Another Rookie Went to Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by 72 Yamaha RD350, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
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    507
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    West Central Indiana
    RD,

    Glad you got a nice long ride in before winter.
    And it's awesome that Mrs. RD shared the adventure.

    I think you and I see many things differently but I feel blessed to know you, even if it's only online

    Stay safe
    J
    72 Yamaha RD350 likes this.
  2. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    @jdfog2: Thank you, sir.

    For better or worse, we are each shaped by our experiences in life. I consider myself an over-educated redneck and under-educated professional. There's not a workday that goes by when I don't sit in a meeting and say to myself, "I am the dumbest guy in this room", yet I have relevant knowledge that no one else in the room has simply because of my prior experiences. I have learned and truly believe that failure is the first step to success. From that perspective I don't know whether I view myself as a Failed Success or a Successful Failure.

    I was speaking with one of my acquaintances at the gym this morning. He served two years ('67 and '68) as a river rat in the Mekong Delta. I can't begin to fathom his experiences there.

    Our experiences cause us to see the world differently.

    As a former NASCAR fan (I lost interest when Brian France took over and began to screw it up), I've been listening to the Dale Jr. Download lately. My father liked Dale Jr. but wasn't keen on his father. I didn't get it at the time, but my father recognized something in Jr. that I didn't: empathy. He doesn't take himself too seriously and he connects with other people through emotion. Jr. remarked that one of his favorite racing movies is Stroker Ace. I had never seen it (but Mrs.RD recognized it immediately which caused me to question her home environment). I watched it last night. This picture seems fitting to this topic... and, if not, it's still a hilarious picture.

    Ace.jpg
    jdfog2 likes this.
  3. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

    Joined:
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    The weather here in the Northland turned suddenly over the past week. When the forest floor takes on a golden hue, the end of another riding season is imminent.

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    Fortunately, the forecast for this weekend was favorable. Elvis got out both days for scenic cruising. While there are four points on a compass, I invariably follow the admonition credited to Horace Greeley in 1865: "Go West young man!".

    Near my house is a picturesque lake. I have fallen into the habit of riding past it frequently. Oftentimes I have wanted to stop to photograph it but the roadside is usually full of cars parked by fishermen. It must be a good fishing lake... however, the fishermen must be watching the Vikings play today - the roadside is nearly empty.
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    Due to temperature and schedule constraints, each day was limited to a bit over 100 miles. Fifty miles gets me well onto the prairie... as in Little House country... Laura Ingalls Wilder and its portrayal of life on the prairie in the mid-1800s. My K-3 teachers read those books to my generation in the 1970s. I recall the books painting a picture of isolation, uncertainty, and small communities of families and individuals who were dependent on each other. You find those people dotting the landscape, often like this with no town nor buildings nearby hinting at prior habitation.

    "What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
    A generation goes and a generation comes...
    There is no remembrance of former things,
    Nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after."

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    Other times, the center of their community is the only thing remaining. (Grace Lutheran in South Haven MN was founded in 1898.)

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    I reflected on our recent ride across South Dakota and meditated on the difference between the prairie and the Great Plains. The obvious conclusion: the prairie can be farmed while the plains cannot. Regardless, they have a similar feel... not unlike being much further west: isolation. I am only 90 minutes from a metropolis yet, take away wheeled transportation and electronic communication and, I would effectively be in the 1800s and a long walk from anywhere.

    The only thing tying our era to Laura's is agriculture.

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    It is harvest time. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all the combines I saw at work in the fields. The yield will be poor this year due to record high temperatures in June, I've never seen bean fields look this bad. Corn isn't a whole lot better. Even the fields with center-pivot irrigation appear stunted. We are seven inches short in precipitation year-to-date which is about a 25% gap.

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    Elvis has a favorite Dairy Queen. We ride there often since it is out on the prairie. It's a humble place - only open six months a year - without modern faux natural earth tone decor. It's just a DQ like all DQ's used to be. Most change is good; some changes are pointless. The latter applies here.

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    Some things don't need faux natural - they are doing just fine on their own.

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    Others are hanging on with a little help from those who care enough to maintain/retain the past.

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    The most amazing of all, however, was the change I least expected. Some of you will recall a prior photo I posted of a church sign: "Jesus Christ is Lord of Annandale". Rather than dig up my own photo, I'll use this one from the web (obviously taken by those who were proud of their discipleship).

    jesus.jpg

    Let me preface what I am about to say: I am certain the people in the photograph are genuinely good people. I have no doubt that they are morally upright and care for their neighbors just as the New Testament commands. The worst that can be said of them is the admonition of Paul (which I myself was guilty of for many years): They have a zeal but not according to knowledge.

    Even as an atheist, I am uncomfortable with the commercialization of Jesus. And while this sign was not outright commercialism, it did impose Jesus on viewers as some type of feudal overlord. (I wonder what the other churches in town thought of it.) [We have an automobile dealership group here in the Twin Cities that uses Jesus and Jesus imagery to sell cars. You'll be glad to know that the King of Kings offers brand new Chevrolets, Fords, Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/RAM, and Kias. (Maybe Hondas, Nissans, and Toyotas are of the Devil.) Mrs.RD and I discussed this over our comms while we were on our ride across South Dakota. Yea, I'm an atheist who considers it sacrilegious to sell cars in the name of God.] Curiously, this sign only faced east - the direction wicked, sinful people from the city would enter their town. Presumably, people entering their town from the west were all God-fearing Christians - every single last one of them.

    For whatever reason, the church has re-branded itself to Heartland Free church and replaced the sign with a new message - one that I think is a more positive reflection of their beliefs and a more constructive message to passers-by. Like I said, "Most change is good." (Now I have to stop mocking Annandale by referring to it as "Jesus-town" but I am curious about what prompted the change.)

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    We arrived home from the prairie with 29,500 miles on the odometer. Elvis goes in on Tuesday for crankcase and primary fluid changes before going to sleep for winter.
    whiskeygut, rkover1, jdfog2 and 3 others like this.
  4. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Once again, a good piece of writing and photos mixed appropriately to be enjoyable and interesting.
    I hope you get at least 2 or 3 more good weekends to ride.
    JD
  5. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,970
    Location:
    Lake Wobegon
    @jdfog2: I appreciate the kind words. Last weekend's ride had a finality to it which motivated me to stop and take the photos. Yesterday and today were the last seventy-degree days in our forecast. It's rare we have comfortable riding days in November. Between leaves on the pavement, cooler temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and occasional rain - it isn't worth it to me. I picked Elvis up today from the indy shop and had enough time to squeeze in forty miles before sunset. The riding season is now officially over for me. I'm ok with it. I rode in an endurance rally. I rode with my friend Owen to Ely. And Mrs.RD completed her first long touring ride. For everything, there is a season.

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  6. KC10Chief

    KC10Chief Been here awhile Supporter

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    Edmond, OK
    Great ride report! I lived in Alaska for five years when I was in the Air Force. Hoping to ride up there next summer. This summer looked iffy. I also love your writing style. Some of the things you've said really hit home for me too regarding God, marriage, life in general. Anyways, I noticed a while back you asked about this old mill in Colorado and you didn't know where it was at. Well I do! It's just south of St. Elmo on the 295 road on the way up to Hancock Pass. I've been by there quite a few times and last time I was there in 2019, it looked much the same as it does in your photo. A little more dilapidated maybe.