First Time 2019
I left Friday morning to cut my way across Texas, lunch time on the east side of Dallas. The Louisiana border was history by 1:50 in the afternoon and it’s hotter than a $10 pistol. The temperature was 102° but I knew it would be in August. I arrived at Poverty Point World Heritage site five minutes before the doors closed. I was hot and tired so McDonalds would have to do, the only interest in the hotel was the air conditioning.
Saturday, east across I-20 and arrive at Vicksburg National Military Park by 8:30. One of the Park employees asked me about K1100RS he was interested in purchasing, I told him to buy it, he wasn’t getting any younger. The temperature / humidity are already elevated and the sun is not very high. I cross into Alabama by 11:15 and headed northeast. Rode past Lookout Mountain TN just past 3:00 and through the south side of Chattanooga and turn south into Georgia to visit Chickamauga National Military Park. All roads want to go to Atlanta, so it took a series of state highways to head east to Clemson, South Carolina. I arrived just past dark thirty at the hotel. I followed the tiger paws in the street to Magic Mushroom Pizza for supper.
Sunday, it’s going to be a light day of riding. I rode to Cowpens National Battlefield that had a 1700’s story that was very familiar to a scene from the end of the movie, The Patriot. I arrived at Hungry Mother’s well before 5:00, met up Trevor and Karen and set up my tent. Back in 2013, Kim and I went on a European motorcycle trip through Edlewiess with 14 others from the USA and Canada. We are still in contact with many including Trevor, the Canadian who goes south of the border to roam some of the US highways and had his lovely significant other, Karen. We had dinner in Marion at the diner that apparently killed a TRex.
Monday, I packed up my tent and we were off to ride Back of the Dragon to Tazewell for breakfast and coffee. Trevor suggested I ride over the New River Gorge Bridge, near Fayetteville, WV. The “old bridge” is still in place just above water level with a road winding down on either side but the road down on Fayettville side construction and would not allow traffic. I found out my new GPS has an interesting function, WRONG WAY with red banner to wake you up. I travelled north through the capital of Ohio. The rain suit had to be donned on shortly after and spent the night in Bowling Green.
Tuesday, stopped at River Raisin National Battlefield Park, our greatest defeat in the war of 1812. When Richard and I were traversing the US the summer of 2005, I wanted to ride across the Machinac Bridge but we missed it. The bridge is the western hemisphere’s longest suspension bridge but more importantly it serves as the distinction point between the yoopers and the trolls. The yoopers have a lot of pasties shop, growing up in Texas, I knew better than to enter into one of these establishments but after talking to one of the locals, the truth about Upper Peninsula pasties were revealed to be sort of a pastry with Shepard pie ingredients. I ended up have a fish sandwich at my last fuel stop somewhere west of Marquette. The Motel 6 in Duluth is a little scary, I was tempted to try and push the bike into my room. Today, I rode through OH, MI, WI, MN, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.
Wednesday, my hotel in Minot ND has contacted me that I need to check in by 9:00, No Problemo! I only need 670 miles and cross into Canada and back to make the 9:00 check-in. My usual breakfast is coffee and relying on a snack down the road while I fuel up. Traffic is really light north of Grand Rapids, lots of boat trailers or canoes strapped down to the roof of a car or back of the truck. The weather is perfect for the jacket and the sun is out early. I’m out before the tour bus drivers have even warmed up their gray hounds.
Apparently, if you are into Walleye fishing, you should go to Baudett, MN where the fish if so big, they mount them on a column. I’m headed to Angle Inlet , MN where you must enter Canada to cross back into the US if you wish to drive. I have ridden a motorcycle three times into Canada, 1987, 2015 and this time. You expect the usual interrogation but I am riding by myself so the government must know I would not attempt this without a gun, so the search begins. I wait in the office for 25 minutes while the search through my four pieces of luggage must be able to produce something that will fit in the size of my hand. The Canadians have a right to search through my stuff but their only premise was that I was from Texas and admitted I owned a gun, “oh the Horror”! Of course the 20 something white male in the pickup with MN plates spends 10 seconds at the same border crossing. After failing to produce any illegal drugs or weapons, they released me on somewhat good behavior but there was one lingering question…
I make to the MN border in which you are supposed to check into the US customs by government provided kiosk, another 15 minutes. The Northernmost Point in the contiguous United States has no signage for directions, you are left to your own demise. I proceeded in the wrong direction but met the owner at Prothero’s Post and asked about the monument. She said the stick by her dock was the northernmost point but directs me to the other monument. I bought some postcards from her, which I put in the mail at the portable shed with Official Post office on the side of it. After taking my picture, I return to the US Customs Jack-In-The-Box where there is a phone to talk to Canadian Border to inform them I am returning to Canada.
I make my way west of the original border crossing to re-enter into the good ol’ USA. I take my helmet off and give the border patrol my driver license to which he does not want and I produce my passport, he hands to his partner and 50 seconds later a screaming alarm goes off. Being the only one there without a uniform, it had to be me and my Jason Borne instincts are telling me it is not their beauty alarm. I’m not sure if guns were drawn but they were yelling show me your hands which were on top of my handlebars which next to the mirror. I look at the officer in front of me, raise my hands a couple of inches and say “they are right here”. They tell me to get off the bike and up against the wall. Each command I repeat as it is told to me and I comply. When My hands are against the wall, passport guy says something on my left side but I don’t understand. He repeats his command and I still don’t know what he saying. I look at him and explain I cannot hear well in my left ear and he needs repeat it on my right side, “spread your legs”.
The officer who had been in front of me tells me he needs to put cuffs on me, I’m trying not to give him my squinted dad look as I say “ok, you need to watch my left hand, it already hurts”. He put the chrome bracelets on loosely and tells me I could sit on the bench near my bike as his buddy checks out my history. He says, they will know everything in a little bit if I want to confess now. I tell him, this is the first time to have handcuffs and they can look for years, I don’t understand why this going on when I just came through the Canadian Border a couple of hours ago and nothing happened other searching my underwear. The guy now looking through my underwear said he was from Boerne, TX and asked why I was leaving this quickly. I explained I wanted a picture of the monument and he says “you rode from Texas for a picture”? I told him to look at my license plate for his answer. He softly interrogates me, asks if I rode down in Boerne. I told him about the Geezers and Scallywags gathering, Leakey was much better and not crowded. After going through my bags, he said he needed under the seat. I told him the key fob was in my riding pants I was wearing and there was barely enough room for me in there. He removes my key fob but cannot open the seat without instruction, so I help him but there was no joy there. He puts everything back and pulls the cuffs off of me after his friend comes back. They said there was a M R Brown with the same birth date, . I asked for the description, there was not one same with the address. I think the pot smoking anti-gun Canadians put that out there.
It was 4:00 by the time I left my temporary captors. I had a five hour drive without stops to Minot, The guy from Boerne said I could not make it ; ) I made it with a half hour to spare. North Dakota was really pretty with the numerous lakes and countryside. I actually made two monuments that day, the second was the geographical center of north America (this might be questionable) in Rugby ND. The oil boom has also affected Minot, more going on there than B-52s.
Thursday, the temperature is cool enough that I needed electric jacket this morning. The road through the Missouri River valley is absolutely beautiful. There are oil wells by the hundreds but it looks nothing like Loco Hills NM. By the time I reached Belfield MT, I was ready to warm up, dry out and get a late breakfast. I stopped at Roosevelt National Park, where he had ranched for a short time and hunted there and into the Yellowstone. The town of Medora is just off the interstate as well as the Chateau de Mores (Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough). I made a little detour on my way to Billings and stopped at The Indians favorite park, Little Bighorn. I’m not sure that piece of ground was worth fighting for. The Montana sky was big and clear. I arrived at the Beartooth Rendezvous a little after 6:00. Buddy Mills, Don Cameron and Glenn Winters from the San Angelo BMW Riders. There were a lot more riders than anticipated, 180 vs 120 registered and the planned menu was gone before I arrived. The local group improvised with grilled chicken and all the salad you could eat. There were two kegs of beer on the front porch that were donated and the “suggested donation” for a pint.
Friday, Buddy and I rode Beartooth pass at a quickened pace and into Yellowstone. The traffic in the Park was as expected, heavy. The elk herds were huge, and the tourist each had to take a picture of each one. We still made decent time to the Mammoth Hot Springs. We rode north out of the park following the Yellowstone River to Livingston for Mexican food at Fiesta En Jalisco Mexican. Either it was really good or I was starving for Mexican or both. There was a realtor there that testified that every meal there was good. She said she was from Flower Mound TX. We rode onto Big Timber and checked out a gun shop, The Fort. We stopped in Red Lodge for a coke before heading back to camp for dinner. The rally had less people than the night before but there was still a good crowd. They had plenty of supper for everyone and the beer was flowing. Most of the guys and a few gals are done pretty early, whether it’s the age or the fact that the sun drops behind the mountain early.
Saturday, Buddy wanted to beat the heat and intended to start back home and finish on Sunday, he ended up making an Iron Butt out of it and was home before 11:00. I went down and had coffee with the Glenn. I rode Beartooth Pass, Chief Joseph and on to Cody. Axel and I had lunch in Pahaska Tepee in 2014. When we were leaving, this German tourist was hanging out by our bikes. He said he worked at the factory and might have had a hand or two in the assembly of both Axel’s K110RS and my K1300GT. The fact we were on BMWs and not Harleys thrilled him to death. So I rode past Cody Reservoir to have lunch in Buffalo Bills original hunting lodge. I won a Wolf bag as a door prize as well as $40 Gerbring jacket in a silent Auction. Prime rib was the dinner entrée.
Sunday, I left at 5:00 am and arrived back in Lubbock at 9:30 pm. No velocity awards and some new memories. Total Miles 5,967.
Ridden through a few states this summer.