. That was the best corned beef hash IÔÇÖve ever had!

    With full bellies and Colin giving the ÔÇ£Cowboy UpÔÇØ, we headed for home. In the next hour or so, we saw more police cars that we did the whole ride. And if we werenÔÇÖt seeing them, we saw the marks on the shoulders of the road proving that there are in fact speeders in Wisconsin. IÔÇÖm glad we werenÔÇÖt some of them.

    Our nice two lane road soon turned into four lanes of divided highway. Somewhere north of Madison and at a rest area, Malcolm made another friend. A Harley rider on his way to an open house at a HD shop in Janesville. It sounded like a nice place to take a break. Never pass a chance to look at bikes. Besides, I couldnÔÇÖt resist taking the Beemer into ÔÇ£enemy territory.ÔÇØ It was a nice gathering and for this special occasion, they even had bikes you could demo. ( Sorry, a shameless plug for BWM shops where you can always demo a bike) I thought about taking the Buel out for a spin but then didnÔÇÖt want to take the time. Colin and Malcolm were inside shopping and I was looking at the bikes and just hanging around my own to answer a few questions from some of the other guests.

    Colin returned and presented me with a gift. A Guardian Bell which now hangs from my bike. Legend says it will save you from evil road spirits and when given as a gift, has twice the power. It is in the shape of an old English Bobbie hat. What a great gesture and one that I never will forget. My only regret is that I didnÔÇÖt walk in and buy a couple for other friends of mine. Sounds like a good excuse for a ride to go find them now.

    We left the open house on our last leg home. But oh boy, we had to go through Chicago again. We took a different route that took us through downtown. Who knows what the cause was but there we where in bumper to bumper stop and go traffic again. It was 86 degrees and the temp gauge tipped up close to the red line a few times but we kept moving enough that it didnÔÇÖt become a problem. Well we got through the city in one piece (must have been that Guardian Bell) and soon enough we crossed the Michigan state line on I-94. Colin was the first to peel off to head home. I was sure this would not be the last ride with him as I waved goodbye. After few more miles I was the next to exit leaving Malcolm alone for a few more miles to his exit.

    I was sad our adventure was over but glad to be home with my wife, sons, and dog. The only things left to do was finishing the paperwork for the Iron Butt and mailing it off. In looking at the wed site again, I saw that the Great Lakes region had several more Iron Butt opportunities each with its own distinctive pin. Circle Lake Michigan, circle Lake Superior, or circle the lower lakes.

    Hey! Malcolm, ColinCowboy up!!

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Cleveland TN.
    Posts
    158

    Cowboy up Oscar

    Great report Oscar. I am familiar with your location of St. Joseph MI. Back in 2001 my brother and sister-in-law lived in a little township named Baroda about 10-12 miles south of St. Joe. I rode my Harley electra-glide from TN. to visit them the week before the 9-11 terrorist attack. I rode straight thru 725 miles in about 11 hours. I was haulin all the way. I was lucky not to get a driving award up 31 out of Indy to South Bend. I don't think the speed limit was 85 mph. Only stopped for fuel and a couple of quick meals. I also did a lot of traveling through MI. that week I stayed with them and went to many parts of MI. but never made it to the upper peninsula. I sold the Harley and also bought an 03 K1200LTC but unfortunately it is now in the shop with terminal ABS failure and throttle cable problems. I sure am missing out on some great riding weather here in TN. Thanks for your report--look forward to the (rest of the story) as Paul Harvey would say!
    Last edited by Ironhorsecowboy; 10-28-2004 at 11:38 AM.

  5. #5
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    State of Confusion
    Posts
    7,799
    Oscar, thanks for the great story. Sounds like a great ride. The hardest part of the Iron Butt is waiting for the certificates to show up. When they cash your check you know it has been approved.

    I was looking at doing a Great Lakes 100 as well.... hmm dare we say it. Maybe a group Midwestern Clan ride.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    80
    Oscar, I enjoyed your ride reports! My sister lived in the Great Lakes region for several years - it's a beautiful area.

  7. #7
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Marin By God County, California
    Posts
    11,639
    I merged these three threads together so they're all in one place. You can always add additional comments by using the "Add Reply" buttons.

    Nice story too.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  8. #8
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    2,216

    Nice story, Oscar

    Thanks for a great report of what sounds like a real fun ride. Now, can someone tell me what a Great Lakes 100 is?
    Dan

  9. #9
    Oscar
    Guest

    Cool

    Thanks for the comments everyone. Dan, a Great Lakes 100 is riding around all five of the Great Lakes in less that 100 hours. And Brad, yes, a group GL100 sounds fun. Maybe next spring.

    Oscar.

  10. #10
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    State of Confusion
    Posts
    7,799
    Originally posted by Oscar
    And Brad, yes, a group GL100 sounds fun. Maybe next spring.

    Oscar.
    Oscar-

    Think we can squeeze it in before Easter?
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  11. #11
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    2,216

    Wouldn't try to discourage you, but ...

    Brad,
    If you try the Great Lakes 100 before Easter, you have a really good chance of getting snow, even in Michigan's lower peninsula. I can't imagine what you might run into along the Lake Superior shoreline, but it might not be pretty. Then again, it could be in the 60's and sunny ... NOT!
    Dan

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •