Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day Ride

View of the Mississippi River from Apple Blossum Drive
For the last 2 years I have taken advantage of meeting my brother Steve in Alma, Wisconsin what has turned out to be an annual motorcycle ride through the bluff country.  Just south of Eleva, my home town is the area called the Driftless Area, where the glaciers stopped their advances.  Full of hills and valleys called coulees, the area boast some beautiful curved roads as they move up and down the valleys, connecting farms to the main roads leading to town.  Starting in Alma we headed back up river to Nelson then headed east taking the back roads to Gilmanton Wisconsin.  I had never been on County Road KK and it did not disappoint.  It's amazing what we have right in our back yard.  My sister Beth and her husband Jerry asked if they could join us so meeting in Eleva we headed south to Independence, Whitehall, Blair, Melrose, Mindoro, stopping for a break in La Crosse.  Brother Steve really knows the back roads from Blair down as we cranked about 132 miles on our first leg.  Filling up with gas our next stop was La Crescent, Minnesota as we went up Apple Blossom Drive.  A ridge nestled between the Root River Valley and the Mississippi River Valley the scenery was spectacular.  Over to Rushford then back to Winona, we ended our trip together at Fountain City where we parted company.  A total of 226 miles I could never get tired of this area.  Hopefully we can do this again before the snow flies.
Trolling up river, a beautiful day
Sunday proved to be a day to get caught up around the house.  The lawn needed mowing and instead of weeding the garden, it's just easier to take my gas weed trimmer as I have never seen so many weeds.  I guess the wet June is playing itself out.  We haven't had rain in over a month now so the moles have decided my yard is the perfect hunting grounds....and they are not that easy to catch!  Sunday's plan was to get a few things done then head to Mille Lacs for an afternoon of deep water trolling then hit the reefs for some sundown shallow water scouting.  Unfortunately the plans fell through and not wanting to drive up myself decided to hit the river behind the house.  I knew the river was low but was surprise by how low, probably another 2 feet less than the last time I was on the river.  Launching the boat was interesting and once in the water my 15 hp outboard can be alittle stubborn.  Getting it started I headed up river and successfully avoided hitting the bottom with the motor as one gets good at reading the river this time of year.  My friend Pete fishes smallies with live bait, something I didn't have but probably should've picked up.  There are some classic areas that are just perfect for fishing his methods.  I tried trolling but really didn't produce anything.  Fishing along the shorelines was interesting as the low water revels everything.  There are rapids were there were none before, drop offs, eddy's, and boulders galore.  I really need to get to know the river better as the fishing is probably pretty good but I need some better success.  When it's high water, the fish are tight to the shorelines and it's fairly easy to find both numbers and larger fish.  The low water has them scattered an I think requires a little more experimentation and thinking outside the box.  For sure there are not many people fishing the river and unlocking it's secrets is now a goal of mine.  I did get 3 smallies but honestly, they were nothing to write home about yet is at least something to write in my blog!

Small but better than nothing!
Saturday is the Annual Kramer Open, a sporting clays tournament held by a friend of mine, Dave Kramer.  Each year he hosts this event to raise money for his charity.  My dear departed friend Tom Emmons was a regular and I have been a member of his team for many years.  It is difficult to think that Tom isn't with us but I still go as my memory of our good times together.  We shoot 100 clay pigeons in 2 50 bird courses and Tom was really good.  One year I was 1 bird ahead of him, all the way through the last station, we had 6 shots to go.  I went first and shot missed 2 of the 6 putting me 1 behind, the first time I had been back all day.   Tom nailed all 6 to win by 1 shot.  He accused me of purposely losing and I guess if he went to his grave thinking that, it makes me smile!  My September is filling up fast as the next weekend is my 40th Class Reunion.  Uffda.  It will be good to see those who dare to show up and those who don't.  I am in charge of the entertainment and have a few ideas for my classmates.  We were a rebel class and although the school proclaimed they'd never forget us, eventually we all go away.  I have confirmed my trip to Lac Seul with my neighbor Pete and admittedly it's pretty exciting.  My friend Paul Wenaas fishes that area and has promised some "secret locations" to nail the walleyes.  With my schedule this will be the highlight of the next 4 weeks.  I'd say that I can't wait but time flies too fast the way it is, I can wait.

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