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Retired and Riding. Northern US Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by danisOTR, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
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    682
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Loving the ride with you!
    Marmot is a great tent, its the only piece of gear that I spent good money on...I'm "frugal".
    Davidprej likes this.
  2. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA, 2016 R1200RT Supporter

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    So .. I'm curious where you keep your "Stitches" when not used? I have never taken my Aerostitch on an extended trip - only used (past tense since I retired :clap ) for commuting in winter, or just riding around on day trips in cooler weather - specifically because of the bulk. Several times in Patagonia I was wishing I had it with me, lol. The thing fills a pannier all by itself. Do you have a secret?
    Davidprej likes this.
  3. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for taking the time to this report. I enjoy reading your travels and it it especially fun when you are writing about places I have ridden and enjoyed.
  4. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    While camping we drape them over the bikes with the helmets on the mirrors then we cover the bikes up. Works best with waterproof covers. We also have cable locks and will use them when we leave the bikes on the street in a questionable area.

    Mine is so nasty looking now no one would want it.



    At hotels they come in with us. image-2020-08-07-16:54:25-308.jpg

    Today was miserable. We are still in SD with temps on the road at least 100. But we are in an awesome BLM site with a cool breeze. image-2020-08-07-16:58:46-439.jpg
  5. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/7/2020 Friday Ludlow, SD

    So yesterday was a day 100% off the bikes. I spent most of it catching up with the RR. We had a campsite by a lake near Belle Fourche, SD.

    It was breezy all day with the wind coming out the the East. I staked out the tent on the two corners on that side which kept the poles from bending in.

    Around 7 in the evening a slow rain started. So slow that we could stay outside and not really get wet. That lasted for 30 minutes and then it started to get heavier. We retreated to the tent. We were able to keep the fly doors open for a bit. But then all hell broke loose.

    At 8:00 a hellacious thunder and lightning storm with torrential rain started. Also the wind shifted 180 degrees and started coming in from the west. It had to have been blowing at 60 MPH. I had not staked our that side so the tent poles along with the tent started to bow in. We had to put our feet up against the corner of the tent to prevent the poles from bending out of shape. It may have been sleet at that point because it was hurting the bottoms of our feet through the nylon.

    I checked the weather and it was supposed to continue like that for another hour through 9:45. We were safe and dry inside so that was good. A couple of times the stake holding the fly on my side pulled out and I had to sneak into the vestibule to jamb it back in.

    At around 9:00 things started to subside. The rain had all but stopped. I climbed out and saw that the storm was still going strong in the distance. I could see bright flashes at a 180 degree arc to the East.

    I checked on the bikes. We had left two panniers open and the content were soaked. But nothing was ruined. The front of my bike cover had blown off and I re-secured it. I checked on the rest of our stuff by the picnic table. Besides some of it being wet so big deal.

    I crawled back into the tent and called it a night.

    This morning I went back out to re-asses the damage. My suit was wet as was Pattis’ so I laid them out on the stone pad to dry. Then I emptied the contents of the two panniers that had not been secured and laid them out to dry as well.

    IMG_5565.jpg

    The same process had to be done with everything that had been around the picnic table. Contents emptied and spread out and the had drying began.


    After all was said and done and we finally were done our pack-out it was 10. We headed into Belle Fourche to get supplies. We needed turn signal bulbs and I needed to the replace the SAE-USB charger. It got wet overnight and was not charging the GPS or phone. Long story short, bulbs yes. All I got when I asked for the SAE-USB was head scratching.

    We opted to wait and get the rest of our supplies after we were sure we could secure a BLM site up Route 85.

    It took around 90 minutes to get up the road to where the turnoff was. I am using and App call Dyrt that shows you campgrounds both formal and others. I used the link provided that brought up the GPS location and showed it in Google Maps.
    IMG_4625.png

    We turned onto a gravel road. Rode 5 miles took a right on another and then a left and started climbing. The road was easily rideable and soon we were at Picnic Spring Campground.

    The first site we came to was perfect with lots of shade and a short walk to the pit toilet. Plus the temperature was 10 degrees lower than on the road and there was and still is a nice breeze blowing.

    We broke out the tent and set up the mesh part. I emptied my panniers and grabbed the cooler and headed backwards to the town of Buffalo which was 25 miles back for supplies.

    30 minutes later I was in Buffalo in the local store. They only had half of what was on my list but it was enough to get us by for a couple of days. I asked about firewood and was told “we ain’t got that”.

    I tried a couple of more places in town and received the same answer. So back up the road I went hoping I would not have to make that trip again.

    When I returned Patti had everything set up. I now sit in my Kermit getting ready for my first cocktail of the evening.

    image-2020-08-07-17:46:07-170.jpg
    MizzouRider, N-Id-Jim, Smidty and 4 others like this.
  6. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/8/2020 Saturday Ludlow, SD

    So peaceful here. Still almost no one else around.

    Today was another 100% off the bikes day. We are liking this pace. Short rides in between stop overs and a couple of days at the each location.

    Info on the site:

    IMG_4636.jpg

    A Bald Eagle flew over our camp this afternoon. He was just 200 feet above us. Beautiful. He flew off and through my binoculars I saw him and another bird of prey in the distance doing an aerial battle. Swooping at each other with one throwing the other off course.

    This is a open range area which means that cattle are roaming around. We are seeing and hearing them.

    IMG_4637.jpg


    Deer are walking right near our site. We went to the spring for water and had a couple of others run away as we approached.

    We went up a road just outside the campground and were treated to great views of the valley below.

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    Pictures from around the Campground.
    Adjustments.jpg

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    I’m going to hate to leave this site.
    MizzouRider, Smidty, pike and 3 others like this.
  7. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/9/2020 Sunday Ludlow, SD to Medora, ND

    We were up, packed and on the Road by 10. It was a little bit of a challenge as the wind was blowing pretty heavily. When we were taking down the tent Patti had to lay on it until I was ready to roll it up.

    We rode the gravel for the 7 miles we were back on route 85 heading north. It was only a few miles before we crossed the border into ND.

    I should have mentioned earlier that I had a mishap with our P&S camera. I kept in in between the map pocket and top of the tank bag on a lanyard. It had apparently fell off out of its’ perch when I was riding to Buffalo a couple of day before. As I approached the store I went to make a slow right hand turn that required me to turn the handle bars right. Well they didn’t which made for an interesting stop in the middle of the road. I notice the lanyard hanging down the wrong way. The camera ended up pinched between the telalever and fork tube. Lense and display broken. I’m glad I only spent $50 on eBay for it. So no more shots from the cockpit for now.

    We had to fight heavy and consistent winds for the entire 103 mile ride. Part of the way was pushing the right-hand bar to keep going straight. Then it was pulling the right had bar. My shoulder was pretty sore by time we got to Medora.

    We pulled into town around noon which was too early to go to the campsite. We parked and strolled the streets in search of something sweet and caffeinated. We immediately saw that we were in a full blown tourist trap of a town. Nice and all but when you’ve been in one….

    We caffeined up and walked a little more. BTW no masks or social distancing going on here. Not a political statement, just an observation.

    Around 1:30 we rode the ½ mile to the Medora Campground. It had the only available sites in the area. The reviews I read on Dyrt were OK with the biggest complaint of small and near placed site. Both were true plus a 20 MPH wind blowing the red clay dust.

    We scored a decent spot and set our tent towards the back close to a berm that protect the campground from The Little Missouri River.
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    We set the tent and this time we staked out all four corners to be on the safe side.

    Next order of business was showers. Much appreciated and likely needed. Final chore was laundry. Two loads!

    When we had checking in I inquired about the nearest grocery store. 30 miles either direction. AGAIN! The local convenience store is the only game around. So I rode back to see what I could find. This store made the place in Buffalo look like a Super Walmart. It was 50% tourist crap and a small amount of convenience food, Dinty Moore and Spam. Patti wanted cookies. Orios $7.49 for a normal size package.

    I settled on a couple of pre-made sandwiches, chips and dip along with some M&M’s to satisfy the sweet tooth. I grabbed a bog of ice at checkout and was back to the campsite in time to help fold laundry.

    We made a couple of drinks and walked down to the River with our Kermit’s. There is a small pebbly beach and across the river are the bluffs that border the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The sun was getting lower in the sky and the air got chiller so we went back to camp and climbed into the tent to read.

    7B8EC372-0ADE-4856-AD91-6BC1F169BC50.jpeg BE1EE0DD-DC53-402D-99BA-C8616F67B560.jpeg
  8. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/10/2020 Monday Medora, ND

    The temperature dropped into the 50’s overnight and it was pretty chilly when I climbed out of the tent at 6:30. It seemed I was the only one up, at least nearby. I started the jet boil for coffee, which was much needed due the cobwebs and the chilly air.

    Electronics needed to be tended to, so on the chargers they went. I also had to update the setting on our “Spot”. The emergency contacts were not appropriate for this trip and the billing info was incorrect. The account will invoice this month so I am glad I caught before service was shut down.

    We headed out around 9 to go to Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit. Very few cars were in the parking lot to pay for access. We have our lifetime passes so we grabbed a map and a brochure and moved on into the Park.

    The landscape reminded us a little of the Bad Lands. But the terrain was a little “softer”. Here were not the sharp angles more weather worn. There were a lot of interesting features. The rain had worn a lot of the tops of the hills into round domes.
    933B4659-E914-4A9C-A160-B1028D7C3044.jpeg CA3F841D-46EC-46E0-9622-3AFB7DF4BE63.jpeg 677AD6F1-9FD3-4785-946F-E9A27FAE0766.jpeg FD7ED7EC-13A0-4BF2-AC45-A29F805DD421.jpeg AA58B4F0-01B8-4D4C-AD6E-A75799716473.jpeg 587BD91D-62D7-42D7-AB1F-19F4F3EDE3C6.jpeg 9ADC4313-3A78-4681-830A-122AC85A191C.jpeg 7DCEBF3F-65FA-4E23-A70D-7668C2AE6341.jpeg 8CE2DF2B-7AF8-4121-B1EB-9F278D4759FA.jpeg

    Bison were in several locations. The herds we saw were not a large as the ones we saw in Yellowstone, but they were a lot closer. We were concerned because the RT is black and maybe a little shaped like a Bison. We kept getting the stink eye from a couple of them.
    538D99AA-BB3D-4A2B-84C7-719094109C6C.jpeg 953C0441-A8A5-4D3A-BE00-9C6767D69BEF.jpeg 8ECC64E3-8849-4485-BDB4-7759EBFBD5E3.jpeg

    We stopped once to climb up……which is the second highest point in the Park. The views were expansive. Some people had taken a lot of time and care to build these stone structures out of the flat rocks that are all over the place up top. I’m amazed they don’t blow over with the wind.

    67EA44F0-8A3A-48DB-9CF2-38054D973F5B.jpeg 7048D388-E8F3-4D7B-9E99-C208EEB268E8.jpeg BB9D397B-5A1D-415B-B9E3-912DC348EB51.jpeg 449633F3-1E0A-4C6F-97BD-A7195FF98BE0.jpeg
    Back on the bike we cruised to the end of the loop that was blocked off. Rain and erosion and caved in part of the road and a 8 mile stretch was closed to traffic.


    We rode back past some Bison which we passed on the way through and then another old one wondered onto the roadway further up.
    5657878B-41FB-4A3E-A381-89AA47AB42B7.jpeg

    Almost out of the park we saw wild horses down in a valley. Beautiful.


    We had skipped breakfast and decided on to have a lunch at “Boots Bar and Grill”. Not bad pricing for a tourist town with a specialty burger running $14.


    After lunch we took a walk through town and went into a couple of the gist stores. More of the same. Very little uniqueness. You expect to see “made in China” stamped on the bottom of the countless shot glasses. I am glad we don’t have young kids with us. That can be costly from the “Can I PLEASE get this….


    Back to the campground where we spent the afternoon reading and thinking about the ride back East. Time is moving and we have 2100 miles, straight line, to get to Cape Cod. Time for me to pull out the maps and plan.
  9. Vrode

    Vrode Not my problem Supporter

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    Vermont
    Great pictures! Such a beautiful part of the country. I will have to get back there at some point. Enjoying your trip....carry on!
  10. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Some screen shots from our Spot Track

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  11. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Financial Stats to date Screen Shot 2020-08-11 at 6.57.41 AM.png
  12. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/11/2020 Tuesday Medora, ND

    Today we went to the other section of TDNP Southern Unit. It is separate from the main entrance and you have to go east on the highway to the next exit. Here there is a rest area but it is also the entrance to The Painted Canyon.

    You hike down into the canyons in the park. Here you get to see the striations in the hills. The trail is steep and well worn. There has been a lot of erosion around the logs that act as steps and water bars.

    We didn’t see any wildlife on our hike which was a little disappointing. But we were able to get up close to the unique rock formations.

    The hike is only a mile and is well worth the effort of climbing down and back up.
    D2003791-AEF6-4864-AC9B-D9A36D137E9E.jpeg D19651DC-A4B4-49ED-87DA-6A1757177497.jpeg 2273C1A3-1A00-4491-ADE6-E2963956EF5D.jpeg 73BE8255-3475-4519-8FC8-9A2BA514A0BD.jpeg 3A896A6A-B91B-49DB-9ACF-E0FEB5B1C7D8.jpeg A97B9029-E178-423B-BECF-7D86090E8767.jpeg 36DDCADF-B1AE-4A34-9CD9-5D0EBF1A33FF.jpeg

    After our hike we cruised east to the next town where we went to a Dollar General. They were more well stocked than the store in Medora. We ended up finding food that we haven’t seen since we were kids. Deviled Ham! We ended up over buying as we made the mistake to go there hungry. Patti had to carry a bag as we could not fit into the top box on the RT.

    Back to Medora where we hung out at the campground until the evening. We had tickets to go to the Medora Musical which was highly recommended by many people.

    We snacked on the Deviled Ham and were reminded that it was not that good. Very salty and slimy.

    We headed up to the show at 7. It is in an outside natural amphitheater. You take an escalator DOWN from the parking lot. It is a professional theater with moving sets that is backed up by the hills that actually play a part in the show.
    0CF11F95-1704-43F5-8EE2-08F50EBFEEF0.jpeg 9D0D7C85-FDF0-4EA2-B3C9-701BA503D03B.jpeg

    I was expecting it to be a very campy show and was surprised how professional and very entertaining it was. Also as the show was going on in the distance a lightning storm was going on. After an intermission they brought out comedian/juggler

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    When the show concluded the ushers had the audience exit row by row. This really helped meter the exit from the theater and the parking lot. Very orderly.
    MizzouRider, N-Id-Jim, Blancr and 2 others like this.
  13. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/12/2020 Wednesday Medora to Minot, ND

    We were out of the campground by 9 headed towards Minot where we had reserved a hotel for a couple of nights. We had been camping for 10 days straight so we felt we earned a break.

    We were back on Route 85 headed north. We were going to pass TRNP North Unit and we decided to pull in and do the loop. We presented our Lifetime Pass at the gate and pulled in and parked the RT. We jumped on the R with me piloting and Patti on the back so she could photograph as we rode.

    We were surprised in how much more colorful than the Southern Unit. It was also quieter with almost no other visitors.

    The road goes in 14 miles and then you need to turn around and head back out. We only went in 10 miles or so. It appeared that the rest of the road was flat and on open plain.
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    Patti took some great pictures and found one Bison which had squirreled himself away under a stone shelf. It was well worth the time to make this side trip.
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    We were back on 85 for another 10 miles until we reached Watford where we fueled and had lunch. From there we jumped on 23 East.

    We quickly realized that we were going to get buffeted from the south the whole way to Route 83. It was a tough go but more the scenery was cool. There is also a lot of oil production going on along the way. After an hour or so we were getting on Route 83 north for 15 minutes before we rolled into Minot at 2:30.

    We had a relaxing evening and ordered food for delivery. Enjoyed being off the ground and having indoor plumbing.
  14. SciMusCycle

    SciMusCycle n00b Supporter

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    Not sure of the route you are planning as you head back east but if you stay north through MN and WI and cross into MI through the Upper Peninsula, I can highly recommend M-119 and M-22 along the east coast of Lake Michigan. Twisty road with many great views of the lake and sand dunes.
  15. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Thanks. We will check it out.
  16. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/13/2020 Thursday Minot, ND

    Today we visited the Minot Air Museum

    Named after a place a lot of us want to visit:

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    Fascinating the intricacy of the weapons.

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    Other items on display.

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  17. Mookyzook

    Mookyzook n00b

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    This looks so good. I am from the UK and spent the last twenty years holidays (vacations) touring Europe east and west and was hoping to semi retire next year and spend my Visa time riding the USA. It was going to give me a chance to really see the country, I have spent time in California, Boston and New York but not really travelled outside, I also have a lot of friends I want to visit. I'm still hoping that travel restrictions are going to let me try it next year, if so I will by a bike in New York state and zig zag down the country to eventually end up in California where I have friends. It will be the first time I will have no real language barriers and I presume most of the riding rules are similar from state to state. You are so lucky over there with different climates, scenery etc in one country, unlike our small Island.
    Davidprej likes this.
  18. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    8/14/2020 Friday Minot, SD to Grand Forks, ND

    It was raining pretty hard when we woke up. We were supposed to be riding to Grand Forks, ND. We kept a watch on the weather and kept looking at the radar.

    At 10:00 it started to lighten up. I moved the bikes close to the side door close to our room. We started to haul our gear to the bikes and strap things down.

    Just before 11 we were on the road on Route 2 heading east. It wasn’t long before we caught up with the rain which was going the same way we were. In a short time we were off the road under a gas station awning. We took advantage of the time to fuel which would give us enough range to make it to Grand Forks.

    We zipped up our Stiches and put our triple digit glove covers on. The rain had subsided a bit by the time we got back on the road. However, within minutes we had caught up with the storm again. We carried on for 50 miles but had to duck back into a gas station and go inside to have a snack and coffee to warm up.

    Up to that point we were still fairly dry with very little water leaking. 30 minutes later we went back out. Again, we had a slight respite until we caught back up with the rain.

    We soldiered on for another hour when we repeated a stop at another Cenex Gas Station. At this point we were both wet. Water had snuck down my collar. My Sidi Discoveries have long since not been waterproof. Also the RT puddles on the seat and even Gore-Tex won’t hold up to the sitting in water.

    To avoid issues with the charging set up I have I disconnected everything and put all the wires in the tank bag. So, to make sure my Phone/GPSs’ battery didn’t die I shut the screen down. As we got closer, I started the screen back up. I saw that we were an hour out and we decided to make the push even though the rain was as heavy as it had been all day.

    The Phone/GPS screen does not like getting wet and the map screen kept going to a sub menu. With the triple digits on I couldn’t easily get the screen back to the map. This would plague me the last 60 miles.

    Around 3:45 we were approaching Grand Forks. But at the same time the rain got worse and the sky darkened. The weather forecast had warned about possible tornado’s. We kept one eye on the road and one on the sky. Not coming from an area where tornado’s normally occur we didn’t know what to expect or look for.

    Our route took us off 2 and pushed us south a few miles. I had been counting down the miles and time to Patti and we were minutes away when the GPS stopped showing me the route. It showed where we were and I could see the hotel on the screen but the blue line with the route was gone. I navigated us off the highway and through a few turns until we pulled under the portico at the hotel.

    We were literally dripping wet when we walked in the door. We took off our helmets and gloves before I approached the desk. The millennial behind the desk how we were. I just stared at her. Really, look at us. We are dripping all over your foyer. How do you think we are? We are wet, cold and just want to get into a room to get into dry clothes.

    She set us up with a ground floor room but the one she gave us had not been cleaned up. She ended up upgrading us to a suite so she redeemed herself.

    I pulled the stuff off the bikes and put them on a cart. I pulled the bikes around to a couple of spots right in front of the door. I couldn’t get much wetter so I might just get it over with.

    In the room we shed all our cloths and created a bomb of wet clothes hanging everywhere. My Stich was hung in the closet with a garbage bag underneath so we wouldn’t soak the carpet. Every surface was covered with garments, gloves and socks. (Actually I just jumped up as I am writing this to flip our helmets over so the collars can dry out.)

    As we entered the hotel, we saw that they had a jacuzzi. After we had everything stretched out, we put our bathing suits on and headed to warm our bones. We poured ourselves some drinks in plastic cups to warm our insides.

    There were two indoor pools and two indoor Jacuzzi’s and we had one all to ourselves. We sat a soaked for around 30 minutes and thawed out. Our fingers and toes were pre-wrinkled from our soaked gloves and boots. When they started to look even more prunish we got out and went back to our room.


    The next order of business was food. We hadn’t had a meal since the previous afternoon. The rain had finally stopped and we walked 15 minutes to Texas Roadhouse. This ended up being a budget buster as we felt we owed ourselves a big meal and a couple of drinks.


    We walked back to the hotel and settled into our room for a quiet evening.
  19. kalho13

    kalho13 I am who I am

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    You missed a large and very nice portion of the northern tour if you skip the UP of Michigan. There is a lot to see and where you can ride the Northern coast of Lake Michigan or Lake Huron and well as the South and West coast of Lake Superior all the way to the Canadian border. As it does not sound like you are in a hurry you can take either Michigan coast north to the 5 mile long Mackinac bridge into the UP.
  20. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    169
    Location:
    Base of Mt Princeton
    Just caught up with your great RR. I really enjoy your style, smiles and overall attitude about traveling on two wheels. Have a safe and dry trip the rest of the way home. I’ll be following along.