Archive | June, 2012

A message from the secretary

25 Jun

Hey all, it’s Taylor. Dad’s fine, somewhere near Badlands National Park. He says it’s super hot (and has easily slipped into using numbers like ‘110’ to describe the temperature, does anyone really know what that means in this country?) and super windy.

Oh also I think he stepped on a nest of rattlesnakes. You can ask him about that sometime.

Along my way I found a wonderful place for breakfast in Peterson MN. At Judy’s Country Kitchen, I was well fed at a reasonable price  and the staff genuinely wished me a safe trip.

In the Badlands National Park in South Dakota the temp climbed to 50C on my thermometer or over 125 degrees F.  Regardless …  it was hot like a pizza oven with a continuous fan blowing in my face, blowtorch winds might be the best description.   I walked off the walkway to the edge overlooking the pass where Chief Bigfoot cleared a path down the Badlands Wall on December 24, 1890. Five days later he and 200 of  his people would be die in the massacre at Wounded Knee 65 miles south.  For more information regarding the treatment of the Lakota follow this link

I found lots and lots of snakes in a nest overlooking the steep drop off down into Chief Bigfoot Pass.   The loud rattling sound from the underground snake nest convinced me that they were large snakes and that there were many of them. Some of them came out in a writhing mass; way too many to count, with heads and tails pointing in all directions. Possibly because it was a late spring, this was the first time they had left their winter nest. Being dressed in knee-high motorcycle boots and wearing my AeroStitch Roadcrafter riding suit  does offer protection in the event of a crash or to the weather elements, and in this case the wildlife. My real concern was getting surprised or startled by a snake that I hadn’t seen and falling over the edge.

I visited the Tatanka Trading Post in Scenic SD and the friendly dude with his dog in the shop. It’s a great place (I visited twice) and also the only place within miles, to get a cold soft drink and find local crafts. The local road ” Bombing Range” leads south from Scenic to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Wounded Knee Massacre site.

Ready to Leave

18 Jun

After months of dreaming, researching and planning, I’m excited and I think I’m ready to leave Wednesday morning, just 2 days from now. I’ve rebuilt most of my gps routes and stored about 130 points of interest (waypoints and recommended campsites and eateries). I don’t expect any challenging navigation issues until I’m on some gravel mountain backroads in Montana.

Depending on weather, and rain soaked gravel or dirt roads in the badlands or mountains, my route plans may have to be changed as I go. Riding solo sucks if I slip and fall down with a heavily loaded motorcycle to pick up. Greg Powell has 3 tips that he has learned from riding solo….

My Suzuki Vstrom has new Metzler Tourance dual-purpose tires, which I’ve proven to be excellent on dry or rain soaked pavement and very predictable on dry gravel well surfaced roads. With my short legs and the large loaded bike I’m challenged on uneven bumpy loose surfaces and these tires are poor in sand or slippery mud. The bike also has new rear wheel bearings, rear brakes pads and of course an oil and filter change. It’s proven to be completely reliable and I plan an oil change in Vancouver and don’t expect any mechanical issues or repairs during this trip.

I’ll cross the Canada US border at Sarnia/Port Huron and won’t get back to Canada until about July 12 at Sumas WA, just before I get to Vancouver BC.

My passage is booked to cross lake Michigan on June 22 aboard the last US coal-fired steamship; the SS Badger is now historically designated. I’ll be loading at 8:00am in Ludington and crossing to Manitowac Wisconsin. From there on it’s just me and the open road; I’ve only a rough schedule to follow so that I do in fact get to Vancouver in time to meet Sam on July 14.

Birthday at Mt Tremblant

3 Jun

Celebrating with my son Taylor, we


Luged down the flying mile