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Badlands & Wyoming

Day 4: 359 miles

I had driven along the edge of Badlands National Park during Sturgis a few years ago, but this was this the first time I rode thru the park.  The park is beautiful, but, as an extra bonus, there was a classic car rally going traveling thru the park at the same time.

Badlands1Badlands2Badlands3

Wyoming

On my first cross-country road trip, I came out of Nebraska and into Wyoming.  In Nebraska, at 4 PM, the temperature was 70-80 degrees (F); by 5 PM, in Wyoming the temperature had dropped into the 40’s (even though it was August) and I had forgotten my cold weather riding gear.  Ultimately, I made it to Laramie, WY wearing sock mittens on my hands.  My exact words describing the experience were Wyoming kicked my ass and made me its bitch.

This time Wyoming tried to crush me with heat: heading to Buffalo, WY the temperature was 100+ degrees and the sun was beating down.  About an hour away from the hotel, I did run into a little bit of rain, which was refreshing, but it came with high winds (gusts of up to 35 MPH).

This ride was not as rough of as that original trip, but by the time I reached the hotel, I was dehydrated and exhausted.

Next

My original plan was to stay in Buffalo and drive to Yellowstone, then return to Buffalo.  As it turned out, I had misjudged the proximity and had to come with a new plan; details to follow.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Spirt Lake & Hotel Problems

Day 3: 565 miles

My goal for the day was to visit the Victory factory in Spirit Lake, IA, then continue toward Yellowstone National Park.

Spirit Lake

The route to Spirit Lake took me thru the beautiful green plains of Iowa on two lane  country roads.  The weather was perfect for riding – sunny & breezy, but not too hot – and except for the occasionally pick-up or tracker trailer, the roads were pretty much empty.

File Jun 24, 10 15 52 PM

I stopped for lunch in Estherville, a beautiful small town about 15 minutes east of Spirit Lake.  The town square is dominated by the public library fronted by small park and bordering on a storybook main street.

File Jun 24, 10 16 34 PM

I finally reached the factory around 1:30 PM local time.  I tried my best to be persuasive, the receptionist was politely adamant: no visitors can enter the factor or take tours while the new model year is being created; tours would restart in August around the time of American Victory Rally.

File Jun 24, 10 17 23 PM

Not getting into the factory was a little disappointing, but it was still an amazing morning riding thru the countryside.

The Hotel Issue

Leaving Spirit Lake, I got back on the highway.  Unfortunately much of I-90 is South Dakota is under construction / repair.  I was debating on how far I wanted to drive and eventually settled on Murdo, SD, but found there were no vacancies anywhere in town.

The next major town on I-90 is Wall, SD, which is a bit of tourist trap, although it is right by the entrance to Badlands National Park.  I reserved a room online and settled in for another hour of riding thru construction.

Arriving at the hotel, I found the hotel receptionist in quite a state.  I quickly learned the source of her stress:

  • There was corvette show in the area and pretty much ever town on I-90 was fully booked.
  • They were having a problem with the online booking system and did not have room for me. Ugh!

Contemplating how far I would have to drive to find hotel was putting me in the same state as the receptionist, but this kind woman came to my rescue: she called a friend ran another hotel in town; the hotel was being renovated, but he opened & gave me a room (a couple other desperate travelers also got rooms).

Despite the renovations, the room was clean, well-appointed and less than half the price of the room I originally reserved.  The only downside was the lack of WiFi, but I was grateful just to have a place to stay.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to town outside of Yellowstone and visiting the park on Saturday.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Hybrid Plan

homeAfterRepairsRepairs were completed on Friday, August 22 and I picked up the Kingpin that night.  (Thanks to Sam for the ride.)  With all the changes, especially repairing the clogged air box, it’s running like new.  Now I just need to decide on a route for the next week.

In the prior post, I imagined keeping either the northern or southern leg of the original plan, but instead, I’ve decided on a hybrid of the two.

On Sunday, I will be taking a leisurely ride into Maryland to visit Marcus.  The shortest route is only 154 miles – 2.5 hours as the Google flies – but I’m planning a more scenic route heading west thru south-central Pennsylvania before turning south into Maryland.  I expect to arrive late in the afternoon.

Monday will be an open day – I’ll choose a destination that morning.  At this point, I expect to head toward the national forests along the West Virginia / Virginia border.  The only constraint will be staying within a single day ride from home as that will be my destination for Tuesday.

After returning home Tuesday night, I’m going to spend Wednesday riding with Sam.  We haven’t decided exactly where to go, but there are plenty of great rides in central Pennsylvania.  Sam is also on vacation, but is not spending all his free time riding (I don’t understand why) so this will just be a day ride.

On Thursday, I’ll start a two day ride to Boston, with the goal of arriving late Friday afternoon.  Boston is an easy day drive – a trip I have done numerous times in a car – but I’m planning on taking the long way.  I’m going to stay away from the I-95 corridor, instead heading north-west out of Pennsylvania and into New York state.  I’m not sure how far north I will go, but expect to spend Thursday night somewhere near Canada on the New York / Vermont border.  During my research, I found some great riding in Vermont and should have plenty of time for exploring on Friday.

Friday afternoon, I will approach Boston from north. (They won’t be expected that.)  I’ll be in the area, riding & visiting folks, until Sunday morning when I will be heading home.  At the moment, I expect to take the fastest route (I-95), but may decide to get away from the interstate and stretch the ride home into Monday.  I usually prefer to have a decompression day at the end of a road trip, but this year will be different as it is a series of short rides rather than a single massive trip.

What about Oak Island?

The original focus for this year was visiting new areas & old friends.  That focus remains, even though the reduced timeline has limited both goals: I won’t be able to see as many folks in Virginia and will miss out on Maine, Nova Scotia, and, most significantly, Oak Island.

If it were just a matter of travel time, I could still hit all the destinations, but the point of the road trip is not the number of miles, but making the most of the miles.  Additionally, there are no Oak Island tours Labor Day weekend, so that window has closed for now.  Even though this will be different from prior road trips, it should be a good time.

Post Script: it’s been two years since I’ve visited the south-west U.S. and I have been missing Kingwood & Albuquerque.  There may be an early trip next year.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Uncategorized