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.

    

   

 

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