by Crash Casey
Ride a 250-300 mile day trip without leaving the metro!
This month’s interviewee is a nice guy named Bill Charette. We were supposed to meet at my top secret location (The Landing in Champlin), but they were closed for some reason. Bill looked like a regular guy (jeans, T-shirt, short hair, glasses, kind of a square-John sort). Since my house was close by we went there to conduct Official Paper Business (therefore Troy should accept the receipt for a six-pack as an expense). When we got to my house and he started talking about his bike, a maniacal look crept into his eye like a match flaring, burning and slowly going out. I realized I may have misjudged old Bill. I suspected I was in the presence of a closet maniac.
M.M.M.: How did you become aquatinted with M.M.M.?
B.C.: I found a link to your web site from a huge page of motorcycle links.
M.M.M.: How long have you been riding?
B.C.: I bought the bike in September of ’97. It’s my first bike.
M.M.M.: What inspired you to start riding?
B.C.: Back in ’84, my dad took me to the races in Brainerd. I just fell in love with the whole idea and was finally able to afford my own bike last fall.
M.M.M.: So what are you riding?
B.C.: An ’85 Yamaha FJ1100.
M.M.M.: That’s a lot of bike. What made you decide on that one.
B.C.: When I went to the races I didn’t know a lot about motorcycles. I was looking at all the different bikes in the pits on Friday night before the races started and saw an ’84 FJ. I fell in love with the looks of it. Ever since then it was the only bike I ever wanted.
M.M.M.: Pick a letter between A and double D.
B.C.: A and double D? Okay. C.
M.M.M.: Yeah, I like those too. Have you done any touring so far?
B.C.: I’ve done a day trip with a bunch of other FJ riders. We have an e-mail list we are on. We went down to Winona and back up the other side. I rode up to Canada and stayed at a friend’s cabin one weekend.
M.M.M.: Do you have any future plans for any longer trips?
B.C.: Yeah, I’d love to go all over the place. I don’t know… I always read magazine articles about the rides people take-out west and Colorado. A friend of mine went with his family to British Columbia. That sounds like a lot of fun.
M.M.M.: Tell me about your most memorable ride and what made it so.
B.C.: I’d have to say it was the first time I rode with someone else after I got the bike. I rode with a buddy of mine who is a M.F.S. instructor. He had just gotten a VFR 750. He took me down some great roads. It was something I had dreamed about for several years. I built up my skills quickly that night. I felt like I was pushing the envelope even though I had only had the bike for two weeks. I was taxing my capabilities in any case.
M.M.M.: What is your favorite day ride?
B.C.: My ride covers a lot of the south metro area. I generally head out 94 east for some thud-thudding then turn off to go south on 95. When I get to this exit, I pull a U-turn and head back west on the south frontage road of 94 for about 1/2 mile to the next intersection. Turning left, I ride a nice relatively twisty road that meets up with 95 in a couple miles. I then merge back onto 95 heading south, which I follow all the way to where 95 veers back west. I stay on this road (which has turned into Highway 21 or St. Croix Trail) and continues on to a nice tight twisty ending at Highway 10.
A mile later I am back at 61 and go through Hastings, turning left on 316 just south of downtown Hastings and following this until it meets with 61. I turn left to head east for a few miles until I get to Welch Village Road. (Highway 7 or County Road what? I dunno.) This is a nice five or six mile stretch of twisty road with great visibility and VERY little traffic, as well.
Welch Village Road ends at Highway 19. From there I take 19 west to 52 (thud thud thud) for roughly eight miles to Highway 50, then 50 west again to I35 (ka-thud ka-thud ka-thud). I follow 35 to 13 west, go through Shakopee and take 101 north. After crossing the river on 101, it intersects with 212 and follows 212 for a couple hundred feet; here I turn right and continue north on 101. I’m sure every MC’er who’s been around for a few years knows of this stretch of road. I generally will follow 101 ALL the way up to I94 in Elk River and head back home to Crystal from there. Those who want to cut out early can take the freeways home (101 crosses every major highway/freeway that runs west out of Minneapolis) or get off at Bass Lake Road (County Road 10) and enjoy a few scenic miles of country/farmland before coming back to suburbia again.
M.M.M.: Wow. About how many miles is it?
B.C.: Around 250 or 300.
M.M.M.: What do you think is the biggest issue facing bikers today?
B.C.: I’d have to say image. There are still a lot of people out there who view motorcyclists as hoodlums. I’ve been to events were bikers really don’t put forth the best image. That and the old issue, “Start Seeing Motorcycles.” Even with the little bit of experience I have, I’ve been cut off dozens of times. Fortunately I haven’t had anyone turn left in front of me…yet.
All right! I’ve been getting some correspondence from some of you. I’m interested in hearing from any older riders (like senior citizen types) and also any of you wymin riders. This is my way of celebrating diversity. Call me at 750-5988, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at the paper. Adios.