Friday, June 20, 2008

Black Hills of South Dakota


Greetings from the Motel 8 located just down the road from the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. We chose to spend the money on this room last night because of the threatening weather. There was still hail in the parking lot when we pulled in here last night.

Despite my vow made prior to departure to not sleep outside during severe weather we were caught out in a maelstrom of significant strength night before last. We were camped at the KOA located at the gate to Devil's Tower National Monument. There was no sign of inclement weather when we pulled in to the KOA. If there had been I would have gotten a Kamping Kabin. We tented instead. About 01:00 all hell broke loose. Rapid and successive lightening strikes, luckily not near enough to concern me were followed by heavy rain. With the rains, the wind intensified. As the storm seemed content to stay right over us, the winds continued to get stronger. I had awakened briefly, recognized the sounds for what they were and went back to sleep. At some point the winds were strong enough to break a tent pole on my tent and on Tyler's tent. Tyler's tent was not pegged. (Lesson learned according to him.) With the tent-come-sleeping pod come bathtub filling with water, I was left with no option but to get into the car. Tyler was already there and had been for about half an hour. My tent lasted a bit longer against the gale than did his. If the storm had not lasted so long (at least 90 minutes by my reckoning), I may well have been able to finish out the night sleeping soundly. Alas, 'twas not to be. I did fall asleep sitting upright in the driver's seat. I slept for about 2 hours. Tyler has never had to sleep in a barracks environment. If he had my snoring would not have kept him awake. Join the Navy. See the world. Learn to sleep through (almost) anything.

I just realized that it has been several days since I have updated these pages. Let's see, where did I leave off? I believe we were bedded down near Edmonton, with Calgary scheduled for the next morning.

Canada's Highway 2 from Edmonton to Calgary is a freeway. With no stops necessary we made it to Calgary by about noon at a leisurely pace. Our first stop was at the U-Haul Rental store. Imagine my surprise when I was told that even though trailers were in the lot, none could be rented one-way. It seems there was a shortage of trailers in southern Alberta and until this could be rectified, no one-way rentals would to be allowed. For emphasis, the lady behind the counter pointed to the email from the corporate office forbidding one-way rentals until further notice.

Time for situational analysis and action plan modification.

I bought a top rack bag to house lighter cargo. The cost was one-sixth that of a trailer. No preparations needed. No wiring. No worrying for the next two thousand or more miles about the appendage dragging behind the mule. With the bulky items out of the cargo area there should be room for the booty I was about to acquire from Dale. This was an altogether better solution that Tyler pitched endlessly for the two days prior to arrival in Calgary. Being an old dog, my trick was to drag a trailer. Tyler's idea was (and proves to be still) a better idea. Don't tell him I said so; I'll not hear the end of it.

Dale and Beth fed us again. I should say, Beth fed us. Dale and I were loading the third member and transmission I bought from him. By the time we were finished supper was ready. Our meal was highlighted by beer soaked grilled chicken and a marvelous Greek salad. I can't believe they eat like this every day, they would all be as large as me. ;-)

I met Dale's friends and serious Volvo fanatics Matt and Ian. Matt had his young daughter with him. She was a bashful toddler of about 18 months or so, whose name I have already forgotten; forgive me, Matt. I have never had a good memory for names. Beth occupied the baby. Or maybe it was the other way around, I couldn't really tell. At any rate, the men folk sat in the kitchen and swapped tales.

Matt wanted to know why. That is, why would I spend the time and money to go to Yellowknife? I had no answer for him. It is not really a rational move by any measure I can think of. Because I wanted "to see the end of the road" seems a bit lame to me, after the fact. It was a grand adventure to be sure. I am glad I did it. But, I cannot justify the expense or time separated from my family to do it. I do not regret the trip; only the time lost with my family and the expense of it all. If I were wealthy the second consideration would not be a factor. If I was heir to Bill Gates, the first concern would still annoy me. Regardless, it is done.

Ian is building a teardrop trailer. His will be more elaborate than my similar plan. He has a leg up on me because he is a wood worker. I can cut a straight line. Sometimes it takes two tries, but I can cut a straight line. His trailer will be based on the popular model that was available in the fifties. It will be complete with a kitchen and lighting. I am a bit envious. But then I remember the goal of my trailer is to be lightweight enough to trail behind my VW trike, carry camping equipment, and give me a place to sleep out of the weather, and I am consoled.

After business was concluded for the evening, I retired. On awakening I sat and talked to Beth for awhile while she and Ben readied themselves for the day. When Tyler was ready, we hit the road. Man what a long road it was on that day. We traveled across Alberta west-to-east into Saskatchewan. At about 16:00 I had had enough of the eastward track and decided to cross the border at the next opportunity. We crossed into the US at about 17:30. There was no repeat of the entry search so we were only five minutes crossing into our own country. We traveled about another hour and a half. Our accommodations for the night were at a small motel in the Montana crossroads town of Culbertson. It was, by far, the nastiest place we have encountered along our trail. I would not stay there again. But it was late, we were tired, and it is now history.

Next morning we beat it due east into North Dakota, swung south and made it to Devil's Tower. The remainder of the trip, up to the point of this writing, you know already. Well, there was a stop in Sturgis, SD. We saw the Motorcycle Museum and had a good lunch. There, now you know it all.

Stay tuned. More to come...


Blogger Gia said...

Sturgis is going to be so awesome this year, I mean it is amazing every year but I cannot wait for this year. I love all the types of people that show up from the moderately interested to the hardcore bikers, it sounds like you get to meet some interesting people at Sturgis.
I recently started working for progressive motorcycle insurance and I have been finding out more about the whole motorcycle culture. It’s so cool. Since finding out more about motorcycle culture I have heard nothing but how amazing Sturgis is and I can’t wait to check it out. Progressive will be at Thunder Road at Sturgis giving away a free Exclusive Sucker Punch Sallys custom-designed T-shirt. To get the T-shirt all you have to do is visit, go to where it says Events and Rallies and print out the coupon. Bring the coupon to our booth at Thunder Road and get your free T-shirt, exclusively given away at Sturgis. We’ll also have some other free fun stuff to check out and while you’re there you can also enter to win a custom Suck Punch Sally’s bike. It’s an old school beauty.
Are you going to Sturgis?
Hope I didn’t over step my bounds by posting on your blog, and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to shoot me an e-mail!
Hope to see you there. Ride Safe.
Gia Anderson
Brand Ambassador

July 20, 2008 4:40 PM  

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