Hwy. 53, west on Hwy. 8, south on county road O, west on 106th, south on Hwy. 24 all the way to I94 and into Minneapolis. 494 west around Saint Paul to I35W south, west on 19 West, 169 south to 14 west blasting towards South Dakota. These are great biking roads with tons of small farm communities and interesting things to see and photograph. I could have stopped all day but Iím in Iron-Butt mode as long as Iím in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is ride, stop, hydrate, eat, chill, and only long enough to partially recover, then continue riding hard. I think all big rides include some form of Iron-Butt mode riding. To me, itís about throttling it up to get to where you want to throttle back and explore. And it just feels good to push your own physical and mental limits trying to get there, a total motorcycle / Zen process and experience.
I have been practicing looking for spots like this nearly my entire life. This is a typical rest spot, a farm field with a rough path leading into a couple shade trees. There is not a farmer on this planet that will not welcome a weary traveler on a motorcycle the use of his shade tree along the road. Everyone has to know this, right.
The rear wheel axel cotter pin broke a peg off when I changed the wheel, so I stop long enough at a hardware store somewhere in southern Minnesota and buy a couple cotter pins.
Hwy. 14 west through southern Minnesota. At around 8:00 Iím close to the South Dakota border. There should be another hour and a half of daylight left but it is getting darker and darker ahead. Soon there are sprinkles and some serious lighting action, straight ahead. This requires immediate action so I turn on the first paved road pointing south and blast it. The storm brought bolt after bolt right in the fields next to me as I try to race away, and it was a race. I made it twenty miles before the storm overtakes me with serious crosswinds and lighting. Passing the only farmhouse in miles, I see a few small trees right at the edge of a cornfield. I do a 180, drive off the road and straight to the trees next to the field. My emergency tarp is always at the ready but I had not attached any new cords lately. I calmly locate the camp rope, a knife and begin to cut perfect lengths of rope while tying three Bolen knots to the tarp. The tarp is secure to the bike perfectly now and all is good.
The rain poured and the lighting light the sky for an hour and a half. Iíll tell ya, spending time under a small tarp attached to a motorcycle while a severe electrical and wind storm is happening right next to you is an experience to say the least. I actually admitted to Heidi that I was almost a little afraid for a bit, the lighting was happening so rapidly it sounded like a freight train, and that is the sigh of an approaching tornado, and sitting on the up-side of a motorcycle in a tornado is not a good place to be.
After lifting the tarp to look and listen, I did conclude that it was just rapid-fire successions of lighting, not a tornado. Whoosh, Iím a happy guy.
Two hours later, the storm passes and it feels warm, so back on the road
I make it to a small village in South Dakota. Anyone who as ever traveled through the back roads of SD knows that almost every little town has a city park where it is possible to camp. It is simply part of the culture here.
Off the corner of my eye, I see an RV sitting at a small city park, perfect. My camp is up in no time. It feels great to be dry and bedded down.
Coffee, water, nuts, trail mix and dried apricots, I am good to go, yeah!
It is still raining a little in the morning but soon stops. I pack up early and take off.