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Happy New Year!!

The holiday rush has finally ended and we wanted to take the time to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!!  We have been reflecting on what a great year it was for us personally (witnessing the marriage of one of our sons, watching both of our boys (well, actually men) continue to grow and amaze us, spending quality time with family and friends) and with the growth that Driftless Road Adventures has enjoyed.  We have made lots of new friends and it has brought us a great satisfaction and joy to be able to share the routes we love so much with all of you.  We could not have done it without your support and we look forward to growing our relationships in the coming year.

2018 was a busy year for us, but we were still able to get out and ride quite a bit and really had some fun on the routes.  We hope you did too!    We also enjoyed meeting a lot of new riders along the way.  Enjoy a slide show of our year in review:

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While 2018 was a fun and event filled year, we are looking forward to 2019.  We have some irons in the fire so look for some exciting announcements coming soon.  Here are a few of the things we are working on:

  • Website updates to include an area events/rides list.
  • New challenges and contests.
  • Paper maps for those that like to go old school.
  • Dual Sport recommendations.
  • Driftless area group rides.

With all of the changes, rides, and events, it is shaping up to be a very busy and exciting summer!

To stay up to date with all the latest information please follow our blog Driftless Road Adventures.

Thanks again for a great year!  Ride safe in 2019!

Dale and Renee

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December Ride in Iowa PLUS last minute shopping ideas!!

In our last blog, I was whining about the early end to our riding season, however, as luck would have it, we have had a mid-December warm up!

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Saturday, I took the opportunity to ride down to one of our local dealers.  They were hosting an open house and I always like to stop in and see what’s new.

While I always enjoy looking at the new bikes, a couple of older bikes really caught my eye.  The first one was a 1990 Triumph Sprint.  I’m not really a sport bike fan, but the gorgeous lines of this bike were amazing.

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Just before I left, I went into one more room and I found this:

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It’s a 1990 BMW K1 with just a little over 45,000 miles.  This is a relatively rare bike that riders either really love, or really hate.  It is so unique and futuristic looking that it is hard to believe it was built almost 20 years ago.

While it was fun to look and dream, I still love my GS the best.  It’s the best bike I can imagine for the our favorite type of riding.  It was so great to get out and have that unexpected ride, and to support a local business.

Speaking of support for a business….nice segue, huh?…we also wanted to remind everyone that there is still time to stock up on Driftless Gear and support your favorite Free Route website.  Please visit our store for some last minute gifts.  The USPS tells us that the 20th is the last day to ship in time for Christmas.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

As always, thanks for your support.  We hope you have a Merry Christmas, and a safe and happy New Year!!

Renee and Dale

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Too Cold To Ride?

Sadly, winter came early to Iowa this year so we are done riding for now.  Although we can’t ride we try to do other motorcycle-related activities to pass the cold, dark winter months.  It  reminds us of the fun we have had and the fun that is yet to come.

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Here some ideas to help you pass the time:

Winterize your bike:  This is usually the thing that I delay as long as I can because it’s the signal that I won’t riding for a while.  If you are not sure what steps to take, there are plenty of good articles online.  I’ll be winterizing this weekend.

Make repairs or install new upgrades:  When you are winterizing your bike, it is a good time to inspect for worn or broken parts.  The downtime of winter is a great time to make those repairs, or to install new toys.  I’m looking forward to installing a new dual camera recording system that Renee got me for Christmas (shhhh….it supposed to be a surprise).  The only bad news is that I won’t be able to test it on the road until next spring.

Clean up, repair, replace your gear:  Now is the time to take a close and critical look at your gear.  Is anything worn out or broken?  The off season is a good time to replace gear because you can shop for deals (maybe go to a motorcycle show and look for a deal).

Go to a motorcycle show/swap meet:  This is a great activity for the off-season.  You can see the latest motorcycles and gear and get discounts on some items.  There are several large shows around the country every year, but you might need to travel to get to one depending on where you live.  We are going to the Progressive Motorcycle Show in Chicago this February.  Besides seeing the bikes and gear, Renee wants to get a new set of custom ear plugs made.

Share some of your rides and pictures with others:  Inspire some of your favorite motorcycle forum members with your pictures and stories.  You will enjoy your past rides all over again while you put it together.  Write up a good ride report and we will be happy to share it on the website.  We love to share your adventures as much as our own.

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Catch up on some other ride reports:  There are tons of ride reports on the various motorcycle forums.  Some of them are truly inspiring and you are sure to find someone who has been somewhere you would like to visit.

Start to plan for next spring:  Get out a map or an atlas and start to plan some trips and events to attend.  Cyclefish.com is a good source for motorcycle related events.  There are probably other local event lists on your favorite motorcycle forum as well.

Volunteer to help at a ride/rally:  There are lots of rides and rallies going on all summer.  They range from small, local rallies to large international rallies.  Many of them would love to have an extra set of hands to help out.  If you have already attended a rally, you may have met the organizers.  If not, Cyclefish.com lists the organizers or contacts for each event.

Watch a motorcycle movie:  Whether you like Long Way Round,  Easy Rider or On Any Sunday, wintertime is a good time to watch your favorite movie again.  Or maybe to find a new favorite movie.

Read a motorcycle book:  There are tons of great motorcycle books out there.  It seems like every time I read one, I find two more that I want to read.    My favorite books (so far) are:  Ghost Rider, by Neil Peart, The Long Ride Home, by Nathan Millward and One Man Caravan, by Robert Edison Fulton Jr.

Even though we can’t ride right now, there are still a lot of things we are doing to stay engaged in the hobby we love.  The off-season is when we create most of our routes, and in addition to some of the items above, we will be working on some new routes for next summer.  We are also looking at the feasibility of making paper maps of the routes.

What are some of the things you like to do when you can’t ride?  Do you have a favorite movie or book you would like to share?  Drop us a line and let us know what you like to do in the off-season.  Again, we are always happy to hear from you and would love to share your news on the site, so please keep in touch over this long, dark, cold time we call winter.

Keep Warm!!  

 

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5th Annual Anniversary Ride!!

Five years ago Renee and I started a tradition of taking a motorcycle ride for our wedding anniversary.  The first 2 years we rode on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail, the next year we rode in the Loess Hills of western Iowa.  Last year we rode in the Driftless Area between Boscobel, WI and Red Wing, MN.

While we always enjoyed riding in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, our Red Wing trip really opened up our eyes to the fact that the driftless areas of Minnesota and Iowa also offer tremendous roads.  It was on this ride that we got the inspiration to create Driftless Road Adventures.

This year we are excited to be celebrating our 30th anniversary by riding the Highway 16 Route.

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We will be riding on Saturday, and the weather is looking good, so hopefully we will see some of you on the road.  Look for our logo on our bags, and if you see us on the road give us a wave.  If we are stopped, be sure to say hi.  We love to meet other riders.

We also want to thank everyone who entered our Celebration Giveaway contest.  The winners have all been notified and their prizes are in the mail.  We had a great time seeing everyone’s pictures and hearing their stories.  Click Here to see the winning submissions.

And, as always, we want to thank you for reading our blog posts and riding our routes.  If you have any stories or pictures you would like to share, we would love to see and hear them.

Ride Safe,

Dale and Renee

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Happy Labor Day!!

We wanted to take the time to wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend.  Remember, it’s a busy travel weekend, so if you are riding, be extra careful.

Also, there is still time to enter our Celebration Giveaway contest.  All you need to do is send us a photo of your bike near a curvy road sign like this:

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Happy Riding!!

Dale and Renee

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Weather Warning!

We just wanted to make everyone aware that there has been a lot of severe weather and flooding in much of the Driftless Area.  We have seen pictures and heard stories about roads and bridges that were washed out and there is more rain in the forecast.

If you are planning on riding in the Driftless Area in the near future be sure to check local road conditions for closures and detours.

On a more positive note, we wanted to remind everyone that our celebration giveaway contest is still in progress.  Send us a picture of you or your ride next to a curvy road sign and you are automatically entered for a chance to win cool Driftless Roads gear!!

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Check out our other blog posts or send us a note if you have any questions.

Happy Riding,

Dale and Renee

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Weekend Fun!!

Today I rode to Iowa City to attend the Iowa City BMW/Sun & Fun Motorsports Open House.  They had great specials, food and a Stunt Show by Chris “Teach” McNeil, who is a BMW Factory Stunt Rider.

I managed to catch Chris in one of the few moments he wasn’t moving:

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Chris did stunts on all 3 of the bikes in this picture.  Here is one I managed to catch:

I also ran into my friend Paul Strubell creator of the Dirt Orcas website.  We had a good time catching up on each others’ busy summers.

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Finally, we want to remind everyone that we are in the middle of a celebration giveaway contest.  Check out our previous blog post for details on custom route discounts and look at our great prizes below.  Enter today for your chance to win!!

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Ride Safe!!

Dale and Renee

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Riding the White Mound Route

This weekend Renee and I are going to ride another one of our routes, the White Mound Route.  Even though we planned for our routes to be single day routes, we are splitting this one into 2 days.  It takes us a while to get to Wisconsin and back home to Iowa, so we are using part of Saturday and part of Sunday to ride the route and not have to cut it short.

We also added in the 2 nearby Rustic Roads and a side trip to Mauston which extended the overall distance by about 40 miles.  Here is our planned route.

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If you are riding this weekend, keep an eye out for us, we will be 2-up on our Blue BMW GS.  We would love to meet you, so if you catch us at a stop, be sure to say hi.

When we get back home, we will be adding this modified route to the Custom Route Archive which is only available to our Patrons at the $5 level and above.  We will also post some pictures!

See you on the road!

Dale and Renee

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Wisconsin Triangle Route Video

We are between rides so we thought we would share some video from one of our past rides.

This video was taken from the Wisconsin Triangle Route during our Mayhem ride this past June.

There were lots of riders out that day:


Remember, we would love to hear from you and see any pictures you have from our routes.  Send some our way and we will put them on our website.

Thanks

Dale and Renee

 

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Our Superior Trip Part II

On Saturday we finished our longest trip to date:  a 6 day, 1,350 mile journey to the Canadian border and back.  Our last blog post described the first 2 days of our trip, but we found it difficult to blog from the road, so here is the rest of the story:

On day 3, we rode from Duluth to the Canadian border and then returned to Grand Portage for the night.  Our wildlife count on this leg may have been way down, but the incredible natural beauty more than made up for it.  We stopped to hike and explore 3 waterfalls (Gooseberry Falls, Caribou Falls, and Pigeon River High Falls); we saw 2 neat lighthouses (Two Harbors, and Split Rock), we rode through 2 tunnels and we stopped at Silver Bay Marina, but no ships were docking at the time.  We also rode up to the top of the Palisades…twice, because the first time we forgot to turn on the GoPro.  Even though this was a short mileage day (175 miles), the frequent stops resulted in a long day of riding, and by the end the temperature was a bit warm and we were ready to get the gear off and relax.

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Day 4 saw us returning to Duluth, but by a slightly different and much longer route.  We doubled back to Grand Marais and took an out and back side trip on the Gunflint Trail.  This is a 57 mile paved road that runs northwest through the boundary waters almost to the Canadian border.  Our hope was to see some wildlife on this side trip, but sadly, we didn’t see anything! On the return to Grand Marais, we took a short detour on the “Old Gunflint Trail”, a gravel side road that actually had a sign saying, “Travel at Your Own Risk.” We also stopped at a ‘Moose Overlook Area’, but we didn’t see any moose.  We did, however, see a cool old car on the trail that had been abandoned many years ago.  According to a posting on Reddit, it is a 1955 DeSoto Fireflite Coronado, now almost buried by rocks, dirt, and pine needles…very odd.

Other sights and activities on this 270 mile ride were Cross Creek Falls, Temperance Falls, and Father Baraga’s Cross.

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The 5th day of our trip, was the day our sunny weather ran out.  We started this day by heading west on I-35 in order to ride back east through Jay Cooke State Park.  Although this was not a planned stop on this trip, we decided to stop and look at one more waterfall.  The rock formations, waterfalls, and hiking trails made the stop in Jay Cooke State Park well worth the time.   This state park also contains one of the best roads on this trip, Minnesota Highway 210.  After the park, we made a quick stop for a photo at the Lake Superior College Emergency Response Training Center, and crossed the double-deck Oliver Bridge.  We made a stop in Webb Lake for a drink and stretch and that’s where the rain caught us.  The shower was short lived so we put on our raincoats and headed out again.  We were able to  knock off 2 more rustic roads and saw 3 more deer, some turkeys with their babies and more Sandhill cranes.  Unfortunately, after that the skies opened up and we got fully drenched.  We seemed to be riding into and out of the rain over and over as we made our way to Rice Lake, and with a cool high of only 60 degrees that day, we were chilled.  Eventually, we decided to cut this day short (to 170 miles) and just head to the hotel.  We realized this was a great decision as we watched it rain from the warmth of the hotel’s hot tub, a glass of wine in our hands.

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The 6th and final day of our ride was bittersweet.  On one hand, we were getting tired and missed our puppy.  On the other hand, we were having a great time riding so many fun roads.  We woke to sunny blue skies so we headed out and found 4 more rustic roads (some of which were very remote), and  finally located the wildlife we had been missing.  We saw 9 deer in all (7 within a 1/2 mile stretch), more turkeys, cranes, and a hen pheasant with her brood.  Our planned crossing of the Chippewa River was detoured because the bridge we had mapped out was actually closed (and had been for a long time, thanks a lot Garmin!!).  We finally made our way across the river and continued south until we made it back to Sparta, our truck and our trailer.

This last day was a 215 mile day, bringing our 6 day total to just over 1,350 miles.  We were tired and a bit sore, but happy to have completed our furthest ride to date.  We treated ourselves to our favorite pizza.  If you are ever in Sparta, you have to check out Slice of Chicago.

Although this trip began in the Driftless Area, the majority of it was outside of it.  We are always looking for new areas for future routes, and we also like to share our riding adventures, both inside and outside the Driftless Area, with our followers and friends.  We will be making this custom route available to our Patrons, so please consider becoming a Patron for this and other great perks.  It should be noted that there is gravel, sand and dirt on this route…some of it is pretty slow going, but so fun!

We are still working on plans for a contest or giveaway to celebrate the completion of all of our Driftless area routes, but we hit a snag that has delayed us…watch for it coming soon!  Also, dual sport routes will be coming in the near future.  We are now looking for sponsors so if you know of anyone who might like to form a partnership with us, please encourage them to get in touch with us and we can provide them with an informational packet.  Watch for more pictures and video to be posted from our trip on this page.

As always, thanks for coming along for the ride!

Dale and Renee