The Wabasha Saga: I Wanna Ride B…. – On The Back!

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Zumbro River

Zumbro River

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I wanna ride b…. – on the back!

My buddy was confused as I shouted my blasphemous confession over the bass duet of our v-twins. My quirky follow-up was the result of my nearly running off the pavement several times.

I stand 6’3” and weigh in at 250 pounds (without riding gear), so the vision my startling declaration conjured in his befuddled head must have defied all “man laws” not to mention the laws of physics. No matter, my mind is set.

We had just come off a spectacular newly discovered road feeling like the Europeans who “discovered” America, when in fact it was already someone else’s backyard. Nevertheless, we bikers gush when we unexpectedly stumble upon a road that’s new to us. Never mind that it’s already on a map.

Although this particular “secret” road was clearly labeled Minnesota Highway 60, I almost missed it. After crossing a major highway to make a u-turn back into the small Mississippi River town of Wabasha, Minnesota, I saw a road winding up through the bluffs. I made a mental note to check it out on a later run and turned into a gas station to refuel. My buddy, a more sociable type, learned from another motorcyclist that the road was in fact a phenomenal run.

Initial climb to scenic overlook

Initial climb to scenic overlook

So we did another about face and joined up with Highway 60. It does a quick and twisted climb of 1,100 ft in just over a mile; quite a peppy start. Most bikers can’t help themselves and pull off the road at the top of the river bluffs.

The “Scenic Overlook” treats the stupefied biker to a 30 mile panorama of the grand Mississippi River, its yellow chalky bluffs, and the hilly shires of Wisconsin. The view is staggering for most Midwestern flatlanders, who are conditioned to a horizon so straight that it would make a master stone mason proud. I was surprised that my reaction was reminiscent of some I had while stumbling upon vistas in the Rocky Mountains.

Highway 60 then does a curlicue descent from the bluffs west and shoots along the backside of the river bluffs. This ancient lake bed is surrounded by what can only be described as stubby mountains; again, an astonishing view for flatlanders. There aren’t many straight sections of Highway 60 as it winds its way through the lime green fields of a series of scenic farming hamlets. It’s a good place to wear some rubber off the sides of your tires.

View from scenic overlook

View from scenic overlook

County Road 81, a tributary of Highway 60, roughly parallels the shaded Zumbro River. This is my favorite kind of road; back-country, single-lane, multiple curvy-road signs, no-shoulder (nature severely encroaching over the edges of the pavement and barely held at bay by the periodic motorist). Stretches of the surrounding forest are so dense that a rider could imagine that they are motoring through the Black Forest. The Zumbro affected me like an old-timer who is in no hurry to get to his destination but wants to sit a spell to tell a story or two. It persuades the biker to slow the pace and abandon the temptation for a mach-speed blast through these potentially challenging twisties.

But … even my newly-adopted geriatric pace didn’t help me much. My eyes were constantly drawn to this unexpected garden of visual temptations like a sailor to the sirens’ song. Unfortunately, so was my %#$^@* bike! My riding buddy must have thought I’d developed a sudden case of ADD or a terminal set of cataracts the way I was almost sticking to the road.

Surely you sense my dilemma! I wanted to drink in the full scope of the scenery without wrapping myself or my motorcycle around a fence post, becoming a piece of mangled sculpture to serve as a warning to other hypnotized bikers. Potential solutions and their corollary embarrassments whizzed through my mind like miles on the road to Sturgis. Then it struck me like a bug between the eyes while riding at full throttle. I want to ride bitch!

Like my childhood days when I logged countless miles on the back of my dad’s bike, gawking at the scenery, I want to ride on the back again. Clearly, a special woman would be needed for this job! But who could handle this task?

After making this loony pitch to my buddy, and discussing potential candidates like Xena, the Princess Warrior, or a reincarnated Viking Valkyrie, we began to notice women on motorcycles who looked like they could handle my gravity and biker-norm defying experiment.

So my mind is set and I’ve decided to find applicants in the biker personal ads!

XLMB (Extra Large Male Biker) seeks XSFB (Extra Strong Female Biker) who will let him ride bitch. Enjoys watching scenery on long rides … and staying alive.

If you take my advice and ride Highway 60, you might see a big guy on the back of a bike in a happy trance with a mindless grin on his face. If you do, you know that my ad was answered!


Author name withheld by request.

1 comment:

  1. Rocket, 9. December 2008, 19:13

    Lol – very nice