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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Round Barn Run - 2010

The SCVR's 9th Annual Round Barn Run was a lot of fun.

If I actually paid attention to meteorologists and weather websites, I would rarely leave the house.  In spite of a very wet forecast I took the Sporty anyway and was rewarded with a mostly dry trip.

I left at 8:30am Saturday morning.  I think this shot was somewhere on I-35E.  There was a ton of road closures and construction around the Twin Cities this weekend so I had to get creative with my route.

I fueled up in Prescott, WI.  I had two bags bungeed to the back of the Sporty.  The bottom had tent, poles, tarp, and sleeping pad.  The top had sleeping bag, hammer, stakes, rain gear, hat, bug spray, and sunscreen.  I wore my camera and Leatherman on my belt.  I skipped bringing a backpack.  I bought the two bottles of water at this gas station.  The bottom bag is bungeed to the fender and the top bag is bungeed to the bottom bag.  The sissy bar is there to keep it all from sliding off but I did my best to keep the weight of the bags off of it and didn't lean against the bags.

I arrived at the Gas-Lite Tavern in Ellsworth, WI just after 9:30.  Admission was $15 for SCVR members and $25 for non-members.  Membership was included in the $25 fee so I am now an official  member of the SCVR.  Admission was an incredible value and got you 2 nights of camping (I only did Saturday but you could have camped Friday too), a guided tour (the Round Barn Run itself), dinner on Saturday, live music, and all the beer you could drink (Saturday).

I wasted no time getting my tent setup.  I got a nice shady spot next to a tree.

After getting the tent set, I headed over to the list of rides.  The way it works is that there are organized rides starting at 9am.  If you get there early (or camp Friday night), you can get on one of the longer 175-mile rides but if you arrive (or wake up) later, you go on a shorter 100-mile ride.  The last ride left at noon.  Regardless of which ride you're on, they get you back in time for dinner and music.  The last 175-mile ride left at 10:15 and I checked my phone to see it was 10:12 so I ran back to the tent, hopped on my bike, and just barely made it.

After a quick briefing by Mike, who led our group of about 35 bikes, we were off.  This is not a leisurely guided history tour where you go from one historic round barn to the next, stopping, taking pictures, and learning about the history and signifcance of each of the barns.  This is a 7-hour long roller coaster ride through the back roads of southwestern Wisconsin where you're lucky if the people in front of you point out a round barn as we fly by it at 60+ mph.  I actually only noticed 3 round barns and didn't get pictures of any of them.  The riding was fun and challenging because of the beautiful curvy & hilly roads, high-speed straights, and low-speed turns where we had to watch out for gravel.

We stopped quite a few times including a stop at Shari's Chippewa Club in Durand, WI for lunch.

In the back there is this vintage-looking slot car track.

Next door, there was a fallout shelter sign (capacity 115).  You don't see that much anymore.

One of the cool bikes in my group was this turbo Road Glide.

I couldn't tell you all the roads I was on because there were a ton of them and they criss-crossed back and forth.  I have never been on the majority of them.  I was truly blown away at how good the route was.

This was another stop.  I am not sure of the name of the bar but it is in Lincoln, WI at the intersection of WI-88 and County Road E.

Two guys on Boss Hosses did a few burnouts.  They had special tires that make red colored smoke.  They even did one burnout down the street side by side.

This is a pair of action shots on WI-35.  I think we were somewhere between Alma and Maiden Rock (we stopped in both of those towns).

We returned to the Gas-Lite around 5:00pm after getting hit with some light rain while riding County Road O (the only rain of the whole ride).  I grabbed some dinner which was two BBQ pork sandwiches, a baked potato, and beans.  Did I mention all the beer you could drink?

Back by my tent, I noticed this huge moth on my bike.  I think it may have been eating dead bugs but I'm not sure.

The music started up and Common Ground and Pork Chop played.  Common Ground plays mostly 80s rock and Pork Chop plays mostly blues.  Both were really good.  This is the music tent.

Common Ground:

They lit the bonfire which was near where I setup my tent (I was far enough away that smoke and heat were not a problem).

It rained quite a bit overnight.  I woke up early (around 6:30) and packed up.  Everything was still wet.

Sleeping at these sorts of events is always tough.  You have groups who never like to be quiet and go to sleep at night.  You have drunks who think it's a good idea to rev the crap out of their engine at 3:30am (yes, that happened), and then you have groups who get up real early and don't like to be quiet either.  They were all having fun so it didn't bother me too bad.  I could have slept with earplugs (a tactic I have used successfully in the past) but chose not to.

After getting home and having breakfast, I took a four hour nap.  The ride there, the 7-hour run, sun (and a little sunburn), lack of sleep,and the ride back left me really tired.

Overall, I had a great time.  The only significant rain was Saturday night.  Saturday was mostly sunny and nearly 90 degrees.  Sunday morning was cloudy and cool (around 70).  The run itself was awesome and I want to go back to the area to find some of those roads.  Next time, for comfort, I think I'll take the Road King.  However, I was glad to make the trip on the Sporty - the challenge of it was rewarding.

Some people chose not to camp and just did the ride, which would make for a very full day.  In terms of turnout, just over 400 people attended.  Overall, it's much smaller than the Chili Feed.  The Round Barn Run seems to be focused on the ride (with some fun afterwards) while the Chili Feed is more of a party.  I highly recommend both.


Minnesota Jeff said...

Good write up!

I have been following your blog for awhile. I rode out of Maiden Rock behind you and was going to introduce myself when I got to the Gas Lite but got seperated once on the grounds.

-Minnesota Jeff

Gophers and Cheese said...

Glad you like the blog. The ride was great - I had a really good time.

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