Thanks for your feedback and comments everyone. Both here and elsewhere. I’m going to get in more pics and intersperse them with the story where I can. And if possible, I’ll include a map to give an graphic indication of our route.
By mid morning on that Wednesday, Cody had warmed up again to somewhere near stinking hot and we were required to get creative to find shade for a little shopping trip.
Then after the back tyre was fitted a quick lunch and we scooted up the road an hour to a little town called Shell to spend the night with a few other Adventure Riders. We were greeted by about a dozen boys and girls (this was only Wednesday of a weekend event) who quickly arranged our camping fee for us, offered us a lovely bit of grass for the night, and we all settled in to an afternoon of story telling. We had armed Lisa beforehand this trip with Long Way Down, so she was across the whole thing and held her own in wonderful fashion. One of the group even paid for dinner for us which was an incredible gesture. For me the whole scene was so very familiar, but Janelle and Lisa were able to see a whole other side of this motorcycle riding stuff. It was a damn fine evening, with some dame fine people and we will remember it always.
But the next day we had to get going, and although full of roadworks, the canyon road out of there towards Devils Tower was well worth it. A truly wonderful days ride. Except for the bit on our own friend I 90.
So by late afternoon we arrived at Devil’s Tower and for the second time were saved by not settling for the first campground we came to. The second was $10 more and 100 times better. Many will remember this National Monument (ie no drone flying) from the movie Close Encounters, but I’m reliably informed there is no UFO landing base on top. For those that wish to know, it was once an active volcano, but the the lave solidified and the mountain around it eroded away, leaving just the petrified lava. It’s actually a huge attraction for climbers, but base jumping is illegal. And the campground shows the movie every night, just in case.
And this was also our last night with Lisa as we had to part ways in the morning. So we had a couple of drinks and finished the wine we’d been carrying. The weather was perfect and with that amazing tower hanging over us, we toasted the last 2 weeks. The next morning Lisa jumped on my bike, Janelle dove her car and we rode to the base of the tower and said goodbye. She’s off to Africa for 3 months now. Are we allowed to be jealous?
We got away quite late and it was a long day, starting off rather stressful when we realised the fuel situation was not what we expected. So we went in the direction of the closest (20 minutes away) and hoped. We were riding on fumes for the last 5 miles or so but we made it and were able to top up.
And then we were in South Dakota, the Black Hills (think the Dandenongs around Melbourne) Mt Rushmore (we rode up, saw the rock faces, got hit for $10 parking each so didn’t even turn the engines off) and the Badlands. Now that was a sight! Videos enclosed provides just a glimpse. They go on for miles and miles. Just amazing sand formations that must be eons old.
That night we treated ourselves to a hotel as we knew what awaited us the next day. That wonderful I90… all day…
Now I’m sure there are other ways to get across South Dakota, and I’m sure there are ways to avoid the wretched cross wind that we battled all day, but if there are no one told us and it would seem, no one actually knows. So the highlight of our ride across S/Dakota?… Getting to the other side! It really was that bad. The constant 80 mph (130 kph) wind dropped our fuel consumption from 55m/g (23 km/ltr) to 34 m/g (14 km/ltr). We filled up 3 times that day (used 2.5 tanks of fuel). Rolled into Sioux Falls just on dusk and treated ourselves to a cheap motel. A little too cheap as it turned out, but you pay for what you get.
We did however start the day with another run through the Badlands, so there was a little self induced pain at the end of the day too.
Everything changed the next morning. We rode over to Minnesota and meandered our way north east through lovely rolling farms of corn, some more corn, pretty little lakes (50,000 of them apparently) and corn, and ended up at a place called Little Falls where we threw up the tent in the State Park. And unexpected treat awaited us as we went into town for dinner and crossed the start of the Mississippi River.
Even better, we found civilisation again! Real coffee and not a cowboy hat in sight! No one was playing terrible country music and even the Harleys had got thinner on the ground.
The next day around lunchtime we rode into Wisconsin, found some lovely little back roads to eventually pop us out at Lake Superior and found a beach to set up camp.
And what an absolutely fantastic location to enter the Great Lakes area. The photos don’t do it justice so I tried a little drone flight which went perfectly well until a tree jumped in front of me and instead of letting the obstacle avoidance system do its job I panicked, tried to turn and flew sideways into it. Luckily the only damage was a broken prop (have spares) and pride. Video next time… maybe)
So Im going to leave you here with some photos of our most gorgeous sunset on Lake Superior. Our first ever sunset over water.