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Valentine’s Weekend Away…International Motorcycle Show Chicago

Dale and I just had a great weekend getaway and got to combine some of our favorite things…motorcycles, food and networking.  On a rare sunny day we made to the drive to Rosemont, IL for the International Motorcycle Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

We arrived fairly early and it was just starting to fill up.  This was a great decision because 2 years ago when we attended this show we arrived later in the day and it was almost impossible to move in the vendor areas.  We had a few things on our agenda for the day so we headed to our first stop immediately. 

I needed to have some new ear plugs made and we wanted to beat the crowds to that particular vendor.  We got in immediately and within a few minutes my ears were plugged!  With that done, and a receipt in my hands to come back and pick them up later in the day, we were off to explore and look for a few people we were hoping to meet up with while we were there.  We had a great time looking at all of the incredible custom bikes that were on display.  Here are a few of our favorite custom and vintage bikes:

 

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This year there was a track where you could try out electric motorcycles and electric bicycles, and that was fun to watch, but strange because it was so silent!  We also enjoyed seeing a good variety of vendors and had some great conversations with a few of them.  The Chicago Area BMW Owners Association had offered to let us put out some fliers to promote Driftless Road Adventures and, after a bit of wandering, we finally found them and hopefully we got a few more people interested in the site.  We got a few really fun pieces of swag, including this street sign that State Farm Insurance let us make for free:  A couple of hot dogs and beers later, we had seen and done all we wanted to and were ready to kick back at our hotel.  But for me the best was yet to come…dinner at my favorite Pizza place…Gino’s East!  I had purposely booked a hotel right next door!  🙂

That evening Dale made a stop at an “after show” meet and greet with MSTA, Motorcycle Sport Touring Association.  We have been asked to create some routes for the Twi-Star 2.0 Lacrosse Revisited Just For Fun Ride in August.  Dale got to talk to some of the guys about the ride.  He also had a great surprise when he was approached by someone wearing one of our Driftless Road Adventure hats who recognized him!  So great to meet Doug, one of our followers and supporters!

So all in all we had a great time…until…we had to come home the next day in yet another snow storm.  At one point 4 plows lined up abreast blocking all four lanes of the interstate ahead of us and drove about 30 miles an hour for 30 miles!  The sad part was they didn’t seem to be making much difference to the road surface…they just slowed us down.  But, as with most unexpected events in our lives, we just looked at it as yet another adventure!  Crossing our fingers for an early spring!

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Sub-Zero Blues

Up until mid-January we had a pretty mild winter.  We even managed to get a couple of short rides in, which is unusual for January.  Then came the polar vortex and the only outdoor activity we could handle was trying to keep the sidewalks and driveway clear of snow.

In addition to the cold weather, we got a lot of snow.  We set a record for January snowfall in the Quad Cities (30 inches) as shown on our deck and table.

Even though our riding season is definitely over for now, we are still finding ways to keep active in the pursuit of our passion.

One way we are keeping busy is working on paper maps of our routes.  We had posted in  a previous blog that we had a breakthrough in how we are able to create the maps.  With this success we are now able to start creating the actual map for printing.  We are currently evaluating different paper types to find something that will look good and be durable at a reasonable price.

Another thing keeping us busy is that we have been asked to create customized routes for several rides and events we are attending this summer.

We have 2 events in May (Rev It Up for Awareness, and Motoworks Ride), 2 in June (Mayhem Ride, Summer Classic), and 1 in August (MSTA TWIStar Rally).  Details for these events are available on our events calendar and they are all open to the public.  We will also post reminders about these events as the dates approach.  We would love to meet some of you at the rallies so please stop by and say hi!

In addition, we are planning a short trip to Missouri in April and a big trip to Seattle in July.  We are also going to be looking for some opportunities to take weekend trips into the Driftless Area throughout the summer.

The other thing that is keeping us going through these long, cold days are thoughts of the fun we had last summer and the prospect of more fun in the future.  Here are a few reminders of what lies ahead!!

 

Stay warm and think warm thoughts.

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Paper Maps Will Be a Real Thing!

Dale and I are super excited because we finally figured out how we are going to create paper maps for those of you who want to go “old school.”  It has been our most requested item, and trying to find a way to do it has been a real challenge.  Getting enough detail to make the route easy to follow while keeping the overall map size small enough to stick in the tank bag was not an easy task.  BUT…we have just completed our first route on paper!  We started with the Pecatonica Route because it was the most recent one we rode, therefore more in our minds.  We are pretty pleased with ourselves right now, and while we are in this celebratory mode, we will be sending anyone who is a Patron of ours a free map in an effort to get some feedback.  So, if you want to get in on that, just use the Patreon button on the site.  One down, thirty-two to go!  Now that we have the basics in place it should go a lot faster from here.  We will be adding them to the store as we go.  Let us know via our contact form, Facebook, or driftlessroadadventures@gmail.com if you have a particular route you would like us to work on next!

 

 

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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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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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Flu Bugs, Tattoos & Black Friday Sale!

Hey everyone!  We know it’s been a while since you heard from us, but we are still alive and kicking…barely!  Dale and I have both been suffering with a rotten bug.  Life has also been busy and we recently enjoyed a great trip to Seattle to visit our son.  We are in the planning stages of a trip out there next summer to ride with him and his wife, and the more we talk about it, the more excited we get.  Hey, gotta have something to dream about during the long winter months.  Just want you to know that we are as committed as ever…in fact, check out Dale’s new tat!  Doesn’t get any more committed than that.  🙂

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Since the riding season has basically wrapped up here in the Midwest, we are beginning some work on paper maps of the routes.  We have had many requests for them so we have decided to give it a go and we hope to have some available in the Spring.  It’s an exciting new part of this adventure.

We also wanted to announce our Black Friday sale!  Everything in the Driftless Store will be 15% off this weekend!  So stop on by and stock up!

Dale and I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  We are so thankful this year for all of the support you continue to give us…our Patrons, our supporters, and our followers…thank you so much!

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Late Fall Ride…Will it be our Last?

Each time we ride in the fall it’s like a little gift.  If we can find a weekend without rain, without wind, and not too cold, we thankfully take advantage of it!  So today Dale and I delayed all the chores we had waiting for us, threw on the gear  and took off on a beautiful fall ride.  We spent a few hours winding along both the Rock and Mississippi rivers which were finally “almost” back within their banks after all the recent flooding.  Twice we were stymied and had to turn around (once due to a missing bridge, and once due to part of the river still running across a road).  But we didn’t care.  The sun was shining, the temps were awesome, the fall foliage was gorgeous and the roads were fast!

Here’s hoping that it won’t be our last ride of the year.  But, if it is, at least it was a wonderful afternoon spent together doing what we like to do most!  We hope some of you got out to enjoy the day as well.  Send us some pics or ride reports to share!  We hop you enjoy some of the sights on our adventure today:

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