by Kevin Wynn
254 W Broadway St. Monticello, MN 55362
GPS coordinates- N 45º18.384′ W093º47.805′
Sunday thru Thursday 11am -9pm
Friday and Saturday 11am – 10pm
Sunday Brunch from 11am – 2pm
I can’t get through April without remembering one of the first warm days of my junior year of high school, walking into science class and finding a Slinky strung across the classroom about six feet above the floor. Mr. Olson was always one of those kinda goofy teachers who really enjoyed his work and tried to give you something to remember. Well, it worked, because here I am twenty-too-many years later and I can still see him bursting into the room and yelling “SPRING IS IN THE AIR!!” and then laughing until he noticed the blank stares on all of our faces. “Don’t you get it?” he said, tweaking the Slinky so it flailed back and forth over our heads. “It’s a spring!” It’s funny what stays with you over the years. I sure don’t remember anything else from that class. News of Moon Motorsports annual open house, combined with an invite to try out the Crostini Grille with some of the members of the local BMW club was a good enough excuse to get out for a quick ride on a cool but sunny spring day. The wind was blowing like the devil, but the sun was shining and that was good enough to make the sprint up I-94 a worthwhile use of a Saturday morning. Moon Motorsports, recently renamed, has been a dedicated supporter of the rallies I’ve ridden in over the years, and it’s also where I bought my FJR1300 in 2002.
The Open House is an excellent opportunity to test ride a couple new bikes, check out some club events for the coming season and to see how some of those new machines fit you. I couldn’t resist a test sit on the Honda Ruckus scooter. It reminds me of my best friend Darren’s Rupp mini-bike, the one I helped ride into the ground in my younger days. Can I tell this story now? My friend had just reclaimed his old mini-bike, I think from his brothers garage. He asked my motorhead brother Keith to get it tuned up and in short order it was running like a fine, well, lawnmower. A little carb work and a new belt for the torque converter was all it took. If only it had been immediately returned to it’s owner, the poor
machine might still be with us. After all, we had to test ride it, right? Doing our best Kenny Roberts imitation, tucked in behind the bars, left hand on the fork tube, we flogged that little bike flat out around our block for weeks, helmetless of course. It was about a mile course with a short downhill to the fastest corner, and there was only one really dangerous intersection. After a few laps I’d figured out how to keep the throttle pinned all the way around. It’s amazing we never ran afoul of the Mounds View Police Department. Or a Buick.
Somehow I don’t think the Rupp was meant to spend its life at 45 miles per hour. After a while it got really hard to start and wasn’t as fast as it had been. Finally, we could barely get it to run at all. Naturally we gave it back to my friend about then. Last I heard it had been traded for some repair work to someone else. I’m relatively sure it’s in a junk heap or a parts bike now, instead of being a family heirloom like it should have been. Sorry, D. Someday, when I get that really big paycheck from Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, I’m going to find a primo, restored copy of that mini bike and set things right.
The Rupp fit me better than the Ruckus, by the way, which had no place I could put my feet where the handlebars would clear my knees when turning. I’d have to put ape hanger bars on it to ride it. Oh, well.
The memory of Jeff Erickson hangs thick in the bike shop he helped build, before the car accident took his life last fall. Still, the future is bright, as Jeff’s sons have taken up the reins and the staff that helped Moon Motorsports become a favorite in the area for service is still there, doing the same excellent work they’ve always done.
Crostini Grille is located on the corner of West Broadway and Locust St. in downtown Monticello. It’s a small town/cosmopolitan, Italian/American restaurant that fits nicely into the downtown landscape. The $7-$16 menu includes all the essential appetizers and entrée’s. I tried the baked lasagna and dug it entirely. Around the big table I saw plenty of tasty looking plates, including a nifty sandwich called “The Diablo” (pastrami, pepperoni, onions, peppers, cheese and Diablo sauce) I’d like to try next time I’m there. The menu ranges from Ranch Burgers to Calzone, from Grilled Salmon to Reubens Sandwiches, Chicken Club Pizza to Bruschetta Chicken Wraps. And though it feels a little fancy, it’s OK to show up in your riding gear. Give it a try next time you make a run to Moon.
One more thought. I can’t imagine anyone on this earth who more thoroughly embodies the concept of “Will Ride For Food” than Vladimir Yarets, the deaf-mute, Belo Russian, global traveler. Six months after losing a showdown with a big truck, Vladimir just last Saturday (Apri17th) continued on his motorcycle journey after a long and painful but miraculous recovery. The riders (and non-riders) who contributed so much to his rehab and care are to be commended. If you happen to meet Vladimir, though communication may be a challenge, take the time to buy him dinner and spend whatever time you can with him. Your life will be the richer for it.
Eat well. Ride well.
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Sadly, Crostini Grill is no longer in business.