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Old 07-14-2014, 08:01 PM   #1
Essnowyt OP
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Titan and Rusty's misguided adventure.

Lets start off with the obligatory introductions. My name is Eric, but every knows me as Snowy. Titan is 2004 BMW R1150RT. The name comes from the graduating from UW Oshkosh where the mascot is a titan, and the color is titan silver. Thus the name has stuck and is he is a cherished machine


My wife is Rachel. Her companion is Rusty, a 2013 BMW F800GT. Sure the color is orange, but the name stuck. Rusty it is.



We are planning a trip to South Dakota starting this weekend. Saturday at 6am, side stands up and we are heading west. We will try to keep this updated once a day, it may or may not happen. However, once we return more photos will be added

Enjoy the show.

Snowy
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:11 PM   #2
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Day -6

Starting to get excited. We washed both bikes yesterday. Sure we will accumulate fresh protein, but it just feels better to start with a clean bike.


Snowy.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:18 PM   #3
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Day -5

We have spent the early part of the riding season adding some farkles to Rusty. Thus we needed to make one more short trip to dial everything in. This was a test of a new tall windshield. Also Rachel got a light weight mesh jacket. Here is the tall unit, but Rachel took that off for a medium shield.


Tuesday we have other plans with family. Wednesday I will start packing cameras and other technologies.

Snowy.
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:40 PM   #4
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Day -2

So I had plans to take a bunch of photos of our preperations. Sadly however that did no go exactly as planned. The one photo I got that was planned was of the camera arsenal.


The rest of Thursday was packing and organizing. Sadly undocumented.

Snowy.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:45 PM   #5
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Day 1

648 miles
Temps ranged from 60 to 88 degrees

The day started for with a 4 am alarm with the goal of being on the road by 6 am. Even with the last of the packing that we had, our goal was met. We rolled out of the driveway at exactly 6 am.


Today was the longest planned day as far as mileage goes. Most of the way was very boring highway (or slab as we call it). Leaving from our home just north of Milwaukee, we were able to make good time and be out of Wisconsin and into Minnesota by 9 am. It took us another approximately 5 hours to get through Minnesota (including several gas stops and lunch).



We had planned out our gas stops ahead of time since we weren’t always sure where we would find gas. This plan however failed miserably with the highway speeds being higher than we’re used to, causing less than desirable gas mileage. Our thirsty bikes changed our plans from three gas stops for the 650 miles to 4 stops.


We made it into South Dakota just after 2:30 and went to see Falls Park in Sioux Falls. I have stopped at this park several times during business trips to South Dakota, however this was Eric’s first time to this park. Eric told me he thought 20 minutes would be enough time to spend looking around. In reality, we ended up there for about an hour and a half. It was a gorgeous day and we had no issues just wandering around and looking at all the sights/wildlife (and people).


While we were there, we saw two unique wedding parties. One looked to be a gypsy wedding with a young bride in a huge blue wedding dress. The second was an African wedding with well matched outfits for the bridesmaids and groomsmen and full headdresses. There were at least 30 people in this wedding party. It was definitely cool to see these people all dressed up and the completely different styles that they displayed.



But enough of the people watching, we still had more plans for the day. Eric has been participating for the past several years in GLMC’s (Glacial Lake Motorcycle Club) Grand Tour. Each year has a unique theme to help send people to places they may never go otherwise. You just need to photo your bike, rider towel and town name to collect a point. This year’s theme is towns with double letters in the name (ie. Addison, Milwaukee). So, while we are on our trip, we are picking up a few of these along the way.

While doing this side excursion for Grand Tour, we ended up on a road that had recently been chip sealed. For the most part, there were well traveled, clear lanes for us to follow. Just before we got back to I-90 though, I came across an area in my lane where there was about a two inch thick pile of loose gravel. Going through this gave me my first scare of the trip, but luckily I was able to keep it “shiny side up”. We encountered the same thing at the entrance to the on ramp for the highway. NOT COOL!


We then made a blast to Chamberlain, where we made our stop for the night. Just before getting to the hotel, we made a last minute stop at the rest stop just before the Missouri River. This scenic rest stop is worth stopping at if you are going through the area.



That is all for today, but we will continue the adventure tomorrow.

-Rachel


Hotel Wifi is failing! Photos should be up soon. You can review them here. https://www.flickr.com/photos/248956...7645663213651/


Snowy.

Essnowyt screwed with this post 07-20-2014 at 04:46 PM Reason: Added Photos.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:06 PM   #6
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Day 2


244 Miles
Temps ranged from 66 to 100.4 degrees per Rusty’s temp gauge (104 per the bank sign in Wall).

Today started out again with the alarm going off at 5am. Hold on a minute…this is supposed to be vacation! Oh well. Places to go, things to see.

We left our hotel in Chamberlain at 6:30am With leaving this early, we practically had the highway to ourselves for the better part of our two hour run west.


We headed for our first stop, which was the Minuteman Missile Control Room Tour. For the tour it is recommended to get to the visitor’s center early. There are a limited number of tours offered. We arrived right around 7:30am MNT. We were lucky enough to get into a tour at 9:00am. Each tour is limited to 6 people and they run every half hour. We had to drive a couple miles from the visitor’s center to get to the actual command center.

The tour itself was short, but interesting. We got to go through the living quarters for the missileers and then down a very cramped elevator to the control room. Down in the underground bunker, we got to seen some of the equipment used to control missile launches. Thankfully, none of the missiles were ever launched.


*** Cannon Shoot Replica Photo ***


From the command center facility, we then had to continue west to go back east. Stupid road construction!

Our next stop was the Badlands. This is definitely a place we would have loved to spend some more time in if it wasn’t already 85 degrees by about 10 am. Needless to say, we still enjoyed the trip through the winding roads and gorgeous overlooks. The only downside was the bee that found its way into my shirt while we were riding and stung me several times in the chest.



After several hours in the Badlands, we made our way out of the park and drove a few miles down the road to Wall. We stopped at the Wall Drug Café and then did the obligatory touristy shopping and photos.



With the heat hitting triple digits and the long day we had yesterday, we decided to head to the hotel in Rapid City and call it an early evening. More adventures will be had tomorrow.


-Rachel

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Old 07-21-2014, 10:00 PM   #7
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Day 3

278 Miles
Temps ranged from 66 to 95 degrees.

The Alarm went off this morning at 5:30 am. We really didn’t move. Two days in a row up early to be on the road by a set early time had taken a toll on us. Instead, we relaxed a bit. I said, we should be gone by 7:30 am. Even this did not happen. Instead we rolled out the parking lot just before 8am.

First order of business was to bag some grand tour locations. Summerset, Whitewood, Aladdin, and Hulett were done and in the bag. The section between Aladdin and Hulett was wonderful! I put the GoPro on my helmet and got video of the whole leg. There was some construction, but that was only in one area. We stopped for fuel in Hulett before going to Devils Tower.

I was not really sure if we should spend the time to go to Devils Tower. I know the geology of its formation from college, and we were not going to climb it. Sure I have seen close encounters of the third kind, but that really does not matter. What were we going to do there, beyond photo it. I really was not sure. Turns out they have a 1.3 miles paved path around the big solidified hunk of ancient magma. I did not want to spend a huge amount of time hiking; this is a motorcycle trip after all, I want to ride. However we can walk a mile. It was a very cool walk. We even saw a deer feeding within 10 feet of people walking on the path.









We were done with our walk and photos and on the road at 12:30pm. We set our sights on lunch. Nothing really grand, just Subway in Sundance, WY. From there we took 585 to US Hwy 85 with the intent to meet up with Hwy 14A. Well we did, but South Datoka DOT, you owe us a do over! Hwy 85 was in the process of being chip sealed. Remember that gravel Rachel loved so much from day one? Yup, more of it. 16 miles of it. It was manageable so not a big deal, just slower. The first half was fine, very well packed down. We were rolling about 40 mph and in full control, only a few loose stones. The second half was looser. We slowed down to about 25 mph and just took our time. The whole time were crawling along the scenery is just gorgeous. There was a crystal clear stream, Spearfish Creek, flowing right next to the road. We would have stopped under other conditions, but not with this construction/gravel nonsense.

There were five other bikes in this gravel predicament with us. We stopped for some water just after and the couple that was directly behind us stopped too. We talked to them for a few minutes. They were locals and they did not know of the construction. They did comment on how Rachel handled the gravel. Shortly after they left we saw the other three bikes roll out of the construction zone, a full 20 minutes after us.

We saddled up to head north on 14A, again with the GoPro on my helmet. This was much better and the beautiful river flowed downhill with. Back in the construction zone we were at 6700 feet. Hwy 14A continued to drop down to 3700. Three thousand feet down in 30 miles was really fun. I look forward to coming back again and next time riding up the hill.

Next we made our way to Deadwood for a Grand Tour photo and ice cream. We saw two gents with BMWs and parked near by. They were from out east, South Carolina and Massachusetts. They told us about our next destination. I am almost a little embarrassed to admit it; I did not know there was a BMW dealer in Sturgis. Deadwood looked cool, and again next time we will spend more time here. After ice cream we jumped back on the bikes to make it to the dealer before 6 pm because I wanted a T-shirt. We rolled in with time to spare. However, after talking to another traveler from Canada, the staff was putting machines away before we left the parking lot. We did a quick cruise through Sturgis. Lot of set up going on for the, “Big Rally” in two weeks. Nothing interested us so we headed for the hotel.

Dinner was up for debate. Where to go? Pizza, Steak, Burgers, Fish N Chips? I’m not really hungry, do we need to eat? Remember we just had ice cream a little bit ago. Lets order a pizza in? No, not up for gut bomb. Ok well then… Looking out the window of the hotel we had seen this place called Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar. OK, and we can walk there. I want a drink!

Snowy.


Note: not going to spend the time with the video over the road. Those should be posted once we get home.

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Old 07-23-2014, 05:55 PM   #8
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Day 4

127 Miles
Temps ranged from 68 to 86 degrees.

Today was a total touristy day. This was both good and bad. We first started off the morning by going to do the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. I think we were on the loop by about 8:30am. Rachel had read that the best time to see animals would be in the morning before the heat of the day set in, or in the evening. This however did not mean you would see anything. As we entered the park we were greeted at the first turn by six pronghorn antelope. Other than a few more antelope along the way, the friendly burros, and buffalo WAY in the distance, we did not see much of anything for wildlife. Maybe we will try again tomorrow.

After the Wildlife Loop, we made our way to Iron Mountain Road, just north of Custer State Park. This was probably one of the most fun roads we have ridden so far. There were three one lane tunnels that we drove through as well as many switchbacks and a few corkscrews. We were able to see Mt. Rushmore through several of the tunnels, which was really cool, and by design. In planning this adventure I found 16A was adjusted specifically to look at Mt. Rushmore though the tunnels.

Our next stop was Mt. Rushmore itself. The last time I was there, I think I was twelve years old. Nothing is same accept for the four heads! The parking structure is boarder line over kill. However it was full. The walk of state flags was cool. We soon got to overlook. Yup, the four heads were there in all their glory. I grabbed a few photos and quickly ran away from the madness of people.



We decide to have lunch here at Mt. Rushmore, as our next planned activity would be physically demanding. While eating lunch we kept hearing helicopters flying routes around ferrying tourist to aerial views. Then just after the last bite of my burger I heard this roar from above. We were seated outside under a tent, so I got up and I saw two B-52 bombers flying high over head going west. It was nothing I could get a good photo of but really cool.

Rachel has wanted to go on a zip line for some time. Most places I look at very expensing for less than 60 seconds of, “experience”. Well, she found an Aerial Adventure Park in Hill City. Here you get to climb between trees over and though obsticals, the whole time 10+ feet up in the air. In planning this I was all for this activity. We got there and first signed the wavier. Yes kids, you need to sign a waiver to have this much fun! We paid our money, got a climbing harness, got a quick safety briefing and were directed to stating platform. The staff looked at us and directed us to a Green path. Like Skiing, Green is easy. No problem I‘m thinking, HA HA Right! The first obstacle was to walk across a 30 foot span, along a 2x4s lashed to the spanning cables. The only thing you have for hand hold is your safety wire. The park was very fun, and I felt safe in the gear. However, I wanted to get down and go ride my motorcycle more. Rachel on the other hand was having much fun at my fear.



With our feet back on the ground we headed back in the direction of the hotel. We knew some weather might be possible, but the sky’s all clear. Ok, we have some more time. We came to see, “nature/wild life” on this trip. With the slight disappointment of the wildlife loop Rachel was disappointed. We had seen the advertisements for Bear Country a few times. There you can drive this loop and see wolfs, bison, and bears from your car. They even state, “with windows and sun roofs closed”. This just might be a problem with two motorcycles. We got to the gate and the staff was not shocked that we rolled up. Instead they actually have courtesy car/vans, presumably for motorcyclists and or convertible drivers. Ok cool we’ll do that. They didn’t ask for my license. They didn’t ask for my insurance. Nope, “Just take the blue jeep over there with no plates, the keys are in it.” Next thing you know we were idling their gasoline away while looking at animals.





Now the sky was getting darker. It was time to make our way back to the hotel. We did not really talk about it much earlier, but Rachel really likes this hotel. We booked our stay in January and for months I had been seconded guessing this place. Maybe we should find cabin, but it must have good working air conditioning. Maybe we should go to this other hotel. Well, none of that panned out. We are here and here we are. When we got here Rachel got excited about the pool. The pool had a good sized water slide. We braved the kids for a ten minute visit to the pool with us both smiling going down the slide. We then move on to more pressing matters, dinner and laundry.

Snowy.

Essnowyt screwed with this post 07-23-2014 at 09:41 PM
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:54 AM   #9
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Location: Somewhere Strange Wisconsin!
Oddometer: 135
Day 5

223 Miles
Temps ranged from 68 to 88 degrees.

Today started like the last few days. The alarm waking us at 5:15am and us cursing the racket. The day was wasting and we needed to get moving. However before we could even start our day, we needed to have a huge tour bus move so we could get the bikes out. Not a big deal, but old people on tours do not listen. “Wait, do not load any more bags. The driver is about to move the bus.” We had to inform this to one old person at least three times.

Finally with the bikes released, the bikes knew exactly where to go. We hustled south to start our day again on 16A. This time was Rachel leading and I had the GoPro on my helmet. We almost had the road all to ourselves. The only traffic we had was two other motorcyclists just before the second tunnel. We got 35 minutes of video on 16A. We will post that later.

Next we headed into Hill City for fuel. Since we were here, we decided to cruise the town. We found the 1880 Train location just packed with people and perfect timing as the first train of the day rolling into the station. We stopped and made our way to photo the old steam engine. This is where I failed. I could not use the big Nikon camera as I forgot to charge the battery. The gift shop staff was great and let us charge the battery there while we watched the train depart. Onto the small Nikon, which I do not really like. It is really a third string device, so it was not used much. Soon that also failed for lack of battery. “Rachel, go get the Sony” I cried in panic. She got back just in time for me to get a few shots and video of the train leaving. Note to self, charge all devises.



Once the train left we collected the charger and got a few pins from the gift shop. Next to the 1880 train there is a train museum. I know I could lose myself in there for some time, but I also know Rachel does not share the same boyhood nature of “trains are cool”. We skipped that leaving it for next time.

Back on the bikes and rolling to the northern point of Needles Highway, Hwy87. We made it to the first tunnel only to be greeted by people trying to do a three point turn in the parking area. “What is going on here?”, we were thinking. There was a group of people trying to park there and just causing a huge bottle neck. Once we got past them we could wait our turn for the tunnel. We then rolled on this south behind a caravan of large pickup trucks. I must say, if your going to own a Super-Duty, you should know how to drive it. We watched a guy from Iowa panic every time there was oncoming traffic. It was a slow trek south to Hwy 16.

It was now about 11 am and it was snack time. We stopped at some picnic tables and just enjoyed relaxing. There was a stream next to the clearing and from the rain last night, it was moving per quickly.
We discussed where to go next and since we did some of the south part of Hwy 87 yesterday, we decide to again do the wildlife loop in hope to see some animals. From there we would run south to Wind Cave. As we started the Wildlife Loop we again saw a few small pronghorns in the distance. Soon however we came upon what we had hoped and feared for. The bison where here, and we were in their environment. We hung back with a few other bikers to watch the show. Finally once a large diesel truck moved, we could now hear the bison grunting. This sound would stay with us until we cleared the area.

There were bison only about 100 feet from us to the left, along with the road blocked ahead about 1000 feet by more bison. We waited about 10 minutes here. Once we thought the heard had crossed the road we started to roll forward. There was more coming that we could not see. Next thing you know we had to stop to let this huge bull pass directly in front of us. Gone was the safety of the van we put in front of us. Stopped waiting for huge animal was very exciting, but also very scary. He could have leveled us at any time. We started to roll more, and with nowhere to go we rolled directly next to other bison no more that four feet away from us. I was not able to get any photos, but I did have the GoPro in place. It should be a great video.

Once that excitement was over, we made our way south again on Hwy87 to Wind Cave. This road was great. Lot of nice corners and a really large one lane bridge. Sadly I did not get any video. Once we got to Wind Cave we found a shady spot to park and another BMW GS rolled up. We talked with him for a few minutes. Small world he was from Racine, Wisconsin. We have seen a lot of Wisconsin license plates on our travels out here, or people wearing Wisconsin Red or Brewers Blue, very cool.

We decided to skip going into the cave, but just explore the visitor center. Our stomachs told us it was lunch time, now at 3pm no problem. We ran north to Custer, SD for Subway. I now realized I left the GPS on my phone working from snack time. Crap, my phone only had 20% battery. It was not charging on the bike either, once it gets so low for whatever reason it does charge in the cradle. This was my third device that died today, and I did not bring the charger. Mental note, that will be corrected going forward.

Rolling out of lunch we headed back to Wildlife loop, just for one more sight/scare. Sadly no other bison, but still a nice drive. We followed that up with again going north on Hwy16A. This would be the third time we traveled both the wildlife loop and Hwy16A. Great roads! We stopped about mid way into Hwy16A and there was this sign that sited this as The Iron Mountain Road. I have a new favorite road! Also, what we called corkscrews, the sign lists them as pig tails.



From here we headed for the hotel. We rolled into the parking lot after fueling up about 6:30pm. Sadly tomorrow we leave Rapid City.

Breaking News 9:30pm. I fear our Zumo 550 GPS digitizer may have died. Guess what, navigation will now be really questionable. I don’t think I have to be a luddite yet. However I do want to find paper maps.

Snowy.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:38 AM   #10
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Day 6

396 Miles
Temps ranged from 68 to 87 degrees.

From A to B today. From West to East. Sadly we had to leave Rapid City today. We have had a lot of fun here, and there is more to explore. We both look forward to coming back. Oh yah, Wyoming I heart you too. Just letting you know we have not forgotten the fun from Monday.

Now onto the next part of the trip, we just have to get there. While we are moving east we may as well be productive. So today and tomorrow are Grand Tour days. By doing this, we are off of the horrible I-90 slab. Arguably, Hwy 14 is still slab. However much less traffic. The day was boring, accept for the wind. Rachel was not enjoying being blasted at times and leaning the bike into the wind. She however is a trooper and we pressed on. So we picked Quinn, Cottonwood, Perrie, Harrold, Ree Heights, Wessington, Wessington Springs and Woonsocket.




This got us almost completely across South Dakota. We stopped for the night in Madison, SD. Rachel’s work has manufacturing and distribution facilities here. She wanted to show me where all of her inventory that she talks about is kept. Or at least that is what she wants me to think. I think she wants to show off her motorcycle to the staff here. Which is fine too.

Snowy.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:01 PM   #11
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Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Somewhere Strange Wisconsin!
Oddometer: 135
Day 7

318 Miles
Temps ranged from 71 to 85 degrees.

Today was again a travel day. Our intended plan was to spend the day meandering across Minnesota to the BMW Rally in St. Paul getting more Grand Tour locations. We did that, but adjusted our route. Yesterday my bike seemed a little off. It was hard for me to describe to Rachel, even myself. The engine was running a little rougher at low rpms. Well this morning as I was rolling out of the parking lot behind Rachel, I grabbed the clutch for the corner and the engine died. Ok, that was odd. Hit the start button and Titian fired right up. Later, just after we left Madison, SD, we needed to hustle on to the highway. Sadly I had no hustle. So with a rough engine, and no power, yes there is a problem. We dropped a few towns and took a more direct route to St. Paul

Titan is a 2004 R1150RT. This was the first year of the dual spark engine. There is a coil pack at the top of each cylinder that creates the spark for the engine. One of the stick coils as they are know as is/has failed. The bike will run, just poorly. Any time I need power, it most likely won’t be there. With Titan now having over 88,000 miles, break downs can occur. Prevent as much as you can and prepare for the problem/adventure when they happen.

So since we were going to a BMW rally anyway, let’s try to get this fixed. I still wanted to confirm the diagnosis and had hopes of possibly locating the needed parts. I called a shop that would be on the way at about noon, but never could talk to anyone. Since the rally is in town, they are busy. We are going to try to go to the shop tomorrow and see if they have the parts.

Traffic here in St. Paul was stupid, even at 3pm. I would hate to deal with full on rush hour. Once we got to the rally we could relax a little more. We did a quick cruise though the venders and then set about people/bike watching. We found five other F800GT’s like Rachel’s. We were looking at how others have farkled their motorcycles. We got some food from an Irish pub that was at the fair ground. We have found a few seminars to attend tomorrow. They have many outfits advertising motorcycle tours/travel…


Snowy.

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Old 07-27-2014, 01:42 PM   #12
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Location: Somewhere Strange Wisconsin!
Oddometer: 135
Day 8

235 Miles
Temps ranged from 71 to 89 degrees.

We started the morning with breakfast. However, not the crap from the hotel. Earlier in the week I had invited one of our friends from the St. Paul area to join us. Right on time, just after 8am Tim rolled up on his K1600GLT. We made our way to Perkins where we both had a huge breakfast. It was good to see Tim, but he had to make his way back to help load in his drums. Yes folks we got to have breakfast with a "Rockstar". Tim is the drummer from the Wax Tones. They are playing later today at the rally.

I talked with Tim about my bike and he gave me directions to the local dealer. We made our way there, however they did not have the needed stick coils. So we looked around the dealer real quick and then made our way back to the rally.

The rally site it at the Minnesota state fair grounds. As you roll into the park there are bikes and tents every where. It was very difficult to photo this. Bikes of every make lined the streets. Tents were anywhere that there was grass. We walked through the vender areas where there were huge trucks from Michelin and Dunlop. The local dealer we stopped at had there service staff there changing tires as well. In the vender building there were rows and rows of merchants trying to pedal their goods or in some cases crap.

Soon we caught up with Tim and the band. We watched their performance for the better part of the afternoon. Sadly it was now late afternoon and we needed to make tracks out of town. However before we left we were stopped by a couple whom were interested in our F800GT. Rachel answered their questions and we shared some travel stories. It was now time to start making our way home.

The plan was to get out of St. Paul and make our way to Black River Falls. We got the bikes onto the highway and then we settled in for two hours of boring slab. About half way there Rachel called to me to look at her bags. She noticed her sock monkey was in a different position. As she rolled up next to next to me I only counted one of two bags. "Your missing a bag", I told her. The bag she lost held our toiletries kit and all the souvenirs from the trip.

At the time we were about to Eau Claire. We made the decision to turn around and go look for our missing bag. The whole time we were looking in the median for a blue dry bag, but did not see it. We went back about twenty miles to Menomonie. As we entered the highway we took up both lanes. I again looked in the median and Rachel looked in the shoulder/ditch. Shortly after Rachel called out she saw the bag just in the grass in the ditch. She jumped on the binders and went to retrieve our lost luggage. I kept going to the next exit to wait.

I never like stopping along the side of the road. Let alone the interstate. The exit I pulled off at was just out of our communication range. So now I'm waiting on an exit ramp and I can not see or hear Rachel. I was a little worried, but a few other Buell riders rumbled by. I was sure if they thought there was a problem with Rachel, they would have stopped. I don't think I waited for more than five minutes and Rachel had our rouge cargo and we were again rolling to the hotel. Too much adventure for the night.


Snowy.


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