I headed out as the sun was setting. The roads were wet so I tied a bandana around the front forks to soak up most of the spray.
With some snow still visible along the edges, combined with the fact it wasn't raining, the wet, reflective roads trick your mind into thinking it's ice. Thankfully it wasn't, and I remained happily upright.
When I got back, the bike was filthy. Knowing I was likely riding around in a mix of snow-melting salt and chemicals, I actually washed my bike today (something I rarely do).
A December ride in Minnesota is quite rare. Now the only month I haven't ridden here is January but I have a feeling that one will continue to elude me.
In spite of the fact it's not actually the first bike Harley ever built, it's considered to be the oldest Harley in the world. It's actually a mix of parts including an early motor and a 1905 frame. Regardless, it's a beautiful bike and I love the way Harley displays it. All that was missing was a choir of angels singing in the background.
If you think I take a lot of photos at local motorcycle shows and events, I went nuts in Milwaukee taking over 500 photos at the museum. I won't be posting all of them but I'll probably share some here and there instead of flooding the blog with too many museum posts in row. I still have a ton of other 2014 events and trips to share photos from too.
Seriously, if you have not been to the museum, GO!!! It's fantastic and totally worth the trip.
They had reached out about 2 months ago for permission to use the photo, which they found right here on the blog (click here for original blog post). I've been a fan of the show for a long time so I was happy to agree. Time passed and I didn't hear anything until the beginning of this week. The e-mail sent was clearly to a bunch of people (not just me) that granted permission to use photos or video and said that the air date was Wednesday but that not everyone's content made the final cut. They said that everyone would be thanked in the credits regardless.
I watched the show (like I would have anyway) anxiously waiting to see whether my photo made the cut. I waited and waited but Mike and Frank weren't buying any Harley parts. Then, at the very end of the show, Mike suddenly runs across a stash of old big twin parts and buys an original knucklehead beehive taillight shell and my photo was shown. Woo hoo! I was really excited that it made the final cut.
Shortly after that, "Gophers and Cheese" was listed in the credits, alongside the Library of Congress, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and a couple of Historical Societies. My little motorcycle blog is totally legit now.
If you want to check it out for yourself, the photo is featured in American Pickers Season 7, Episode 4 (#143) titled, "If You Talk Nice To Me."
I took a lot of photos of my bike in Lakewood Cemetery on Halloween in 2010 (use the Graveyard search label to find them). I made the mistake of returning about a month later to take photos with snow on the ground and dropped my Sportster (the only time I've done that), bending and scraping a few parts. Maybe that's why it took 4 years for me to come back.
The grounds are organized into sections. This is Section 13:
I consider 13 to be my lucky number so I don't find it creepy at all. What was a little creepy is a strange green glow that showed up in lots of photos I took. I'm 99% sure it was just lens flare when I had the sun in the photos. Either that, or I was being followed around by ghosts. While my pipes are probably loud enough to wake the dead, I tried to keep the noise down to a low, respectful rumble. Do you see the green glow in the photo above and the two below?
Lakewood Cemetery is a beautiful place and I highly recommend going. It's quite peaceful and serene so it's a great place to reflect on life... so long as some asshole isn't riding his loud motorcycle through it.
Apart from its beauty, a visit to this (or any) cemetery is also a valuable reminder to live and enjoy your life while respecting the rights of everyone else to do the same. All the money and power you might accumulate in life will probably just result in a bigger headstone when you're gone and really, who gives a shit about that? Yes, I'm glad lots of people spent the money to have big fancy grave markers and monuments in Lakewood as it makes for cool photos but, with very rare exception, I have no idea who any of the people were. As time passes, all will eventually fade into obscurity. Your only lasting impact is your impact on others. Don't ever lose sight of that.
Hopefully you enjoyed these photos as I'll be posting black-and-white versions of nearly all of them next. While the color photos convey a sense of the end of fall and an end of the riding season, the black-and-whites have a much eerier vibe to them.
I say "real ride" because I took both of my bikes for very brief rides a few days later to add fuel stabilizer and top off the tanks before it snowed. Those rides were really just to get the stabilizer through the fuel system.
After snapping these photos, I headed towards the lakes and took a bunch of photos in Lakewood Cemetery. Those are up next.