Blog Archives

Once is Never Enough

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 MinnesotaRIDE-MN-Cover_WEB 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!

Home Again

Grand Canyon park closed. Sign near Ash Fork, AZ

Grand Canyon park closed. Sign near Ash Fork, AZ

What a difference between traveling in a car vs. riding a motorcycle! Ralph and I just returned from a trip to California following the death of our brother-in-law. We lacked funds for a short-notice plane ride (and qualifying for “bereavement” fares is a pain in the butt!), so we drove the interstates. No time for backroads, although I have to say I-70 is the most scenic interstate I’ve been on, with lots of twists and curves through the Colorado Rockies.

We came back through Arizona and New Mexico to avoid the snow storms in the Dakotas. I enjoyed seeing the Southwest again: the red-striped rock formations, the blazingly-blue skies, the ruins of old Rte. 66 in the background. We got to eat Navajo food again (I love fry bread, but watch out for the cactus pads–they have a laxative effect!). But I missed feeling the sun and the wind and smelling the fresh piney air around Flagstaff.

By the time we hit the drizzle that accompanied us from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Minneapolis, I was thankful for the heater in the car.

Now, it’s back to work and back to promoting Ride Minnesota. I’ll be at the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Fesitval this Saturday at the State Fair grounds. It’s in the Progress Center, and it runs from 10:00 until 5:00. Excuse me while I go check my supply of books!

“Beyond the Bookstore”

Record snow depth on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is 139 inches.

Record snow depth on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula is 139 inches.

Once you’ve sold the first 100 copies of your book to your family and friends, you have to work a little harder. I just received notice from Amazon that the book I ordered, “Beyond the Bookstore,” has  shipped. It’s supposed to be filled with ideas for unconventional ways and means of selling books. I’ve been doing some of that on my own, making appearances at motorcycle dealerships with a saddlebag full of copies of Ride Minnesota.

Showing up at unexpected places is a fun way to market a product, if somewhat time-consuming. In the next few weeks, I’ll be at Northway Sports (September 28), the Twin Cities Book Festival (October 13, sponsored by Rain Taxi) and the Home Improvement & Design Expo (October 19-20). I have no idea what to expect from the last one, but Northway is going to loan me a hot new motorcycle to attract attention and keep me company in the booth.

Showing up at unexpected places reminds me somewhat of motorcycle touring, when you often find things at unexpected places. This summer Ralph and I took the Lake Superior Circle Tour. One of the great places to ride along the way is the Keweenaw Peninsula in Upper Michigan. That’s where we came across this gigantic thermometer that measures snow depth in the area.  It’s something we never expected to see. The record snow depth, by the way, is 139 inches. I’m damned glad I didn’t have to shovel it.