We’ve heard a lot lately about bikers showing off–popping wheelies and performing dangerous stunts in traffic. Perhaps the worst is the gang-banging that took place in New York last week. Authorities there are still trying to sort out what really happened, but it sounds like a minor bump from the SUV to a motorcycle spiraled out of control. And then there’s the Minnesota woman who was drunk and drove into a man and a woman on a motorcycle. They’re dead because she cross the center line. I have a T-shirt from a recent book siging at Northway Sports, It’s from Allstate Insurance and it says, “Once is never enough. Look twice for motorcycles.”
You won’t have to look twice for me tomorrow at the Twin Cities Book Festival. It’s at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, in the Progress building. (That’s the north end of the fairgrounds. The Salem Lutheran Church Diner –where you can buy Scandinavian egg coffee during the fair– is just in front of the door.) The festival runs from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and there are author lectures and book signings going on all over the place. My table–111–is on an outside row, across the aisle from Rain Taxi’s used book sale. I couldn’t be happier with my placement. I’ve signs and a big poster advertising Ride Minnesota. I have my Square for credit card sales, which I’m eager to try out. The biggest temptation will be to refrain from visiting all the other tables and coming home with a big load of books. (So many books, so little time!)
I hear the weather is going to be good tomorrow, if a little windy. If you’re out riding, come in a browse some books. If you’re a bookworm like me, well, you know what to do!
This is a do-over. I unintentionally hit the publish button in the quick publish mode. I will not use that mode again!
As I was saying, riding with a group of motorcyclists is fun, but I also find it confining. It’s a lot of work keeping track of the rider ahead of you, the guy on the side and the ones following (even though I’m not driving!). More so than in a car. And, of course, you end up sniffing a lot of motorcycle exhaust.
That’s why Ralph and I like exploring on our own, discovering hills and valleys, curves and straight-aways, new sights, new sounds, fresh air. Just us. That’s how I came to write and publish Ride Minnesota, to share our experiences other motorcyclists who want to get out and explore Minnesota. There are a lot of interesting places in this state, and we haven’t seem ’em all–yet.
Is there anything heavier than a toppled bike? A few years ago, Ralph and I took a trip down US 169 to old Rte. 66 and the Grand Canyon. We stopped for a traffic light in Altoona, Iowa. The bungee cord that held most of our earthly belongings for the trip broke, and the Victory went down. I scrambled to get off as Ralph struggled to keep the motorcycle away from the pavement. The guy in the car behind us got out and helped us push.
Last summer, while working on Ride Minnesota, the bike toppled again. We were in Aitkin, making a left turn from a side street near the American Legion to the main drag. As we started the turn, a local yokel in a pickup truck bounded through the intersection. It was stop or be killed, so we stopped. The motorcycle began its slow descent toward the ground. I hopped off and started pushing. Fortunately, another driver stopped and came to our aid.
Speaking of pushing, I got a call yesterday from Bill, the sales manager at Motoprimo in Lakeville. He wants to talk about book signings and sales. Says he’s “fascinated” by the book. That’s one salesman who has my ear!
Downtown Aitkin, approaching the only stoplight in Aitkin County!
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
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!