Monthly Archives: April 2013

Now Available Through Amazon

Ride Minnesota is now available for sale through I checked my CreateSpace account this morning and I have earned 1.32 euros from the book so far. Let the marketing begin!

Break-in ride

Ralph and I took time between chores today to hop on the motorcycle and ride to Taylors Falls, Minnesota. After having snow dumped on us earlier this week, today’s temps (current reading, 73 degrees), were just too nice to ignore. Although April is nearly at an end, the countryside is a dull brown, more like what you’d see in at the end of March. Small ponds have melted, but the larger lakes still have ice on them. That didn’t stop Minnesotans from hiking around Interstate Park in shorts and tank tops, though! One climber had a really nice (as in ouch!) sunburn going.

We climbed a rocky place near the St. Croix River and ate our lunch, basking in the sun like lizards. It was great to watch soaring birds (I think they were turkey buzzards. They didn’t look like eagles) and smell green grass and wet dirt! I have to admit that I was not prepared for the sight of high school prom-growers walking down the trails to the river. Flowing, sparkly gowns and tuxedos are totally incongruous in a wilderness-like setting.

I packed the only four copies I have of Ride Minnesota into our saddlebags, but we didn’t have much occasion to socialize with other bikers. That’s ok. There are other rides to come.

If you drive MN 95 from Stillwater to Taylors Falls, you may run into this guy. He’s at the Franconia Sculpture Park which is at the corner of MN 95 and US 8. The park is open year-round, dawn to dusk, and it’s free. Read more about it in Ride Minnesota, which should be listed on any day now.
Lizard Lounge

70s this weekend!

I never thought I’d be a motorcycle mama, but here I am at nearly 60, early awaiting a 70-degree high on Saturday so Ralph and I can take the bike somewhere. It doesn’t matter where. Just as long as we go, explore, discover, and share our discoveries. That’s what Ride Minnesota is all about. Sharing our discoveries about our home state with others.

The idea for the book came from a visit to the Minnesota History Center

Apple Blossom Scenic Byway

Apple Blossom Scenic Byway

in St. Paul. A good friend of mine, also a writer, had to interview someone for a magazine article and asked me to go along. While she conducted her interview, I poked along in the museum and looked at the exhibits (always good, highly recommended!).  I can never resist a bookstore, so it was natural that I wound up there.  I found several books about various types of Minnesota tourism–hiking in Minnesota, biking in Minnesota, paddling a canoe in Minnesota. There were no books about motorcycling in Minnesota! The lightbulb came on.

That’s how Ralph and I came to spend every available good-weather weekend cruising the highways on our Victory, looking for hills, curves, unique scenery. That’s how Ride Minnesota was born.

One of the more interesting rides is the Apple Blossom Scenie Byway, south of Winona. As the photo shows, there are curves ahead!


Afraid of my own shadow

When I first began riding behind Ralph, I clung to him for dear life. It made me nauseous to look down and to the side and see my shadow racing alongside me at 65 mph.  I noticed passengers on other motorcycles were more relaxed. Some held onto the bars on the seat rest. Others simply sat with their hands in their laps.

After a trip to the Grand Canyon via Rte. 66, I can look at my shadow now. And more often than not, I ride with a small digital camera in one hand. I still reach for Ralph when we hit a bump, but most of the time it’s “Look, Ma, no hands!”  You have to have a certain amount of fatalism to sit on the back. If I leave the bike, I leave it. I’d rather be flung from it, I think, than trapped beneath it.

Since I’m not distracted by having to keep the bike safely on the road, I have plenty of time to think, plan and pray (not out of fear, mind you, mostly I tell God thanks for the beautiful day). I planned Ride Minnesota on the back of our Victory. That’s where the book took shape. On the back of a motorcycle, in Minnesota.



I received my proof copy of Ride Minnesota yesterday. It’s not perfect, but I can live with it. I’ll be spending the next few days polishing up my marketing materials.

I immediately ordered 100 copies from CreateSpace. They’ll land at my front door on May 6. The book will be available from Amazon in 5-7 days. In 6-8 weeks, it will be available through bookstores and online retailers. The list price is $10. RIDE-MN-Cover_WEB I am anxious to see how it sells.

In the meantime, here’s a scene from a better motorcycling day than today. It was taken last summer at SOld 61-North Shore-Gunflint-23050ilver Creek tunnel, north of Duluth, along the North Shore.

It’s about the bike, stupid!

Last December, RoadRUNNER magazine published my article, “The Other Grand Canyon,” a story about a ride Ralph and I took through Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. The editor asked me if I had any photos of our motorcycle at the canyon, and I had to tell her no. Until that time, it had never dawned on me that to most readers of motorcycle publications, the trip is about the bike as much as it is the scenery. I am after all, just a tourist riding on the back. I tried to keep that in mind as I worked on my forthcoming book, Ride Minnesota, looking for exciting backgrounds for “heroic” shots of the bike.

Here are the details on our bike: It’s a 1508cc 2002 champagne-and-cream Victory Deluxe Touring Cruiser. Rlaph added true dual ceramic-coated pipes because, he says, he gets better performance and gas mileage. (It made the bike a lot noisier!)

We purchased the motorcycle secondhand from a guy who said it had been made for one of the executives at Polaris. It had just 3,000 miles on it. Since then, it’s been to the Grand Canyon and back and all over Minnesota, and the total is now several thousand miles north of 30,000.

One of the cool places we found was the Gold Mine Bridge near Redwood Falls. It’s one of the few wooden bridges left in Minnesota.

Gold Mine Bridge, near Redwood Falls

Gold Mine Bridge, near Redwood Falls

It’s “in the mail!”

The physical proof of Ride Minnesota is on its way to Minnesota! It’s been a longer process than I anticipated. There must be a lot of self-publishers out there.

CreateSpace works differently than what I’m accustomed to. I’ve always marked up the layout and passed it back to the graphics person to make the corrections. With CreateSpace, you make the corrections yourself and re-submit the manuscript each time you make a correction (I was allowed two rounds because the first round included making an index from the first set of proofs.). I now have multiple copies of the “final” manuscript and a couple of PDF proofs filed in my computer.

It’s certainly not motorcycle weather here in Minnesota today. After receiving 7 inches of snow this week (15 in some parts of the state!), we’re still waiting for spring and riding weather. Here’s a photo from last summer, taken at the Cascade River pullout along the North Shore. This photo is in the book, but it looks very different in black and white.

Cascade River pullout, North Shore Drive

Cascade River pullout, North Shore Drive