Monday, June 30, 2008

Black River Crossing to Grand Forks, SD-463 miles

Day 3, June 26, 2008. Today was a good one. We got up, had a “Deluxe Continental Breakfast” at the hotel and got on the road about 8:20am. The weather was clear and very pleasant and the ride to Duluth was great. Rolling hills, some small mountains, and lots of green. Very low traffic, too. An easy 200 miles that took just over 3 hours to do.

Along the way, Gary yelled over the radio “Moose on the right”. Sure enough, in a field on the right side of the rod was a big black moose, with a huge rack. We were going too fast to stop, so we had to turn around and come back. I knew it would be gone, but surprisingly, it was still there.

We stopped, got off the bikes and got out the cameras. Pictures galore. It stood so still, posing for pictures about 200 yards away. I noticed that I could see no movement and began smelling a skunk. I casually said “I wonder if it's real”. After a few minutes and more pics, I got the binoculars out. When I looked through the binoculars,. I could see that what we thought was a moose was a plywood moose cutout!! We were snookered!! Oh well, I guess the locals get a kick out of us tourists....

We got into Duluth about noon. Approaching Duluth, we crested a hill with a spectacular view of Lake Superior. Wish there had been a good vantage point from which to take a picture, but there was none, so, take my word for it that the view was great.

We got to the turnoff for the Aerostich Riders Warehouse and, damn—the road was closed. So, we rode through town until Dick stopped a trucker to ask how to get to the other side of the bay (the bridge was under some repairs).

We followed the trucker to the bridge and then followed the Garmins to the store.

Once inside, it was pretty neat to see all the things they carry in their catalog. For those who don't know, Aerostich is the holy grail for serious motorcyclists. (Not bikers—motorcyclists). They carry a lot of items, and they are high quality. I've bought a lot of gear from them and all of it has been good.

I bought some 3-fingered rain gloves and some sealer for the zippers of my bumblebee. Gary bought some of the same gloves and something else I can't remember now. We got a 10% discount for walking into the store! Dick bought nothing! 1,200 miles for nothing! Not really, what he wanted he got; a good ride with some new riding friends.

Had a late lunch at Jim's Burgers (I had a cheese omelet). It was time for us to get on the road headed west, and for Dick to go east. I was glad that Dick had joined us; having an extra rider was good, and he was an easy riding partner. A truly good guy!

So, we found our way to US Hwy 2 West and rode.

US Hwy 2 is a great treasure. It's an old highway that is 2, 3, and 4 lanes in different places. It runs west parallel to the Canada border. I runs through forests, fields, and through lots of smal towns. Most have no stoplights, so they don't really slow down progress. The road surface is in great shape, smooth, and traffic is very low. We would sometimes ride for 10 minutes without seeing another vehicle. A really good road to make good time and see lots of beautiful scenery.

We got to Grand Forks, SD and started looking for a campground. We found several in the Garmin, and picked the closest one. After quite a route, we got to the appointed campground, and nothing was there. We were in a residential neighborhood in town!! So, we picked the next closest one and rode to it. That one was a phantom, too; we were in a shopping center! Luckily, I had spotted a sign along the way pointing to a campground, and we backtracked to the sign and went down a service road that turned into gravel. But the Grand Forks Campground was actually there!

We could see a storm approaching, so we quickly put up the tents and got everything inside. We did a short walk until the rain started. Then into the tents for the night.

No dinner. No beer. But in bed at a decent hour.

Tomorrow, across North Dakota into Montana!

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