Weather: Too good to be true…
Yeah, that’s right. We were a huge pack, ridin’ down the road like a cavalry on sedatives. And we were breakin’ the law, too. If you click on the photo, and look at that curb, you will see it is painted yellow. That means “No Parking” in these parts, hombre, but we didn’t care. When you ride with a pack this large, nothing can stop you.
Not even the Twin Cities Marathon.
Though it did detour us a bit. The original route was blocked by police, to let the runners pass unmolested by motor-vehicles. Ride leaders Bill and Adam led us on a merry chase, up to the roadblocks, and around the block, circling this way and that. Luckily, there were a few riders scattered throughout the formation with CB radios. They helped keep the whole mess of us together, and we made it out of the city without any casualties.
Once we headed out on the rural roads, Scarlet O’Baron and I began to feel the magic of the Minn-Max formula. Larger “maxi-scooters”, from 250 to 650 ccs, can run the highways if they want, without worrying about getting run over by other traffic. But they still try to stick with the secondary roads as much as possible, because that is where all the cool scenery and stuff is.
We rolled along miles of tree-lined boulevards and country lanes, making almost no noise at all.
Especially when compared to similar packs of full-size motorcycles, who seem obliged to sport open pipes instead of mufflers. If loud pipes really do save lives, then quiet pipes must be very dangerous indeed.
Accept that premise, and you have to believe that this was the bravest bunch of adrenaline junkies I have ever ridden with! Stealth is their modus, and they use it to great effect. People actually smiled and waved at us, where they would normally scowl and snatch their children off the street.
You meet the nicest people on a maxi-scooter!
We arrived at the picnic stop, and parked around the perimeter of the boat landing. What a bunch of outlaws! Then we marched across the bridge and invaded the picnic grounds, armed with sandwiches and bottled water. Scary stuff indeed…
At the picnic grounds, I spoke to Mel, who originally invited me to ride with this group. There, I also met Mark, who had recently completed a seven-thousand mile journey around America on his Honda Silver-Wing. Then, I met Alberta, who had ridden with the group on her stylish Aprilia Scarabeo. That’s the gold-colored scooter, fourth from the right in the top photo.
Let me tell you, all these folks are fascinating, with wonderful stories to tell. I wished we had more time together under the trees, next to the river, that beautiful Sunday afternoon. But the road was calling, and we are, after all, Riders.
It was time to ride.
We left the picnic grounds and headed out to Grey Cloud Island. Now, let me admit right here that I have been lazy with my research. I can’t tell you a thing about the history of the island or what is in store for it in the future. But I can relate a personal connection…
Eight miles east of Osceola, Wisconsin, on the shore of Mud Lake, there is a little two-bedroom house. My family lived in that house from about 1970 to 1974. During that time, Dad was a tree-trimmer for Northern States Power Company. He commuted all the way to the Twin Cities in a 1969 Volkswagon Beetle.
Now, we all know how small the back seat was in those cars, don’t we? Oh, maybe not. Sorry, my age is showing…
Anyway, Dad’s crew was assigned to clear a bunch of brush for some power company project out on Grey Cloud Island, and he decided to adopt three cedar seedlings, or saplings, or whatever they’re called.
He hauled them home in the backseat of that old `69 Beetle, and trans-planted them in the front yard of our house on Mud Lake. I remember them because I faced a most unpleasant penalty if I ever ran over them with the lawn-mower.
The last time I rode past the old home place, those trees were almost thirty feet tall!
Well, let me tell you that Grey Cloud Island is still rather wild and absolutely vibrant with Autumn colors. We rode a nice loop around the island, and proceded north to other destinations.
Scarlet and I left the procession at Highway 61. I had other family obligations to take care of that day. That was too bad, from what I gather. They all went for ice cream, later on down the road, and we missed it.
I’ll be sure to clear my calendar, next time I ride with this Wild Bunch.