Oh, glorious day, Sunday 10-02-22!
Temps approaching 70° F and mostly sunny skies greeted the Fall edition of the Slimey Crud, a totally disorganized gathering of motorcyclists of all stripes, riding everything from Ducati crotch rockets to an ancient, 1927 Indian that needs to be primed to start. Maybe 700 two- and a few three-wheeled road warriors plied the twisty roads, bathed in the first blush of autumn color between the hamlet of Pine Bluff in western Dane County and tiny Leland in neighboring Sauk County.
Conveniently, each place has two taverns across the road from each other — and a church down the road. This IS Wisconsin, after all. Consumed a tasty Angus beef burger at the Red Mouse tavern. Kickstands up at 11:30 for Leland but no one takes the direct route, partly because there is no direct route and many roads invite exploration.
We’ve been Sliming the Crud for ten years now and have encountered not so much as one discouraging word.
Steve Kellner — a true pathfinder at age 82 — led the first leg through dazzling, tree-shaded backroads all the way to Spring Green, partly because his GPS went on the fritz. Blaska’s iPhone told us we could get to Leland (the promised land) by taking Wisconsin Hwy 60 shadowing the north side of the wide Wisconsin River, then zig-zagging north on County Hwy C, a most delightful thoroughfare. A visual treat over every hill and around every bend — here a tall rock outcropping, there a whitewashed pioneer church, milk cows lazing in green pasture, the ruins of an old barn. A parade of quail. To the north, the heavily forested Baraboo range delineated the horizon.
Finally in little Leland, the Guzzi guy consumed a sloppy joe and a beer from the walk up at Sprechers tavern, itself an old general store kind of curiosity. After several years of rehabilitation, the millpond on the north side of the street, in back of Schelters tavern, held water once again. The park shelter (no relation) on its south shore displayed farm quilts and overalls as part of the Farm Art D’Tour, which runs through Saturday, October 10. (Do experience it!)
Slimey Crud is a cross platform meet-up of enthusiasts; it’s about seeing and being seen. Was this pristine purple Norton a recent product of the revived English marque? No, explained the owner, it was a resto-mod of an original 1970s model. The carburetor gave that away but the up-to-date brakes, gauges, and flawless paint job made us wonder. The owner then explained the recent legal and financial troubles of the manufacturer. A true aficionado.
The stars of the show this year were two English Labrador retrievers named Thor and Hershey. They happily peered out from a mobile dog house atop what, two weeks ago, had been a jet ski trailer. Chris Freeman pulled the mobile dog kennel about 160 miles behind his 1200 cc, liquid-cooled Indian FTR motorcycle from his home in Cary IL, south of Walworth WI.
To protect his pups from the cold at the morning start of his journey north, Freeman snapped on a tarp over the top. He plugs the two portholes on the sides with perfectly fitting dog dishes. The hitch rotates to accommodate the motorcycle leaning into curves while keeping the two-wheeled trailer upright.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: At each stop, Mr. Freeman lets the dogs exercise their dogginess. In between, there is much petting and many good vibes. Like those happy dogs, we who ride take our fresh air full in the face. The open road leads to such revelations.