2008 Western Adventure
Day 8 - June 27, 2008
I didn't get the sleep that I had hoped for last
night, but I was still anxious to get underway. I did
miss the free breakfast by the time I had finished loading the bike.
The ride was enjoyable, but my mind was on what I would see in
Portland, North Dakota. My memories of spending several
summers on my uncle Henry's farm when I was a young boy kept running
thru my mind. Little things like the pocket knife that he
bought me, and how he showed me to sharpen the knife on his foot
powered sharpening wheel, and how I cut myself while trying to
sharpen the knife. I actually cut myself twice, and I still
have the scars to remind me. He also taught me to shoot his 22
caliber rifle, and that too has stayed with me all my life. Of
course, I also learned how to do many of the farm chores, and was
always busy doing something. I truly think that my early
experience on the farm attributed to my developing a good work
ethic, which I still practice to this day.
I first stopped to look around in Mayville, which
is only 2 miles from Portland. It's a bigger city in
comparison to Portland, but is still quite small. I went up
and down the streets in Mayville, and was reminded of the deep roots
that the people have in the Lutheran religion. I am Lutheran
and my great grandfather was a Lutheran minister in Portland back
when I was a baby. I did some research and find that one of my
relative's on my mother's side is still the minister of one of the
Lutheran Churches in Portland. My uncle Henry's daughter still
lives in Portland, and still owned the farm until just a few years
ago. Unfortunately, I was unable to get in touch with her
while I was in Portland. To make things worse, it started
raining. I headed for some cover and sat out the rain.
After the rain stopped, I set my GPS for the Badlands of North
Dakota. Much to my surprise my GPS routed me on some of North
Dakota's dirt roads. Under normal conditions, these roads
would have been great. I love dirt roads, because they
generally take you through some of the best country. However
these roads had some water on the low spots, and my new Kawasaki
Concours 14 with road tires doesn't really like muddy gravel roads.
It also doesn't like heavy gravel. While I was averaging about
50 mph, there were a few tense moments where I thought I might end
up in some farmers corn field. After about 40 miles of dirt
roads, I finally hit solid ground again (pavement).
While the rains seemed to be behind me, the wind
had picked up and for the most part was pretty brutal. As much
as I hate riding on an interstate highway, I didn't have many
suitable options going west. I ended up taking I-94 heading to
the Badlands. While it got me towards my objective faster, the
winds wore me out earlier than I had planned. I would still
have 130 miles to go the next day to reach the Badlands.
The place I stayed had highspeed internet, but it
only work for a short while early in the evening, so I didn't get
much work done.