Ted's Big Ride 2009---Day Three

Riverside, IA to Jasper, MN
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This leg of the trip was essentially a Interstate dash. The weather looked gloomy initially, but then turned into a beatuiful riding day. Short sleeve shirt and sunblock. All was great until I left I-90 at Luverne, MN. More on that later.

The reason I was going to Jasper, MN was because of an aquaintance that I made on my 2006 Big Ride. A refresher for those who are new, or others that don't remember. I was getting gas in Jasper, a very small town, when a fellow on a tractor stops next to me and asks if I like Harley stuff. He said that his son had a custom shop just around the corner, would I like to see it...Well Yea. So, I follow Terry Rodman around the corner to meet his son Shannon. Here is a state-of-the-art CNC machine shop. RMD Billet, specialized in custom 3-Piece Wheels and Belt drive systems for motorcycles. Shannon took time out to show me what he produces, and I was very impressed. My parting comment was that when I get a Harley Deuce, I would order some custom wheels from him. Fast forward three years...

When I planned this trip I realized that I would again be passing the SE corner of Minnesotta again. I sent a note to Shannon and he offered me a unique opportunity for staying in Jasper, more on that later.

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Riding time:
   6 hours 05 minutes

Actual distance (miles):
    Today = 434
    Total   = 1,421
Average Miles/Gallon:  34.3
Average Price/Gallon: $ 2.86(Premium Grade)
2009_06_19/IMG_1860.JPG 11:59 Clouds were threatening all morning, but no problems.
2009_06_19/IMG_1862.JPG 14:08 Crossing another state border.
2009_06_19/IMG_1865.JPG 1723 I am between Laverne and Jasper, dark clouds form, lightening is visible, it gets darker, I am racing to go the last 6 miles...all of a sudden BIG RAIN. I look ahead and spot an empty barn, WOW I get in just as all H#!! breaks loose. I am living right. After about 15 minutes, it is basically over and I ride the last five miles on wet roads. I arrive at Shannon's shop before 5PM, which was my goal.

We discuss the day and the trip as he workes creating gun parts for the military on his one of his Computer Controlled milling machines.

Special Note: There was a picnic table make for Barack and Michille for the White House. This table had placques imbedded in it for all of the 50 States. These plaques were made by Shannon at his machine shop...Congratulations Shannon.
2009_06_19/IMG_1874.JPG 1855 Notice all the windmills, Terry Rodman and his wife Kris have taken to collecting windmills. They scour the country looking for abandoned and unwanted windmills. Terry repairs them and erects them in his windmill farm. There are quite a few completed and many more in various statesly of restoration. It is Terry's desire to have one of each kind (ever) made in the US. Recently, they drove to New Mexico, dismantled a 20 foot wheel diameter model, and transported it back to Minnesota.

The pride and joy though, is a replica of a real Holland windmill that Terry completed about 9 years ago. It sits along the highway, rotating and is even illuminated at night.
2009_06_19/IMG_1871.JPG 1853 I was given the unique oppertunity to be the first person to spend the night in the windmill. I was also offered a conventional bedroon in the house, but I just could not pass up the distinction.
2009_06_19/IMG_1881.JPG 2233 We went for a ride around the grounds in the little 4x4. Pictured one the left is Lisa Rodman(Shannon's spouse), driving is Shannon Rodman, In the back is Terry wife Kris, and we were surrounded by Shannon and Lisa's three beatuiful daughters.
2009_06_19/IMG_1882.JPG 2345 These are my accommodations for the night. Such a cozy place to turn in for the night after a nice hot shower in Terry and Kris's beautiful house..
2009_06_19/IMG_1884.JPG The is Terry Rodman taken the next morning. Terry is one year older the me and we shared some similar 'opportunities' in our earlier years. Both of us got our draft notices and were able to 'beat the Army' and join the air force. Terry had some better assignments that I did. He got to go to Germany, while I was sent to Pakistan. Either way, we both got what we required, not to go to Vietnam in the 60's. I trained in electronics in the AF and Terry trained as a aircraft repairman, developing his skills in welding and machinery repair. Terry became the 'go to guy' when he opened his farm/truck repair business in Jasper. In fact, while we were having breakfast on Saturday morning at the local coffee shop, two farmers TRACKED HIM DOWN by looking all over town for his truck. Seems they had an urgent repair for one of the farm implements. So, Terry was off to solve the problem and I was off on the next leg of the journey.
Economic note: The condition of the emonomy here in MN is still struggling. There were recent layoffs in the Wind Turbine initiatives recently because of funding problems. It seems the banks have slowed lending to business ventures for whatever reasons. We in the Washington area hear that things are so much better---seems like hype to the folks in the midwest. Also Bayliner, the boatmaker, which produces these crafts at a MN factory, has layed off the workers and shut down the factory (hopefully only for the short term, for the workers sake).

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