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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hello Wisconsin!

June 30th

I got up early enough to have some continental breakfast. coffee and fruit loops. heh. it helps getting something in the gut early in the morning.

I got to the chamberlin visitor info center. they had a bunch of lewis and clark displays. I snagged a map of south dakota as well. i've been trying to collect maps, because the next trip i take in the US, i'll be mapping places where i want to go and routes to get there. not exactly planning the route, but laying out different routes.

I took this picture because what i thought were deer on the side of the road in the last few days were actually antelope! i knew they looked a bit different but the horns give it away. cool. i saw deer and antelope.

see that rabbit in the picture? i saw lots. usually roadkill though. damn big rabbits.
The fossil (replica i assume) is from a mosasaur, a 45 foot long fish. it was found on top of a ridge near here on the lewis and clark expedition.
a view of the train bridge over the missouri river. I couldn't get a picture of the car bridge with all the trees in the way.
Yup. i look pretty rough eh? i felt it. the winds were back, but not with a vengeance yet.I felt like garbage, so i ordered a garbage omelette with a side of bacon. the cheddar hash browns were good.

The menu said it had everything in it except the kitchen sink. it had lots. it was very very good. very filling.

This was in the restaurant/gas station. heh. neato.
I wasn't kidding. it's called the garbage omelete. I had forgotten where i had eaten... Well it was at Ditty's in kimball. heh.I was riding when i saw the tips of horns over the crest on the side of the road. I pulled over in the emergency lane and took a picture. heh. only stop in emergencies they say. it's in emergency i say.
Odd. fascinating. no clue why it's there. it was big. real big. that's also a pretty big hammer.

The whole scene
I'd love this on my front lawn. well, if i had a lawn.
the winds were getting worse and my neck and shoulders were starting to kill me. I needed gas so i stopped in Sioux falls for gas. From past experience if there's a town called something falls, then there's usually a waterfall nearby. Also, it's usually in a park called Falls Park.
GPS had a falls park in there so i went to where the gps told me to go.

Bingo, visitor info center at the park. That's the tower to look at the falls.
Looks like a restaurant on the other side of the river.

The falls. i'm such a sucker for waterfalls. dunno why. i'm such a girly man.

The park had many statues like this. actually, the whole town had statues all over it. it looks like an interesting city to visit. too bad i'm out of time... i'd like to spend a few days here i think.
Here's a little view of the park.
I left sioux falls and fought with the wind. there was a lot of traffic and a lot of road work, so it was an... adventure. see the picture below? it's pretty much all i saw of minnesota. I stayed on the interstate and didn't do much except fight the wind.
the picture is crooked because the wind kept pushing me around like a rag doll. i didn't want to risk any other pictures.
I needed another break... only 50 miles after the last break. that wind was a killer. I stopped off at a rest area and chatted with a couple from michigan. they were on a police harley riding 2-up. I didn't take a picture, but this is when i first met Rhonda and Pat. They thought my ride was cool. i showed them what were some neat places they should go. they were coming back from california on their first long trip. the wind was throwing the big harley around and Rhonda's neck was taking a beating too as the touring windshield didn't protect her at all.

I took off and it started getting colder by the minute and i didn't have my liners inside my mesh gear to keep me warm and dry. the clouds were looking darker to the east and it looked like rain. crap. I pulled over to a gas station and put on my jacket liner. if it was going to rain, i'd pull over and put on my other rain gear.
I heard a bike behind me and it was Rhonda and Pat again. neato. they went on a country road to try to avoid the winds, but it didn't help. they almost ran out of gas, and would have if it weren't for some farmer giving them some lawnmower gas. heh. got them out of trouble.
people in the country are nicer than people in cities. this trip has more than proved it. i'm not saying city people are nasty... but sometimes they just are.

Pat suggested we ride together, and i took him up on it. When i first met them they had t-shirts and bandana's but now they had the helmets, gloves and jackets out. heh. they got cold.

I rode with them for an hour or so at the speed limit. funny how you feel safer when riding with someone else. another thing to note is that the wind totally died down for the majority of our ride... odd.
I needed to pee and my hands were freezing. i didn't change out my gloves like i should have earlier. I passed them at one point and gave them a wave. I might be seeing them later on as we are both heading the same way. I opened the throttle up to 85-90 and blasted down the interstate. i couldn't care if i got a speeding ticket... i needed coffee and to pee.

I stopped off in saint charles and gassed up and got a coffee. I heard some clopping and saw a horse and buggy go down the road. cute. There were a bunch of kids at the gas station and one of them yelled something to the effect "peace out Amish"
hah! The amish are in town. neato. never seen that before. Then another buggy went by.

I heard some more clopping so i got my camera out. it was far away and moving but i got a picture finally. i had seen some Amish in Alberta growing up, but only on the side of the highway out of town, never down the main street. heh.

It started to rain lightly while i was at the gas station, so i suited back up and kept going. i wanted to at least hit the border of wisconsin before nightfall and maybe go further in and get some miles in. it was a light drizzle, but i made good time.
Emma come first. Den I come. Den two asses come together. I come once-a-more! Two asses, they come together again. I come again and pee twice. Then I come one lasta time

the above is better said by an old italian man with bad english.
yay! i crossed the mississippi river! it's pretty damn wide.

It was getting dark faster than i had hoped and i decided to stop at La Crosse, Wisconsin for the night. It's on the river bank.
I looked at some of the motels nearby, but nothing with the doors facing out, so i started looking at the outskirts a bit more. GPS said the Affordable Inn was near, so i rode over. It looked kinda sketchy and not in the best of hoods, but i took a chance. an ok room, two double beds and free wifi. sign me up.

unloaded the bike and went out for some food. only thing open it seemed (besides all the fast food joints) was Perkins. ate and headed back for blog and bed.
gps says 1047 miles left to get home. I almost feel like trying for an Iron Butt Associate ride (1000 miles in under 24 hours) but i think at this stage it would be too dangerous to try. i'm exhausted, the bike is not the in the best of shape and all it would take is one mistake and i'm toast.

Btw, happy canada day! woot. i wanted to be in canada on the 1st, but i guess that won't be happening.

might be no update until home

june 30th

it's 9am and the bike is loaded and ready to go. weather is looking good for now, but i'll see when i get on the open road.

i'll be skipping across south dakota, moving through minnesota, whizzing past wisconsin and hopefully be past chicago by the end of the night. who knows... all i know is i might not be able to update the blog until home.

wish me good weather (even though it looks crappy around the great lakes)


Monday, June 29, 2009

big fat heads, big fat tire, big fat rainbow... big fat headache.

June 29th
I left the town of Lusk, wyoming at 10. late, i know. couldn't sleep well.

right as i left town, i saw a few deer near the road. good thing i didn't ride into the night... i probably wouldn't have ridden out of it.
I'm still worried about the rear tire, but in the morning before leaving i made a list of suzuki dealerships that were on my route.

I headed north to the next town so i could get some food. I stopped in Newcastle at Donna's main street diner for some food. it was just after 11am, so they weren't serving breakfast anymore. The server offered the lunch special and since i didn't know what i wanted, i took it.

beef fajita with side salad. It was actually really good. not the fajitas i'm used to eating, but just as good when eating with a fork and knife. raspberry vinagrette to top off the salad. i needs my greens.

Heading east towards Custer, South Dakota.
Funny. I crossed t border into South dakota and the scenery changed instantly to this. trees. neato. maybe that's how they figured out the borders. hah.

it was a nice easy ride until i hit Black Hills national park. Black hills, not to be confsed with black forest ham. one is a delicious luncheon meat.
I didn't take any pictures inside of black hills because the roads are a lot more technical and twisty so i couldn't take pictures while riding. The shoulders were too narrow for me to pull over and take pictures. most places didn't have a shoulder.

I just liked the look of these rocks.

Here's the Crazy Horse memorial. yes, it's far away, but when i got closer i saw the toll booths and didn't want to pay to see it up close.
there. see it now? it's the big rock with a face in it and a hole through it. it's a work in progress. read it online for more info as to what it's supposed to look like. would be awesome if they finished it.
On my way to mount rushmore. everyone pulled over at this lookout and didn't know what they were snapping pictures of until i looked behind me. ah. the profile of a president. heh.

yay. mount rushmore. it's free to go. you just have to pay $10 for parking. that's bullshit. $10 for a car, truck, motorcycle. bullshit.
anyhow, the entrance

from the entrance.
you'll have to excuse the many rushmore pics. it's kinda neat for one, and i want my $10 worth
Here they are on top of teddy's head geting ready to put George W.'s face between teddy and lincoln.

with all the parking money they made, you'd think they'd clean up the rubble below.
The dude who designed mount rushmore. this bust was sculpted by his son. neat.
The hall of flags i believe

i don't look too thrilled do i. actually, it was just so damn bloddy hot and i had the sun in my eyes.
the ampitheatre
i got an ice cream. i got an ice cream, your daddy's on welfarei left mount rushmore. if the price was a bit lower i wouldn't mind, but i thought $10 was kinda steep. all the other monuments in the park are either by fee or parking fee. capitalism at it's best.
stopped at the side of the road for this picture. it was free.

the clouds were looking rather... mean and even though it said sunny today in the area, it looked like rain. sure enough as soon i got into Rapid city, it started pouring. i have my mesh without liners and a full face helmet on. the gear dries fast enough and the helmet keeps water out of my face. I stopped in to a gas station for some coffee, and looked at the back tire again. The tire was still good for now, but wouldn't last long. it's ok to ride without treads, but not in the rain. I called the local suzuki/honda/victory place and said they could probably put a tire on, and put me through to parts. on hold for 7 mins so i hung up and rode over instead.

as luck would have it, they had 2 tires that could fit. a dunlop 555(?) and a metzler me880. w00t. i love the Me880. over to the service department and they can take the bike in the next 1/2 hour. great! they asked if i wanted anything else looked at, since they saw the fork seal leaking and the oil leak at the jugs. They think it's just a gasket for the jugs, but they didn't know if they could do the fork today and if they had the seals. I just got them to put the new rear tire on for now. the rains came and went while i waited for the tire to be installed.

I left the Shop (it's called Rice Honda) and instantly got hit with massive crosswinds. these were the real dangerous kind. my neck still hurts from the crosswinds. at least it wasn't raining. The speed limit was 75mph, but i couldn't go much faster than 60. nasty stuff. scary stuff.

I stopped almost every chance i could because it was so hard to ride in that stuff.
at one reststop along the way i took a picture of this thing. a concrete teepee?

later i stopped at a gas station and had a couple of hot dogs... a regular and a buffalo meat hot dog. The regular one was better.

i was about to get back on the bike when i spotted this guy. never seen a prarie dog/marmot/gopher thing in this color. neato.

there wasn't just one, there were about 6 or so.
these two popped out of the hole you see behind them, and started wrestling. cute to watch.

you can see a bunch here.

nom nom nom
this guy kept looking at me, then eating. heh.

at the next rest stop, there was a huge rainbow. well, like they say, you have to always follow the rainbow.

the weather was clear behind me, but looked real nasty towards the rainbow.
hmm. it's a bow. it comes out with rain. crap. i'm gonna get wet, and with the crosswinds to boot.

more rainbow
I left the rest spot and wondered how much longer i could ride. i was hoping to stop at around 9:30 so i could get some miles in. it was about 8pm now. good. another hour and a half to go. the odd thing was that the crosswinds were gone and i could now make up some speed.

I rode for about 5 mins and the road was becoming wet. I pulled over at an overpass and got off the insterstate and put on my jacket liner and my rain pants and rain gloves. good to go. I could still ride fast in the rain, just not as fast.

i could still ride for another hour or so.

WRONG. about 2 mins after putting on my rain gear i passed the timezone. it was now after 9pm. crap. I didn't know if i should hole up in the next town, or make up some miles and make the next one. the rain was starting now, but it was just a light rain.

shortly after the heavy crosswinds were back. This is not good. all decided, i'm shacking up in the next town.
The next town is Murdo. a few motels in town... 2 chain motels, and a few other smaller motels. I opted for the days inn. door on floor level, free wifi and looked reputable.
also to note, when i entered the town of murdo, the rainbow was a full semi-circle, and one end was basically at the days inn. heh. always follow the rainbow. what a sight the semi-circle was.
I went out in search of food, but everything closes at 10pm. vending machine food will have to do.
so that's where i am now. i'm beat. the wind knocked the crap out of me today. i'm hoping for better weather tomorrow.