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Old 04-17-2010, 07:40 AM   #1
jfink
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MidAmerica Tour

Every year Chuck and I take a tour somewhere. This year, mid-America. I used to post our ride reports on another web site, but since this has become my home, this year I plan to post up here.

Mostly I expect our families to follow this thread, since the writing isn't so interesting, no real story, pictures are generally blah, something only the family would love. But the rest of you fella's are more than welcome to contribute, where ever there is an opportunity for improvement (and there will be lots of those).

This year finishes out the 49 accessible states. Chuck rides a 2002 VTX and I ride a 2004 Goldwing, (picture from the start of our 2009 ride). Here's our expected route, I say expected because we have been doing this long enough now to know that it will change on the first day.



We are planning on riding up the east side of Oklahoma, through the badlands of South Dakota, into Canada and riding back past the head waters of the Mississippi. Any suggestions for improvement are gladly considered.

(more to come)
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:10 AM   #2
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Looks like a good trip. Have fun and take your time. Do back roads and stay off Interstates as much as possible. If you venture more east, there are some great Mississippi River vistas in Iowa and Minnesota. A lot of history along the river also. I was very pleasantly surprised last year on that route up into Canada.
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:40 AM   #3
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Thanks Andy, on the way back down, we will likely have some time to do a little sightseeing and will take your advice. I have always been fascinated by the Mississippi. Probably from all the books I read by Mark Twain during my formulative years. My oldest son actually lives in Burlington Iowa and I have been up through Missouri and Lousiana along the river several times. It never seems to get old ...
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:36 AM   #4
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

I haven't been up that way in many years, but I might try to stay east in Kansas longer. The Flint Hills are the prettiest area in Kansas. I know that's not saying much . . .

What's the X on Wichita?
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:29 AM   #5
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Ah, the "X" is Thrall Kansas, where Chuck grew up and has relatives buried.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:03 AM   #6
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Well, we have been a little remiss in posting up on this trip. We are in Junction City Kansas this morning and will be in Valentine Nebraska tonight. The weather has been a little less cooperative then the last few years. The trip to Dallas to see the kids was uneventful, but after that it has been raining, windy and chilly.

We are hearing that the low for tonight in Valentine is supposed to get to 31 degrees. The chances of rain are also going up as we head into the week. They say memories are made from adversity. We are looking forward to a few memories.

Sorry about no pictures yet or lack of more information, I am still trying to get used to the netbook. If you have heard the analogy for perspective on inifinity; if a monkey is given an infinite time and a typewriter, he could type the works of shakespear. Well, I would have to beg to differ if he had to use the d&#n netbook keyboard.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:26 AM   #7
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Looks goog to me. I'll be watching.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:17 PM   #8
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Have fun, and be safe.....

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Old 04-28-2010, 02:19 AM   #9
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Look forward to reading your ride report. My husband and I did a tour through the midwest a few years ago. Never spent much time in that part of the country and I was amazed. Beautiful country! Have fun!
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:42 AM   #10
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Thanks for all the well wishes, it is good to hear from you all. We are in Rapid City SD this morning. I guess it is good foder now days to rip on the opposing political view, but as we pass through the breadbasket of our country, you realize there are so many Americans waking up each day to go to work. The corn and wheat fields have been planted, the trains full of coal are headed east, trucks passing and being passed in every direction, the utility systems. Whether you agree or not with what is done, you have to be impressed with what we have accomplished.

Anyway, enough of that. Here are few pictures.

Chuck and I getting ready to leave Houston.


Rain on the first day! And more is promised as we continue on.


The backroad to visit Chuck's grandparents graves.


The Badlands in South Dakota


Watch out for Rattlesnakes


Big horn sheep on the roadside.


The Firehouse brewery in Rapid City where we ate dinner last night


note to self -> I have got to find a more efficient way to make posts with pictures, between the clumsiness of this netbook keyboard and the posting of pictures, it is very frustrating One wrong key and the entire post is deleted.
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'04 Goldwing (all states, except Hawaii, all provinces except Nunavut)
'08 KLR 650 (685 Kit)
'11 KTM 990 Dakar (all 23 countries in South, Central and North America)
'14 KTM 500 Exc
'14 BMW GTL Exclusive

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Old 04-28-2010, 07:52 AM   #11
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

So, have you seen the crazy folks driving their "street legal" 4 wheeler ATVs there in Rapid City? You haven't lived until you have one go by you in traffic at speed.
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:39 AM   #12
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

You two have fun, and try and stay out of trouble.....HA! HA!

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Old 04-29-2010, 05:40 AM   #13
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quata56 View Post
You two have fun, and try and stay out of trouble.....HA! HA!

Quata
Thank you Quata we are having a great time. Trouble, us?
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'04 Goldwing (all states, except Hawaii, all provinces except Nunavut)
'08 KLR 650 (685 Kit)
'11 KTM 990 Dakar (all 23 countries in South, Central and North America)
'14 KTM 500 Exc
'14 BMW GTL Exclusive

Where I have ridden
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:05 AM   #14
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Yesterday was, in my opinion the best day of the trip. It was sunny and got to into the mid-60s. We left from Rapid City and ended up in Spearfish. On the map this is about a 40 mile trip on the freeway.

But had we taken the slab, we would have missed some of the best scenery and roads in this part of the country. Some of the hair pin turns literally crossed over themselves {i.e. greater then 360 degrees). We stopped in Mt. Rushmore and while I can appreciate the historic value, it seemed to have a feel of a tourist trap.

As we drove out of Custer there were loads of deer, antelope, prarie dogs and buffalo. To the point of it becoming a safety concern. No problems even though we sent many deer scampering.

As we completed the loop and came back into Custer a thunderstorm broke out and we spent a couple hours in a mom and pop restaurant. Finally donning our winter gear again as the temperature dramatically dropped as the front went by.

We did make it into Sturgis, no big deal. But, I have to tell a little story. We only had a few miles to our hotel in Spearfish, so Chuck and I decided to stop at the Knuckler, a local bar in Sturgis and have a historic beer. When the bartender asked what we wanted Chuck ordered the big beer, I ordered the little one. She looked at me and said, "hey, don't be a P*&&Y get a big one!"

After we finished, I laid my credit card on the bill and she picked it up. When she returned she asked, "so, who gets to sign?" I said, "that would be me, the P*&&Y!" She said, "well ... you are a P*&&Y, I call it the way I see it!" Obviously, she was not trolling for a tip, so I obliged with 0% and wrote, "I call them the way I see it!"

Anyway, the wind has picked up, and even though there are no hurricanes in this part of the country, you would never know if from the wind velocity. It is cold too, 36 degrees right now. All the pictures are in the camera and I am not going out in my jammies to get them.

Later
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'04 Goldwing (all states, except Hawaii, all provinces except Nunavut)
'08 KLR 650 (685 Kit)
'11 KTM 990 Dakar (all 23 countries in South, Central and North America)
'14 KTM 500 Exc
'14 BMW GTL Exclusive

Where I have ridden

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Old 04-29-2010, 06:25 AM   #15
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

You'd think you might have a little more decent weather, but after all, this is Spring so you never know. I hope the weather gets better for you as your trip progresses. I must admit, I am jealous!
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:24 PM   #16
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

I finally got an email from Joe tonight. It seems they have had way too much fun in Ashland, Montana - I suspect another bartender took a liking to him.

He reports there is no cell service, weather is turning from bad to worse, but he and Chuck are having a grand time.
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:16 AM   #17
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Funny thing about bigotry, sometimes you have to step back to see your own. We are here in Ashland Montana, a stones throw from the Cheyenne Indian Reservation. It is snowing outside right now, and Chuck and I are probably both going to be sporting hangovers in the morning. We didn't mean for this to happen, it just sorta did.

After a great morning of carving the twisties south from Spearfish, then stopping to see the "Devils Tower" in Wyoming, we headed west trying to beat the storm to Ashland. We arrived about a half hour before the storm, got buttoned up and decided to have Lunch/Dinner.

We went across town (three blocks) and ate at one of the Restaurant / Casino / Bar / Hotel combinations. We managed to talk the waiter / cook / bartender / busy guy into cooking us each a plate of spagetti, even though it wasn't officially dinner and he was afraid he would have to server others while he was cooking our spagetti. We drank all the wine they had in the bar, one each of airplane size bottles of blush and merlot. After that we each had a corona.

The only other patrons were three Cheyenne in the casino in the back. As I walked back to try to get my a cell signal I struck up a converstation. This eventually led to them joining us at our table, where we talked of Indian / Whites relations. They seemed very mistrustful of the whites in general but I could not understand if it was something they grew up with or if it was because of something that had happened to them. They did admit that it wasn't just the whites, that the tribal peoples themselves had their own share of problems.

Leona, Tyre and Brandon left to go get a check but promised to return later to continue drinking. We closed out our tab there at the Justus Inn and crossed main street (the only street) to the Buffet Club. This was only a bar, no food, no motel but it had a casino too. Debbie was the bartender and has been in Ashland for about a year.

She talked about leaving a place in California and coming to Ashland and how she could not believe that there were more gays here then in California, go figure. It was more a statement, I did not get the impression that she held any animosity. We also talked about the indians in the town. She said she had no problem with the indians but that they could not even get along with each other. Apparently the Crow and the Cheyenne have a deep dislike for each other.

We drank a couple beers brewed in Missoula (this place jad a better selection than any of the others). Deal or No Deal came on the television set. Debbie told us that every bar in town (all three of them) would be watching this program. We laughed and decided to mosie on down to the next (and last) bar, the Office.

When we walked in the door, sure enough the televison was tuned to Deal or No Deal. We were two of may be five people in the bar. Joey, the bar tender, must have just had a fist full of puppy uppers, cuz he was bouncing off the wall. He was serving the beer, playing pool with another patron, going out back to check on something out there, he had a half dozen things going on at once.

We ordered a beer and then Chuck and I each played a game of pool with Joey, in between him serving more and more patrons as they came in the door. Joey came down the bar and dropped a "Free Drink" coupon on the counter in front of us, from the owner. We thanked Tim, the owner, and drank another beer.

Eventually, we struck up a converstation with Tim and talked about bjs bar, our kids, growing up and getting old. He bought another beer. I asked about the Indians. Tim said he had no problems with the Indians but it seemed when he got into fights, it was always with the Indians. Tim bought another round. Honestly, I can't remember how many he bought, all I know is I finally had to say, enough.

We made it back to the other side of town, to our motel room. It was just starting to snow.

Everyone we talked too said there were some big race problems in town. But I am still left wondering if no one we taled to seemed to have any real problems with the others, why are there still big race issues. Frankly, I beleive these race issues are deep seeded, everyone has received some form of implicit behavioral coaching, and the bigotry doen't manifest itself in casual converstations. It makes me wonder how many bias's I carry around myself?

To many beers talking...

Jeff ... it must be the time of year, because we didn't really see any ATV's except for some little kid barrelling down the ditch at 60 miles an hour. May be it is still too early, it's snowing right now.

Don ... this has been an eventual trip with all the weather, but I think I get some enjoyment out of facing some of this adversity. I think you probably know what I mean.

Thanks dear for updating the post, Chuck and I are having a great time, hopefully we will have cell service tomorrow. I would post some pictures but the camera is experiencing some difficulty and it still is out in the bike and I am not going out in my jammies in the snow to get it.

Good night all,
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'04 Goldwing (all states, except Hawaii, all provinces except Nunavut)
'08 KLR 650 (685 Kit)
'11 KTM 990 Dakar (all 23 countries in South, Central and North America)
'14 KTM 500 Exc
'14 BMW GTL Exclusive

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Old 04-30-2010, 10:39 AM   #18
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

It's a new morning and neither Chuck or I are suffering as bad as I had initially thought. We have been up and down to the hitching post for breakfast, where we ran into Tim the bar owner again. Tim received a call that the roads are closed from heavy snow to Billings. We are going that way but not that far. After that, the filling station owner where we gassed up said that he suspected that the roads out to the Little Big Horn battlegrounds are passiable.

We may end up back in Ashland before it is all over.
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'04 Goldwing (all states, except Hawaii, all provinces except Nunavut)
'08 KLR 650 (685 Kit)
'11 KTM 990 Dakar (all 23 countries in South, Central and North America)
'14 KTM 500 Exc
'14 BMW GTL Exclusive

Where I have ridden

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Old 04-30-2010, 03:32 PM   #19
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

Joe,

How interesting to read your storys.....Know you and Chuck are having a great time. You are going, where Charles and I took our last trip together.....

Stay safe. we miss you,

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Old 05-01-2010, 05:19 AM   #20
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Re: MidAmerica Tour

We are in Glendive MT. This has been a trip of extremes.

After leaving Rapid City we had almost perfect weather and great roads for two days. Here is a picture of the road coming away from Mount Rushmore taken a couple days. I thought I had captured a picture of one of the double backs but my camera is acting up so it may be lost. The weather and temperature was almost perfect, but I repeat myself.



Then things got rough. Yesterday leaving Ashland MT we rode up through what they call the "divide", a rise of a thousand feet between Ashland and Lame Deer. We pulled off at the chain up area and snapped a few pictures. Here's one:



At the top of the pass it got down to 32 degrees and we rode most the way to Little Big Horn battlefield 40 to 50 miles in this type weather. Snow collected on the windsheild of the wing and would fly off in chunks. Then it began accumulating on my visor and I would have to reach up and wipe it loose to be able to see. BUT, as difficult as all this was, it was nothing compared to the trip from Little Big Horn to Glendive.

We are getting awful gas mileage, as we came around to I-94 going to Glendive we started looking for gas. We slowed down to conserve, we didn't want to end up on the side of the road. Chuck made it to Forsyth with less than a tenth of a gallon left, his bike stalled twice as we went through town to the station.

We heard there were gusts yesterday in the 70 to 80 mph range. I believe they just didn't have the wind gauge in the right place. It felt like some one kept punching me on the left side of the head, every two or three seconds. The wind gusts combined with the drizzle, snow flurries and the low temperature made this part of the trip about the most brutal I have ever ridden in. The wind actually disonnection my CB cable and it took me a few miles to get it reconnected.

Sorry, no pictures here, I was doing all I could to hold on. But to make up for it here is a picture of the Devils Tower. Of all the things we have seen, this one to me was the most amazing.



Tomorrow we head to Canada, and we are planning to make it to Brandon, Manitoba. It will be a longer ride then today's by about 100 miles. But to make up for it, the weather is supposed to be worse.

Later,
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'04 Goldwing (all states, except Hawaii, all provinces except Nunavut)
'08 KLR 650 (685 Kit)
'11 KTM 990 Dakar (all 23 countries in South, Central and North America)
'14 KTM 500 Exc
'14 BMW GTL Exclusive

Where I have ridden

Last edited by jfink; 05-20-2012 at 05:57 PM.
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