2 Aussies, 2 bikes and a 3 month lap of USA!

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Terry & Janelle, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Blue Mule

    Blue Mule Persistent Slacker Supporter

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    You Folks should come to Shell.
    Heard you ran into a friend today in Yelliwstone.
    You can gain a TON of in person insight if you make it over by us.

    Safe Travels, whatever you do.
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  2. MapleRoad

    MapleRoad Been here awhile Supporter

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    Terribly envious, guys! Keep enjoying the ride!
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  3. rkover1

    rkover1 doc

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    How's that tent working out for you? I am very seriously considering one of those for an upcoming trip.

    Have fun! And thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    doc
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  4. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    I am not always vicarious,
    Great photos, and tale, I am not enjoying the ride as much as you 'guys'.
    You two are making great memories

    :!)

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
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  5. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

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    We love the tent! It's the best we've ever had by a mile.
    Get yourself a floormat or similar though. Makes a huge difference.
  6. rkover1

    rkover1 doc

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    Will do! Thank you!

    doc
  7. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    [​IMG]
    T & J – A WORLD AWAY


    Come and join us on a hot lap of USA – 8th August to 5th November 2018


    POSTED ONAUGUST 29, 2018 BY TERRY & JANELLE
    Day 12: Avenue of the Giants – 19th August
    We packed up from Manchester Beach in a coolish morning, looking forward to a break from the heat of the previous few days. But not before taking a walk along what should have been the beach, but was instead a thick fog, not unlike one of London’s finest. Because California… summer… who knew?

    Anyway, off we went north planning to make the giant redwood forest that night. About 20 minutes in we hit a bit of a milestone when we ticked up 1000 miles on the road. I got the clock over on the gopro but haven’t edited it up yet. Anyway, it took us about another hour to find a Starbucks for decent coffee and a supermarket for supplies, and we pushed on.

    After another hour we had to turn inland and found this amazing mountain range to ride over to a tiny backwood town called Leggit. A quick fuel stop was about all it could offer, so we found a late lunch further up the road. But we were back in the heat. It wasn’t fun. This was California hippie territory, think of Byron Bay hinterland and you wouldn’t be far wrong.

    Finally after another sweaty and uncomfortable hour we turned onto the aptly named Avenue of the Giants. It was a 30 minute ride through an amazing forest of huge redwoods. I’ve attached a sample video below.

    The first campground we tried wanted to charge stupid money for Lisa to sleep in her car, so we turned around and went back to a beautiful little spot we’d passed, right in the middle of the forest.

    It was an experience to be remembered. I managed a few photos before dark, and we set up a riding shot the next morning. I don’t really know what else to say, the photos and video do such a better job than I could.

    So I’ll leave it there and let you image how it was for us. The vid below was taken by Janelle, you can spot her bike by the small screen addition. And apparently mine is faster while hers is prettier. So Im told. Im not sure, but there’s no doubt she is the one getting all the attention whenever we stop. I suspect it’s because we’ve seen very few female riders here. Most seem content to grace the back seat of Harley Davidsons. Go figure.

    Here’s the redwoods. Enjoy.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  8. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

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  9. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    Days 13 to 16: The first big push. 20th to 23rd August.


    From the redwoods we just wanted to cover distance to claw back some chance of sticking to our schedule. So we had a number of big travelling days. This was the first 4, and I’ll just give a brief rundown of the high points.

    The night among the redwoods was our last in California. Another hour up the coast at a town called Crescent City we turned inland, crossed into Oregon and followed this gorgeous river valley for a while, spoilt only by… you guessed it, far too many huge RV’s crawling along. The temperature rose again to stupid levels and we started to ride through towns with “thank you firefighters” signs and the like. And the sky turned smokey. It was pretty clear the fires weren’t too far away. Other than a few emergency vehicles we didn’t really see anything of them.

    We stopped somewhere mid afternoon for a break from the heat at some random Mcdonalds for a thickshake and then pushed onto Medford for a cheap hotel. The sky that night was orange and the moon a nasty red. It was an ominous sign. This was also the day that Lisa’s hire car finally died leaving her stranded in Crescent City for 2 days waiting for a replacement.

    We were warned the next morning that there was nothing much to see of Crater Lake through the smoke, but we rode up anyway just for the brilliant road. They were right. Nothing to see. A couple of photos to prove it and then move on.

    This turned out to be our longest and hardest push so far. The ride from Crater Lake to a town called Bend was long, straight, boring and very windy. It was horrible. We had a late lunch in Bend and as it was a little after 3pm decided to stop there for the night, only to discover that it’s a ski town and the prices are completely ridiculous. We settled on a ride of 2 ¼ hours to the Oregon/Washington border called The Dalles. It was flat, achy windy ride that had us arriving around 6pm completely exhausted. That day we had ridden almost 500 kms, most of it in a gusty dry cross wind. A motel for the night was the only option.

    Next morning we rode over the Columbia River and into Washington State. An amazing water way and deep valley that was so impressive we stopped and played with the drone. I’ve attached the vid below. The haze is smoke from the fires which was to get much worse. That night we camped in a small town called Yakima. Lisa called us to advise the hire company had delivered a new car up from San Francisco and she was belting down the interstate to catch up.

    From Yakima we took highway 2 up through Washington State, heading for Spokane for their camping store so we could buy a new coffee maker cause some gumby left a part behind in Manchester. As the day wore on it became more and more smokey until we were riding in a gloomy haze with features appearing out of nowhere as we approached. The world was cut off to us and I couldn’t help thinking this could easily be post apocalypse. It was really that bad. We stopped for lunch at Billy Bobs Burger Bar, or something like that, which surprisingly wasn’t quite a heart attack on a plate.

    Spokane turned out to be a rather large city and we needed to escape, so working on some local knowledge from some days back we headed for a place called Coeur d’Alene about 40 minutes up the road. It turned out to be a lake surrounded by resorts, but at the very far end a couple of campgrounds. The first was a shocker, even before considering all the RV’s, but the second was simply gorgeous. So with Lisa quickly catching up, we put in an order for that nights dinner and drinks, which she picked up shortly before rejoining us.

    We met a number of lovely people who came and introduced themselves when they saw the bikes. Janelle especially continues to be a huge hit because it seems, very few women actually ride here.

    Our big push to Yellowstone continued for a few more days, but Coeur d’Alene is a lovely spot to leave off this story for now.

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    A well deserved hotel in Medford, Oregon.
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    Crater Lake. Yes really
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    Wizard Island in Crater Lake
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  10. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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  11. Blue Mule

    Blue Mule Persistent Slacker Supporter

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    Hope You 2 are doing good and all is well.
    sorry about sending you up over the mountain from camp, I didn't realize the construction was as extensive as it was.
  12. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

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    Hey. It wasn't a problem. A gorgeous road anyway.
    Thanks for the hospitality.
    We're in Niagara now.
    Sorry for slacking off so much on the posts.
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  13. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

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    We stopped by this little waterfall you have here.
    Seems rather a lot of other people had the same idea.
    received_1975648025828906.jpeg received_247217382537594.jpeg
  14. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    Days 17 to 19: The first big push part 2. 24 to 26th August


    It took us a while to leave Coeur d’Alene with so many goodbyes, but we got on the road around 11 and began what was to become our love/hate affair with Interstate I 90. A great road for getting somewhere the quickest way possible, for creating muscle aches in places we didn’t know existed, and for halving the life span of rear tyres/fuel tanks.

    So after less than a day in Idaho we rode into Montana, the land of cowboys, huge hamburgers and really terrible coffee. And wall to wall Harleys with helmetless riders. I do get the whole “freedom” thing, but at what cost? Sure a helmet provides protection in an accident, but it does at all other times too. “Freedom” vs bug splattered cheeks, loss of hearing and severe wind/sun burn. I know what wins for me. But then… I suppose we’re riding a bit further than just the next pub.

    Anyway, we had been told about this little piece of magic called Lolo Pass so decided to check it out. The GPS took us on a shortcut that the sign called a “Primitive road”. Basically just unsealed for about 10k, but the herd of goats was a bit of a surprise. Anyway, Lolo Pass turned out to be exactly what we were told, and a quick stop at the ranger station clued us in on a secret campsite near some hot springs, down a walking track, overlooking a gorgeous valley. We were so there.

    So we found the Weir Creek carpark, the walking trail and about 100 mtrs in, the little campsite that was our home for the night. No photos of the hot springs, but trust me, it was everything as described, a (almost) natural rockpool, halfway up a mountain overlooking a valley. It turned out to be quite popular with a group of about 6 or so 20-somethings hiking down the track just on dark.

    Another little surprise awaited us too. Just as we finished unloading the bikes 3 ute loads of big beefy guys turned up. We saw our quiet night evaporate into a beer fueled boys party, and then they approached us, told us they were Sheriffs doing drug checks and proceeded to have a sniffer dog check all out gear. We ended up chatting to them for about 20 minutes and they were quite amused about our original impression. (And no one got arrested just in case you were wondering).

    The camp site was really lovely, the squirrel investigating our gear was entertaining and the hot spring was fantastic. And for the dronies, I flew up and down the creek which was a huge technical challenge as it was almost entirely done out of sight on the screen. The drone came back in 1 piece, but was carrying some unexpected foliage. Still, a successful and highly technical flight.

    The next morning we rode back up Lolo Pass to the dreaded intersate and we made good time till our overnight stop in Bozeman. A cute little cowboy town with a public hot spring that gave us free admission. Unfortunately it was Saturday night and it seems that every teenager in Bozeman comes to the hot springs then too. Interesting, but that was about it.

    The next day was meant to be very special, and it was sort of, although not entirely as we expected. Two of the best motorcycle roads in USA, both in the same day! Beartooth Pass into Wyoming and Chief Joseph Highway to Cody, the gateway to Yellowstone and the goal of this big push. The ominous clouds on the approaches to Beartooth were a giveaway, and as expected we soon encountered mist, then rain, then cold, then sideways rain… And let’s not mention those damn RV’s (Winnebago things) grinding their way up the mountain.

    We made a quick stop at the lookout to stare into the cloud before pushing on over the pass. It dropped down to about 6 degrees and the wind got worse until we were riding at about 30kmh to not get blown over. But it was also breathtaking. Absolutely amazing to have achieved that. And then suddenly we were on our way down, the wind stopped, the snow cleared and the sun came out.

    We grabbed a quick hot chocolate at the next town before turning onto Chief Joseph Highway in warm sunshine and no wind. The next hour was one of the best rides of our life. Hardly any traffic, no RV’s, a fantastic road surface and scenery that was simply stunning. It was quite possibly the best road we had found so far and easily made the trials of Beartooth Pass worthwhile.

    Sadly the road ran out eventually, we turned only another straight highway and rode into Cody Wyoming. Apparently the center to the Wild West. More like the center of nowhere, but more of that later.

    We had arrived at the gateway of Yellowstone Park. Eight days of hard riding, amazing experiences, new friends and personal achievements. We never expected this would be easy, and it wasn’t. But every minute was worth is.

    And then it rained… and then it snowed.

    And then they closed the Park Entrance….

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    Weir Creek campsite

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    Beartooth Pass

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    A quick stop at Beartooth Pass lookout.


    Flying the drone down Weir Creek, Lolo Pass, Idaho
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  15. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    Days 19 – 21: The Yellowstone Experience. 26 to 28th August


    The weather when we arrived in Cody Wyoming, or more precisely rode through Cody to the Wheels of Wonderment Motorcycle Campground, 14 miles on the Yellowstone side, was just perfect. We booked for 3 nights and set up camp. The plan was 2 whole days exploring Yellowstone. However, the weather had different ideas.

    Around midnight it started raining and the temperature dropped alarmingly. Our awesome tent stayed watertight and we stayed warm, but when we got up to a forecast of heavy rain all day we decided to give Yellowstone a miss. Instead I went searching for a new back tyre which was wearing at twice the rate Id expected. And what a search that turned out to be. Apparently unless you have a Harley, no one wants to know. The only place in town (Cody is about the size of Goulburn) that would lift a finger was a Suzuki Power Sports dealership, and they had to put it on 2 days special order. But at least we found a coffee shop that made real coffee and was strangely (or maybe not) devoid of cowboys.

    We used that shop as a base to search for Janelle’s new boots as she’s blown a hole under the gear lever. Unfortunately, she didn’t really want to ride around USA in fancy cowgirl numbers so the options for proper motorcycle boots were non existent. In desperation we finally tried the Harley shop, whose cowgirl boots even had Harley Davidson stamped across them and were 3 times the price. Alas, they were also pretty much useless for anything except line dancing, so the search remained unfulfilled.

    And then we heard they had closed the East Entrance of Yellowstone because the snow had blocked the pass. We decided to wait and see as I wasn’t really going anywhere without a new tyre anyway.

    Lisa elected on a motel in town that night and we bunkered down in the tent hoping the rain would stop. Which it did shortly after dark and we woke to glorious sun and the news they had reopened the East Entrance. Yellowstone Park here we come!

    We arranged by text with Lisa on a meeting place, but because Cody is a kind of special place, texts were a bit hit and miss. This one was a miss so we never received each others instructions. This turned out to be quite serendipitous as I’ll explain shortly.

    Janelle and I rode the 40 miles to the park, climbing all the way with these amazing snow covered mountains getting closer and closer. We knew we had to go over them, but didn’t really get what that meant, until it happened. The video below is a montage of that ride. Yes it was cold. So very cold. But how totally awesome at the same time.

    After the snow we hit the roadworks made of mud and slush and huge cars that insisted on driving at 5mph meaning we were continually paddling the bikes through said mud and slush. It wasn’t fun. It was less fun to arrive at the visitors centre (ie coffee) to discover power had been cut and nothing worked (ie no coffee). We had arranged to wait there for Lisa, and so we did, for an hour, before figuring she must have missed us. Meanwhile, she was waiting somewhere completely different for us. And no one has any signal in Yellowstone. Lesson learned.

    So we decided to head for Old Faithful and see if we could catch up there. Even with the slow speed limit and all the tourists it was an incredible ride. Such stunning landscape and so many photo opportunities. And then, a surprise that made everything we’d gone through to get here worthwhile. The magnificent creature in the photos below was just wandering along the road with his herd of about three cows and a dozen calves. It truly made our day. Even later when we found out they were elk, not moose it didn’t matter. Still so magnificent to see them in the wild.

    So we carried on towards another of Americas overblown tourist attractions, Old Faithful. Which was actually pretty impressive, but does it deserve the entire tourist town that supports it? I doubt it really. However over the last 10 kms we had been slowly catching another adventure bike and we followed them into the parking lot and introduced ourselves. Greg and Cathy belonged to the same Adventure Riders group we had adopted us (those white stickers on the front of our bikes) and they invited us to a meet with a whole group of them, about 50 miles in exactly the direction we were going, on the exact day we were going there. We gladly accepted, promising to talk more by email and left them to go check out this geyser thingy.

    Did that, got the pics and then, reluctantly decided that we’d best head back incase the mud and slush got worse, incase the weather turned bad again, and to be back at camp before everything shut down and we were left with nowhere for dinner. The ride back was lovely but uneventful but it didn’t matter. That day had been everything we had wanted. Stunning scenery, amazing creatures and a ride through snow as an added bonus!

    Next morning was perfect and we were itching to get moving again. We packed up quickly, grabbed a last coffee from the only decent barrister for 400+ miles, my tyre arrived and was fitted by 12.30 and we headed up the road towards a tiny 1 pub town called Shell to party with the ADV Riders…

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    No boots for Janelle
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    The East Entrance, just reopened after snow.
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    Old Faithful (+/- 10 minutes)
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    After the rain. Waiting for Lisa with no coffee.
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    We rode over those mountains
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  16. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    So it seems posting these from our blog page strips the you ntube videos.

    So here they are...



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  17. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    Days 22 to 27: Four States, Great Lakes and real coffee again. 28th Aug to 3rd Sept.


    Thanks for your feedback and comments everyone. Both here and elsewhere. I’m going to get in more pics and intersperse them with the story where I can. And if possible, I’ll include a map to give an graphic indication of our route.



    So… Cody…

    By mid morning on that Wednesday, Cody had warmed up again to somewhere near stinking hot and we were required to get creative to find shade for a little shopping trip.

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    Finding shade at Walmart
    Then after the back tyre was fitted a quick lunch and we scooted up the road an hour to a little town called Shell to spend the night with a few other Adventure Riders. We were greeted by about a dozen boys and girls (this was only Wednesday of a weekend event) who quickly arranged our camping fee for us, offered us a lovely bit of grass for the night, and we all settled in to an afternoon of story telling. We had armed Lisa beforehand this trip with Long Way Down, so she was across the whole thing and held her own in wonderful fashion. One of the group even paid for dinner for us which was an incredible gesture. For me the whole scene was so very familiar, but Janelle and Lisa were able to see a whole other side of this motorcycle riding stuff. It was a damn fine evening, with some dame fine people and we will remember it always.

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    Cody Wy to Shell Wy
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    A fine bunch they were too!
    But the next day we had to get going, and although full of roadworks, the canyon road out of there towards Devils Tower was well worth it. A truly wonderful days ride. Except for the bit on our own friend I 90.

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    Shell Wy to Devils Tower wy
    So by late afternoon we arrived at Devil’s Tower and for the second time were saved by not settling for the first campground we came to. The second was $10 more and 100 times better. Many will remember this National Monument (ie no drone flying) from the movie Close Encounters, but I’m reliably informed there is no UFO landing base on top. For those that wish to know, it was once an active volcano, but the the lave solidified and the mountain around it eroded away, leaving just the petrified lava. It’s actually a huge attraction for climbers, but base jumping is illegal. And the campground shows the movie every night, just in case.

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    Devils Tower behind our tent
    And this was also our last night with Lisa as we had to part ways in the morning. So we had a couple of drinks and finished the wine we’d been carrying. The weather was perfect and with that amazing tower hanging over us, we toasted the last 2 weeks. The next morning Lisa jumped on my bike, Janelle dove her car and we rode to the base of the tower and said goodbye. She’s off to Africa for 3 months now. Are we allowed to be jealous?

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    Bon Voyage Lisa. Have a ball in Africa.
    We got away quite late and it was a long day, starting off rather stressful when we realised the fuel situation was not what we expected. So we went in the direction of the closest (20 minutes away) and hoped. We were riding on fumes for the last 5 miles or so but we made it and were able to top up.

    And then we were in South Dakota, the Black Hills (think the Dandenongs around Melbourne) Mt Rushmore (we rode up, saw the rock faces, got hit for $10 parking each so didn’t even turn the engines off) and the Badlands. Now that was a sight! Videos enclosed provides just a glimpse. They go on for miles and miles. Just amazing sand formations that must be eons old.

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    Badlands National Park
    That night we treated ourselves to a hotel as we knew what awaited us the next day. That wonderful I90… all day…

    Now I’m sure there are other ways to get across South Dakota, and I’m sure there are ways to avoid the wretched cross wind that we battled all day, but if there are no one told us and it would seem, no one actually knows. So the highlight of our ride across S/Dakota?… Getting to the other side! It really was that bad. The constant 80 mph (130 kph) wind dropped our fuel consumption from 55m/g (23 km/ltr) to 34 m/g (14 km/ltr). We filled up 3 times that day (used 2.5 tanks of fuel). Rolled into Sioux Falls just on dusk and treated ourselves to a cheap motel. A little too cheap as it turned out, but you pay for what you get.

    We did however start the day with another run through the Badlands, so there was a little self induced pain at the end of the day too.

    [​IMG]




    Everything changed the next morning. We rode over to Minnesota and meandered our way north east through lovely rolling farms of corn, some more corn, pretty little lakes (50,000 of them apparently) and corn, and ended up at a place called Little Falls where we threw up the tent in the State Park. And unexpected treat awaited us as we went into town for dinner and crossed the start of the Mississippi River.

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    Even better, we found civilisation again! Real coffee and not a cowboy hat in sight! No one was playing terrible country music and even the Harleys had got thinner on the ground.

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    Real coffee makes everything so much brighter.
    The next day around lunchtime we rode into Wisconsin, found some lovely little back roads to eventually pop us out at Lake Superior and found a beach to set up camp.

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    And what an absolutely fantastic location to enter the Great Lakes area. The photos don’t do it justice so I tried a little drone flight which went perfectly well until a tree jumped in front of me and instead of letting the obstacle avoidance system do its job I panicked, tried to turn and flew sideways into it. Luckily the only damage was a broken prop (have spares) and pride. Video next time… maybe)

    So Im going to leave you here with some photos of our most gorgeous sunset on Lake Superior. Our first ever sunset over water.

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  18. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    And the videos.

    In respect of US leglislation, as the landscape shows, we took the drone vids from outside the National Park boundaries.





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  19. MapleRoad

    MapleRoad Been here awhile Supporter

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    Amazing, you guys! What a trip!
  20. Terry & Janelle

    Terry & Janelle Two Aussie riders planning a 3 month tour of USA

    Joined:
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    It is my friend. It is.
    Blog is about 10 days behind now. Just left NYC towards DC.

    We've been talking about our arrival back to LA at end of Oct and if we can make the dates and location work for you, we would truly love to catch up again.

    What do you think?