Ramble Plan Kilo: Starring Sidewalk Dan

Weather: 65°F (18°C)
Road Conditions: Dry and crowded with urban rush-hour traffic.

Frogwing has some new friends: Sidewalk Dan and his KLR, at Lake Como.

Some of you may have seen Sidewalk Dan’s comments in both “The Baron in Winter” blog and RHR. Dan has been a friend of mine for a few years now, since I became active in the local KLR scene. He is a bright fellow; a professional civil engineer with several bridge designs to his credit. But he also has a wild side, as his nickname attests, and his background as a former Marine demands.

His nickname derives from the fact that, when faced with heavy State Fair traffic in the rain one day, he decided to bypass the gridlocked cages and take to the empty sidewalk in order to get where he was going.

“Improvise, adapt, overcome.” – These were the words that Clint Eastwood used to describe the Marine Corps approach to obstacles and opposition in one of his better films. It is an attitude that both Dan and I have taken to heart, in dealing with local traffic on our KLRs.

But enough of this jaw-jackin’. Dan wrote up his version of our Ramble Plan, and it’s time to see what he has to say. My comments will appear in italics… Those of you who watch “Mail Call” on cable will feel right at home.

Ramble Plan Kilo: The Bulldog N.E.

Dan on the Sidewalk, sans KLR, outside “The Bulldog N.E.”

How fitting it is for Gary and I to begin our ramble from an establishment named “The Bulldog.”

For those of you not in-the-know, the bulldog is the official mascot of the United States Marine Corps. Currently this post is filled by Sergeant Chesty XI. Alas, I’m starting to hear Springsteen sing “Glory Days” somewhere in the background – so I don’t think I’ll go down that road today.

My past life in the Corps is, well, buy me a beer and I might tell you a story or ten…

The Bulldog N.E. sits on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis, just
across the Mississippi River that divides Gary’s beloved Saint Paul – and
his not-so-favorite Minneapolis (a/k/a the other place…).

Near Nye’s, another favorite establishment that Gary has mentioned previously on his blog, the Bulldog is situated along Hennepin Avenue, a fairly busy road that carries the thousands of downtown workers to and from their homes to their various places of employment. I am one of them.

Be that as it may, I rarely stop once mounted on my bike during my commute home. I pass the Bulldog going home – but never stop to take a gander. A few of my coworkers gave me the thumbs-up; plus the local newspaper had a pretty good review too. I was liking our odds more and more.

We stopped in about 1630 – catching a window seat to do some people watching and hopefully catch some decent light for Gary’s well known dinner plate shots. The restaurant is known for their hamburgers, serving Kobe beef pretty much any way you like.

Gary chose a plain burger, cooked rare, with a topping of a truffle. Yes, that is not a misprint, a truffle.

Whoa there, Devildog! Truffles normally sell for between $400 and $1000 a pound. They wouldn’t bury something like that inside a cheeseburger, certainly not for ten measly bucks. What The Bulldog uses on their Truffle Burger is truffle oil. Big difference! Carry on… =gc=

I asked for a plain Jane bacon cheeseburger, cooked medium well. Your host was very pleased with his burger, as was I. There were no sauces, no drowning in tomatoes, onions, pickles, relish and the like. Just a plain slab (and what a great slab it was) of beef, topped with a truffle. Gary will have to chime in on his taste buds and his topping, but my bacon cheeseburger was simply outstanding. I believe he got some decent photos of his burger – maybe he will put one (along with his review) in here.

Behold: The Ten Dollar Cheeseburger. Worth it? Read on…

Ah, the Truffle Burger… only ten-dollah, Joe. Did you ever think you would see the like? Oh, but this one is a doozy: They trim the fat off Kobe chuck, season it with garlic, thyme, salt, and peppercorns, and cure it overnight. Then they run it through the grinder twice to make it super smooth and tender. Grill it in truffle oil and top it with pure Wisconsin Brie, and present it on a fresh English Muffin. Hey, why is that olive staring at me? Let me give a special shout-out to our server Rachel. She was very patient with us jarheads and our uncouth table manners. =gc=

Well, now that chow was over (man, sounds like an Alpo commercial?) – on with the ramble. I had yet to reveal my route tonight, as I was going to try to get Gary in some local mud pockets that I had found in the days past. But he was weighted down with his traveling load as well as running his street tires – so he opted out of the mud. I did not.

It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t deep. But it was still fun. Ask your kids (or even hark back to when you were a young lass) why they play in the mud. The exact same reason I ride in it (but I can neither confirm or deny these allegations at this time).

Don’t let him fool you, folks. Dan is only barely removed from the kid stage. He’s been to college, and learned some fancy language, sure. But deep down he is still a curtain-climbin’ rugrat at heart. Thirty-three years old, and still playin’ in the mud… Oohrah! =gc=

Our route from downtown Minneapolis towards Saint Paul where we both live took us along the same Hennepin Avenue for a few miles of dreary rush hour traffic, to a couple quite sedate feeder roads in some of the local neighborhoods. This began a brief notion of supermotard. I found a nice, small steady LH curve – very doable at just a bit over the speed limit, followed by a hard RH turn that got us back to some main line routes.

It wasn’t much – and I never lost sight of his headlight in my mirrors. Keep in mind we were both on our KLRs – that had to be one heck of a sight. Not quite so cafe-racer-esque, but I did my best.

Exiting our motard event, we headed for the mud where Gary took it easy and I played for a bit. Next time we’ll get some pics okay Gary?

I was just coverin’ your six, Junior. Yeah, next time we’ll get some pics of you getting busted by the railyard bulls. =gc=

Then it was on to some uneventful riding to a lake near my house where my family and I walk and bike. I believe there were some more photos taken here. See the top of the page. =gc=

It was at the lake where Gary and I parted ways. He had a bit of ride to his hacienda – whereas I just live a few short miles away. I rambled here and there for another hour or so, as I had the kitchen pass tonight, which I was going to take full advantage to be sure.

Well, this is the end of Ramble Plan Kilo. I hope you have enjoyed my rambling as well.

And once again, many thanks to your kind host, Gary Charpentier.
Semper Fi brother.

Sidewalk Dan out.

11 Responses to “Ramble Plan Kilo: Starring Sidewalk Dan”

  1. Bill Sommers Says:

    Nice job guy’s! You gents did a fine job of building this post. As usual, the dinner photo set my appetite at full-on hungry, but more than anything, I really enjoyed the writing from you both.

    I’m gonna go ride on the sidewalk now!

    Have fun fellas,

  2. Biker Betty Says:

    It’s great that you both were able to get together for a ride. I enjoyed the mix of both of your writings. Gary, I thought for sure you’d make a comment about the “Alpo commercial” comment, lol. Great job to you both.


  3. seagullplayer Says:

    I don’t care how good it is, $10 is too much for a burger basket!
    That fancy breakfast bread don’t fool me…

    Sounds like a good time, good read.

  4. Steve Williams Says:

    Sidewalk Dan shows exquisite taste in the First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket. Very stylish.

    Sounds like a fine ramble even with the 10 dollar burger. Just think how much it costs if you factor in time and fuel to get there. Not as bad as the guys who fly their planes to a burger establishment.

    I really like the co-authored format. Will we be seeing more of that?

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  5. Sidewalk Dan Says:

    Hello everyone.

    I’m glad you have taken to our little ‘experiment’ here at RHR. As Gary previously mentioned, I’m an engineerd – so a Hemingway I am not. Nor am I any kind of budding writer. I try to write coherently, sometimes with a bit of sarcasm – but always with a sense of realism.

    This is my third year w/ the FG Kili, and I have to say I’m very, very happy with it – both in cold weather (read 25F) and in warm weather (80F) as well. I’m sort of a walking billboard for FG, since they are one of the few makers of tall gear.

    You will find no less than two jackets and four (yes four, I shredded a pair last year in a get-off that I related to Gary) pants from FG in my stable. Zoom in on the top picture and see what is on the front of my cowling.

    As far as the $10 burger. I won’t go out of my way and look for another one – but I would gladly return to the Bulldog for another!

    In good conscience, I can’t condone anyone riding on the sidewalk. But as Gary has so eloquently quoted Mr. Eastwood, sometimes you just have to “improvise, adapt, overcome.” Gary may or may not recall the #1 objective of Marine Corps leadership – and that is to accomplish the mission. Troop welfare is #2, but accomplishing the mission always comes first.

    And yes, that does mean sacrificing troops for the mission. But that is how it is, and we as Marines, are famous for completing those missions, time and time again. No questions asked.

    My mission, if you will, is to get home and not sit in traffic (in August, in MN). I adapted by riding on the sidewalk. Keep in mind, it is in almost a rural setting (university test fields) – no houses, driveway, but most importantly no people. I don’t make it a habit of doing it, but sometimes you just have to do what needs to be done.

    If your fine host is up to it again, I’d be more than willing to be your guest columnist again. Thanks again for your time.

    Sidewalk Dan out.

  6. MatL Says:

    Good job on the write up Dan & Gary.

    Aside from the $10 burger — you ARE living the ‘High Life’.

  7. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Bill: This one was a lot of fun, even though we went straight through the heart of rush-hour traffic. For some reason, two bikes together seem to command more respect than one. Especially when they are both KLRs…

    Betty: Believe me, when I was in the Marines, some of the stuff we ate was much worse than Alpo.

    SGP: It’s a strange thing, really. The words “gourmet” and “cheeseburger” go together about as well as “military” and “intelligence”. Yet the Truffle Burger at The Bulldog N.E. was the tastiest oxymoron I have ever eaten. Hmmm… that doesn’t sound quite right. Never mind.

    Steve: I don’t know. If you folks like this format, then by all means, sound off! I’ll do it again as long as I have your encouragement.

    Sidewalk Dan: Okay, rule number one in becoming a motorcycle legend is to never publish a disclaimer. That just puts you into the same box as all of those safety-crats out there who want to spoil everybody’s fun by showing them what can happen as a result of their crazy behaviour. Let Darwin have his way, and nature take her course…

    MatL: I’ve never cared much for Miller products. But you’re right, I’m having fun already, and the season is young.

    Ride well,

  8. Biker Betty Says:

    Yep, in reference to the Alpo, I can believe it. When in the Air Force a couple of times I had to eat their “boxed lunches.” I use that term very loosely, lol. When I opened my can of beef stew, Alpo definitely came to mind. Someone elses stroganoff looked like my beef stew and so on. It all smelled the same and it smelled like what I fed my dog!!!

  9. Buster Brown Says:

    “It all smelled the same and it smelled like what I fed my dog!!!”

    Reminds me of the time I was warming some Hormel chili on the stove. At one point I turned and saw that my ordinarily well-housebroken shepherd-husky mix Misty had laid a deposit on the kitchen floor. Instead of skulking in shame, she was sitting alertly, ears up, tongue out, as if she were looking for a reward. As I went over to have a word with her, I caught a whiff of her work, and realized that I would be unable to scold her. It smelled just like the chili on the stove. I guess she figured if I was going to make a stink, she would help. That was the last can of Hormel chili I ever had anything to do with.

  10. Biker Betty Says:

    OOhh Boy, I will never look at Hormel Chili the same again!!! Thank goodness that’s not the canned chili we use. Thanks Buster Brown, lol.

  11. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Betty: When I went through boot-camp, we were fed the last of the C-Rations, just before they went to MREs. Those things didn’t have a shelf-life, they had a half-life, if you know what I mean…

    Buster: Hormel Chili? Business must have been very bad in those days. I have only ever known you as a gourmet and connoisseur. But hey, why aren’t you outside cleaning up your yard? The Man is comin’…

    Ride well,