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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ride2ADV, Jun 5, 2016.
I can't believe you two didn't even call the last time you were here! Happy travels!
Mike, we are so sorry. We have no excuses other than we were in early retirement intoxication and we friggin forgot. We promise next time we are in your neighborhood to stop by!!!!
Mike and Kim
We finished up the day riding in 90+ degree heat. The following day was the same temperature wise, but we were happy to get underway. One thing that Minnesota has is plenty of lakes. Lots of them. I mean they are all over the place. We stopped at several and walked around. They were beautiful, but after so many, they all seemed alike. We did stop at one that did have a bit of notoriety. Called Lake Pepin, it looked like this...
It was nothing remarkable you might say. But then we found this,
Yes, Lake Pepin was the birthplace of water skiing! ... And you didn't think this ride report was going to be educational! Now you can amaze all your friends with the great knowledge bestowed up you by this thread.
By now it was lunch time and we started to look for a place to eat. Luckily for Kim, we found her long lost saloon.
Then following long straight roads, we made our way through Minnesota.
We planned to meet one of my former co-workers for dinner. She ended up recommending a nice place on Lake Minnetonka. It was great getting back together, even if for only a short while. Dinner was good, but dessert...
After dinner, we went for a brief walk around a nearby marina and closed out another day.
We continued our way northward through Minnesota. We planned to visit Duluth, and check out a couple of things there. This area is stuffed with lakes and we took the opportunity to stop and try to cool off at a few of them.
Ultimately we decided to stop for some lunch
and met this really big guy.
At first he didn't seem to have anything to do with us, but then when he met Kim, he was all friendly and such.
I had to tell him to leave my girl alone. I didn't want to have to rough him up or anything.
We then stopped to get some fuel and found something really unusual.
Did you see what was so unusual?
Yup, that's right, 110 octane fuel. That's some seriously hot gasoline at a local gas station! Way back when I was flying, I used to put 100 octane low lead in. I had to go inside and ask the clerk there why they carried 110 octane fuel.
It turns out that there is a race track close by and they sell the fuel to the racers. But the kicker, check out the price.
Yup, that's right, $8.599 a gallon. Wow!
Fully fueled up, we got back on road headed north. There were more lakes, and it became clear that these lakes were big with the fishermen. Apparently, they had some big, really angry fish that need catching.
I think they are going to need a bigger boat.
At one of our lake stops,
we found a nice little ATV trail. We were tempted to go for a short test ride, but with the bikes fully loaded, we thought better of it.
Well that's about all for today. Until later!
We made our way up toward the Minnesota arrowhead to Duluth. On long straight and deserted backroads with 65 MPH speed limits we were making excellent time. We had decided that we should go check out Aerostich's facilty there. We have been one piece Roadcrafter users/owners for many years and thought it would be cool to check out how they were made and browse around their store.
Riding through Duluth was a breeze and soon we had reached Aerostich.
We walked in through a side door and quickly found ourselves in their showroom.
It was filled with all sorts of gear and multiple racks of the Roadcrafter suits. It wasn't long before one of the employees introduced herself to us and asked us if we wanted a tour of the facility. We said sure! Debbie, (the employee) then proceeded to take us through the three floors of the factory where they make Roadcrafter suits. I would have shown you a picture of the factory floor, but Debbie requested that we not take any photos there. Oh well.
They also had a rider's "lounge" where riders could meet, drink coffee and plan trips. It was a nice gesture. In that room was a crash wall. On it were Roadcrafter suits that had been crashed in. Some suits took really heavy hits, a reminder of what can happen. I can't imagine how the results would have been without proper gear.
It was a nice little visit, but now it was time to head to South Dakota. Once again, it was really hot. But we made our way through hundreds of landscapes filled with corn, wheat and other crops. The wind was up significantly and we rode crabbing against the wind.
The landscpape was postcard like. Although the views were predominatly the same, they still were beautiful.
We made several stops to cool off, looking for places that had shade. Although they were sometimes few and far between, we were successful several times.
Just before we reached our hotel for the night, we came across a locked yard that made it clear we were in agricultural country.
Rows upon rows of tractors and other farm equipment filled the lot. Equipment that will ultimately be used to feed our families. Makes you think. Thanks Farmers!
Sorry I haven't been posting regularly. I don't have any excuse other than to say that we are having too much fun and by the time we finish our day, posting doesn't seem that important. But I know it is and I promise I will post more soon. We are going to take a brief respite from daily traveling from 7 June to 11 June. I intend to get caught up by the time we leave. We are presently in Kalispell, Montana and it is gorgeous here. In fact, what you've seen to date is nothing. I think you like what's coming up even more. Until later!
As we made our way to South Dakota, it was clear that we were really in the heart of the agricultural world. It seemed like most town had large distributorships of agricultural equipment.
I especially liked the four tracked tractor. I had never seen a tractor with anything other than wheels. Talk about a go anywhere tractor!
The other thing that I had not seen was a side dumping dump truck. For those of you who have never seen one, here you go!
I had also never seen so many silos, particularly ones that looked linked.
Can you tell I was a city boy?
Oh and on a somewhat humorous note, I saw this sign on a gas pump near the border of South Dakota. Being a bald guy, I didn't much care, but Kim liked it.
The following morning, I made a distressing discovery. There had been an injury during our transit to this point. Our faithful companion, Mr. Cotton has endured many travels throughout the world with us. There was an accident when we were riding in South America and somewhere in Argentina, Mr. Cotton's original hook went missing. After some emergency surgery, his original hook was replaced with a somewhat more rustic one. Now, as we traveled over much smoother roads in Iowa and Minnesota, it appears Mr. Cotton has had another accident.
Seated behind my top case, Mr. Cotton's original peg leg has gone missing. We're working on getting a replacement for him, but for the moment he seems OK.
So if anyone finds his leg, please contact us ASAP!
At least he's still smiling.
Slowly but surely, we made our way into South Dakota.
Just before as we crossed the Missouri River, the landscape started to change drastically. From flat and straight, the roads almost immediately went to rolling hills and curves.
It wasn't long until we were ready to cross the Missouri River. Kim spotted a small gravel road that ran up one of the hills and said we should run to the top to check out the landscape. The road led to an overlook and it turned out it was worth the stop.
Once across, it was clear we were in a different kind of land.
The deeper we got into South Dakota, the more we saw grain elevators. Most were abandoned, but still had the original artwork/signage as it faded into times past. This one was the first we saw as we zoomed along one of the many 70 MPH two lane undivided roads.
It looked like it had a story to tell, so we stopped to check it out. For some reason, it just caught my eye.
As we got closer, we could see it definitely had a story to tell.
Among the rolling hills, we found many abandoned farmsteads, that if they could talk, could also tell lots of stories.
Shortly thereafter, we started seeing signs of the Badlands.
It wouldn't be long until this smaller mounds became mountains.
Well that's it for now. If you are enjoying this thread, please feel free to comment.
I am looking forward to following along with your trip. Its been great so far!
Thanks for taking the time to post!
Nice to meet you both this evening, safe travels!
Sent from my Smith Corona using a ribbon from Sears
It was great meeting you as well. Hope your journey goes smoothly!
Mike & Kim
Thanks SGIO, glad you are enjoying the thread!
We made it to Badlands National Park and drove the loop road. It was beautiful, but had a significant amount of traffic with few places to stop and take some pictures. While on the loop road, we got the following shots...
While these shots were nice, they couldn't compare to what we would do the next day. We decided to ride the Badlands Rim Road, a gravel road that travels around a large section of the Badland's rim. It was so worth it.
Up until this point, we'd not seen much wildlife, perhaps 1 or 2 bison in the distance. On this day, that would change.
We started down the gravel road which at first was not right alongside the rim.
But that soon changed and we were riding alongside the rim, looking down into the vast canyon.
It wasn't long before we began seeing bison.
Then lots of bison.
As you can see, we were able to get very close to the bison. Sometimes, we had to get "uncomfortably close" to them. At one point a bison stood at the side of the road and refused to move. I decided I would drive by slowly and peg it if he made a move. Click the below for a very short video of my encounter with one of the bison.
After a while, the land began to level out, but it was still amazing.
Farmers continued to work the land...
As we emerged from the Badlands, we found out that there was a situation with the local prairie dogs.
Oh... probably shouldn't play with them then...
So although we spent some time watching them, we kept our distance.
Before we knew it, the day was coming to the end. Lots of long term memories such as this were made this day.
(this is a panoramic picture, click it and you will get a full moving panoramic view)
While in the area check out Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park. Blue Bell Campground in Custer SP is a great place to base out of. From there ride the Wildlife Loop Road, then head down to Wind Cave. At Wind Cave check out Routes 5 and 6 on the east side of the park. There's a nice quiet campground at Elk Mountain in Wind Cave too. Of course while in the Black Hills you want to hit Iron Mtn Rd, Spearfish Canyon, and Needles Hwy.
Great RR so far, thanks for sharing.