Warm Pasta Salad with Sausages and Peppers; The Flood Run

It’s spring.  I think.

There are two spring traditions that occur in my old home town: one old and one not so.

I grew up on the Mississippi River – no, not on a raft like Huck Finn, but in one of the many small towns on either side.

The one I grew up in, on the Wisconsin side (the other side being Minnesota), had a population of 287 when I was born.

Now it is 285.

But for one Saturday, each spring, the population increases by thousands ….

In full leather….

Riding Harley’s.

TulipThis year is the 43rd annual Flood Run, commemorating the devastating flood of ’65 when a group of tough old, red-neck bikers came down river, to my little town, to help sandbag the shore.

The small towns, all up and down the river, were so grateful they offered free food and beer (it is Wisconsin, after all) in thanks.

The bikers, their friends and offspring, have been back every year since – and every town has a ‘beer tent’ and barbecue for them….although, with all of the cops around now (not to mention the yuppie bikers wearing Gucci and toting Prada) there may be a bit of bottled water consumed, as well.

When I was young it would be 40 or 50 bikes.

Two years ago, the last time I was there for it, driving along the river was next to impossible: in one 8 mile stretch between towns, I faced, driving, one continuous line of bikers (mainly Harley’s) staggered (not quite side by side, but close) the entire way.

In the towns the bikes were parked liked sardines as far as one could see in both directions (river towns only have 2 directions….).

It has gotten to be quite the legitimate event, raising money for the Gillette Children’s Hospital, but, with all of these ‘boys and their toys’ it seems like more of an opportunity to see whose is biggest….

The run goes down the Wisconsin side of the river some 120 miles, then crosses over to return on the Minnesota side.  It’s a beautiful drive at any time of year and the locals in the small towns make the most of it, with gift shops, antique shops, ice cream stands and anything else to make a few dollars cropping up like dandelions (spring, and all that).

The other big event, slightly less old is the “100 mile garage sale” (boot sale, rummage sale, whatever….one person’s junk is another’s treasure).  Everyone on both sides of the river is invited to participate: put your junk stuff on a table, slap a price tag on it and prepare to do some serious haggling.

For this it’s cars and pick-up trucks that line the roads (no room on a bike for the, er, treasures) as the folks from the ‘Cities’ (Minneapolis and St. Paul) drive down the river road in search of the undiscovered prizes (like the Van Gogh that the locals thought was so ugly they had it in their chicken shed blocking a window…or was it a Renoir?).

Here, in the Vendée we’re still struggling to get past the rain.

The grill is sitting on the covered walk.

On nice nights it gets used.

On other nights, we move back to the kitchen.  This was meant to be grilled sausages with roasted peppers.

I can’t complain, though.  It turned into a wonderful cross between a salad and a winter pasta.  I’ll keep it!  And share it with Ruth, for Presto Pasta Nights.

Check out Once Upon a Feast, on Friday, to get all the yummy pastas.

The recipe, Warm Pasta Salad with Peppers and Sausage, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Pasta Salad with Sausage & Peppers.

This would go pretty well with a couple of beers, wouldn’t it?

Maybe I could sell it to some of those bikers – the ones with the long gray pony-tails…

And those are the guys….

Yes, yes, it’s another re-post…..it’s been a frazzled day….Not the recipe – that’s new…

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14 thoughts on “Warm Pasta Salad with Sausages and Peppers; The Flood Run”

  1. Your pasta dish looks delectable. Exactly something I would LOVE to eat.
    I want to go to the flood run! That sounds like fun. Think of all the beer!

  2. What fun traditions / memories. I’ve never heard of a yuppie biker. Isn’t it against some law for a yuppie to ride a Harley?

  3. Wonderful story as usual and what a great alternative when grilling isn’t an option. Thanks for sharing with presto Pasta Nights.

  4. The recipe you have here looks divine. I love peppers and pasta. The simplicity is almost funny and the taste …oh la la.

  5. I know a few people who do the 100 mile garage sale and several Harley bikers who do the other.
    Never fear summer will arrive only too soon. Actually it has in Dallas where it’s into the hi 80’s most afternoons now.

  6. Emiline, it does look like fun, but it really has changed in the last 40 years…Now they have to work at looking tough..
    Lynn, one would think so, but apparently Harley’s are ‘the new black’
    Kel, I figure it’s my recipe – I can call it what I want ;-))
    Colleem, I’m trying to learn simple… sometimes… Maybe
    Tanna, know any with long gray pony tails?
    Ruth, I could have called it ‘Rainy Night Pasta’

  7. Ah, the bikers! What a great group of folks. Down here we have a poker run in the fall for a charity. Great event! And, oh the bikers! Sometimes I think the island will sink because there are so many of them!
    Yum on your pasta dish! Bet the worcestershire sauce gives it a nice kick! I need to try that!
    Lovely tulip! I hope spring returns soon, it will!

  8. Deb, I would guess you are a great destination of bike runs! All that lovely, flat highway!
    Kevin, they did turn out rather well (she says, humbly)
    Arfi, I have never even been on one – and both my son and sister have been bike rider/owners. No reason, just circumstance..
    Lydia, yeah, on the Mississippi you have drive a long way to cross to the other side…so to speak!

  9. I enjoyed this story about the bikers and their efforts~that must have been a sight to see all those bikes riding thru towns along the way!Funny, today we ventured up to Leesburg,Fl, where the bikers were out in full force. I rode on my first poker ride not too long ago. My hubby rides in honor of remembering the soldiers of wars who never return!There is always a great cause that the bikers support.You need to be be serving your peppers and sausage!

  10. Jann, they really do always seem to pick good causes. And it is a lot of fun seeing them all ride through town!

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