Author Topic: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR  (Read 4076 times)

mitchn06

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The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« on: September 27, 2016, 10:43:57 AM »
I feel like I’ve cheated on DDSR, so I’ll explain. So it started out with me taking the 2 days off to attend the Fall Rally this year, then I decided I wanted to do something bigger, I just wanted to get out and ride, to Williston ND to check out the Bakken Shale oil fields I guess.  I’ve always enjoyed my “alone” time and I feel like I require more of it than other individuals. I took a different approach to this trip as most of my other trips were all “computer based” as I will call them, planned out on GPS, look up stuff online, you guys know the drill. This time I went to my local Casey’s gas station, bought a SD/ND map and a pizza, and got home and started highlighting with 2 things in mind, as little interstate as possible and never take the same road twice. I only had 3 general end of day locations planned. Rapid City SD, Williston ND, and as far as I could ride east of Williston in one day, home of course would be the final destination. I did not know anything ND really as I have never ever traveled anywhere there except to Fargo. I have some cousins that trucked in the oil fields up there during the big boom and continue to do small jobs up there as they are available. I called my distant cousin relative and we exchanged for about 30 minutes different routes/things to see and do. That was all I did for planning.
 
Day 1: Thursday the 15th
The day started out overcast, I kissed my wife goodbye at 0630 and got my daughter up to get her ready for daycare. 0815 I return home from daycare drop-off to tackle a few gremlins that my bike had incurred the previous day. I knew it was going to be chilly in the mornings so I really wanted my heated grips to work for this trip, after getting this gremlin back into order, I packed up and looked at the weather as it had begun to sprinkle. Crap, huge system right on the edge of town. No biggie I thought, I’ll let it pass over and be on my way. 1130 rolled around and still raining with no signs of stoppage. Rapid city was my destination for the day so I had to boogie! Suited up and hit the button. I was completely soaked before I even got out of town, Rain Gear=Fail.

 
First stop- Wessington Springs, took off my rain gear and wrung out my gloves, at this point it was no longer raining, but still, my underwear were wet. I went inside of the fuel station and took off my boots and used probably a half a roll of paper towels drying out my waterproof boots and merino wool socks. Feeling a bit better about not having cold wet feet, I put on my backup gloves and proceeded on Hwy 34 to Ft. Thompson, SD where I fueled up. I was beginning to see the side of SD that goes un-noticed. I crossed the Big Bend Dam enroute to hook up with the Lewis and Clark 1806 Trail. This particular route took my through even more poverty stricken lands of the Lower Brule Indian Reservation, I was very saddened to see people living in such situations. The road was pretty gnarly, I had to stand up  multiple times to let the suspension soak it up better or I would be tossed up into the air like a fresh lettuce salad. I then saw signs of ROAD CLOSED AHEAD stuck to orange and white barricades, I thought “great, just what I need, I’m 4 hours behind schedule already.” I finally got up to the road work area, they were replacing culverts and such, so…no road. I got out and talked a bit to a worker and he let me pass through the work as there was a 55mile detour to get around it…uggh. So I passed.


The 1806 was desolate and fun, lots of curves and hills. I was flying by and I noticed an older couple on their phone sitting in an approach with the spare tire out. OK, I thought, must be a good reason, so I turned around. To see if I could help. I ended up changing their flat tire in a matter of minutes, refused any form of payment, but they were more stubborn than I, +$10 to the fuel fund.

 
Piped on to Pierre around “rush hour” and banged my way through in/out and back to the desolate grasslands where it was quite boring again until Bridger where the lands closed in on the river break areas. The day was turning into evening and I was sort of lost, sort of not. As with GPS, I knew almost exactly what my ETA would be with the destination plugged in, paper maps not so much. The antelope were emerging and I was somewhere North of Rapid. I looked at my maps and started heading south on New Underwood Road, which was gravel on my map, and is not paved, Sweet! Eventually it got dark, my headlights are crap, my paved road turned into wet gravel ,my Sena died, and I had to switch to reserve, all the better. Over the final big hill and I saw the lights of Rapid City, finally I thought!! I poked in on the most northern part of Elk Vale road, for those familiar with Rapid. Made it to the Safe House at last first thing out was the Jack. Won’t go into details of the evening.
 
Day 2: Friday the 16th
Woke up at 0730, stumbled around the kitchen looking for coffee brewing stuff, as I ended up at a different house than originally planning on staying at. Sat up and watched the morning crappy news with my cousin for about an hour before anybody else emerged. I was now awake, alert, and getting anxious to get going. We ended up hitting up Taco Johns breakfast as their morning breakfast burrito commercials wiggled into our sore heads. 0730 turned into 1130 and I finally hit the road again, are you seeing a pattern here? First thing first, a new map, mine was completely soaked through and my highlighter lines had faded into nothing.
 
Sturgis road took me over to Hwy 85 with about 10 miles of I-90 in-between (rule broken I know.) The wind was pretty aggressive out of the Northwest and my neck was beginning to get sore already. Buffalo SD was my first stop as I decided to refuel my bike and myself. The antelope up here are like cattle, everywhere!! I was amazed at how many I saw. I regret not stopping more to view and look at some of the historical pull-offs and such, but I felt my time was again limited, so I pushed on. The flat grasslands soon turned into cornfields and the cornfields then turned into this vast area of river break country. I was nearing the Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit. I couldn’t believe how quickly the landscape changed. It was now 1830 with 1.5 hours till dark and Williston was just that far.

 
It was at this point I stopped at the visitor center at the TRNP and had a chat with the front entrance lady, $15 to get in $14 to camp, or boogie to Williston where I then would have to figure out where to camp when it was already dark. I decided to move North to Watford City to grab a JL Beers burger and beer, and then Boogie back South to the TRNP, front gate lady was gone, entrance fee waived!
For now. I made camp with the bison at the campground right after dark. Camp host had some free firewood, so I walked down to grab 4 split damp logs. I probably would have been bored if it were not for those damp logs, I spend the better part of an hour trying to keep my fire burning. The moon was so bright it was casting shadows. With the fire finally burning hot enough to maintain itself, I took this time to pull out my new map and highlighter and transfer my route. The blaze turned into hot embers and I crawled into the sack.


 
Day 3: Saturday the 17th
With limited or no service at the campground, I turned my phone off the night before. I woke up and checked my phone at what I thought was 0715 and decided to try to sleep some more. I woke up again about 15-20 later, and checked my phone again, 0920!! What!? What happened?? Well as it turns out the TRNP is divided by the Central and Mountain time zones. Fantastic I was thinking. So I woke up, had my oatmeal and coffee and packed up, leaving camp by 1000 central time. There was a 15mile scenic drive through the park that I decided to tour, since the views were so great. I made it about 5 miles before I came across a herd of bison having a snack on/beside the road. At this point I knew I wasn’t going to try to sneak by, so I turned around with hopes of checking out the “cannonball formations” that I spotted earlier on. I made it back to that point and what do you know , a second herd of bison was just chilling right where I wanted to be at to hike a short distance to see the formations. I will let those interested do the googling to figure out what they are and how they form. Onward I went to the visitors station to pick up my TRNP sticker and pay my entrance fee, I joked with the lady about having to pay the fee after all since it was the same lady I talked with the night before, and she waved me on and wished me a good trip.

 
As quickly as the farmlands turned into river break lands, they turned to oil field Bakken Shale remnants. Big pickup trucks, semi’s, temporary housing, and oil drills. Williston was on my clock at 1130, so I decided to do a quick tour around town and grab a coffee and coffee cake downtown, then I headed out, wished I could have stayed and looked around more.

I continued on the Lewis and Clark Trail 1804 and followed it along the Missouri river for as long as I could before finally heading due East. The wind is relentless this weekend, every direction I travel, aggressive sidewinds. The rest of this day was fairly uneventful until the late part of the day. Again I made it to the general area I wanted to be at, I ended up needing fuel, and wasn’t sure if the small town I planned on camping at would have any, so I decided to make camp in Cooperstown ND.
 
I scanned the area and found a city park with campground. I then fueled up and went to the local grocery store where I would pick up a banana, spinach, refried beans, and some tortillas. The mosquitos at that park were out for my death. I could not stand still for 2 seconds without being swarmed. I quickly ate, set up camp and checked out the city park facilities. There was a shower, sweet. I did not pack my towel, so I pulled out my dead bug infested microfiber towel, shook out as many invertebrates as I could and headed for a shower. I decided to keep my rain fly off for a while and crawled into my tent and listened to Sword and Scale podcast for about 2 hours until dark, then the under 18 crowd emerged on the streets. It seems as though I was in their local spot, as most of them converged to the sidestreets around the park. At one point I was out getting some water and I heard a loud boing sound, and as I look over, I see one kid bounce off a street sign and hit the ground. Its dark at this point, but I stay out and watch, several minutes go by before he got up and waddled back to a car. Dork. Just as I thought this was going to be an interesting night, a siren goes off at around 2200. I hear everybody say “goodbye” and the town gets silent, a curfew siren. I pass out.

 
Day 4: Sunday the 18th

 
Woke up bright and early, skies were overcast and it was chilly. Started my morning routine, by packing up what was in my tent at the time, and proceeded to boil water for coffee and oatmeal. Packed up and kicked it off by 0900. Mostly boring ride for the first hour and a half or so until I stopped to warm up my bones in Gwinner. After taking my coffee and roll out to the curb to readjust my map, another KLR, a Super 10 with sidcar and  clickety clackety R100. Apparently there was a BMW rally in a close by campground and these fellas and lady were on their way back to Sioux Falls as well. The gent with the R100 had pulled into the parking lot to address his engine noise, I don’t think it was good, they arranged to leave the bike at a good Samaritan’s residence and he would come pick it up later. He ended up riding in the lady’s Super 10’s sidecar, hehe, it looked funny.


I Bombed into SD on Hwy 27 which I then continued on down on 25. Lunch was leftovers of a tuna spinach wrap in Webster SD. The rest of trip is history as it was pleasantly uneventful. Home by about 1500. Unpacked, dried out tent and such, took a proper shower and relaxed before my wife and daughter arrived from visiting her family for the weekend.
 
Overall I had a blast, as my wife was telling people that her diabetic (barely) husband was on a motorcycle trip on his own, her friends and co-workers could not figure out why I wanted to go at it alone. As a motorcyclist, I’m sure some can relate to the mentality of it. I am not sure how to explain it in words, I just wanted/needed it for one last hooraah before winter sets in. Hope you enjoyed the read, a bit lengthy, but as you tell the story out loud, you remember more things that happened along the way, 2 weeks go by and I was now ready to put it into text.


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Wacked

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 05:43:24 PM »
Nice report!

JoniJo

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 05:54:44 PM »
Simply fricken AMAZING!!!!!
Keep on riding... Joni   :cheers
JoniJo

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Lonesome Dave

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 07:55:13 AM »
Enjoyed your ride report.  I agree, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park appears suddenly out of no where and disappears just as fast.  Very beautiful there.
Thanks for the reports.  Missed you at the rally!
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mitchn06

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 03:42:08 PM »
Enjoyed your ride report.  I agree, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park appears suddenly out of no where and disappears just as fast.  Very beautiful there.
Thanks for the reports.  Missed you at the rally!
Thanks Dave, missed you guys too.


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Lonesome Dave

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 05:14:40 PM »
Weird, you and I are exactly 1000 posts apart, 1116 and 116, and we were talking to each other!  I know, not many people would notice that or certainly care! But now I'm 1117!
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greatbuffalo

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2016, 02:10:21 AM »
Thanks for sharing Mitch. Sounds like you had a good trip.

The riding alone is an interesting thing. I enjoy riding with others as there is someone to share the experience. Traveling alone however, leaves you accessible to others who wouldn't approach you if you were in a group. I have found that everyone has a motorcycle story, from kids to the elderly, and when you are riding alone on a loaded bike, you will  hear them all. I like that. It gets you closer to the places you are.

Its also a great great way to clear the mind, to do what you when you want, and move at your own pace, without worry of holding up others.
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Hank

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2016, 09:08:13 PM »
Great report Mitch.  I'd like to ride up there sometime.
I've only taken one major solo trip.. did a fly and ride to Jacksonville Florida a few years back and spent a full 8 days riding home.   I hit all the famous NC/TN twisties and really enjoyed it.   Setting out I wasn't sure how much I'd like riding solo, having taken many trips with friends over the years.

UKbri

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Re: The weekend I cheated on the DDSR
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2016, 06:10:56 PM »
Nice write up dude, sounds like a good time. TRNP North was the first US national park I ever went to


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