Updated Mar 7, 2023 ...
Listen in as Maggie Dean interviews the founder of Driftless Roads USA. Music by Otis McDonald. Download our feed here.
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Travis, Robin and Tim have been advocates for riding the Wisconsin Driftless Area since, well ... it depends on who you ask. It's where Robin learned to ride, Travis eventually moved next door to and Tim? Not even he knows.
But when a Wisconsin native like Dale Hoke steps up to the plate to make his understanding known, even the TRO three take a knee before passing the mic to Mrs. Maggie Dean. Her interview with Dale discusses a lot of interesting, obscure and inspiring information about the roads paved (or not) on top of what glaciers couldn't reach.
So, grab your cheese curd flavored beer jerky and kick back. We're in Wisconsin, among other places. Travis's new car, Tim's pet monkey and Robin's paint huff are no match for the sweepers and switchback Mister Dale has to offer!
About as legible as we are intelligible ...
TRAVIS: Dean Buon Clark podcast.
ROBIN: We're an ever, we're an ever developing online venue for responsibly spirited, uh, wait. It is. Who is it? Wait. We're an ever develop, we're an ever develop, uh, shit.
TRAVIS: It's teasing of spring. Like you get those days where it smells like spring and the snow's melting. And then you could smell, you could smell the earth in the air. And then it snows again. Last minute I found this, uh, Toyota Corolla base model with a manual for sale. And uh, I went out and test drove it and it was, it was, you know, nice low miles, good price.
Like 34,000 miles for like 18 grand, uh, 2019. So it's like, not that old, not that many miles. It's a Toyota Gonna be reliable. Stick shift. It's a stick though, which is, which is great. I call it the canola cuz it's, uh, Canadian and bland and useful. a lovely, yeah. But, uh, there's a couple things I missed before I bought it that I don't know, you know, you know how you get, you get excited to buy, buy a new toy because it was wintertime test drive I didn't even think to test the ac.
And then it does have an aftermarket Canadian brand remote starter. Oh, oh. Which it did not come with a remote, but I bought, I figured it out and I bought the remote from Canada for like 50 bucks and it works, the remote starter works and it gives me, uh, gives me, you know, the door locks and stuff. But then I was like, oh, can I like remote start it with AC on, like will it keep the AC on if it's on when I turn it off And then, you know, can I remote start with the ac?
And I was like, where's
TIM: the AC button? ? Oh no.
TRAVIS: So I'll have to deal with that. Good thing it's black. So that's been my thing. I need to put a new tire on the, uh, new rear on the motorcycle when it warms up. But uh, other than that, it's going All right. Speaking of, uh, motorcycles. It's supposed to be a motorcycle podcast, not a Travis.
How long we've been recording?
TRAVIS: long have we been recording? We just, we just did now I think, uh, I think Tim got the most exciting motorcycle news.
TIM: word motorcycle. I got my monkey. Yeah, you did. Monkey showed up and is in the garage and I've got the suspension swapped out. And I have ridden it so far.
Two miles. Whoa. Nice. Yes, it got warm enough and the roads at least somewhat clear salt for a while there that I felt safe enough to take it out.
TRAVIS: You mean you don't wanna like salt rust, your brand new bike right away? .
TIM: probably rather
ROBIN: not just dip it, nrcf, whatever that stuff's called. Yeah. So I,
TIM: I think this thing's gonna be fun
TRAVIS: is the t w running cuz that's what the t W's.
TIM: No, it is
ROBIN: the t
TIM: w exactly what that is not running. Did you slap the on it? I did put the ignition coil on the thing dead battery and tried to run it. Um, battery was fine. I even put a jumper on the battery to boost it and I spun that motor a good, I dunno, four dozen rotations and it just jug, jug chug. Um, did you do the chg?
Well, you know, I actually at one point, Had to check and it found out, you know, the first couple times I tried to start it, it was empty of gas. Okay. Which was funny because when I picked the bike up, the gas tank was full
TRAVIS: speaking of leaky gas .
TIM: So it, it might be, you know, I forgot that it had a choke, so I, maybe I can need to go back out and try it
Yeah. Actually those will not start cold, I promise you that. Okay. So
TRAVIS: did you confirm that there is spark? Did you do the, like crank it with the spark bug out and
TIM: drown? No, I didn't do that. Um, so yeah, do a couple steps that I need to do. I just, you know, would rather play with your monkey. Yeah. You know, it's 40 degrees out at best in the, at the
For the listeners, unbeknownst to Tim, this bike has always, from the start, in my mind, been intended to be a community get together hangout project that we build and make happen . But I just decided not to tell Tim that because I myself didn't know either of what was gonna
be arriving at his
TRAVIS: door. It's, uh, it is an x ms f t w 200 and it's an 89
Yeah. So it's, it's a shoe. It's a, oh, I'm sorry. It's, yeah, it's a drum shoe break. So that's 88, 89.
TIM: Yeah. Drum front
ROBIN: drum back when the members of Rush had mullets w but wore suits. Huh?
TRAVIS: The suit mo it style. That's classic coming back.
TIM: Yeah. That bike is just sitting out in the porch right now. It's covered, it's got plastic underneath it.
ROBIN: uh, yeah. And we'll get to it. We'll get to it. It'll happen. We'll
TIM: deal with it eventually. I I would love to get the thing running and ride it
TRAVIS: around. Yeah. We'll have to do a garage night. Yeah.
ROBIN: So, oh yeah. So that bike will not start. It's got two choke levels. Okay. Just so you know, it's got a full out and a clicking halfway in.
All right. It will not start cold. It's not gonna happen. Okay. Full choke. Full choke. A good number of revolutions with fuel and oil. It'll, it'll eventually get going assuming
there's spark and ether,
TRAVIS: maybe. And a hair dryer
ROBIN: and another bike. So, so it, it's gotta be full choke out. Choke is, uh, at the carbs on the left hand side.
It's apl it's an outward do. Yeah. From the, just
a plunger. Yeah.
ROBIN: Okay. All right. And it's been a while. We choke the living shit out of those bikes on the ranges. We choke them for about 15 minutes while we're setting up the range and the students are still showing up. We come back and they sound like they're about to explode.
And then does a cloud black
TRAVIS: smoke hanging your
ROBIN: you can hear They're all, we re when we return to the bikes, all you hear is Yeah. Like from every single bike . No,
TRAVIS: super rich and revving up.
TIM: Yeah. Oh, the ca the, the, I'm sure that's great for the motor .
ROBIN: Hey, what, what did, what did we spend on this thing?
You happy little, we spent your happiness on it. , every last
TRAVIS: remaining drop. That sounds like the, the snow, the snowblower only runs with a choke half on Mm. . Yeah. And then like, as it kind of like the heat and it kind of ebbs and flows. You gotta like click the choke like a quarter turn one way or the other.
ROBIN: Small displacement engines are
TRAVIS: They'll run forever,
TIM: of. I will, you know, pull the carb and clean it and maybe jet it, reaching it up off the bat.
TRAVIS: Maybe we can, does anyone do a big bore kit for, uh, t w
TIM: Maybe it's for 30, probably. I bet. I bet they do. Um, this seems like everything's got a big bore kit in the, in the thumper market.
ROBIN: I think we should put a turbo on it.
TRAVIS: Just put a, uh, put a Honda liquid cooled 300 motor in it. Oh, that,
ROBIN: I mean, it is an open it. Does it have an underbar? Does it have a, is it a, a suspended
TIM: frame? It's a double cradle. Yeah.
TRAVIS: They can put anything that'll fit
TIM: in there. Yeah.
ROBIN: Duct tape
TRAVIS: all. Yeah. And you had to do the back to the monkey.
You had to do the suspension twice, right?
TIM: Yes, I did. I thought when I was home sick, I would have plenty of time to work on the suspension. Turns out, working on suspension when you have a fever is probably a poor choice. , I like seriously, like, I don't know what in the world I was thinking. I did not clamp the stanchion
TRAVIS: Just put, just put it straight in the
TIM: Yeah. Pretty much. Uh, like wrapped a, wrapped like an old, uh, inner tube from a motorcycle tube. Wrapped that around it a couple times and then clamped it and think thinking like this is a. Okay, so the reason , the reason you've got to clamp this thing as much as you do in the first place, is the fact that the damper rod bolt in the bottom of the fork.
You can access it through the wheel carrier assembly, but you actually can't remove it with that assembly in place. So you need to spin off the, you know, the brake caliper mount wheel carrier honk at the bottom of the fork. You've gotta pull that off.
TRAVIS: Yeah. So it's an upside down. It's an upside down fork.
TIM: Yeah, so the previous ones that I've done this on are bigger bike ones. You know, I've done the D R Z, I've done the Africa twin. Those, you'd never had to take those off. You could pull the damper assembly or whatever out from the bottom without having to screw with this. But because this thing is such a small diameter beast, they just couldn't make it work mechanically.
The other problem is that Honda put a shit load of thread lock on these things. Threadlocker red. Thread lock red. Yeah. So it's put a torch on it or put, in my case, I put the heat gun on it for minutes and minutes and minutes and minutes. I basically got this thing up to up to temperature. You could boil water off it, you know, get above two 20.
Yeah, two in order to keep your degrees melts down. Yeah. Yeah. And not
TRAVIS: hot enough for the paint to start smoking, but.
TIM: And like, and it still took a stupid amount of force. I couldn't under understand what was going on. And then I, then it moved and I looked and I realized I just spun it in the clamp on the stanchion and just gouged the shit out of the stanchion.
So I had to order a new fork leg entirely because I ruined that, which
TRAVIS: probably only comes with the wheel carrier on it, right?
TIM: Yes. So I, yeah, I, so I got a hold of the, the specialized tool that actually, um, has pins that drop in the damper rod or the damping oil, damping passage holes on the STA engine.
And that's what keeps it from rotating when you clamp it, ah, and even then after the hole, like hitting it with heat and finally getting the thing to break loose and spin and I'm like spinning and, and spinning and spinning and spinning this thing off and it's not coming off. And I'm looking at it, I'm like, how is this, it's just not still threaded what is going on.
But it was actually the threadlocker, there was so much there that it was holding it on with suction that I had to pull, spin and pull really hard to get this thing to actually finally pop off. But
ROBIN: yeah. Does that stuff rubberized in like when it gets hot? Yeah. Right. Yeah, it's
TIM: basically like, yeah, it's not thread locked, but now it is just vacuum locking.
It's goed together. It's just a gasket
ROBIN: maker basically. So then as you're removing, well, as you're pulling that thing apart, it's actually rolling in on top of itself and just getting thicker inside a spot that's gotta be locked. Yeah.
TIM: You need to continuously add heat to the thing to get it to pull off.
So yeah, these little forks were more work than anything I've ever pulled apart. Yeah. So ended up, you know, okay, finally, you know, with a clear head, I'm doing this right. Got 'em apart, gone put back together, got got the bike down the street and it feels good.
TRAVIS: The most complicated bike Tim's ever worked on.
His 125 cc Minibike
ROBIN: that is currently in his pocket. That tiny little thing, you
TRAVIS: K clutch change on the side of the road on a whatever, on A D R Z. No problem.
TIM: Yep. Yeah. So, yeah, to put the thing in perspective is I outweigh this thing by 40 pounds.
TRAVIS: So you, when you get on it, it more than doubles. Yes.
TIM: So I am exceeding the weight rating of this bike. Yeah. The maximum rate rating . Yes. Yes. I am exceeding the gross vehicle, recommended rate weight. So yeah, that's been, that was quite a challenge. Um, but other than that I'm not doing much to the thing. I swapped out the, the break and clutch lever cuz I always hate the really long ones with the balls on the end, the gut savers.
But yeah, I just got some cheapos. Yeah. You know the $30 off of Amazon?
TRAVIS: Yeah. The, the shorty adjustable ones.
TIM: Yeah. Yeah. In reality I just put 'em out maximum distance and that's where they. So now it's a
ROBIN: racing monkey.
TIM: Yeah. So I would love to throw on taller hand. Um, I'd like to put on taller handlebars, but I think that I need the cables,
ROBIN: eight hangers, the extended cables
TRAVIS: uh, and uh, brake line.
Yep. And wires.
TIM: Might not have to do the wires. I think there's enough room for the wires, but I'll have to
ROBIN: find out. Get a stretch swing arm, extended rake, extended front end, and a hangers. .
TIM: No. Monkey chopper. No. Yeah. Like I need, I want the, I'm thinking more scrambler than chopper. I'm still
ROBIN: developing this.
I'm, this is gonna grow this whole idea. See if you can fasten it into a three wheeler by, not tandem three wheeler. Or wouldn't that be tandem? Basically get a ruckus and then fuse the front end of a ruckus to the, the pack. To the swing arm of it. So you've got a two-seater, like a tandem bicycle. Oh. So in line with extended rake angle, a hangers , and a St.
Stress swing arm, and then slap a turbo on that baby. And you've got yourself some product.
TRAVIS: how close are the handlebars to your knees? Can you go full lock without having to spread your legs apart?
ROBIN: Can you steer with your knees? Not
TIM: really. Okay. No, I cannot go full lock without the handlebars hitting my knee.
And I can't really steer it with my knees because my knees are a little above the line of the tank.
ROBIN: Can you ride it like a longboard? No. No. I would not.
TIM: But it's, you know, it's, uh, scooted all the way back on the seat and pushed with the feet. So it's not too bad. It, it basically, it rides like a scooter.
TRAVIS: I mean, I, I don't know, you said you've only put two miles on it, but I imagine if you scoot back on it, it just will wheely itself anytime you want it too.
TIM: Was that a four speed? It's a five speed. The new one's got the extra gear. Nice.
TRAVIS: So in case you need to slow down at 50 miles an hour. Exactly. Because I imagine it's like four gear,
TIM: push, five gears. I I actually think they did redo the ratios on it a little bit when they added the fifth gear so that they actually, uh, made both ends a little easier to deal with. Oh,
TRAVIS: okay. So it's a really automatic wheel wheelies and first gear. Yeah. You can just like log it at two miles an hour and just like
TIM: So yeah, of course I like, I stalled it down at the corner because I wasn't quite sure where the engagement was.
TRAVIS: Oh, anytime. Anytime you get on a new bike or, I mean, when I test rode, when I test drove the Corolla, yeah, I stalled it pulling out the parking lot cuz I haven't driven it before. Is it you guys?
ROBIN: How is the rise on that? That, uh, clutch pedal in the Corolla. Like, how much do you have to lift your leg up before? It's
TRAVIS: surprisingly a lot. Like the clutch is super light. Yeah. And it moves a lot. Mm-hmm. , it's so, it's weird. Um, and too, like the, the motor isn't as like toy and isn't as like heavy, like, doesn't, feels like it doesn't have as much rotating mass as this, as Zuki did.
But the motor's more rever, so you really have to like rev it up and slip the clutch more to get away from the start. Like it, you can't, you can't just kind of like chug away. Like you had, like you have to Yeah, you had to be up like 2000 rpm.
ROBIN: Yeah. I had a 1990 Corolla, same car, but it was just constantly yinging,
TRAVIS: no, say this, this mix, I think more power than the two leader my Suzuki did.
But yeah, it's just, it's a way different way different animal. It's all
yeah. Up high.
ROBIN: So then back to the monkey stuff, I mean, the s scr is just sitting there like a perfectly intact ready bike for the season. Oh yeah. Yeah,
the xsr. That's what I
ROBIN: said. Wait a minute. Oh my goodness. I may have really messed this up.
So, among the MSF instructors, Harley has come out with a new Tim, what is your bike? The, the yammy? It is the
TIM: XSR 700.
ROBIN: I've got work to do. Harley came out with a new bike that is a standard posture bike using tech from like, whenever, way back when. Wait, wait. You
TIM: mean Benelli came out with a bike?
TRAVIS: Yeah, it's like, it's like one of their in, it's like it's their Indian, it's like their Indian division.
It's like just one of the small displacement bikes from, from Asia that they aren't actually gonna sell here. But it's just for their training courses? The, no, the S C R is the Yamaha bolt scrambler. The S c R 900 is the Yamaha Bolt.
ROBIN: I'm not necessarily wrong.
TIM: You are not wrong. Those letters do go with the Yamaha
TRAVIS: and they're, and, and, and you said s e r 900, which is the right, or nine 50, whatever.
ROBIN: And I remember that the bolt was just kind of a painful gas tank. I remember Travis, you sat on one,
TRAVIS: it was a sports decone by
TIM: Yamaha. Well, I, I think I remember seeing that They were basically rebadging. A benelli.
ROBIN: Okay. So Benelli, how do you spell Benelli?
TIM: B i n e L L
i B E N
TRAVIS: E L L I. Oh,
TRAVIS: Yep. Now here's Visor down article about it.
TIM: That's your standard international company these days.
TRAVIS: Yeah. I don't even see dealers. I'm trying to see how, how do you buy one of these Vanilli motorcycles?
Hey, you go to a
ROBIN: Harley dealership .
TRAVIS: Well, that was a thing too, is like, I think the, those small displacement ones, I, I can't find the article now, but there was, um, that they're gonna, they're gonna, you know, have those in like the Indian market in the South Asian market, but they're not gonna sell them in the United States, but they will have some just for the training courses.
TIM: Okay. I am looking at their dealer distributor network now, and it looks like, um, you can actually get 'em over in Reedsburg at, uh, the, what is that? Uh, not Mad City. It's Vinik. Yes,
TRAVIS: it's, uh, no, NICs is in, uh, Richland Center. This is Jay's Power Center. Uh,
TIM: yes. Yes. So yeah, they've actually got a nationwide NA network of people dealing these now
ROBIN: Is it the same bike minus the Harley badge on it?
TIM: No, these are
TRAVIS: the Benelli brand things. I mean, yeah, it's probably, I think it's the same motor in the, like the 500 that they're talking about that's gonna go in the Harleys. Nice.
TIM: So yeah, we're looking at, uh, two dealers in Wisconsin, four in the Chicago area. So they are around but is interesting. I have not seen them in person yet.
ROBIN: know who we do, uh, have met in person. His name's Dale Hoke and he's a Wisconsin native who's traveled all over the United States on his motorcycle, and he runs dripless roads usa.com and Maggie Dean is interviewing him. Let's go to the interview, Maggie.
I'm here with Dale Hok
MAGGIE: of Driftless Roads usa. So thank you for spending some time with us today. Let's jump right in. How did you get interested in motorcycle
DALE: touring? I've been around motorcycles most of my life and not really done more than just riding around town or short trips here and there. And, um, started reading about the Transamerica Trail and, uh, some of the big trips to Alaska and places like that and Adventure Writer Magazine or the website and just got me interested in that, kind of riding more and more longer trips and different kind of trips.
And of course I had the wrong bike at that time, , so I had to change bikes and get a different kind of bike. I had to get a touring bike versus just a, a straight bike. And um, so that's kind of, it's kind of evolved, I guess. It's gone from, um, just reading more about what's people are doing and finding more about what they're doing and sounds like fun.
So that's kind of what got us going. Tell us
MAGGIE: about the most memorable ride you've taken in the US and what
DALE: made it special? The. Probably the one that stands out the most, um, is, uh, we had a two day ride. We took, and, uh, we were in Montana and we started in Missoula, Montana, and we rode, uh, to Moscow, Idaho, and back.
And, and it was over two days. And the thing that was really neat about that was all the different roads we took and, uh, there was some gravel. Um, we, there's a really neat road that starts in St. Regis, uh, Montana, and it's about 10 miles of gravel and you're climbing up over the mountains and you get to the top of the mountain and you cross into Idaho and it becomes paved.
And so it's a long downhill paved, and I don't know why it's even paved. It's way out the end of a, you know, of a, of a road. But it's beautifully paved. It was a sunny day. We're just going down this great curvy road, uh, you know, just no traffic at all. And, uh, that was a great road, great ride. And we got down, um, to the bottom of that road and we joined what's called the St.
Joe. Scenic byway, and that follows St. Joe River into Mar um, St. Marie's Idaho. And that was the same thing, just constantly whining back and forth, not as, not as steep, uh, but, but, but whining. And at one point, um, there was an osprey that was fishing, so the osprey was gliding above the river that we are paralleling and we are about the same height altitude wise as the Osprey, cuz with the river was down below us.
So that was really a neat thing. Um, that, that same trip, we've hit so many different great roads. There's a great road outside of Lewistown called the Grand Staircase. It's the old highway into Lewiston, uh, Idaho. It's just a crazy curvy thing. Um, there's a road called the Winchester Grade, which is a, a awesome road.
It's a little bit rough, but um, it is paved and it's really curvy. It goes into Winchester, Idaho. And then we took another couple back roads and hit some gravel going into a, a town called Kuski. And, uh, you know, it was a really neat ride. We're on the gravel road, all of a sudden the valley drops off below us and you're on this, it's a pretty nice gravel road, but the valley's down below.
And it was, you wanna keep your eyes on the road because you don't want to be going off the side cuz there's no, no guardrail. And then it, the finished up was Lolo Highway. So from Kuski took the Lolo Highway, which is a famous, you know, a hundred miles and nine, you know, a hundred miles of curves the whole way back and back up over the mountain pass and all that stuff.
So that's one of our favorite rides of all time. I mean, you know, we've done a lot of the, you know, like the bare tooth and glacier and, you know, black Hills and uh, Yellowstone, and those are all great and we love those too. But this to me stands out and to, to me it's kind of a hidden gem because I don't think most, I think people might ride one or two of those roads, but to put them all together, one at a time is just on and on and on.
Just, just great riding and that was probably our favorite of all time.
MAGGIE: That sounds amazing. Yeah. Is that
DALE: route on the site? It is on a site, it's called the Missoula Moscow route, and we call it a dual sport r um, because of the two gravel, uh, stretches in it. And there's really, you can get around the second gravel stretch.
Uh, you can make it a little bit longer and go around the gravel stretch. It takes you into cos scale. You take you up and into Kamaya and then down to Kuski. But to get to the first, uh, gold, gold rush road or Gold Creek road, there's no way to go past it's like 10 miles of gravel. And, um, there's no way around that really to get to that part.
And that's what's so weird about it, is you can, you can go, uh, out of St. Marie's Idaho on the St. Joe, um, byway and it'll take you up to there, but then you, you know, you gotta turn around and come back or else you gotta, you know, go on to gravel to get into St. Regis. So, you know, most people probably will never take that ride if they don't want to go on some gravel.
And, uh, I, I will say if you do take that ride, that stretch between St. Regis and St. Marie's is. It's, it's, uh, probably a hundred miles or so. So keeping on your gra uh, in your gas, there's a, there's a gas station along the way and a town called Avery, but it's a small, efficient town. You don't know if it's gonna be open, if they're gonna have gas, and, you know, we, we don't, we can't keep tabs on that stuff.
So I'd make sure you've got a full tank of gas before you start out, if you're gonna gonna take that route.
Pro tip. Yeah. What
MAGGIE: inspired you to create Driftless Roads and, and the
DALE: website? Well, we, um, you know, as we got more and more into riding and wanted to take some longer trips, um, we were planning for one trip in particular.
We're gonna start in, uh, at our, my dad's place in, in Wisconsin, the southwest corner of Wisconsin. And we wanted to ride up to Red Wing, Minnesota. And so we were looking for, and we just didn't wanna ride on the river road. It's a, the Great River Road is up in the Mississippi, the whole way on, on both sides.
And we didn't, we wanted to hit some of that, but we wanted to hit some side roads as well. And so we were researching it and trying to see, well, what roads look fun? And, and there really was no resources out there. There was a couple websites or like best roads here and there, but nothing that really fit the bill.
So we just started kind of looking around and putting our, our own route together. This was the day before I even had a gps. We're using note cards and I wrote the note cards on the back of a on note cards. Uh, wrote the directions on 'em. I gave 'em my wife and, and, uh, we didn't have a communicator and so she's tapping me on the shoulder, turn here, turn there.
And, which was interesting in other respects as well. But you know, we really never found any, um, good resources and, um, and we were not as familiar with that part of the, the, of the country either. And the further we went, the more, uh, more and more we were just blown away by the great scene and great roads.
And so, you know, we didn't have the resources. We, we found the great roads. We said, well, we could be a resource, we could put some rights together. And I sat down one winter, I think it was 2017 in the wintertime, and I said, I'm just gonna put a route a, a one day route in all over the Driftless area. So you research where the boundaries were and, and started with some of the roads I knew and kind of grew from there and there.
And, and that's where it was. It was like there was not a lot of resources. And the resources we had that we found, and this is still true pretty much today, the resources you find out there will just highlight, this is a fun road, or that's a fun road. And it's still up to the rider to put a whole ride together.
And so we wanted to do is we wanted to put a whole ride together for a whole day. You could start your day and ride this thing. You can end up where you, where you started, or you can, you know, you can take part of this ride route and, and ride part of it. You can add another part and you can end up where you want to go.
But our, our rides are mostly about riding. They're not about going from A to B, you know, Anybody can go from A to B and you know, on Google or, or Apple Maps or their phone or whatever. And ours are more than that. They're, they're trying to find all the fun roads and we'll take you down some roads that, you know, you might be in that area and you've never been on before because you just never had a, had a need to take 'em.
So, you know, we, we didn't find any resources that was part of it. Um, you know, we didn't have a lot of time and so with not having a lot of time, we wanted to, to spend as much time on as many fun roads as we can. We just didn't want to say, oh, let's just find this one fun road, then ride it and then come home.
We wanted to find a bunch of fun roads and so we spent a lot of time planning our rides and planning our routes, just, uh, trying to maximize the fun roads. And sometimes it's difficult because you're in an area where there's so many great roads and trying to. Pick one or pick two and not have to double back.
And we try to make it so that the routes don't double back on the same road. You're not crossing over a routes, you're not confused. You get to intersection and you can see the route going different ways, um, trying to do things like that. So if you look at the details, some of our maps, you'll just see it's just like crazies, squiggly, zigzags all over.
And you're like, why would you do this? And the raisins just, it looks like a fun road. And, and you know, we've ridden so many of 'em. They are fun roads. And so that's how we got started and we wanted to see would people enjoy this. And we actually had a, uh, put up on our website. We created a little website and we put 'em out for free.
And um, so it was great that they were free, but we really didn't, we didn't have a way to see if anybody was even getting 'em and downloading them . So it was all for free. So there was no tracking mechanism. So then we went, um, we've got a new website and then we started charging a little bit and we said, well, if you charge 'em and nobody buys 'em, they will know nobody's interested in 'em.
And, uh, you know, people bought 'em and we started selling more and more. And then we started going to events and meeting more people and going to rallies and just get togethers. And the more people heard about it, the more, uh, people liked it. And you know, it's one of those things that, um, if you're looking for something to, if you're looking for something like this, if it's a bill, if you're looking, making your own routes, then you know, that's fine too.
It doesn't matter. But, um, but that's how it was. We're on about our third or fourth website version now. We've, we've gone through, uh, WordPress and Squarespace, and now we're in Wix and, uh, we do all our own, uh, web hosting. And, um, so it's, it's not overly, you know, sophisticated. We try to keep it simple. Um, we're, you know, we're pretty happy with how it looks now.
We're always looking for a ways to improve it. And, um, you know, we started off just having routes in the Driftless area, and we did that for two or three years. And trying to think about the next, next evolution of the website would be. And so we've gotten into some dual sport stuff, and I know dual sport means, you know, a lot to different people.
For us it's mainly just public roads that are gravel instead of, instead of paved. Um, and then, uh, then we started going into other areas and say, well, we've done all these great routes in Montana and Wyoming and, and the, uh, Seattle and Seattle areas. Let's put those out there for sale too and see if people like that.
And we, you know, going up to the, uh, Canadian border and on, uh, up in the upper peninsula. And so we started putting those on and people like those. And so we said, let's start going war areas. And so we. Started going to the Ozarks and we've got a lot of routes in the Ozarks now. We've gone to, um, you know, like the dragon in the East Coast and done some things down there.
And, um, we've, we've been going into the southwest because we've been want, wanting to do some riding down there. And so we've got a lot of routes down there now too. And so those are starting to pick up a little bit more now too. And, uh, and that's kinda how it's just kinda evolved And, um, I don't, I, I don't know that there was a need for it, but once people started seeing that we had stuff, they're like, oh, this is cool.
I can have this and not have to spend all my time working on this thing. Or I can, you know, have fun and not have to do that. The, the boring work or my, my biggest fear make us, um, thing that always hate is like, like done with a ride. And then I'm like, oh man, if I'd have taken this left instead of a right, I would've had this great road instead of had this just so-so road or a bad road.
So, you know, I like to do a lot of planning ahead of time and, um, and I, I hope that other people like that too. And that's, that's kind of why we do it.
MAGGIE: You kind of touched on my next question. How do you evaluate and really select the routes that you feature and like, what's the criteria where you determine, yeah, this is a road or this is a route, this is a tour that people would be
DALE: interested in?
Yeah, that's a good question. Um, what we've kind of done some different, different methodology. I don't think we have one great methodology to, to do that kind of fits all. But when we were in the Driftless area, I was trying to fill the Driftless area, so, you know, and trying to find good rows and fill it.
When, um, when we're doing some things out west, those are rides that we wanted to take. And I like to set rides up, like, uh, like, we like to take them, um, like we're in the Bighorn Mountains and that's a great area. It's like under, people don't really talk about it cuz there's so many other great rides.
You know, the, you know, the Rockies and uh, um, the bare tooth and Yellowstone and all those things. But Bear Bighorns are kind of in between there. And so those rides are things that we've done and we wanted to do, and I put those together going like to the Ozarks, same thing as the Driftless area. I'm like this a big area.
It's kind of constrained by, um, some, you know, flatland. And so let's start in the Ozarks and start putting some things together. Um, when, um, we're working on the East Coast, on the Appalachia and, and that we're going a little bit, a little differently there. trying to put some rights together that are in areas, but also trying to kind of fill in some of those great rows.
Like we've got, uh, we, we, there's the dragon's a big, you know, fa popular one. Well, you can go and ride the dragon all day long or you can take our route and you can start off, you can ride the chair hall of Skyway and you can come back in the dragon. You get a whole day loop out of it. So it's a little bit different.
And so we're kind of going and hitting those things. And, and I, I had a guy was telling me, he said, I think they're just naming roads down there, just name roads. So you've got the bootlegger and the, you know, the back of the dragon and the black snake, and they got all these roads. And most of 'em are, are just roads that people are naming.
And there's, there's some places out there that, that have some loops, like, like we do. Um, but they're in specific. You know, you know, small geographic areas and, and, um, so they're not, they're doing this kinda the same thing we're doing. I know that you're wondering about that too. Um, and so we're not gonna just copy paste those.
We're gonna either not do something in that area or else we'll do something a little bit differently. But, um, but that's the kind of thing, it's kind of like we're trying to fill, we're trying to fill areas. So if you come to this area, no matter where you come from, which direction you come from or where you're headed, you're gonna have a route that you can get to quickly and closely, and it'll be next to another route and next to another route.
And so you can kind of pick a place in the middle and have three or four other days of riding, or you can, you know, work your way through and pick and choose and things like that. So that's kind of how we do. And then as far as roads, how do we pick the roads? You know, it's, uh, it's kind of like we start big and looking at, you know, we're looking at the maps, looking at Google and looking at, um, I.
um, Butler maps a lot, uh, with River. Uh, if you're, if you have the River Pro, you can see all the Butler roads on River Pro on their, on their website. And so that's kinda a starting point that, hey, this road, somebody's already looked at it and it's a great road. But where, um, and there's other things like, you know, rustic Road, Wisconsin Rustic Road are a big ones.
Um, mo most states have like scenic byways and things like that. We look at those. Um, but then what we found is that those kind of resources kind of tend to stay to the main roads. And so we start, okay, this is a great butler road, but it's, it's one road. It's 20 miles from here to here. How are we gonna get back to there to the start?
And how are we gonna make a whole day out of this ride? So we're looking for, um, you know, small roads that are fun looking roads that we're just not included in the, in the, but maps or whatever, or not included in the byway. And, um, you know, that's, we spend a lot of time going through it. You can. You spend two or three hours working your way back and all of a sudden you're at a dead end because you've got a gravel road there.
Most of our routes are paved, and we try to keep 'em that way because most riders like pave roads. Um, so that's, you know, that's, we spend a lot of time just, uh, searching through and finding those great roads and, um, and, and so it's, it's kind of a, you know, hodgepodge methods and it's, it starts with an area and works its way down to the, to the roads.
MAGGIE: I feel like a lot of people in the mis Midwest area are somewhat familiar with the drift lists in Wisconsin that heads on in. What are your top three, um, recommendations, uh, or unexpected places that you've discovered, uh, that are routes on the map that you feel like are overlooked maybe?
DALE: Yeah, I, I think, um, I think the big horns are.
You don't, I don't see too many people talk about 'em. And yeah, you, you, it's not so big. You're gonna spend a week there, but you could spend three or four days riding there and just have a great time. Um, you know, because it's kind of on the way. It's kind of on the way to Yellowstone. It's kind of on the way to the, um, it's, it's, it's off the beaten path a little bit, a little bit south of interstate, uh, I 90.
Um, but there's just tons of fun there. I mean, it's, you're up in the mountains. It's a great roads, it's wide roads. It's a trucking route. Uh, there's things to do in sea. There's tons of wildlife there. We're up on top of the mountain and you get up on top. It's a little bit of a plateau, and we're riding along and there's a moose, a moose on top of this mountain.
And I'm like, what is this moose doing here? Um, there's some Native American, uh, things to see do is a huge medicine wheel there. You can hike to and, and, uh, take in the, the solemness of the, of the, of the scenery. You can go down the mountain and there's a place you can go see dinosaur tracks. Um, you can go up to level and there's a big canyon up there.
It's like a mini rain canyon. And you can walk up to it and you can look down and see the river. It's the Bighorn River. It's a great, great area. Um, it's, it's, you know, not very populated. It's a small towns gray bowl level. Um, it's just west of Sheridan, Wyoming. So it's kind of like, you know, you went on the interstate, you want to head west, you're going through Sheridan and you just kind of bypass the whole thing.
So that, that's one of 'em. There's neat things to do there. Um, you know, the, the one we took, uh, through Gold Creek, I think people aren't gonna go there, uh, just because they don't wanna ride that gravel. Um, that's, that's a big one. Um, Let's see. I, I think the kettle, uh, in Wisconsin's a neat place. People wanna go to see the Driftless area.
And there a lot of fun riding there. The Kettle Marine area is, is a little bit different. It's a little heavier populated, so you're gonna have more traffic maybe in some, um, some, a lot more side roads and things to watch out for. But it's neat riding and some , there's some crazy stuff there. We were, we were riding in the kettle a couple years ago and um, we were over by a place called Holy Hill over by, uh, I think it's by Burlington, Wisconsin.
And it's this big church on top of hill. You can see it for miles away. And we're riding around and there's some Wisconsin rustic roads there and there's a place there called Hoback Road, which is supposedly. , uh, mythological, uh, beast there. The goatman of Hogback Road. is supposed to come out and try to grab you.
We're driving around there, having a, having a time, and I see the sign and it's a spectacular sculpture. It's just a, it looked like somebody took, uh, a real estate for sales sign and wrote it. Didn't say real estate, just a blank white sign about that size, you know, plastic and little metal stakes and a big sharpie, spectacular sculpture.
And I'm like, we've gotta see what this is. If this is this, like one guy like had a big sculpture in his yard and every, it's like so spectacular. So we're kind of chuckling about it. So he drove back in through the subdivision to get there and the end of this, and it's like this huge area. And this guy is this artist.
I was, I was looking at this yesterday. I, I really blew it cause I forgot to write down his name, but it's a whole art area and he makes these great big sculptures and they're like, you know, 8, 10, 12 feet tall, all kinds of weird wild creatures look like Dr. Seuss creatures. And, you know, you walk around and you can see it and he's got a workshop there, and if he's there you can talk to him.
And it was like, this is amazing. Why did we never heard about this? And it's just, and, and he's got websites. It's all on the, uh, internet and you can look all over for it. But to have this little bitty sign, it's somebody's yard. This a spectacular sculpture. It's like, it kind of undersold it a little bit.
I think he could have went a little bigger. Um, so that's a neat thing. I, I think people should go and look at this. If you've ever been to, um, The, uh, Dr. Evermores forever tron, uh, over by, uh, Baroo. It's kind of in that same vein. It's, it's not the same. I won't, I don't wanna compare the two, but it's like big sculptures out of, you know, iron and steel and old car parts and old, you know, old kind of machinery and stuff.
And it's kind of the same, um, type of stuff. That
MAGGIE: sounds fun. I have not come across that little sign, so I look forward to that the next time. ,
DALE: it's on our kettle rain route. If you take our kettleman rain route, it's a, which is a two day route, which is a neat route. Takes you from Milwaukee up to Shaboygan on the coast of the Michigan coast line.
Uh, and then back through the kettle rain and, uh, back talk through, take it right through this.
MAGGIE: Okay. I think I've only ridden, uh, a part of the Kettle Marine, like up through to Dora County. Oh, okay. I haven't done the whole thing, but yeah, you're right. It's, it's a fun road. And you may have already answered those, but I was gonna ask, what's the most surprising or unexpected experience you've had while scouting or writing, you know, the routes as you create
Yeah, that was a big one. That was, uh, I mean, I expected it was, I don't know what, like some guys fountain in his yard or something, but I mean, we had a lot of things happen. Uh, you know, we were out this last, uh, last year we were out in South Dakota and I was scouting a route and it was a dual sport. And, um, we're off on some gravel way off in the middle of nowhere.
I mean, not nowhere, but, you know, we're, it's not like, you know, Wisconsin or Illinois. We're off on a gravel road and you're, you see the next house a half mile away, you're kind of off, you know, you're, and we're seeing a fisherman here and there and, and, uh, went past this house and the whole house was covered with these metal circles.
This one had taken like an. , I guess it's a, a farm implement like a disc and cover the whole house, with these, the roof and everything. It was kind of strange looking, but um, we're going over all these rocks and I'm like, wow, I hope I don't get a flat tire. And then we start a little further on, I'm like, uh, this doesn't, I can tell.
And it's like I told my wife to get off and we ride two up on the bike and I said, get off and what's the back tire look like? She said, it's flat. I'm like, oh, . And I'm like watching the gps. I knew my next turn was on the pavement, so we were 10 miles away from, from pavement. And, uh, so, you know, got out the patch kit and it didn't, it didn't work well, but it, it got us to back to where we were gonna go.
But that was certainly unexpected . Uh, that was not welcome. I mean, that's not something, that's a feature of our, of our sites. And it turned out it was a nail. I didn't cut the tire on the rocks. It was a, got a screw. But, uh, that was unexpected experience. But some of the, the, some of the strange and wonderful things, you know, um, And we, we've been spending a little time riding in Iowa and Iowa's got a lot of dirt roads, believe it or not.
And we are off in this, up by Okoboji, uh, lakes up in north, north, uh, northwest Iowa. And we had a dual sport route. I had it all pegged out and, and these are all, you know, they're all real public roads and one part of it, we're going on this lake and it's just nothing but two tracks in the dirt. And I'm like, whoa, this is really a neat road.
I mean, that's the kind of stuff we really like and we don't go crazy, but getting off in the di in the weeds. And then we've got this other place and there was a road, it was just a, a stretch of grass between two cornfield and it's like, this is a road, it's like 98th street or something like that. And.
Grass was up as high as the tank of the bike and we're, you could, there was a path, there's a, a tire track through there and we're riding through it, but it was certainly not what we expected, . But it was kind of fun. It was really fun to, to get through that. It was, I was, I was like, okay, it's a mile long.
I know it can take a mile of this and, and go through it. And, uh, so that's, that's on our okoboji route if you want to have some dual sport, um, you know, one of the things that, that really is surprising, but it shouldn't be, you know, we, we make these routes up and a lot of 'em we make up after we ride.
Sometimes we make 'em up and then write 'em and, and, um, they, they look it on paper and you get onto 'em and you're like, this is amazing. I mean, when you're looking on paper, you really can't tell, um, how tight the curves are. You can see it on, but it's not, it's not the same and you can't see the, the, the hills and the, and the drops and things like that.
Um, you know, a lot of times we look at the satellite to see how things look. And it's covered up with trees. And so you're on that route and you're this tree line road, and this is what I think they turn out better than I expected because the scenery is better. You know, you can't tell what kind of a view you're gonna have from the, from the satellite view until you're on the road.
You're like, oh, this is great. And you know, some of the houses and farms you see, and just crazy stuff like that. Of course, the wildlife, you know, um, it's just, it's just a never ending, um, never ending. Bunch of surprise. And it, it, it is surprised and my wife's like, this is another great road. I'm like, yeah, I thought it was gonna be good, but I didn't think it would be this this good.
And of course the locals are like, oh yeah, we always think that's a good road. Well, I'm not, you know, coming from out of town, we're happy to find good roads. Do
MAGGIE: you find the locals or are pretty. Good with sharing about like, what's good writing?
DALE: Yeah, I, I, yeah, pretty much. Um, I get a lot of recommendations that I get people from time to time write to me emails, say, Hey, just look at this road.
Look at that road. Um, and for the, you know, most part we try to put 'em in pl. I mean, a lot of times there are things like, well, we're not working that area yet. Or, but, uh, I've had a couple and, um, we did a thing last, uh, last spring and, um, I was trying to enlist some local help, you know, getting us to trust out some routes and, and, um, Hey, we'll send you this route.
Try it out, tell you what, think, blah, blah, blah. And I had tons and tons of volunteers. I, I had 40 people, uh, just from the Ozarks alone that wanted to help me out. And so some, all these routes and. Never heard anything back, not one. And I had a guy in Arizona that did a couple routes for me, and he's, that was good.
He gave me good feedback. I had one guy from St Louis that did some stuff for me, and that was good. But, um, and then, and then based on their feedback, we'd made some changes as well to say this, this one versus, you know, this road versus this road, or this was confusing. And, and so it was really helpful and I really, I thought it was a neat way to do it and I really wanted to, and we gave 'em some, you know, some freebies and things like that for their time.
And, um, but I, I think what happened with the rest of the people was, um, that I think they were, I don't know if, I don't know what they're expecting. I guess I don't, I, you know, I tried to be up upfront that, Hey, this is gonna be a a, a GPX file. I need you to put in your gps, ride the route. Tell me what you think.
I think what they were thinking was they were gonna get a map or something, because I, frankly, I think a lot of 'em were, um, Just people didn't use gps. I think they were just, you know, so I think that's what ended up, they were like, oh yeah, I'd like to help you RSCs trying outta time or didn't, didn't get around to, or whatever.
But, uh, I, you know, if people are listening to podcasts and wanna try her out some time and test it out for us, send me a note and send you files and you can take some pictures and send us some files and some notes and tell 'em if you like it or not.
bet you'll get a lot of takers. .
DALE: I hope so. That'd be great.
That'd be awesome. And we can't ride every road of every route where, you know, we'd do as much as we can and it's nice to have some, some feedback and, uh, that'd be great.
MAGGIE: about some of the unexpected and maybe less explored routes that you really like. What are the most popular writing routes?
DALE: The most popular ones right now are in the, in the Drifts area, of course, because those have been on our site the longest. Those are the ones that people know most about. Uh, and of those, I think they're the ones that are in. The southwest corner of Wisconsin, like south lacrosse like you did, like the mendoro cut route.
The, uh, Kickapoo, lower Kickapoo route. Um, the, uh, wildcat route, which goes to Wildcat Mountains, Wildcat State Park, uh, the Wisconsin Triangle. And then, um, like the, uh, the Tallon route. And then the last one is the, um, I can't remember the, it's the one that goes through. Um, Darlington, Wisconsin, and by, uh, it's in Lafayette County.
I'll come to me anyway. It's, I don't, I don't, yeah, I mean, so, you know, most of our traffic, or most of our customers are in the either Chicago land area or in the Twin City area. And then of course, people live in Wisconsin, so people coming out of Chicago or they're wanting to stay, you know, as close as they can to, to home.
It's, they wanna spend more time riding the fun roads rather than getting there. So they're, they're hitting those lower Wisconsin routes mostly. And then the Twin City routes, that's, I think that's about half, half, they're, they're volume about half of the Chicago volume. So those are kind of upper, upper routes.
Like there's a Main Rock route, there's a St. Croix route, um, the Zoom, some routes of Minnesota and things like that. The Zumal River and the Red Wing, uh, Farborough routes. So those, those are probably our most popular routes and, and it makes sense. They've been on our, our, our thing the longest. Um, as, as we expand in these other areas.
I don't expect those to be as popular because I think people that live there, they already write 'em, they're not gonna, probably not gonna buy our maps. People that are, that are going there, they might buy one or two, but you know, they're gonna buy, those are those ones and twos people are not gonna have a crowd of 800 people going to the dragon and buying our route one time.
So, uh, so I think, you know, that's, and that's fine. You know, once it's, once the route's done, it's done. So if we get 10 people buying, it's great. If we get a hundred people buying, it's great. Um, but, but those are most popular because I think that's where, you know, most people are coming and they want to ride those.
And those are great roads. Those are great revenue mean, those are, those are some of my most fun roads. We we're from that area. We're very familiar with them. And we, we keep going back, I ride back there, uh, up by Prairie Sheen one or two times every year just in some different roads and some, we have some family reunions up there, uh, some different things that take us up there.
And I always take the bike along just so we can spend some days riding. , uh,
MAGGIE: you mentioned the men. Cut. That is one I wanna get back to and I haven't been back to you in years, so Yeah, that's, that's a great, just that little
DALE: that the first time we rode that they had been, they went through and they had redone all of the drainage culvert.
So every single corner had this big gravel strip through it. So we had to really, you know, watch our speed. Well now that's all, it's been a few years now. They've repaved I, it's been repaved maybe four years ago now. So the pavement's great. Unfortunately, they don't have any shoulders, all gravel shoulders, so everybody that goes on and cuts the corners and throws gravel on.
So you really gotta watch the, the gravel in the corners and, um, but it's a great ride. It's a great ride. It's, it's a fun ride.
MAGGIE: collaborate with re River and you host workshops around, uh, G P s and trip planning. And how did that get started and how's that going?
DALE: Well, it's, it's going great. Um, we were kind of, it's kind of, I don't know, it's kind of a weird thing.
I, I have some contact with some writing groups in Chicago, and I guess the whole thing started was, uh, the Chicago one, one of the Chicago b w clubs was having, uh, a, a get together meeting and they wanted to put on a gps, um, event for their members and they were looking for volunteers. And so I was trying to find a way to, you know, keep in contact with some groups.
So I volunteered to help. And so me and three other guys put together, um, a thing and we all did it at different parts and, and went pretty well. And then, um, and then another group, the Chicago Camp Group was having, I'm friends with. their leader, McKayley, uh, burani. And, uh, they were having a get together.
I said, Hey. He said, do you have anything around this? Or you'd heard about this Chicago thing? So I said, yeah, I can do this. So I put that together and then in the meantime, um, I started, I reached out to Rev, uh, to see if they have any affiliate program. A lot of, you know, websites and podcasts and things have affiliate programs and they, you know, we draw them some business and they give them some money and so forth.
And they, so we, they don't have an affiliate program, but they have like, um, kinda a sponsorship program where they give you a special code and, and you can get discounts for people and they send that money comes back. And so, um, so I wanted to steer people when I was doing the stuff with the, you know, Chicago and with Michael Michael's group, I was talking about a, a program called Curvier, which is a neat program.
It's a free program. Um, and, uh, it only works on Android phones. So it's not, uh, it's not, uh, doesn't work on on Apple, which most people use. So started working with Rev and um, so I'm like, well, I'm supposed to talk about Rev so I can promote Rev if I'm gonna talk about it. Because I mean, my main thing is the GPS and I, we work on gps and I work on base camp and I, that's where, that's where I feel comfortable with.
But a lot of people like their phones and a lot of people are looking for help with, well, what's this, what's that? River's a great, a great app for that. And so, um, so the, the workshop's two things. It's the, it's introduction to Basecamp and it's introduction to how to get your Basecamp route onto your gps, and then the Basecamp onto your phone if you have a phone.
And then part of it's about Rev and how to use, take your Rev and you can use your Rev, um, route planning into your GPS or your route Rev route into your phone. And so that's kind of how it evolved. Um, and that's kinda really we've done, um, I think we've done. Six or eight now. Um, we've done some private groups.
Um, we did a private group in Iowa City, did a couple in Minnesota, uh, to Twin Cities, did a, uh, Waukesha Wood, uh, Woodstock. Um, I did another Zoom call, um, with some folks, uh, from up by Green Bay. And then I hosted a Zoom call that, uh, didn't go very well and I, I set it up during the football season during a football game, so I didn't have very , many people attend it and had some technical problems, so it didn't go so well.
But, um, but the feedback's been good. People, uh, get a lot out of it. I think people want, want to be able to do some of the stuff on their own, but it, uh, they don't where to start. And part of it was, okay, Dale, I bought your route. I put it in my gps and it's not working. What do I, what's the pro? And so there's some steps you have to go through to get there.
And there's not apparent, uh, on any of the. , any literature you can find and, and some YouTube videos out there. I haven't found a YouTube video that really succinctly explained it really well. And so that was part of the, part of the, um, part of the drive behind the web, the, the workshop as well, to teach people how to do this.
And, you know, our, our, our workshop, um, part of it's the PowerPoint presentation, part of it's a live demonstration. So the PowerPoint demonstration is on our website. People wanna go and, and scan through it. They can get some of it, but unfortunately the live demonstrations part's not in there. So they're not there.
But, but that's, I mean, that's, that's about it. We've, you know, and the neat thing is, um, you know, you get to go out and meet people. You meet some of the dealers and your Jewish yourself and get contacts with them, meet a lot of people that are riders and, and, um, it's just happenstance alone. Like I was at, um, well last year, last summer in 2000, 2021 I think, or 20 21, 22, we met some folks from, from, um, From Iowa that are part of the purist Dodge group.
And, uh, we talked to them a bit and we've, we made up some routes for them for their rally. And then, uh, we started putting these workshops on this year, and turns out one of the people that we met from the purist Dodge Group are the chairman of the workshops at the BMW National Rally in Virginia this summer.
So they asked us to come to Virginia, uh, in June to put this workshop on. So it's like, well, if I hadn't done the workshop and, you know, with the Pierce Dodge Group, they wouldn't have heard about it if I hadn't met them two years ago. They hadn't, you know, it's, it's all, you know, meeting and those people and, and having those contacts and, um, you know, it's, it's things that like, okay, you may not.
You know, sell a route today, but we've made this contact down the road. We're gonna get together and do this other thing. It's gonna be gonna be really cool. So we're excited to go to the m BMW rally in, in, in Virginia. So if anybody's coming to the m BMW rally in Virginia in June, stop by and, and, uh, come to our workshop and we'll talk about base camp and GPS's.
MAGGIE: it's true in business and it's true in life, , it's about who you
DALE: know. Exactly, exactly.
MAGGIE: advice would you give to someone who's new to touring on a motorcycle and wants to plan a safe and enjoyable trip on the open
DALE: Um, yeah, I, I'd say people that want to get into riding, it's kind of a double-edged sword because you're not sure gonna like it, so you don't wanna spend too much money at it.
But I, I'd say spend a little bit of money. Make sure you've got a good working bike. Make sure you've got some good gear. Um, you know, make, you know, wear your cure. And, uh, and then I would say take small trips and practice riding and you take some small trips and decide, you know, what works and what doesn't work, what you need, what you don't need.
I've got so much stuff that I take along. I probably don't need it, but I'm gonna need it someday. So carry with me. Hey, the tire plug,
MAGGIE: the tire plug came in
DALE: handy. Exactly. Exactly. Um, but yeah, I mean, uh, and then I'm plan ahead. But don't get stuck in your plan. Don't get too, too stuck in your plan. You don't, um, don't have too much fun.
My, you know, my main thing me and my wife struggle with is like, uh, I like to make a route. I'm gonna stick to this route because I made this route. It's the best route. And she's like, well that looks like a fun road. Why don't we take that road? I'm like, it's not on the route. We're not gonna take that road
And I'd say, we need to do more of that. I need to do more of that. You know, and I would say that for people that buy our route, it's like, yeah, this is a starting point. If you see a fun road, go ahead and take it. You know, you never know what you're gonna see. That. , um, that you don't, you know, that we don't know about it, and then tell us about it, and then we'll do something else about it too.
But, but yeah, I mean, main things be safe. Uh, if you're gonna ride in a group, make sure that you're feel comfortable in that group and you're not riding faster than you care to go. I, you know, that's a big, that's a big thing. I think that people get caught up in their new rider. They wanna ride with the group, and their friends have been riding for 10 years and they wanna go fast.
And he's, he's, you know, maybe not comfortable doing that, so don't do it.
MAGGIE: What impact do you hope your work on this site, uh, will have on local communities and businesses that are near or within the tours that you create?
DALE: Yeah, we, I mean, hoping to have a positive impact. Um, you know, and that it's kind of a, it depends on the riders of, of course, um, a lot of what we do and we try to avoid highways, I mean interstates, uh, we try to avoid big towns like.
Example, we've got a lot of routes in the Dubuque area, and we really don't want to send people through Dubuque because, you know, you can go to Dubuque and ride through town, uh, if you want. Um, so by definition it takes people, smaller groups, smaller towns, uh, you know, small roads. And so we're hoping people can go those rows and, and uh, uh, patron patronize the local businesses, you know, get gas, stop, get drinks, maybe have a meal, stay at a small hotel or an inn or something like that.
Uh, and then be good representatives of the motorcycle community. And then hopefully they'll say, Hey, we found this road because we're riding Driftless roads, uh, website, and they, they sent us right through here and we love this place. And so, um, you know, that's, that's what we hope for. I mean, we, we want to promote, you know, riding and having fun.
That's part of our Driftless challenge is to promote riding and getting people out into some different areas. But then, you know, we're hoping that people, um, . I spend a little money, take a little time, meet. Some people have good time and but also good, good, good riders too. And not make a nuisance of themselves.
It gives us
MAGGIE: all a bad name when that happens.
DALE: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I've come across that too. It's like, uh, cuz I try to, you know, I, I've been in a couple campgrounds and riding through and trying to, you know, keep the speed down and the noise down and people comment saying, boy, you're the first rider I ever saw that didn't go screaming through here.
And I'm like, well, I'm trying to be a good ambassador for the biking community. And, and, uh, I don't know. I'm too old to do that stuff.
Do you have any
MAGGIE: advice or advice that you would give to someone who's interested in promoting tourism in their own
DALE: community? Yeah, I, I'd say meet people, get involved, go to some, meet to writers, to local writing groups. Um, go to some meetings, offer volunteer help out. You know, we, we gave a lot of free routes away at first.
Uh, There's a neat dual sport ride in Gleaner every year. It's coming up the first, it's the first weekend in June. Um, and it's put on by a private individual. It's kind of a loosely organized thing. We've been going to that for four or five years. We always give free routes to that. Now he does a dual sport route, and I always have a, a paved route ready.
And, um, met tons of people through that. And, um, of course it's mostly a dual sport route, but, um, some people come and want the paved and so just go and get involved, volunteer, meet people, uh, spend time listening to what they're saying. Um, that's, that's it. I mean, that's about it. Still a people business.
It is, it really is. Um, and it's a, it's a money making business. The way to make a million dollars is to start with $2 million and then, uh, at the end of the time, you'll have a million dollars . I was talking to a lady from Celtic Tours and, uh, at the Chicago show, and she's like, yeah, you know, I make a million.
She told me the whole gaag. I'm like, oh, that doesn't sound too promising. , but , you wanna make a million start with two. Um, but no, it's, it's fun. What's your vision for
MAGGIE: the future of motorcycle touring and travel in the us and how, how do you see Driftless Roads? Your website evolving to stay relevant and useful for writers?
DALE: Yeah, you know, it's, it's hard to, I was thinking about this a little bit last night, and, um, if you'll, if you read the news, it's like, well, young people aren't writing anymore and the writing ages are getting older. And, um, and you know, if I think about the young people today writing, what are they using?
They're on their cell phone, you know, they've got their cell phone or they got nothing. And, um, so it's, it's kind of a murky future. Um, I'm, I'm hopeful that, uh, you know, and then you've got the whole going to electronic e-bikes and all that kind of stuff, and that's gonna be a big change. And how's that gonna affect people?
Um, hey, I don't know if, I don't know if they're gonna take long cross country tours anymore or not. Um, you know, I, I'm hopeful that people see us as an advantage, that we're a time saver from planning a trip to, you know, messing around during their trip. Um, I'm, I'm hopeful that people start, continue to think the way we do that.
I don't have as much time as I want, or I don't have as much free time as I wish I did, so I've gotta maximize my free time by, by, you know, hitting the best roads I can. And I think we're positioned well for that. Um, what we're trying to do also is expand into other areas. So look, give people some other, uh, some other options, uh, of writing.
And, um, it's interesting. We, we do a blog post every, every week. And it's just a real short thing. We, we talk about one of our routes, you know, link 'em back to our website and we talk about something else that might be going on, like the Driftless challenge. Uh, we talk about river again, river's having a free, uh, workshop next week.
And so I promoted that because of course we're, uh, associated with Rev. So, um, that's always neat. And then every other week or so people like, oh, there's a route here, and then they'll buy that route. And so it's kind of a neat, a neat thing for us to, to do that. But so expanding other area. So yeah, the route this week was from Virginia.
It's one of the routes we're put together for the rally and a guy from North Carolina bought our, our, one of our Virginia routes. And so I was like, oh, that's, you know, that was time well spent, you know, last night. But I mean, what we're trying to do is we're trying to position ourselves by being, you know, more coast to coast.
Um, we're trying to link in with riding groups, um, across the country. Our, uh, you know, our biggest. Access right now to groups that are not in our geographical areas, believe or not Facebook. So you can go on Facebook and you can find either writing groups. So we're in a writing group in Montana, Colorado, Arizona, and you know, of course we're not getting everybody we're, we're probably getting 5% or 2% of the people, but at least we can start to meet people that way and kind of communicate with 'em that way and then get feedback and, uh, eventually hopefully meet 'em in person.
But, um, so that's what we're trying to do is trying to, um, just kind of keep on keeping on. Um, you know, one of the thing is if you go to our website, you'll notice hopefully that we don't have any advertising. We don't have any sponsors. We don't have any pop-up ads. We don't have any, you know, any annoying stuff that, that drive people crazy.
And part of it's by design. Um, and part of it's by default maybe, um, uh, it's designed to the fact that we wanna really clean site and, uh, we're not sales. I'd rather be spending time riding routes and making new routes than going out and. , you know, trying to sell ad space on our, on our website. And so that's kind of what we do.
And then I'm thinking about, well, how would we do it if I went to, if I wanted to go and sell ads at a local level, like to a restaurant or a, you know, mom and pop hotel or whatever, that's one route. We've got 160 some routes now, so I'm not gonna go to 160 different, you know, hotels, restaurants, stuff all across the country trying to sell, you know, this little ad that's, that Harley's gonna see because they thought of 101 out of 160 routes.
And, you know, by the end of this year we'll have maybe 200 routes. So, so then you say, well, you know, maybe she can get a, a big sponsor, a nationwide sponsor, like, uh, you know, psycho Cycle gear, or Rev or, or, uh, Revzilla, or some of those are like, uh, Tour tech or something like that, and listening up to our tour tech, we can, you know, but, um, uh, but I mean, I think we're too small for, for their business.
I mean, I don't think our, um, you know, our reach isn't that big. Our, our traffic's not that big for those, so we're kind of, it's by design that we're not wanting to go out and spend that time and effort and, uh, and, uh, and by default that we're just not big enough at this point. And we wouldn't be big enough someday where people come and say, yeah, we really wanna get behind this.
And, but, uh, for now it's just, uh, it's just for fun.
MAGGIE: question, what is your Riding Obsession?
DALE: You know, um, I, we love the back roads. We love the roads, less travels. Um, there's nothing more fun to us than you go over on a. and you see this downhill in front of you and you got the tree lined and it's curving zigzag, and you can't see the bottom.
And, and you know, nobody else is around. Uh, that's the greatest thing. I mean, we, I. The thing that kills me, it's just I have to really bite my tongue. You start talking to people and there's a specific type of rider and you start talking about great roads or people will post online, what's a great road in Wisconsin?
Or what's a great road here? And they'll say, oh, the great river Road. Take the great river road. That's a great, that's a great road. And I'm like, that is not a great road. There's a, there's, yeah, it's a road and it's pretty, you can see the river, but it's relatively flat. It's relatively straight. There's, you know, minor curves and the traffic is terrible and it's just not a great road.
But if you're going on that road and you take any one of the side roads that go up, up over the hills, you're gonna just be in Wonderland. And so that's our, our obsession is finding those roads, finding those back roads. Anybody can find the main roads we're, we wanna find. You know, and we, and we love the senior crows and we've been the glacier and, and the bare tooth and the dragon, and, and we love those too.
And those are kinda like a checklist kind of thing to us. But, um, our obsession is find those, those great back roads and, and, uh, trying 'em out and, and, uh, and that's what keeps us going. I mean, that's, that's what we look for. And we'd like to share those other people. And you go, you're in Wisconsin or someplace and you're riding this back row and you come over a hill and there's this beautiful farm and you see the guy out in the tractor plowing and you see the cows over there.
And that's, for us, it's like, there's nothing, you know, nothing. I, I was, I was with some guys from w from Chicago and I was, I was leading on a little bit of a ride and we stopped for lunch and he's like, Wide, all the crops, they have a row of crops and they have a row of nothing and then a row of crops.
And I, I took it for granted that everybody understood what, what that was. And it's like he had never seen that before. It was the, because of the erosion and the rotation, all that stuff. And so I'd explained about that and so I, I could imagine for some people it hadn't been around it, this would be really, really, really, uh, cool to get on these back roads.
And, um, and it's, I mean, the neat thing about it is in the Driftless area especially, you're never far from anywhere else. You could be in a back road and you could think you're, you know, a million miles away and get a flat tire and somebody's gonna come by in 15 minutes, or you're gonna, you know, walk a mile or a two miles to a house
So it's pretty, so you get out west, it's a little bit different story, but, uh, but yeah, that's, that's us, uh, that's, we try to share that with our customers. Dale,
MAGGIE: your time. You wanna share about how you want people to find you and connect with
DALE: you? Yeah. Um, uh, our website's, Driftless Roads usa so if you go into Google type, Driftless Roads usa, that should take you there or whatever.
Apple Search Blog, um, that's our main website. Um, we're on social media, on, you know, Facebook, YouTube, um, Twitter, Instagram. I'd say Instagram game is not, not too good at this point, but, um, uh, we're pretty, pretty busy on Facebook and, uh, and Twitter. Um, but yeah, we do a lot of stuff there. I mean, we just, we, we don't just sell our sites.
We do the drift challenge, we do the customer routes. Um, we have our blog posts, so if you want to, you know, kind of keep us going on, you know, we, you can, you can join our, our mailing list and we don't, I, I would say, you know, I always hesitate to join a mailing list because I don't wanna just get blast.
stuff all day long and we just don't do that. We're, I don't have time for that. We send out one blog post a week at at at boast. And, um, so, and that's just more of information for people and uh, and there's some discounts you might find out about like that. And we, we do some things, different groups and we'll, we'll post about that as well.
But that's how you find us. Driftless roads usa.com. And, um, you know, our, my phone number's on there. If you send an email, I'll get it. If you call my phone, I'll, I'll , I'll answer it. Hopefully, if I'm not, not a cell phone ranger, I'm riding somewhere, uh, I'll answer the phone and we can talk about what you wanna do for
TIM: Yeah, I'm a little surprised. I don't think I've ever run into him, but I've known about him for
ROBIN: years. He's a good catch to now. Well, speaking of paint, I need you guys' advice, both of you. I need you guys to do the work on the talking on this bit because I, I'm debating. Okay. The clear coded,
TIM: let's see, uh, a four mentioned fiber.
ROBIN: Fender. Oh yeah, yeah. So I have properly clear coated and sanded down the clear coat on the carbon fiber fender for the R 1200 Rs. I guess that kind of got me thinking, well, if I'm gonna go all this trouble and I've already got a carbon fiber fender, that's pretty freaking cool. What if I pull the fender, the fender X extender off of the stock fender and then do a wrap on it?
I just don't understand enough about that platform to know what goes into it. I wouldn't be doing it. I would take this to a person. But what's more expensive? Getting something wrapped or getting something professionally painted? Painted. Painted is more expensive.
TRAVIS: A wrap. A wrap on something that small.
Take 'em like 20 minutes
ROBIN: and then is, I mean, what am I looking at? A hundred bucks, 50 bucks? Well, I guess it depends, right? And of course it depends. Depends. Yeah.
TRAVIS: But yeah, I mean a paint would be a couple days cuz you gotta prep and wait and that's gotta dry
ROBIN: I think I wanna wrap the bike. I think I wanna wrap some
Yeah, I think with a wrap I would de on a part that that is that small and has that many tight curves. I definitely would take it into somebody because I know that I don't have the patience or delicacy to get it to conform to those tight curves. Yeah, I got no patience. That's crazy. I've tried and it always looks like hell.
TRAVIS: It's like you ever see, like I've thought about like tinting windows on a car before and I just know better cuz like, you see the pros do it and they're so smooth and so effortless and it's so fast and it's like, oh yeah, I'm gonna fuck this up and it's gonna be a mess. I
TIM: would've screwed with that for half the day.
I would've had to like put it on and pull it off four times and it would look like crap. Yeah.
ROBIN: Uh, how do you get the graphics for such a thing? I, I think I'd kind of like to get the gray from the original fender color and do a little t r o thing on there with a little, you know, I need a graphic designer.
TRAVIS: If you don't need to cover the whole thing, you can just get a decal, vinyl decal. But if you wanna recover the whole thing, I think, um, a lot of places will do cut, like, you know, they, you see the signs for, you know, custom graphics will wrap your company's van. Yeah. So I think they, either they have a machine that can print on the vinyl and that sort of way, or, or order it from wherever
ROBIN: That's the concept I'm going for. I just, you know, it, painting is hard and I'm lazy and I'm trying, I'm learning. I'm gonna, I'm going to finish both of these processes. I'm going to finish my crappy version of getting the carbon fiber back to, to pretty, I'm gonna do my best to get the stock fender back to where it's a hundred percent ready for the bike and I'm gonna look at 'em and be like, you know what?
It's just not
And then I'm gonna take it to somebody and be like, Hey, make this look cool.
TRAVIS: Literally cover up my mistakes. ,
ROBIN: quite frankly. Yes. And I, that's the other question is if you want to undo that, I wonder what the process to get the rep off of it, or is that just heat?
TIM: Yeah, most of them will come off really
Yeah, you can peel it off and then just clean it and wax it and it's fine. I
ROBIN: think that's pretty neat. I, I'm thinking about going that route. I'm curious about the pricing. If there's a place in Las Cruces, maybe El Paso or maybe I'll get Joe Goden to do it. Although then he'll print up a bunch of fallacies all over my bike.
TRAVIS: he'll just like, like ghost them in, like very subtle. So you don't notice it until like, oh yeah, it starts to age a little bit. , . So the
TIM: sun hits it just right and it lights up.
ROBIN: So I love riding for the site. I do, I love writing for t r o. It's my voice it. I'll pick a topic, I'll pick a product and just find a way to engineer some interesting reading around that product.
And we'll make money off the commission, sales, whatever. Sometimes it'll work, sometimes it doesn't. But the problem is, is that. Uh, it's a lot of pressure to come up with enough content that, you know, it's just, it's just so much work to make an article good on the website that it's a, it's a lot. So I, I, I love having the outside authors throw in what they, Travis, I still need your article about the custom luggage you made.
That was pretty cool. Uh, Travis, what the, what were those bags?
TRAVIS: The, oh, just the, uh, the Apache, the Apache cases from, uh, Harbor Freight.
ROBIN: So I love writing for the site and then I was like, well, I wonder if I can start generating outlines. Or even minute amounts of content in my voice. Can I train the AI how I like to write so that it can compose something for me and then I can go through and be like, yep, yep.
Nope. Absolutely not. Okay? Change that this, you know, from start to finish and still do the work. But when there's writer's block, can I get this thing to do something for me? Right? So I'm not using chat G P T. That's not what I'm talking about. Chat G P T. Just picture a glowing ball of 1990s. Laser ai take over the world stuff in the middle.
Chat. GP is an offshoot of that. The ball in the middle of this is a source of knowledge chat. D G P T just taps into that ball and tries to use it in a way. This conversational, I'm using the A P I T L D R. No, I can't get it to write in my voice and I know what the hell I'm doing. Here's the score with the AI A P I.
You can submit prompts and their responses. According to you. So if I say, write a blog post about this topic with this headline and these keywords, and then hand it the entire article one at a time throughout the entire site, which by the way I did, the result is if you ask it to write something, is a frantic nervous wreck of a response that is all over the place with non-factual data names that aren't actual human beings claiming that they are friends of mine.
Like when my buddy Jack bought the new Ferrari motorcycle, that's not even a thing. . So this 2,500 word onslaught of misinformation is generated that honestly isn't even in my writing style. Sometimes it writes out half of the article and ends with the word. Or it responds with absolute gibberish where it's just like, I don't know, I can't find out.
I need to find out the information. I don't know. I can't find out. I need to find out the information for 30 paragraphs .
TRAVIS: It doesn't. It's doing
ROBIN: bot stuff. Yes. However, one thing it is excellent, Adam, I'm very excited about is it does really good outlines. So if you, if you type into like Chad, G p T, uh, I need to brainstorm an outline on this article.
I wanna write myself about this topic. Can you give me 10 things I might wanna pinpoint? It'll give you a really good outline. And then you say what you do is then you delete that. Copy that outline in and say, I brainstormed this outline. Can you give me some improvements on it? And you can do that however many times.
Once it starts regurgitating the same response, you know, you've found a really good outline for an article. And then just be yourself and write the article. And I, I really like that it's, it's helped with my writer's block a lot.
Nice. Yeah, I think
TRAVIS: that's, I've heard of a lot of people using it to like outline and sketch that sort of stuff.
And it seems like it works. I say go for it. I think it's less cheaty. Well, yeah, and it's like also like using a, uh, browser or whatever, or search engine to help you find stuff for your outline. Like you just doing internet research. You just find a machine that goes through it for you, right?
ROBIN: Yeah. A little bit less search and more generation too.
Here's how we'll tie this whole episode together on a wrap up. Let's go around. What are your three tunes that come to mind right now that if you're gonna ride, you want to hear those three tunes for the duration of the
TRAVIS: Say Super sonic by bad religion off of the process of belief is definitely one of them.
Um, that song just rips, uh, the really, like, kind of like any bad religion is, is right up there. Especially like most of their albums have like a real rip and opener.
ROBIN: go around one at a time, one song at a time? Sure. Tim, what do you got? What, what comes
TIM: to mind first? All right. I think I'm gonna go with Hamburger Train from Primus
TRAVIS: Yeah. It's good one.
TIM: Cause it's just, it's just this fun little rhythm that just goes on and on and it just builds on itself. Yeah. Yeah. It's not intrusive, it's just you just kind of listening to it and grooving.
ROBIN: All right, so I'm gonna start with the fact that we lost one of my music heroes recently.
Namely the one and only Jeff Beck, who has always been an awesome influence. So everybody loves to cite his, his, you know, his early stuff. That's irregularity. I love his early stuff, but I always like to bring up the new stuff he did that perhaps didn't get as much attention. I'm gonna go with Jeff Beck Pork U Pine.
Travis, what's your next select I'm
TRAVIS: gonna go with, and this is like a newer tune, uh, nuclear Power Trios, a Clear and present Rager off of a clear and present Rager ep.
TIM: All right, I'm gonna go with a new one too. Electric call, boy. And we got the moves, which is something my brother just turned me onto a little while ago.
And I was laughing so hard when I saw the videos. , it's like half, let's call it like you're gonna throw in a couple parts to this stew. The first part is like 1980s, just on the edges starting into techno. And then, uh, throw in some like 2010 metal that I recommend checking it out. About you, Robin.
ROBIN: My round two is going to, I don't know how to pronounce the word, but I'm gonna pretend like I do.
But T at Hutu, it's G U E T U T at G U E T U T at Hutu by Sky Gaze. And that's on an album called Nostalgia. Very smooth, very soft ceiling. Keep your mind clear while you're going at a rapid pace. I like that kind of thing. I like to keep the brain nice and light while things around me are frantic. Travis, I'm
TRAVIS: going to, uh, honorable mention the album Venom by Awesome Snakes, which doesn't count cuz I just got turned onto this like a month ago.
And, uh, have not written, listen to it. I riding a motorcycle, but I will. Yeah, and you should check out the, it was like a project only, I think they only made one album, venom by a band called Awesome Snakes. And yes, they do spell awesome Snakes out in a couple of the songs. And, uh, I'm gonna go with Cuz I know, uh, Robin Loves, loves when I listen to, uh, duo de Twang , uh, and I, I do too.
It was hard to pick one song, but probably the cover of Staying Alive
TIM: Fantastic, Tim. All right, third option. Ah, let's go. Old school. Um, Metallica Damage Incorporated. Ooh, when you wanna really attack
ROBIN: something. So that's Cliff. Yeah,
TIM: I think the last Cliff Burton album. Yeah. That is just a lovely, intense song. .
ROBIN: All right, well, I'm gonna throw down my final offer here. Soul Coughing's $300, which hit me hard enough that I smacked it on an Instagram post while we were traveling here to New Mexico.
But that track, it just kind of has the dirt and the grit and the superhero. I've had enough. I'm gonna go save the girl kind of mission statement in. Opening guitar twang. Did I just hear it? It just sounds like something where it's like, and then the superhero threw his leg over the seat, and that makes me wanna go fast with that.
This has been another episode. Stay tuned for next month's episode when we do the same thing and nobody has any idea where we're going or why, but we still like to ride for tro.bike. I'm Robin
Dean. I'm Travis Burleson. And I'm
TRAVIS: Tim Clark. Safe travels everyone.
Time is a human construct. So how can such a thing actually be?
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