Inmates please be forewarned...this is my first attempt at posting a Ride Report detailing one of my trips. I have taken a couple of long distance rides, including one from Colorado to Argentina, but in the past I have never posted them for public viewing pleasure. That being said...have mercy on me:) First a bit of context. The first two days of riding were just to get to the start of the Colorado BDR (going from North to South) so if all you care to read is about the BDR then it is best to just skip to Day Three of this Ride Report. For those looking for the Clif Notes version I crossed the Colorado BDR in 5 days, but really only 4 of it was off road with the 5th day being on the black top of Section 1 on the Butler Map. If you are a good rider and wanted to push it I think the entire Colorado route could be handled in 3.5-4 days, but it is best to take in the sights and pleasures that the trail has to offer! I rode this trip solo on my 2017 KTM Adventure 1090 from Fargo, ND to Durango, CO. From there I picked up my wife at the airport and we continued 2-up to Mesa, AZ where I left the motorcycle at my parent's house for the winter. I plan to head back in May 2020 to ride the return trip to Fargo, most likely by utilizing the AZ and UT Backcountry Discovery Routes. Day 1 Fargo, ND-Nemo, SD 502 miles A year of planning, day dreaming and preparing the bike finally fell into place today. So far my relief of actually getting to do the trip are fat outpaced by the stresses that the trip has induced… namely, leaving with my business partner so close to her due date with her second kid and my right hand man threatening resignation, as well as the guilt of leaving the wife and kids behind for so long in search of solitary adventure. The kids are definitely the harder of the two to leave behind at the moment simply because their young age doesn’t allow them to grasp where I am and that it is only short term. Their brains still behave like that of a dog in that you can leave the house for an hour to run errands and upon your return both the kids and dog coming running and leap into your arms… a true hero’s return. The first day’s ride was one that I have been dreading for a long time. 500 miles and 7.5 hours in the saddle are too much for my boney ass. The usual 75 mph on-bike calisthenics session ensued throughout the day and only picked up intensity as I neared my destination in the Black Hills. It was an interesting time passing through South Central ND and North Central SD. I have never travelled those roads and I was looking forward to seeing the storied but historically maligned Standing Rock Indian Reservation. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by that section of road. The tarmac was pristine and more importantly the mind numbing stretch from Fargo to Bismarck gave way to hills, buttes, scenery and what’s this? Actual curves in the road!!! At least along the portion that I travelled I didn’t pass through any Indian villages with the sad abject poverty and car-filled-unmowed lawns as I am used to seeing in other reservations closer to my hometown. From what I have heard I know that it exists on Standing Rock, I just didn’t see it for myself. The site of the Black Hills was a welcome relief, and as far as my butt and knees are concerned I mean that in the most literal sense! A quick stop in the motorcycle mecca of Sturgis for fuel and FaceTime before the final 20 minute push to a dear friend's house high up in the hills 4 miles North of Nemo. They do things a little bit differently up in the Black Hills. Guns and fierce independence sprinkled with some granola folk from the Left Coast thrown in just to add to the comedic relief! To be perfectly honest I was dreading the FaceTime a bit because as soon as my 3-year old gets on the phone comes the inevitable question “Dad where are you?” “Hey buddy! Dad is out riding motorcycle for the next 10 days…without you.” Saying this felt nearly as sinful as having to break the news to your wife of an illicit affair, so instead I took the cowards way out and made sure that the camera wasn’t pointed at either the bike nor any of the motorcycle gear and simply answered, “I’m on my way to visit friends, I’ll be home soon.” Probably leaving my poor wife to gently unpeel the real purpose of my trip in a later conversation. In my pitiful defense however I wasn’t necessarily lying when I made it sound short term because as we have already established kids don’t have the same technical grasp of time lapse, you’re either home or you’re not. Fresh rubber mounted once I reached the Black Hills. The highlight of my day was spending all evening re-connecting with my oldest friend Rick and his dad Rodney. Their beautiful home on 10 acres of verdant green was the perfect backdrop for hours of conversation highlighted by the fact that not one of us had a drop of alcohol. After Ricky’s 6th D.U.I. he has cleaned up his act, temporarily at least, and hasn’t touched alcohol in 3 years. I know he is looking forward to drinking beer again once his probation is up in January but it was readily apparent to me how much better of a person he has become. I think it is a combination of factors: the passing of his mom last year, three years of sobriety, a peaceful life style in the Black Hills and finding his passion in woodwork. Regardless, he is a changed person. The hatred of everything/everyone highlighted by the F bomb punctuating every third word were both absent. The next morning I made it a point to tell him that I was really proud of him. I don’t know the last time that anyone has ever said that to him, but I genuinely meant it. I have become more convinced that as a man and father it is ok and even important that we say those words to our kids and to other men. We don’t hear that enough… This is the guy that got me into riding motorcycles and quads when I was but 4 years old!