Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ride to Duluth, Return with Goodies

What would you do with time off work? Would you mow the lawn? Clean the house? Or would you go for a ride?? As a good motorcyclist, I’ve chosen the last option.

We are approaching one week for the State of MN shutdown and the first week I’ve been unemployed since I can’t remember when. Not getting paid isn’t fun, but I’ve been loving the time off. I did clean the house and mow the lawn too. I’ve also been riding a lot which has been quite relaxing after the last few months of drama and stress.

In preparation for my trip (in less than two weeks!), I took the R1150GS for a long ride to make sure I have the ergonomics right. Since I’ve gone east and west on previous day trips, I decided to go north and attempt to escape the heat.

I rode up I-35 to Duluth and enjoyed the cool breeze off the lake and of course the fantastic views. I didn’t take any shot this trip (no idea, I brought TWO cameras), so enjoy this one from a previous trip.

Duluth Lake Shore

On the way home, I stopped at Aerostich to browse around. I’ve been drooling their three digit rain covers for sometime. My current rain gloves are insulated and way too warm for summer riding. I liked them, and picked up a pair.


They are covers, so they fit over your regular riding gloves. I chose the orange color instead of the black.


They have a reflective triangle on the outside for extra visibility


and a handy visor wiper on the left thumb.


I also browsed through their sale selection and picked up this DVD for $2: “The Return: Riding Western China”


It sounded interesting. It’s about a guy who moved from the US to China to teach English and during the off-months rides a 150cc Chinese motorcycle to the Pakistan border. The story is in two parts his first, failed trip in 2005, and then the second attempt in 2006. The scenery is pretty great. He covers the western deserts and some of the mountains. It looked like some very harsh conditions.

My wife and I watched it last night, and I understand why it was marked down to $2. He has a nice mix of still photos, hand drawings, tripod shots, handheld, and on-bike video. Since it was filmed in 2005/2006 the video gear was pretty low quality. The handheld and on-bike shots were terrible. They were extremely jerky to the point of making us both sick. By the end, we were both crying out at the TV for him to use his tripod more. His still photography is quite good and both of us thought it saved the film.

I admire his passion for making the film and trying to share the beautiful Chinese country-side with the world. I was in China in 2000, but I didn’t make it as far west as he did. I know from my own video experiences that a one-man show is a lot of work both in filming and editing. I usually spend an hour to get one good minute of video, so I can only imagine the time he put in to make a 93 minute DVD.

I don’t think I’ll watch it again, and I not sure I can recommend it. I will be looking for his website to see if he has some more current stuff. He has some good potential.

On my way out of Aerostich, I saw their motorcycle newspaper rack. They had the latest Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly and a paper I’d never seen called “City Bike” from California. More fun reading ahead!


Just over 300 miles later, I returned home. The bike ran great, and it felt good too. The recent tweaks to the handlebars are working well. I’m still on the fence on if I should leave the windshield and handguards on for the trip. What do you think?


  1. Chris: Leave the windshield ON, handguards your choice. I find that a windshield is protection which stops debris from hitting you; rocks, sand & bugs. I would not ride without one. I wished that I had more time off. Like yourself, I have always worked but soon I may have more time than $$ . enjoy your trip

    Riding the Wet Coast

  2. Having been hit by debris last year I would say, leave both on, if not for the weather windshield and handguards will deflect whatever might come your way. Ride safe, and have lots of fun!

  3. Didn't know you were caught in that mess. Sorry to hear that. Hope it gets resolved soon.

    It is good I don't live near Aerostich. Dropping by often would leave me more perpetually broke than I am now.

  4. I have a pair of the orange lobster claw rain covers. Heather calls them my "Haz-mat" gloves. Actually, I wore them tonight on the way home from work. They do work.

    I'm with the Sonja and bob, I'd leave the windscreen for sure and probably the handguards. Of course, I leave my on year around so I suspect you're not surprised at my opinion.


  5. I have an 04 GS1150 and the windshield buffets my helmet no matter what I do. I cannot stand it :-/ I'm most used to riding a completely unfaired naked bike & I'm completely happy without a windshield. I'll buck the trend. My vote is to lose it :)

    Gosh, you know - you haven't convinced me that you didn't enjoy the movie ;o) Sounds like a perfect candidate for hideous re-gift.

  6. Chris, ah that explains the stuff on FB!

    As to the lobster claws, I recently got a pair myself, but in black.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  7. Bob: I'm firmly in the more time than $$ camp now. It's been nice to catch up on sleep!

    SonjaM: I've also been hit by plenty of stuff. The idea for taking them off is the heat, but I'm guessing (hoping) Canada is cooler than here.

    Irondad: You'd be in trouble for sure. Free wi-fi and snacks. you can watch 'em make your stuff too. fun place, but it was much smaller than I expected.

    Keith: haz-mat gloves! love the name. They seemed to work when I played with them in the sink. Did you treat yours with anything? The owners "manual" recommended using nikwax on them.

    Fuzzygalore: !! yea the R1150GS stock shield is crap. So dang noisy! I put on a calsci XL which is much better, but still not naked dualsport/sportbike quiet. I don't mind the wind, I just want cool and quiet.

    I was talking with my wife about the movie again last night. We both enjoyed the content, but the shaky camera made parts very hard to watch.

    My tourmaster ran gloves had the lobster claws built in, I'm excited to have just covers separate without the added insulation.

  8. Chris: I've looked many times at those raincovers for my gloves -- probably every time an Aerostich catalog shows up. Maybe your post is a sign that I should actually purchase them.

    When I saw the Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly link and was wondering if you knew Gary Charpentier--he used to write for it. He had a blog when I started blogging but he had to stop several years ago. I was wondering how he is doing.

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

  9. Steve: I've been looking at them too, so I decided I should just finally get them.

    I also read Gary Charpentier's blog. It was part of the inspiration to ride in Minnesota Winters. I know a number of people who know him, but I've never met him myself. See you at MOA!

  10. I would get up early, mow the lawn and then hit the road :-) I mow my lawn late on Friday night just so I can have time to ride on the weekend.

  11. George F: I like to mow early in the morning too when it is still cool out. It wears me out though. It takes about an 1.5 hours and we have a bit of a hill. Everyday is a weekend right now for me ;)

  12. Chris,
    Didn't realize until now that I hadn't responded to your question. I haven't treated them, but did wash them once with Nikwax Tech Wash.

    Hope you're staying cool and dry,

  13. The triple digits will also add a couple of months to your riding season. Over light gloves, they are warmer than my "all weather gloves." I've had mine for 30k miles and love 'em.

  14. Tom: A couple months to MY riding season?! Sweet!! What are the names of the extra months?? I'm one of those crazy year-rounders.

    I wore mine yesterday up to moon motors in the downpour. they worked very well.