Gophers and Cheese is a motorcycle blog focused on Minnesota and Wisconsin near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul. Since 2010, Gophers and Cheese has featured original photos and write-ups of motorcycles, great places to ride, and local events in the area.
He seemed to find it amusing to introduce me to everyone he could. That is... when he wasn't busy giving this guy some sort of bizarre hug / back massage.
A few crowds shots:
You might notice Jordan from Union Speed & Style in that last one. The shot's pretty blurry, but here he is having fun 2-up on 2 wheels.
As for actual motorcycles, there were some cool ones. I liked this Moto Guzzi owned by the guy Billy was awkwardly hugging earlier.
This Triumph looked nice and clean:
Another Moto Guzzi:
And yet another Italian, this time a Ducati:
Very cool Yamaha:
Out of everyone, these two seemed to having the most fun.
I ended up leaving just as thunderstorms rolled through Minneapolis. I got soaked for the first half of ride home until I got ahead (or maybe just to the side) of it. Lots of lightning was flashing in the distance, which was pretty cool. While I try to avoid riding in the rain, it actually feels nice every once in a while.
If you live in Paris, San Francisco, Ventura, Brooklyn, or Nashville, be sure to catch the Oil & Ink expo as it comes through!
In spite of rain and thunderstorms all around the Twin Cities, I rode my Sportster to the show.
Konawerks is a barber shop and it was my first time inside. They had prints hung all around the shop. Each one was available unframed for $100 each. They were really cool. There was complimentary wine and a keg of beer. Surly was on tap. Don't let my opportunistic, crowd-avoiding photos fool you - the place was packed inside and out.
Just like last year, I really liked the pieces by Makoto Endo. Last year the was a print of his Vincent painting and this year there was a Triton and the bikes from Easy Rider.
While I took video of the whole thing, I'm not actually going to post it. 1080p 60fps clarity is nice for most things, but it translates the event almost too vividly. My camera on the other hand, due to the fast motion and low light, ended up with a bunch of very weird, blurry, surreal shots. While the effect was unintentional, these photos do a MUCH better job of showing what it was really like to be there after a day of drinking.
After a winner was crowned, Crankshaft continued to play and there was a big bonfire too.
After a bar fight near closing time, the party started to die down. It was a beautiful night to sleep outside.
After a night spent spooning my Sportster, I woke up early with the sunrise, packed up, and headed home.
Overall, I had a really good time. Check it out next year!
If you didn't get enough free beer, you could buy shots:
There were raffles throughout the day. This lucky lady won a giant knife.
It took a while for them to find a winner for this shotgun.
You had to be present to win and if they called your number and you weren't there, they burned the ticket.
They burned a lot of tickets.
One of the more unique attractions was the motorcycle tractor pull. Guys were hitching their bikes to what I believe was a 900-1000 pound weight to see if they could drag it across the field. Many tried multiple times. Having a passenger weigh down the rear tire seemed to help a lot. You can see dudes deliberately avoiding the nuts-to-butts position.
Even a guy on a chopped Sportster got in on the action.
I mentioned there was a lot of beer right? This guy seemed to have a fair bit... (allegedly). This photo was taken moments before he made me take a picture of his butt because someone signed it. I'll spare you that photo.
However, earlier in the day, that same dude (I think it was the same guy) did the tractor pull with his Sportster and took the weight all the way to the fence. It was awesome. Here's a short video compilation of a few of the pulls including his.
There were also come interesting bikes in the rat category.
Check out the Dixie cup intakes:
While my Sporty didn't win anything, Eric did get an award.
So did this guy, striking both serious and victorious poses. I suck at remembering people's names (especially when drinking) but he's a fan of the blog and rides a cool Sportster. I'm sure we'll run into each other again.
A whole bunch of bikes that I saw while wandering around are up next.
That last comment wasn't intended to be offensive to the organizers or anything. I didn't go last year and based on the flyers it was difficult to know exactly what kind of event it was and how big it was. I was worried a handful of guys on custom baggers would show up and no one else. Thankfully my worries were unfounded. Sure there were custom baggers and guys in fancy jeans & bandanas walking around but it wasn't ONLY custom baggers, fancy jeans, and bandanas.
There was a huge turnout and the event was all set up behind Mac & Chester's SRO (Standing Room Only). The whole thing took place in a big field behind a bar & grill with vendors, music, bike games, and another outdoor bar.
I rode my Sportster and packed my (never before used) Gorgeous George Dirt Nap Tent Roll. Camping was free and I was planning to have a few beers. The weather was perfect so I didn't need to pack much more. I parked near the road temporarily while I scoped the place out.
I decided to throw my bike in the bike show for the heck of it. I put it in the Open class and parked it next to Eric's shovel.
Alongside the custom bikes (I'll get to those next), there was this cool pair of old Harleys. The blue is a 1915 and the brown (rust?) is a 1912.
My blog posts have been part of Chop Cult's Blog Dump for a while now but I was very pleasantly surprised when Lisa Ballard reached out to me regarding a feature. She asked me a few questions and then asked me to send her photos that I felt represented the blog and make me the happiest. I sent her a bunch from the past few years including:
Lots of pictures of my Sportster including when I first bought it in 2006 (almost 100% stock but with 8,000 miles on it), when I first cut the rear struts on it (no turning back from that point), and when I painted the tank and fender.
Some pictures of my Road King including my moto-fishing trip to the Black Hills last year that I still haven't posted photos from.
Photos of me riding somewhere along the border of MN & WI.
My trip to Dice/CoC party at the Kung Fu Tap & Taco (my first, but not last, time camping behind a bar)
Trips riding alongside my father to Sturgis and the Gunflint Trail
Riding the Tail of the Dragon on a rental
Camping in Joshua Tree and attempting (often failing) to dodge rain storms & tumbleweeds in Arizona (also on a rental - I returned that bike absolutely filthy)
The credits from American Pickers when I had a photo used on TV.
Photos with Willie G. Davidson, Josh Kurpius, Kevin Baas, and Sugar Bear.
Local shows and events including Full Tilt, Bearded Lady Motorcycle Freakshow, Donnie Smith, First Thursday / Moto Mania, Hog Feed, Build Art Bike Show, I-Cycle Derby, AMA Hillclimb, the MN ride for Larry Pierce, Flood Run, Scooter Trash, and Mama Tried.
There's even a picture of a rocket-powered Sportster! What more could you ask for?
I didn't go through all my photos to find the most creative or artistic shots. I didn't simply pick photos of a bunch of local bikes that I thought were cool (well, maybe just a few but I could have easily picked LOTS more). Instead, I selected photos that all collectively mean a lot to me and hopefully showcase the breadth of content you're likely to find here. There's a story behind each one.
Lisa wrote up a very nice intro and then the Q&A and photos followed.
This is a brand new event this year and here's what I know about it so far (quote from Dan, AKA @1stthursday):
"Ride in-Show off-Camp out! | Open and free for all | Dirt track in Owatonna MN this August | Bring your bike and show all the cool kids what's up | Chopper-Bobber-Rat-Cafe-Scooter...bring whatever you've got | Stop by 1st Thursday's at the VFW for more info"