If you have come here expecting the usual enthralling tales of survival against all odds...testing the limits of human endurance...the never ending stuggle of man against nature....mechanical breakdowns solved with Macgyver like solutions, you'll get none of that here. This is a simple story of two middle aged men who ride their mechanical steeds west and then back again with nothing more troubling than a rather long line at the Starbucks in Deadwood, SD. This journey of non-stop adventure (or is it non-existant adventure?) took place in July of 2017. I am only getting around to telling the story now, with no other valid excuse for the delay, other that my pure laziness. Over the previous winter I had put together a roughly 500 mile loop through the Black Hills, starting in the southeast corner and working it way in a clockwise manner west, and then north towards Devils Tower, and then back east to Spearfish. I also had lots of extra little side loops, in case we made better time than anticipated. I made sure we had more than enough stuff to ride for the time allotted. I used a comination of the Dakota Adventure Loop tracks, Cannonshot's Black Hills tracks, and my own stuff. I wanted as much dirt as possible, without being too challenging for my riding partner. My riding partner Thomas, is a long time friend of 25+ years. He had only recently got back into riding after a long hiatus to focus on family and career. He had picked up a fully farkled 2013 Weestrom only a couple of months before the trip. He spent as much time as possible before the trip putting on the miles and getting familiar with his new ride. I had picked up a left over 2016 Honda Africa Twin in April, and had equipped it for the trip. Our plan was pretty simple, we would ride each day until we were tired, and find a place to camp. We didn't want to bother with all of the extra gear required for camp cooking, so we figured we would never be that far from civilization, that we wouldn't be able to grab a couple of meals a day at a restaurant along the way. All of the crap I took along (excluding my clothing). We left early afternoon on Friday July 21st from my home in Marquette, and headed west on our adventure! It was definitely warm and muggy. The heat was to be a constant for the first half of the trip. It wasn't long until we hit our first border crossing....Wisconsin, here we come! I had planned on getting a "welcome to.." photo for each state we went through, but because the route out followed such quiet country back roads, this was the only "welcome" sign we saw on the whole trip. We jumped on highway 70 for our sprint across Wisconsin. This is a great way to cross the northern part of Wisconsin. Just a nice, quiet country road that goes thru the many national forests of the area. We rolled into Minoqua in the early evening and headed for Patricia Lake Campground. This was the only spot we had made a reservation for ahead of time. We set up our tents for the night in a great spot overlooking the small lake. Day 1 was in the books. 160 miles. We were up and rolling early the next morning. Trying to get as many miles in as possible. It had rained a bit during the night, and the morning was very comfortable, with just a slight mist in the air for the first hour or so. We rolled west taking in the beautiful northern Wisconsin forests and lakes. It wasn't too long and we crossed over into Minnesota. As the day progressed, the sun came out and the temps spiked. Before long it was approaching 100 degrees. We stopped several times to find some shade and rehydrate. Where as Wisconsin is easily crossed by simply following highway 70, Minnesota has no nice east/west corridor, so when I was laying out our route, I simply drew as straight a line possible from east to west across the state. We found ourselves on everything from short jaunts of divided highway, to little gravel farm lanes. The gravel didn't slow me down, but since Thomas was still getting used to his new bike, and had very little dirt experience, our pace was reduced a bit. It didn't matter though...just being out on the bikes and seeing new country was all worth it. We continuted our slog west thru the heat, and the furthere west we went, the hotter it got. We stopped for a quick dinner in Sauke Center, MN, and pressed on. We finally hit the South Dakota border, and the temps hit 104. We were sweltering. We tried to find a camping spot in the Pickeral Lake area, but due to the fact that it was a Saturday night in the middle of July, every place was full. We continued on our track, and by the time we hit Webster, we were about done in. After stopping at the local A&W for a cold drink and to look at the phones for a camping spot, we had our first serious "discussion". It was mainly due to a combination of the heat and the long day. Nothing serious, but as I hunted for the nearest camping spot, Thomas pointed out the little mom and pop motel across the street and claimed that is where he was spending the night. Who was I to argue against air conditioning when it it 100 degrees out. Turns out, it was the right decision. We both were able to get cooled down and a good nights sleep for the day ahead. Day 2 stats: Minoqua WI to Webster SD. 440 miles.