Sheldon's 1998 Ural Deco - Week 31

"School Daze"

Day 192, Sunday August 15, 1999...  More perfect weather.   I went for a ride, worked on web sites, went for a ride then decided to mow the lawn.  Just as I got my boots on the clouds rolled in and it started to rain about noon.  So instead of mowing I went to town to see a movie, "They Mystery Men".  It was a spoof on superhero movies.  Was just plain escapism but was a bit of fun.  Me and the five other people in the theatre had quite a few good laughs.

Christal came over later in the afternoon and we cooked Haddock, greens and squash and settled in on the couch to watch movies.  It was raining again outside so this was an inside evening.  It is incredible how much rain we have been having.

Day 193, Monday August 16, 1999...  Another perfect day.   It is supposed to be highs of 78 f. all week with lows in the 50s, partly cloudy and no rain expected.  That is about a perfect weather report and I sure hope it is right as by the weekend we should have about 200 Moto Guzzi riders here for the first ever Minnesota Moto Guzzi Rally.   We are putting it on at the same campground that we used for the NARMA rally.  I didn't sleep well during the night so I drove the car in today so that I could sneak a little nap at lunch time in the park.  I will be in school this afternoon for one more leg of my "Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer" training.  The school 8:00 to 5:00 the rest of the week.

Day 194, Tuesday August 17, 1999...  Forecast was for rain today so I left the bikes at home.  Wouldn't you know it, the day was perfect.  I did go for a nice ride on the Sportsman when I got home from work though.  Had a bit of extra money in my pocket thanks to Governor Jesse Ventura.  It seems that Minnesota had a surplus of money this year.  The legislature wanted to funnel it into their pet projects, but Governor Ventura decided that the people paid the extra money and the people deserved to get it back.  So he arranged a "Sales Tax Rebate" in which every taxpayer in Minnesota received a check based on their 1997 income.  I believe the average refund was around $400.  Mine was quite a bit more than that, and I have heard of people who got a surprise check of almost $1,000.  So far, Jesse Ventura is the best thing that has ever happened to this state.  He says what he thinks, and sometimes gets in trouble for it, but he is certainly for the little people.  Everything he does says that he doesn't care for politics, politicians and the big money people, but does everything for the regular citizens.  And surprises like this, I didn't even know about it, are certainly wonderful.  So on the way home from my ride I stopped at a restaraunt and treated myself to an Alaskan King Crab dinner.  Yum...

Day 195, Wednesday August 18, 1999...   Rain, and I am still gun shy, so no bike today.  Drove the car.  Spent a couple of hours at work before heading off to school.  It was raining again when I got home so I just worked on web sites.

Day 196, Thursday August 19, 1999...  Started my day off with another one of those exciting experiences that make my life a bit more exciting than the average "Joe".  My "regular job" is as Manager of Information Systems for Owens Forest Products.  The company has a door manufacturing plant in Shawano Wisconsin, Kilns and yards in Wisconsin and Indiana, and an Industrial flooring plant in Memphis Tennessee.  It is not a small company, but it is run from the owner's home.  We work in a carefully restored 1894 three story frame house.  It is so nice that it is like walking into a museum every day.  Bob and Mary Ellen Owens live there and they have half of the second floor and the entire first floor.  We have half of the second floor and all of the third floor for offices.

Today, when I arrived at the office at 6:15, Mary Ellen was outside standing on the sidewalk.  Bob is out of town so she was home alone.  I had ridden the Sportsman in, and as I got off the bike, and lifted my goggles, her son-in-law, my business partner, Jim Starr pulled up.  We both walked up to her, and she said, "He may still be in the house".  Turns out that Mary Ellen had awakened when she heard the third story floor creaking like someone was there.  She noticed that her purse was missing from the stool next to her bed and she headed down the stairs all the way to the basement where she found someone's coat and shoes in a pile on the floor.  Next to it were her digital camera, a tape recorder, and some other things.  She grabbed the clothes in her arms, took them outside with her and hid them in a bush, then walked around the front of the house just as we showed up.  Jim had a 4 iron in his hand to use as a weapon.  He did look pretty funny, but now was not the time to laugh.

Jim, said, "I'm going around the back and in the basement", and was off before I could tell him to wait for the police.  I whipped out my cell phone, but just then Phil stocker showed up, and I yelled for him to "Call 911".   I couldn't let Jim go in the house alone, so I unlocked the front door and cautiously went in.  One of the cats was locked between the inner and outer doors, which was very odd.  When I opened the inner door there was a flashlight laying near the bottom of the stairs that I had never seen before.  Jim came up from the basement and together we searched the first floor.  Then he was ready to go upstairs I told him not to, that we should just wait for the police.  He went back outside, and came in the back with Mary Ellen.  They stood in the pantry as we waited for the police to arrive.  They were talking, and I could hear Phil outside on the phone with the police dispatcher.  I thought I heard someone upstairs so I told them to be quiet.  I watched the stairway.  All of a sudden I saw a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye.  I had forgotten about the butler's stairway that came down in the kitchen.  The door opened, I saw a figure and I moved.  I turned, grabbed him by both forearms, hoping he didn't have a weapon.

I had been on  a fire department for five years, in my youth.  That taught me to act very quickly in emergencies and with complete detachment and calmness.  I can be highly excitable about little things, but in extreme situations my mind goes into its own little world.

Being a bit of a big guy and I outweighed this person by probably 100 pounds, so when I grabbed him, he stayed grabbed.  He tried to wiggle away, realized it was not going to happen, and I led him to a chair where I set him down, once I knew there was no weapon in his hand.  I stood over him like a wall, and said, "It's over, just sit and wait for a bit".  Jim asked him what he was doing in the house, and he said, "I thought I saw a prowler, so I came in to investigate".  Later, we had a good laugh about that one.  He started to argue, but I just told him to "calm down, everything will be all right, and we will sort it out in a few minutes when the police arrive."  He did calm down and just sat there.    Standing directly over him I had him pinned in the chair for only about three minutes before the police arrived.

After they arrived I was able to let the adrenaline rush really take hold.  Went into one of those post adrenaline modes where you get really pumped.  I have always said that it is my "drug of choice".  Spent the next hour searching the house, doing police reports and stuff like that.  He was mid twenties and is probably going to be charged with "Grand Theft Burglary".  The bad part is that Mary Ellen was home alone and this man was in her bedroom. That is a scary thought.  Sure am glad that I like to get to work way early.

About two hours later the rush died and I got extremely tired.  Had a hard time keeping my eyes open in class.

Came home after work and picked up a few things for the Moto Guzzi Rally and headed out to the same campground that we had the NARMA rally at a few weeks ago.  There were already a dozen people there.  Went into Gordy's Hi Hat with a couple from Minneapolis for a wonderful dinner, then came back to find that the Clevan's had rented a pontoon boat, so we took an hour ride around the lake.  What an interesting day of extremes it has been.  Started with grabbing a burglar, which is about as extreme as it can get, ended with a pontoon boat ride, which is about as relaxing as it can get.  What a life I lead.  I truly feel blessed and that angels are watching over me.

Day 197, Friday August 20, 1999...  Day dawned perfect again, but I slept in, and spent way too much time typing yesterday's events, so I am going to do a bonsai run into town in the car to make it to class.  When I come home I am going to fire up the Deco and head out to the campground.

Got home at 5:00 p.m. and at 6:00 I was at the rally with the Deco.  And it did get a lot of great attention.  Funniest thing that happened was that one man came up to me and asked, "Are you the guy that has the diary on the Internet about your bikes?"  I answered a cautious "yeah", and then he went on to tell me how he read my whole Sportsman diary because he was interested in a Ural.  But after reading my diary he decided that a Russian bike was not for him.  He says he is not at all mechanically inclined and the nearest dealer was a long way away from him.  But another thing in my diary caught his eye.  He had never even heard of Moto Guzzi Motorcycles, until he read about my 71 Ambassador in the diary. Ten days after reading about them the drove to Knoxville Tennessee to pick one up.  So, my diary turned him on to Moto Guzzi and we bump into each other at a rally in Minnesota.  What a hoot.

Looks like this is going to be another successful rally. The weather report is great, and we were expecting 60-75 people.  By 9:00 p.m. tonight we already had almost 120 registrants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And we were expecting more late at night and a few more to arrive in the morning.  Even my buddy Andy Goldfine, the owner of Aerostich/Riderwearhouse, came out.  The fun is just starting.  Another thing that was unusual there was a BMW with mirrors mounted on the headlight bucket.  It was quite unusual looking but really caught the eye.

Day 198, Saturday August 21 1999...  We ended up with 138 registrants.  What a blast!!!!    We made quite a sight when we went on our run.  More bikes than the NARMA rally, but of course, not quite as unique of a group.  Although this is for sure the most Moto Guzzis that have ever been seen in Minnesota at one time.

Next week

Return to Table of Contents

You can e-mail Sheldon at

Check out Sheldon's Sportsman Diary

Check out the "European Motorcycle Universe"

Copyright 1989-2010, Sheldon T. Aubut, all rights reserved
Last modified: March 22, 2011
For questions or comments about this site please e-mail webmaster.
Hit Counter