TWALD 2018

Buckled asphalt, flooded roads and destroyed bridges didn’t stop the good times at this year’s TWALD.

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by Peter Burtis
Peter Burtis (left) and friends came across this buckled road on CR P, north of La Farge, Wisconsin.

TWALD is all about old bikes. Anyone can go for a weekend’s ride on something that left the factory a few years ago. But to do it on a bike that is as old or even older than you are? That takes dedication and enthusiasm – and maybe a small amount of poor decision making. So you’re going to catch a little flak if you show up on something you bought last Thursday. And if you have the audacity to trailer a modern bike to TWALD? You’re in for some humiliation in front of 80 of your closest friends.

TWALD 2018 turned out to be a great time, despite Wisconsin’s Driftless region being slammed by the second 100-year flood in the last 10 years. Road closures and destroyed bridges made for some interesting detours for those of us on street bikes, while the people on dual sports had a great time ignoring the “road closed” signs.

As always, there were incidents you only get when you try to take a bunch of old motorcycles far from home. Timing mechanisms became maladjusted. Drive chains became absent. Fuel filters got clogged. Ducatis acted Italian. Issues were dealt with via measures both extreme, mundane and occasionally hilarious. And if that failed, bikes got put in various vans and trailers to return next year.

Happily, zero road incidents took place, with nothing requiring medical or legal attention. Joe Block’s Saturday cookout was a giant success, sending riders into southwest Wisconsin’s roads heavier than when they came. And the weekend-ending party featured chili a bit spicier than expected. The annual “Walk in the Woods” was scarier than usual, with no fewer than four hidden musicians making spooky soundtrack music for those making the trek into the unknown. Meanwhile, at the Sands Hotel, several hundred beer cans met their fate at the hands at accomplished BB gun snipers.

Of course none of us could avoid the sights of destruction and heartbreak for the folks affected by the flooding. But with a brief mention of their plight at the bonfire party, we raised good money for the 2018 Flood Relief Fund, a local charity helping people get back on their feet – easily. The quality people that show up for this event will do quality things for other folks.

Most importantly, we all had a good time. We stuffed some clothes in a bag, got on our bikes, and we got out of town and out of our lives, if only for a little while. That’s important. For a few days we weren’t IT technicians, engineers, business owners, truck drivers or parents. We were just a bunch of motorcyclists. And mechanics-ish. MC

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