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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

From a day trip yesterday July 15. Rain was supposed to set in towards evening, with the next day being a loss to rain as well. Hot & humid has been the norm for what seems a long while, with no plan to change anytime soon it seems.

Seemed like an equitable excuse to set off for a ride. :thumb:

I did not plan any of it, I just knew that "north" would be cooler, temp-wise, sometimes a notable change, could be 10-30 degrees some days, Lake Superior an influencing factor, depends on the winds.

Also, I often run the "coast" of the 2nd largest inland lake in our state, "Mille Lacs" the lake itself covers 200 square miles. Before you see it coming, you feel sometimes a ten degree drop in temps if your on a bike.

a crude depiction of the path taken:

[Minnesota is about 360 miles from east to west and about 407 miles from north to south, so this was just a chunk of the center-right.

I had a place in mind to get a late lunch at, so I loosely kept that in mind. I stayed off Super highways for the most part, sticking to two lane, seemingly having the roads to myself.

On a route I have driven a hundred times, give or take, when I am with other riders we had never strayed far off the route. I opted to explore a couple of the small unincorporated "villages" that are now almost ghost towns, after railways have been totally removed in some cases, perhaps leading to their demise (sad).

I saw this old church in a glimpse by chance, I appreciate old architecture, and consider that an old place like this might still have something to say.

Unfortunately, a pesky motorcycle found its way into some of the pics. Sorry it's the same one, over and over again... ;)

Sad to see what was once expensive fixtures of leaded glass and windows, sitting broken and deteriorating.

Perhaps for those that knew the place, better to think of what it once was, instead of what it now is.

A couple people drove by me while I was afoot. A smile and a nod, once they see a camera typically dismisses concern. For those that may stop and talk to me, they will learn that it's about paying respect to a place, not about looting it.

I moved on north, to my target for a late lunch. Welcome to "Duquette". A place in the middle of nowhere, that offers a custom deli type over the counter old fashion sandwich like someone's mom made it for you, for a couple bucks.

The place has original wood floors, and up until the middle 1960's, was still heated with a giant wood stove within. A family member loosely knew a descendent of the family that started the place in about 1905.

Its on a popular weekend motorcycle route, its a great spot for fuel, something to eat and sometimes pretty odd people watching and conversation. Couple riders and myself were there one day last summer.

Most of a wedding party rolled up, wearing formal wear.

On ATV's.

Another time, we are sitting on the "porch" out front, enjoying sandwiches and a root beer. A guy pulls up to run in for a pack of smokes. He has a vintage Gold Wing-rat-bike. He is missing or sustained a missile blast where one Honda-hard bag would have once been in the back. On the other side, was a crudely attached Harley white hard-bag. The fittings, controls and "features" were beyond my imagination, and I have 'KLR' in my blood... and was once a card-carrying active field agent in the "milk-crate Mafia"...

The fellow was wearing a long dirty trenchcoat, and a very tall leather tophat, like "Slash" or ABE LINCOLN.

Neat fellow, he was in a hurry. We just sat there, unable to speak- we were not sure what we were looking at... and in seconds, he was gone.

Yesterday not as eventful, although I talked to an old guy/local, that remembered when a friend of mine, a deputy, fell out of the sky and crashed a plane right near there. Turns out his wife is my chums cousin.

I think Duquette is some kind of secret portal or wormhole into another dimension, or place in time. You have to be open minded... :eek:

Ok, this is about all of "town"

My route out of Duquette was blocked off, a bridge out for replacement just a few yards north of the store. A local guy gave me very "loose" hand gestures and signals to apparently get around the road closed signs and missing bridge, and continue on to a city on Lake Superior that I would have liked to get to on this route.

Well, two rights and a left, plus what other waypoints he discussed soon put me, I dunno, I was off the grid, and on some wonderful gravel. :D


I think it had been graded in recent times, and no shortage of recent rains left me with NO DUST, period. And no other traffic, other than the occasional farm truck, with the operator madly waving hello as he would cross my path.

I had the presence of mind to drop some bookmarks on the GPS so I could get back to this low key, easy riding ADV "Shangri-La" :thumb:.

After many miles and smiles of gravel, I pretty well had to break north when I came out on some blacktop. Zooming in on the map verified on was on the "old highway XYZ" I wanted to be on in the first place. While the old guy's directions did not totally register with me, I had somehow found my way around the missing bridge ( I remember a wet spot...) and back on the rural blacktop.

He was "purty shure" that once around the missing bridge that I could take it the next 40 miles and end up where I wanted to be, on what would be the "old" two lane that used to be the only route.

I thought it was odd, or wormhole like, that over the next 39.9 mile I did not see any other traffic. NONE, zippo. :topsecret:

I stopped to enjoy the solitude, and take a break. There was the sound of gunfire in the background, sweet!

I had indeed found (redneck) heaven. :D

I got to the last tenth of a mile on my roadway, to see a construction crew working where the next bridge "used to be".

Dang, I could not get around this one on gravel, and my GPS kept telling me to go back many, many miles to "reroute"= to Interstate 35, which I had no interest in taking.

I opted to head west, jogging north, then south, then west again, and found my way "under" the interstate, and continued on to west central part of the state over near the lake route I like to take.

I found a few more sad looking establishments along the way.

"ding-ding-ding, filler up sir, catch the windows for ya, check yer oil"?:

Not today.

Proceeding on and down the west "coast" of the 20 mile long lake I speak of, I find what used to be a thriving place. A bait shop, gas and convenience store, the kind of place that had fishing advice, ammunition, something to eat if ya wuz hungry, and a dirty bathroom.

Seems that a fire ensued. "Table for one"???

Not today.

A little art growing around where a window used to be.

I got hit with rain on and off after this, and pretty well just beat it back to the barn, stopping only for a shot of fuel.

A nice slow day.

End report. Thanks for stopping by...:cheers:

3,373 Posts
Very nice. I especially like the B & W photos - quite artistic.

1,883 Posts

After many miles and smiles of gravel, I pretty well had to break north when I came out on some blacktop.
Nice writeup. I have a general question though. Is riding these things in gravel all about tire choice? I have the stock ST tires and I got off in some gravel for the first time and found I too became an unstable rider. My last 800 lb cruiser was far more at home on gravel than this bike...even though when it happened I also had to grit my teeth waiting for a rock to jump in the sprocket and snap its belt.

I'm an ST guy. Not really too big on the whole trail riding thing and I will likely always have street tires on mine, but I just wonder if the tires transform these things or if you guys are just used to the unstable feedback of in such conditions.

Super Moderator
19,138 Posts
Thanks you guys, not as epic as Ed's ride!
DO NOT 'talk-down" your ride in reference to one of mine.

You DID yours, and that makes it just as GRAND as anything I (or ANYONE else) has done.

Good for you... and KEEP on "keeping on"....

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