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Prairie Scenic Byway Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Lapchik, Jun 1, 2021.

  1. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,260
    Location:
    Minnesota
    ***PICTURES AND VIDEO WILL BE ADDED IN LATER POSTS***

    I’m finally getting around to writing this a couple weeks after the ride. My goal was to ride new areas of Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa while traveling on as many scenic byways as I could for the Glacial Lakes M.C. Grand Tour. That’s a hard thing for me to do in the Northern half of Iowa and the southern Half of Minnesota.

    Friday night I got a head start on the ride by jamming down the highway to my parents house in N.W. Iowa, aka free room and board. 238.6 miles in 3 hours and 50 minutes. That’s a new record for me. I spend only 10 minutes putting on gear and getting gas.

    ---------------End of day 1---------------

    On Saturday, I decided to do my Iowa loop because it was supposed to rain in Nebraska. I made it a whole 1.5 miles before the speedometer cable broke. It sheared off the drive tab and the plastic gear in the hub adapter. Oh well, zip tied it up and took off. I still had the GPS for speed.

    I flew down some roads that I was familiar with and had been on before. I stopped by my favorite place to watch buffalo and grabbed a few Grand Tour points.

    I needed a couple locations in Nebraska, and there aren’t a lot of places to cross the river. Held my breath, closed my eyes, and drove through Sioux City like I had to eat something unpleasant. Nebraska south out of Sioux City is not the greatest scenery, unless you are into trash peppered ditches and decaying houses and small communities in the river bluffs. Grabbed points for the Lewis and Clark scenic byway and the Decatur overlook. I crossed back into Iowa on the Decatur metal grating bridge.

    I’ve never gone to the Lewis and Clark museum, so I stopped by seeing that it was right there. On the way out, I had a first. I drug the center stand of my motorcycle in a turn.

    I went into the Loess Hills at Onawa. Again, not that scenic, but it got much better after turning South in Turin to head towards Murray Hill and Preparation Canyon. I saw a bull snake, and surprised some farmers by zipping by them down the gravel “road” on a 700lb street bike. At preparation canyon I found some nice flowers and some odd fruit that I have never before run across.

    Next up I took a personalized scenic route. I ran across a historical site I had no idea existed, and then went down Fulton Road. Fulton Road is a minimum maintenance dirt road that is cut into/out of the hills. There had been a little rain at some point, so the dust was non-existent, but it was a little greasy. My shins met the cylinder heads several times. Trying to hop a Goldwing over the water drainage ruts is no easy task either. Along the road, I found an obviously unhealthy Raccoon. It was paralyzed somewhere mid-spine so that its rear legs did not work, and had some fur issues going on. The fact that it was out during the day didn’t sit well with me either. I decided to put the animal down to end its suffering. The video DOES NOT show this happening, and I’m not going to share any closer pictures. I kept video running and did take pictures to send to the local DNR. I’m not aware of any widespread disease or issues for the raccoons, but wanted to let them know anyway.

    The rest of the day was a lot of pavement pounding. I grabbed more GT points, and crossed a few new counties off my list. For those of you that don’t know me really well, I keep track of all the counties/ states I have ridden motorcycles in. The White Pole Road scenic byway was ok, but the Western Skies scenic byway and the Lincoln Highway were like any other old Iowa highway. I don’t plan on returning to any of these three routes. I also saw a sign the Historic US Route 6, which was not a planned stop.

    I lived in Iowa for most of my life and had never seen any of the covered bridges. I saw the only other attraction in the state, Field of Dreams, when I was a teenager. I stopped at the Roseman Bridge.

    After this stop, it was just skipping around to get home. I stopped by the Surf Ballroom, which was closed. I keep trying to see inside there, but always seem to hit it when it is closed. I have been to the Buddy Holly crash site two times on my own, and once for a motorcycle rally. I didn’t bother to stop there this time. I made it back to the parent’s place in time for supper. 497.9 miles, 11 hours 24 minutes. I took advantage of the early night, and got some sleep. Long day planned for Sunday: 825 miles.

    ---------------End of day 2---------------

    Early morning, familiar roads, familiar places. Took a few little detours to places just off the beaten path. I got a lot of miles and a few GTs down right away.

    West of Niobrara I start to lose confidence. It’s new territory for me. I’m not worried or anything, I just start to be more careful once I’m somewhere new. Until I get bored and try a water crossing. More on that later. Here’s some pictures of just before getting to Valentine for lunch. I talked to some ranchers who also own a Goldwing while I was eating McDonalds in the parking lot. I’d like to eat at local places, but when you’re in a hurry or have a long ways to go, fast food is consistent and fast and safe. Binder clips are handy.

    After lunch, I went through the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest. They must have had a lot of rain in the area, because all the puddles were brimming and there was water over some areas of the roads. Odd to play real life Frogger. I wanted to see the areas off the paved roads, but most were gated shut. I didn’t have the time to get a park permit, so I just went down a road that didn’t have a gate. Driving in sand is hard enough, but doing it on street tires with a motorcycle never intended in any way to go off road makes it nearly impossible. Like the Loess Hills, I tried to dent the cylinder heads with my shins again. I ran down the road to the dam south of the park, and then went flying across Brownlee Road. That last little jaunt shook all the RAM arms and my mirrors loose. It’s surprising how it shuffled all the contents of the saddlebag around too. Of course, I was doing probably three times the speed I should have been doing.

    Another GT picture, a water crossing, and then a bucket list item. I wondered why there was an old two lane road next to a newer two lane road. I got on the old road and drove it a while. It seems that some of the grades were steeper on the old road. I’m guessing they saved money by building new in certain stretches over rebuilding the old road. Anyway, I passed a turtle and scared some ducks up. I figured that since there was a paved road bottom, and I could see through the water, I would go for it.
    Never mind that I was over 300 miles from help and had a bike that was not meant for anything at all adventurous. The water only made it to the front lip of the front fender, which is just about to the top of the cylinder heads. Between Arnold and Dunning is a nice, curvy, scenic, curvy road. It doesn’t show up as a scenic route or anything. It is used as a racetrack at one point in the year, with an event called the Sandhills Open Road Classic. The secret to finding roads like this is to look for squiggly lines on maps that don’t lead to anywhere in particular, or have a parallel route that is more direct.

    After this, I was more or less on a direct route back to my parent’s house. I made detours for a dirt road outside Arnold that ended up in a field, and a roadside sculpture park. Not much of a detour, as these were both right off the route I was taking. Happy accidents. I have no idea where that big train mural is. Somewhere between Kearney and Wayne. I needed a biological break, and happened to pull off the road at a historical site off Highway 30. Checked out the local flora and did some learnin.

    I had to stop for gas and a stretch break in Wayne. Also needed to clean off the windshield for safety reasons. The handlebars have too much twist in them, and it kills my wrists. The seat foam is basically dust. My pelvis hurt. My hip sockets and knees hurt. There’s only so many ways you can sit on this thing. Most of the “relaxed” positions with the crash cage pegs feel like hospital bed stirrups after a while. I had never ridden this bike more than about 200 miles in a day before this trip. I’ve begun to hate this bike. 839.4 miles, 16 hours and 38 minutes. I spent 13 hours 16 minutes of that moving, and 3 hours 21 minutes stopped.

    ---------------End of day 3---------------

    There wasn’t a lot to talk about on the ride back home. I threaded a route to hit some new counties and a few GT spots. I stopped at the IA/MN border to take a picture of the Jefferson Highway marker, and found some bones along the edge of the trees. Looks like deer, but I couldn’t find anything that I could identify. Motorcycle gear gives you funny tan lines. 416 miles in 7 hours 41 minutes.

    ---------------End of day 4---------------
    #1
  2. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Critters on the first loop of the trip. Not always a happy encounter.



    #2
  3. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

    Joined:
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    #3
  4. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    #4
  5. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Iowa pictures - broken speedo cable, Ridge road, Aalfs preserve
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    #5
    havabusa and popscycle like this.
  6. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Iowa ride - Fulton road, Lewis and Clark park, historical building, bridges of Madison county, Surf Ballroom

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  7. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Preperation Canyon and mystery plants [does anyone know what those little fruit things are?]
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    #7
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  8. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    #8
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  9. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Murray Hill
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    #9
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  10. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Murray Hill
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  11. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Murray Hill
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  12. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Decatur overlook
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    #12
  13. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Decatur overlook
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  14. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Sentinels of the prairie, Mulberry point overlook, and Chief Standing Bear Bridge.

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    #14
  15. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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  16. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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  17. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    Just outside Valentine. NE
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    Binder clips are handy

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    #17
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  18. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

    Joined:
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    Very Cool !

    Love your style.

    Excellent choice in vintage bike ! The Interstate's are far better to deal with if you are still riding them than the much more complicated Aspencades.

    Easier to diagnose and fix when things get wonky. Sure is nice and pleasant to relax in comfort on a Wing during the smooth stretches.
    #18
  19. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    My daughter's name is Rowan. I send her a picture every time I find her name. So farI've gotten two towns, a business, and a ranch.

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    #19
  20. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    #20
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