Camping with a Motorcycle on the Side of the Road, OFY!
I just returned from a ride and I am attempting to write a report. This part fits right in hereÖright?
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All right! Hwy. 53, right on Hwy. 8, left on county road O, right on 106th, left on Hwy. 24 all the way to I94 and into Minneapolis. 494 west around Saint Paul, to I35W south, right on 19 West, 169 south to 14 west blasting towards South Dakota. These are great biking roads with tons of small farm communities and interesting things to see and photograph. I could have stopped all the time but Iím in Iron-Butt mode as long as Iím in Minnesota, its ride, stop, hydrate, eat, chill, only long enough to partially recover, then continue riding hard. I think all big rides include some form Iron-Butt mode riding, its about throttling it up to get to where you want to throttle back and explore. And it just feels good to push your own physical and mental limits.
I have been practicing looking for spots like this nearly my entire life. This is a typical rest spot, a farm field with a rough path leading into some shade trees. There is not a farmer on this planet that will not welcome a weary traveler on a motorcycle the use of his shade tree along the road. Everyone feels this way,Ö right?
The cotter pin broke a leg off when I changed the rear wheel, so I need a new one. I continue to hammer it but stop long enough at a hardware store and buy a couple cotter pins.
Hwy. 14 heads west through southern Minnesota. At around 8:00 Iím close to the South Dakota border. There should be another hour and a half of daylight left but it is getting darker and darker straight ahead of me. Soon there are sprinkles then some serious lighting action, straight ahead. This requires immediate action so I turn on the first paved road pointing south and blast it. The storm brought bolt after bolt right in the fields behind me as I try to race away, ands it was a race to keep dry. I made it twenty miles before the storm overtakes me with serious crosswinds and lighting. Passing the only farmhouse in miles, I see a few small trees right at the edge of the field. I do a 180, drive off the road and straight to the trees next to the cornfield. My emergency tarp is always at the ready but I had not attached any new cords lately. I calmly locate the camp rope, a knife and begin to cut perfect lengths of rope while tying three Bolen knots to the tarp. The tarp is secure to the bike perfectly now and all is good.
The rain poured and the lighting light the sky for an hour and a half. Iíll tell ya, spending time under a small tarp attached to a motorcycle while a severe electrical and wind storm is happening right next to you is an experience to say the least. I actually admitted to Heidi that I was almost a little afraid for a bit, the lighting was happening so rapidly it sounded like a freight train, and that is the sigh of an approaching tornado, and sitting on the up-side of a motorcycle in a tornado is not a good place to be. :|
After lifting the tarp to look and listen, I did conclude that it was just rapid-fire successions of lighting, not a tornado. Whoosh, Iím a happy guy.
Two hours later, the storm passed and it feels warm, back on the road
I make it to a small village in South Dakota. Anyone who as ever traveled through the back roads of SD knows that almost every little town has a city park where it is possible to camp. It is simply part of the culture here.
Off the corner of my eye, I see an RV sitting at a small city park, perfect. My camp is up in no time. It feels great to be dry and bedded down.
Coffee, water, nuts, trail mix and dried apricots, I am good to go, yeah!
It was still raining a little in the morning but soon stopped. I pack up early and take off.