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To the First of the Last Three

June 2, 2010

Anyone who says North Dakota is bleak, boring and to be just gotten through has either never been here or needs their sensibilities adjusted. To be sure, we covered it all in a day, but we found the prairie to be really quite beautiful. The soil is a rich, chocolate brown, there is lots of water in pools, ponds and marshes (possibly aided by the 6.75 inches of rain that fell in the area over a couple of hours on Saturday–conveniently before we passed through), there are rolling hills AND it holds a unique geographical feature and a little known geological secret.

ND Prairie

All morning we were skirting a large solid band of rain just to the south of us. With each slight jog to the north our road finally emerged into the sunlight. We stayed in our rain gear all day just for warmth because temperatures were in the fifties.

About 20 miles east of Minot, Sebastian began complaining that his bike was not handling well and it was noticeably worse when we stopped for lunch. We discovered that his front tire was flat. There was a slit in the sidewall that our patch kit could not handle. But Minot was large enough to support a Honda dealer who had a tire of the correct size in stock. They let us bring the bike into the shop, and use our own tools to remove the wheel so they could mount the new tire. Ninety minutes later we were on the road again.

I’ve found that to be generally true of flat tires on motorcycles. Unless you are riding extremely hard, you don’t usually know you have a flat until you slow to a stop. It’s not nearly as dangerous as you might think. At least that’s been my experience with the half dozen flats I’ve had over 40 years of riding.

In Rugby, we found the Geographical Center of North America. There is a monument marking the spot. Just what the meaning and significance of this is I leave as a topic for you all. Discuss among yourselves. Let us know what you come up with.

Centerpoint

In western North Dakota, there is oil. Apparently lots of it. Every room in every motel within about 25 miles of the ND/MT border has been rented by oil workers. It seems to have been this way for the past six years or so. We stopped for gas in the area and our bikes caught the eye of one of these workers who pulled in to chat. He gave us all sorts of travel tips for the area and clued us in to the dearth of motel rooms. He listened to us describe our itinerary through northern Montana and very gently suggested that another route would be much more interesting for us. We were still debating when he departed, but after we finished, we decided to take his advice. He was a really nice guy and we were sorry not to have gotten his picture and name. About 15 miles down the road, we saw a guy standing outside his truck waving his arms for us to stop. It was our impromptu tour guide! He said “Well, did you decide to take the other route? Cause if you did, then here is a neat side road that will get you there faster and is even more scenic and great a great ride.”

Wade Moe: Oilman, Travel Consultant

This time we got the name and the pic. Thank you Wade Moe! We were able to snag the last room in Glendive!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Claudia Chapman permalink
    June 2, 2010 9:24 am

    A potentially useful photo to illustrate either “left of center” or “right of center”.
    Personally, I wish we could all just “rise above” political differences and listen to one another. Really listen.
    I’m sure we’re all hoping that Wade Moe snags a winning lottery ticket later today.

  2. dave glod permalink
    June 2, 2010 10:09 am

    You guys are really flying! These posts are fantastic, and make it almost impossible to resist the temptation to embark on an adventure. Keep ’em coming!

  3. Nancy Stockford permalink
    June 2, 2010 1:20 pm

    That’s a great story. Glad you are having a fantastic trip so far! I am enjoying following along with you.

  4. Jeff L permalink
    June 2, 2010 7:13 pm

    You guys rock! I envy your travels and am happy you seem to be having just enough adventure!

  5. Jeff L permalink
    June 2, 2010 7:19 pm

    BTW, the ladybugs seem to be working… they will bring you home safe!

  6. Fster (Rick) permalink
    June 2, 2010 8:48 pm

    Following along with every word wishing I was riding along. Ride safe guys

  7. Debby permalink
    June 2, 2010 10:37 pm

    Wow! You’ve answered that question that I was always afraid to ask: what DOES happen if you get a flat tire on the motorcycle? I never thought that you wouldn’t just go flying off the road and be a goner! Love your stories, and am so glad you are meeting the nice folk of our country!

  8. Jeff permalink
    June 4, 2010 9:44 am

    At the geographical center, obviously all of your basic physical forces come into perfect balance. In a world dominated by tension and strife, by force and competition, at that one point all is serene. This means everybody and everything located outside of that point is crazy. Just look around. You know this to be true. You can thank the dumbhead who piled a whole bunch of rocks right on top of the spot, so nobody can really do anything except get really really close to serenity, without actually getting any.

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