To Boldly Go

“There’s No Such Thing As The Unknown, Only Things Temporarily Hidden.” – James T. Kirk

I’ve been a fan of Star Trek® for as long as I can remember.

Its mission to explore has translated well into my motorcycling adventures. I doubt that the places I’ve “discovered” were ever hidden from me, but rather, only temporarily out of my sight waiting to be seen and shared with others.

Day 1 of the six-day mission to attend the 36th Annual Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™ found my crew and I stopping at three Iowa water towers including one in Riverside, Iowa. Riverside, Iowa, boasts that it is the Future (03/22/2228) Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. Fans can find a mini-scaled starship, museum, banners, murals, statues, historical markers, and other Trek-related items.

We arrived in Winona, Minnesota, on the evening of Day 1. My itinerary for Day 2 was to pre-ride the three routes I was to lead during the Ride-In and have dinner with my family. Winona, and the surrounding area, hold a special place in my heart. I’m an alum of Winona State University. I worked on the family dairy farm 30-ish miles from there from the time I was old enough to be useful until the day I journeyed north for my first teaching gig in 1985. Riding the roads around my hometown of Alma, Wisconsin, brought back so many fond memories.

Buena Vista Park: Alma, Wisconsin. Site of my 1986 wedding and a view that never gets old! (Photo credit: Sandy.)
I was happy that my crew and I had a small bit of time to spend with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law. Although my parents no longer own the diary farm I grew up on, I will always proudly consider myself a “farmer’s daughter”.

Day 3. The official start of the Ride-In found me missing all of the important meetings as I led a group of guy Support Members and a few gals on some of my favorite backroads. I have a fondness for “Alphabet Soup” rides. This day found us on some excellent one- and two-letter county roads that took us through beautiful rural scenery via sweepers, tight turns, and several altitude changes. This 144-mile ride included stops at Buena Vista Park, Maiden Rock, Wisconsin–legendary site of Princess Wenonah’s death–, and lunch at Slippery’s Tavern & Ristorante, in Wabasha, Minnesota. (Princess Wenonah is the namesake of the event’s host city; Slippery’s claim to fame is its part in the Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men movies.)

Day 4 was a time to welcome our newest WOW members into the family or those for whom this was their first Ride-In. I was honored to lead these new guys and gals (and a few others) on other “Alphabet Soup” roads and introduce them to a high school classmate. Kathy made sure we were treated very well when we enjoyed a patio lunch at Beth’s Twin Bluffs Cafe, in Nelson, Wisconsin. After lunch, we weaved and wandered our way to the magnificent Soldiers Walk Memorial Park in Arcadia, Wisconsin, for a personal group tour.

Before, after, and in-between these rides there was plenty to do. At Tuesday evening’s Opening Ceremony, we enjoyed locally made root beer and ice cream floats and were introduced to the Little Warriors Drum Line, a group of amazing, spirited musicians aged 7 to 16.

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On Wednesday evening, nearly everyone in attendance enjoyed the picnic celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Women On Wheels®!

After the picnic, a few of us explored the city and visited the Princess Wenonah statue and took in a breathtaking sunset view at Garvin Heights City Park. (Credit Alice for the photo of Winona.)

Thursday afternoon found us on the Pearl of the Lake paddleboat enjoying a 90-minute cruise on the widest lake on the Mississippi River. Lake Pepin is 2 miles wide and 22 miles long and offers breathtaking views of the area from a different perspective.

Thursday evening’s banquet and recognition ceremony offered an opportunity for us to see how some of our hypnotized members surfed, body built, rode a motorcycle, performed in a rock band, and other female-oriented activities.

Donelson Cycles, Inc., was recognized for their 10 years as a Women On Wheels® Participating Dealer! Congratulations and thank you to everyone at Donelson Cycles’ Saint Ann, Missouri, location!

I was honored to be recognized as a Past President (2009-2011, 2013-14) of this WOWderful organization and am deeply grateful to everyone who has shared my 25-year mission to boldy go in search of things–so many only temporarily hidden from me until enjoyed with my wind sisters and brothers.

By Cris

One thought on “To Boldly Go

  1. Marie Long July 23, 2022 / 5:05 pm

    Thank you Cris for a wonderful article and for taking us on your mission of exploration and discovery. I’m always up for any of your missions to “Boldly go Where I’ve never been before”. Wisconsin is such a beautiful state to explore. And one of the best highlights was meeting your parents and family. “Live Long and Prosper” my friend.


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