Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th Special Edition

Let's start out this post by recognizing the significance of this day, Independence Day.  While most of us associate it with hot dogs (or tofu dogs for my non-meat-eating followers) and fireworks and bug repellant, the fact is that this day is a celebration of a military victory over the British.  Again, brave women and men put their personal lives aside to stand up for something bigger to the colonies - personal freedom.  We might not have had the term PTSD back in 1776, but war takes its toll on the survivors, and that is why I am asking that you support Not Alone, my choice of groups providing support for women and men who have made that choice to give their own lives for us.  Just do it, you will be proud as you watch your fireworks tonight.  And for those who have already gone online and become part of the solution, I thank you for your donation.

The Ride:

I am in Oakes, North Dakota and just awoke at the same little motel that Bob, Chris, John and Sylvia stayed in on their trip in 1968.  I had read that the original place had burned down, but as I found out, that is not so.  It is not hard to envision this place in 1968.  See page 37 in the book.

I arrived at about 9pm, after the posted desk hours of 8am to 8pm, but Bunny, the owner, saw me in the parking lot and was happy to have a paying customer.  I got room number 8, no telling which room our friends in the book were assigned.

The good news was that this town, for whatever reason, was having its fireworks on July 3rd, so I got to join several other people on Main St to view an impressive number of loud thrillers.

I talked to a state trooper who was stopped (no, he didn't stop me) and got a state road map to mark up for the trip.  I asked how his state government was doing compared to Minnesota, which is shut down at the moment, and he said they were in good shape, "... we have too much money ..." was his comment.  Another local person I met, the coroner (again, not using those services!) asked me at the gas pumps "What year is your Bemmer?"  Turn our her son-in-law recently bought a modern BMW bike.   Lorraine, in response to my question about rice growing,  filled me in on the fact that North Dakota was not starting to grow rice, but in fact the fields were just flooded and farmers were unable to plant about 20% of their land this year.  I hope it means they are safe from forest fires as well!

She was curious as to what people like me just cruising through though about their part of our country.  Having just gotten into the swing of the ride, and being a mountain person married to a Kansas girl who really appreciates the special qualities embodied in the plains life, I admit that the long view and predictable overall scene has its appeal.  Then, just when you think you have it contained something pops up to make your facial muscles flex.  Like the huge turtle crossing the road in Minnesota.  She must have been well over 2 feet across.  And there was the response from a guy at the hotel in Rochester, who held the door for me.  I said thanks and he came back with "You bet."  I'd never heard that except on Prairie Home Companion!

I am surprised that the terrain of Minnesota and North Dakota (so far, just seen one corner) is so flat.  The small towns in both states have appeared to be doing OK from a quick road view.  Sunday was a day when you don't see people in the business areas, and several towns I rode through had not one person on the streets on this holiday weekend.  In contrast, the beaches at the lakes were hopping.  Lots of gas was run through outboard motors and lots of sunscreen should have been applied to the fair skinned crowd.

I have the door of the motel room open to hear the birds and feel the cool morning air outside. I plan to be on the road at 10am again.  After three 400mile plus days this one will be a little easier and then I have two short days in a row when I hope to put more time into writing this blog for you.

What next?  I am running west along the bottom of North Dakota and turning south into South Dakota and ending up in Lemmon.  I plan to camp at the Shadehill Reservior where Pirsig and company slept back in '68. Pray for another day of great dry weather.

Stats for July 3: 410 miles (planned 360), 7h10m moving, avg speed 57mph

Motorcycle Maintenance:  I hit a frost bump in the road so hard it knocked the headlight rim off the bucket!  Imagine how my back felt!

Zen: not so much

LESSONS LEARNED: (again) God Is Good!


Indelible John said...

You don't need to post this comment but the "Support not alone" linked text in this post does not work. Enjoy the ride!

Anonymous said...

Donated on the 4th of July. Seemed appropriate.

Pattianne043 said...

You are doing great and we are spreading the word for donations for you.

Will start preparing this week with the Newspaper and maybe a media spot for your arrival in Easton. Bring as many as want to come just let me know the count.

We are all proud of you Ron you are doing a good thing,

anilia said...

Just linked you up over on my site and last night at the fireworks pat talke to several people about you. I made sure they had your blog address! Enjoy the day!

OldBikeRider said...

Thanks John, I got it fixed at Ashley, ND. The only open eating place so far had WiFi so out came the little laptop!
I am enjoying tacos here and will make Lemmon, SD in time to find a camping spot. I hope the weather hold out.

K3IW said...

Ron-- Thanks to KS4XO, I learned you had hit the road; the last I knew your bike was awaiting work. Gosh, have we ever discussed Chanute AFB? Is your Beemer parked on the Drillfield? It's got lots of pine needles on it that I know didn't come from Tech. Keep on truckin'.