A blog with pictures today…only words needed…
We will never forget!
Good weather, good fun, great destinations. That alone would make for a successful weekend, but when you share it with great friends, it makes it even better.
For awhile now we have been wanting to take a trip to Boone, Iowa to ride the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad Dinner Train. It finally worked out that several of us could go, so reservations were made and a weekend was planned. You can read about our dinner train adventures on my other blog, here A Ride On The Dinner Train.
We were a bit nervous in the days leading up to the weekend-the weather was not supposed to cooperate at all. Rain/storms were predicted. As luck would have it, the weather turned out fine. The ride down was a cloudy and even a bit chilly, but we had no rain and it was even enjoyable!
By the time we rode the train, the skies had turned blue and the rest of the weekend was gorgeous!
In the same area as the train, is a place called Ledges State Park. After a night at a hotel and breakfast, we packed our stuff in the bikes and headed to the park. I am always thrilled when we visit any state park, as they always have so much green, and such beautiful scenery. Ledges State Park was the same!
There were several spots where the water runs over the road. It reminded of a park in the town I grew up in where it did the same. In a car, you always went fast to make a splash-on a motorcycle, you don’t. At least we didn’t. I am happy to say, I stayed dry!
After our visit to the park,
and a quick side trip to see the High Trestle Trail Bridge, which this time, was only from afar,
it was back for dinner at one of our favorite places in Ames, Iowa, Hickory Park Restaurant. Trust me, if you are ever in the area, this is a must stop place to eat. It is always busy but they seat unusually fast. Even if you have to wait a bit, it is worth it.
After dinner, it was time to go home. This point we divided in half, since we were going different directions. We went up a peaceful two lane highway that leads home. The was little traffic and it was an unusually quiet, beautiful ride home.
You can never ever go wrong when you spend the weekend on the bike, going to wonderful fun destinations and doing it all with great friends!
I can’t wait for the next adventure.
Where has the summer gone? It seems to be flying by along with the opportunities to get on the Harley and take a trip. Or even just a ride. It seems the weather doesn’t cooperate or people are working, or have other plans and the time and the days tick away.
Life has been stressful these days so when the weather turned gorgeous finally-no humidity, no rain-we decided to take a short ride with our good friends.
I feel lucky to be living where we do. We can pull out of our driveway in the country and just have road, blue skies and green everywhere.
And of course…cornfields. Lots of miles of beautiful green cornfields!
Beautiful Clear Lake is close by, so it is a perfect place to take a ride around on a day like today. We take the back way there, so there is much less traffic and much more scenery.
One must stop on your way around the lake is a very busy destination-The Viking Drive-Inn. It is know all around for the place to stop for soft serve ice cream! If you are a first timer, there is one thing you must know. The sizes are GENEROUS! Here is mine-a small twist!
Back around the rest of the lake before heading home. It is so great to take in the sun, the sky, the water, the green, the fresh air, the breeze.
I highly recommend these short trips at any time. Sometimes it isn’t about how long you are on the bike, but that you are.
Most areas around the country have some form or other of a bike night. That is no different here. A long time tradition in our area is Wednesday night Bike Night. Weather permitting of course. It is always held at The Other Place in Clear Lake. In the past, it was tables under tents and an outside grill for hamburgers. It has since morphed into an outside permanent deck being built that can be used for Bike Night and other things.
As with anything motorcycle, holding Bike Night depends on the weather, and last night, it was perfect!
We met friends in town and even picked up my cousin and his wife for their first Bike Night with us! It isn’t a long ride over to Clear Lake, but the idea of bike nights most of the time, isn’t a long ride but a chance for a quick ride and hanging out for a bit with friends and getting some good food, too.
When the weather is as nice as it was, I even enjoy that short ride to Clear Lake!
For such a beautiful night, there wasn’t a huge crowd, but it was a decent one. We parked, got in line for our choice of hamburgers or brats with chips and beans or a delicious slice of one of their great pizzas! We grabbed a table and got to talk and hang out a bit, saying hello to friends.
Soon, it was time to head home and enjoy, once again, the beautiful weather on the way.
I really enjoy Bike Nights. It gives us a chance to get on the bike, even if for a short time. We get to enjoy the weather, the beautiful green of our state, and the incredible skies. Best of all, is the chance to hang out with friends that enjoy motorcycles, too!
The thing with riding motorcycles, is that, of course, you are a prisoner of the weather.You can plan wonderful rides and then have to cancel at the last minute. Or, you can have nothing planned and the weather turns out incredibly perfect, so you quickly put together a day ride with friends.
That was our Sunday. The weather was supposed to be sunny and in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s. You couldn’t ask for a better weather forecast. We put out the word and six of us set off for the day. That may sound like a small group to you, but when you ride, it truly isn’t the number of people, but the ride itself. This one, was perfect.
We met up at two different places and then off to brunch we went. It was to a place called Shooters. With the combination of breakfast items and Sunday dinner items, it is a must go to place for a filling, delicious brunch destination.
My favorite stop of the day was at Pilot Knob State Park. There was so much blue sky and green surrounding us, I could have stayed all day. They have an observation tower that is a must to climb and we have in the past, but this time, we got off the bikes and walked down to the amphitheater. I could have sat there all day.
Reluctantly it was back on the bikes. We headed north into Minnesota. With the wind as it was yesterday, it was a good direction choice. Being on the back, I could truly enjoy the blue skies and open countryside.
We finished the day with a stop at the Harley dealership in Albert Lea and of course, as long as we were in the area, ice cream at Coldstone Creamery.
It was a great day and we ended it with deciding that we should just meet on Sundays and decide then where our destination of the day is. Sounds to me like we have some more great adventures before us.
Okay, before you think I am crazy, let me explain. If you ride a motorcycle and live where there is definite winter, you will most likely see memes that say you suffer from PMS. Parked Motorcycle Syndrome! It is hard during the long long winter to have that yearning to be back on the Harley (or whatever two wheels you might ride) and get out on the road. It is hard when you need to blow off some steam or just need some of that road therapy and you just can’t.
What about when the weather is good as it is now-perfect for riding and you can’t because of BMS? Broken Motorcycle Syndrome. I am pretty sure that is even worse. You should see the hubby when he hears the bikes going by. It is not pretty! 😉 Seriously, though, it is hard when the motorcycle is in the shop during great biking weather!
I know the weekend coming up will be incredible weather wise-thankful that the bike is done and can be picked up. I think the limits of BMS have been reached!
We truly need to see some more of things like this:
You know it will be a great first ride of the year when you wake up to a sky like this.We have a great group of people that we have been riding with for awhile now. We try to do a lot of rides every spring and summer, knowing that we probably won’t get to all that are planned and always adding some quick ones in when the weather is begging us to! That is a great thing about this motorcycle thing-it is never the same, even when it is. Make sense?
What I mean is, we can go to the same places, but the scenery might be different, the weather is never the same, and those who we ride with is also ever changing. The group of riders we ride with is quite fluid. Sometimes there are just a couple bikes. Sometimes there are many. No matter the numbers, the adventure is always great.
We have started our riding season each year now, with a ride from here in northern Iowa to Southern Minnesota. We ride over and around Clear Lake, pick up some more riders and continue on the back way, stopping for even more.
Once everyone is with the group we head back on the road up to our first stop-Julio’s in Hayward, Minnesota. You might not have heard of Hayward but if you have heard of Albert Lea, you will easily be able to find it. If you like good food, definitely head to Julio’s. It is always delicious, hot and generous for a good price.
The next stop, always is to Bergdale Harley-Davidson in Albert Lea. Sometimes by the time we get done with lunch, we cut it a bit too close, but this time we had plenty of time to look around and shop. We are lucky this dealership is open on Sundays!
Our third and final stop each time is for ice cream. Wouldn’t you think that after that big lunch we wouldn’t have room for it? Normally, that is true for me, but this time? It just looked too good to pass up! We spent some time at Coldstone Creamery before we headed back home.
It was a great first ride of the season. It made me yearn for warmer weather, no rain, and our next ride. Where will that be?
You will have to check back to see!