All posts by mendoadmin

Shenandoah Skyline Drive

WooooooHOOOOOOO!

Here we go…after hacking my way south through the forests of roads…AND seeing a bear! WTF is that, a dog? NOPE. As soon as it starts running, I know it is a black bear. It exits stage right up a hill, blink, gone.

There are also some interesting structures this way…

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I get to the start of Skyline Drive. Some hoser in a nice Corvette was taking photos at the sign, so I blast past, and think “fuck that”, pull a U-turn (I’m getting very good at those) and go back. I get shots of him and his wife, and he returns the favor

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Speed limit is 35mph, jeeebus. Baby won’t go 55, how can I do this?

sure enough, I get a warning for 48 in a 35. The nice officer said to try to keep it about 40, aaaiiiight?

It is Gorgeous! However, fall isn’t fully here yet.  I will have to live with the ordinary beauty…

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Skyline Drive leads us south to…the 469 mile long

Blue Ridge Parkway

Outbound

I don’t stop as much when touring with company, too complicated. They worry that I broke down, I don’t want to slow them down, etc.

K&E’s daughter Kasey is flying in Sunday, 9/11, so they have to be back, Karyn’s flight out is Tuesday, so she has to be back in PA too.

I tag along for a few days for the company, but no stopping for photos…we get a bit sidetracked, Ken’s maps don’t show us where we are, and one turn takes us on a nice little hill, dirt, rutted and washboarded, with a sign that says 4WD only! Karyn is not in love with riding in the dirt, K&E and I are quite enamored of it. Karyn motors up that hill like Evel Knievel, but Ken and I both know we’re gonna hear about this. Ken has me route the shortest distance to our KOA destination, and I manage to take us down a dirt road too. Dodge Hollow Road. I can’t pass it up. It takes us all over the place, at one point right through a farmyard, where two women holding babies just break out in smiles to see us, but the little girl holding one’s skirt was the prize winner, she smiled so brightly it made my day.

This KOA cabin is tiny, expensive, and hot. Oh well. The onsite vendor made us so damn fine burgers tho, and we crash…long damn day,.

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check out the cool trailer!

The next day, bringing us current on this blog, was just brilliant. Empty roads, Ken routed us just north of the Catskill Mountains, glorious sweepers, fresh pavement, it doesn’t get better than this.

Ken has a pucker factor 9 experience, as do I, since I am right behind him. Instant rear flat. His rear end starts whipping around, I thought he hit oil, but see that the rear tire is flat. He gets it under control for a moment, and then it starts whipping about again. We end up stopped in a PA State Parks driveway, where the ranger comes out and offers us an air compressor. Ken and I get the wheel off and repaired in record time. Looks like a valve stem failure, and in a brand new tube too. Scary.

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sidewalk mechanics

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I do stop and get SOME photos…

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very cool lions

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We decide to go 20 miles out of our way to tag Connecticut

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check out the horns on those bad boys!

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The Inn at Starlight Lake

What a find this place is.

We were hot, tired, sweaty and ready for a drink when we stopped in Hancock, NY. A new hotel on Main Street caught our eye and we pull over. They are brand spanking new and are not renting rooms yet. Bar and restaurant are open and booming, dammit. I ask the front desk woman where a nice place was where we could sit and watch life go by and she said “Starlight”.

Off we go….from the moment we got to the lake, then saw the Inn, I was captivated.

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Off the bikes, sigh…..

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there are two rooms big enough, one had mattresses on the floor and one was a two room suite…d’uh. There was a bit of a hike to get up to the suite, but we grunt all our shite up there and head to the lake, Karyn declines a swim and jumps in the shower. Ken, Elaine and I get in the lake, wonderfully cool. We swim out to the diving raft, Ken and I dive back in…it’s been a looooong time since I have done that…summer camp?

R&P ride back to PA the next morning, sniff, sniff…

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I go back to bed. 🙂

after that, though, it is time for a hike around the lake…

at some points, it is a path…

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and No Trespassing signs…I ignore those.

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after awhile…no path. Inlet end of lake is a swamp, I turn back

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cool rock/moss formation

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this lily was in deep! Half mud, half water, balls deep. Glad I didn’t drop the phone!

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A tour of the Inn…

Entry Hall

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Main dining room

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Back into entry hall

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Rec room with TV room behind. A small library is to my left.

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Third floor

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SO much art work, what to photo?

THIS…copper light switch plate.

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The Bar. The owner, Sari Schwartz there, was so impressed with my riding from California she bought me a drink the first night, and took $100 off the bill for the following night. Room, dinner, 3 glasses of wine…$79.80. She liked me… 🙂 Obviously an intelligent woman.

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Drizzzly morning, so I wake slowly…but the lake gradually emerges

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“I’ll be back”

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aaaaannnnnnd…heading off solo, towards the Shenandoah Mountains where the Shenandoah Skyline Drive starts. This is a 105 mile drive through the…yes, Shenandoah Mts.

Bah Hahbuh

We got unpacked into the KOA cabin and went exploring…

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that is not a lake. That is the Atlantic Ocean.

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Karyn

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K&E

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Yes, I went in! Got right back out too, there is a crab right in front of my foot!

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apples mixed in the drifted grasses and seaweed…

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seaweed is different over here….

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As are the tides…9′ difference. That is low tide the next morning above, high tide in the other photos.

Time for dinner! We had our first lobster!

I had a lobster roll, which sounds more impressive than it is. It’s basically a whole lobster (tail and claws) cut up, mixed with mayo, and put on a toasted hot dog bun. $18. Everything is expensive here, tourist land. The whole damn East Coast is touristy. I am glad I am a country boy!

The lobster roll was fookin’ awesome, however.

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Karyn had one too, and Ken and Elaine had a bug each. Elaine gave me a claw….

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and I ate it!

I must say, Ken is a wonderful, talented man, and I am honored to be his friend. I have never seen that man smile as much as on this trip, and I have known him 28 years.

Thanks, Buddy. That was fun. Let’s do it again!

Sunset was lovely…

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we had a lovely fire and retired. Norm, it takes a quarter of a bottle of hand sanitizer to start the fire, that seems excessive…Karyn gets us Fritos to try the next night….but we eat them.

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We have the KOA cabin for three nights, so we get to exploring. First, shopping!

We saddle up, two up for economy, we can get into the park cheaper that way. Off the 8 miles to town we go, zipping straight into a nice downtown parking spot. Gotta love the bikes! Ooo, look! A corner bar! Elaine says “I could go for a Bloody Mary at some point” Ken and I look at each other, and “No time like the present!”

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Ride and Party go to Maine!

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Cool campers drive by as we sit and sip.

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Love that VeeDub!

off for shopping…one good thing about touring on motorcycles, it does cut down on purchases.  I HAVE to get this T-shirt…

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that is a perfect tour poem…

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Fall is coming…but I am about 2 weeks early

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Town is pretty damn gorgeous, as is the day.

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two separate worlds there….

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Down town

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Town square

We saddle up and head off on the easy loop of the island, saving the longer one for tomorrow.

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the fog layers are really pretty

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We stop and hike down to Sand Beach and take off our shoes and walk in the ocean again, sooooooo nice to see, smell and hear the ocean.

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back to the cabin for cocktails and….you guessed it

LOBSTER!

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Mine’s name is Dinner!

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hmmmm, mmmmmm, good!

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Boiled Bug. That plate was $23.

Last day

foggy as hell today, glad we got out yesterday. Today we loop the other half of the island, the southern and western sides

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nice lighthouse

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Cap’t Dave

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lighthouse keepers abode

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nice tangle

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next was a old car and motorcycle museum

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that is a childs car made by Bugatti…$7k in the depression. Priorities, eh?

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check out the horn on that bad boy.

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Henry Ford’s personal car on the Island. Hood ornament hand made by Henri Cartier himself.

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’34 Ford runabout…

the amount of money on this island is insane, it makes Mendocino Money look like monopoly money.

back to the cabin, gotta pack up.

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The Journey

Well then!

that was a heck of a ride, thanks goes out to Ken and Elaine Bone and Karyn McNabb for making the time to join me, and especially to Karyn’s family, Jose and Kevyn, for holding down the fort while Karyn went to play. THANKS!

this will be a long post. It is now Sept 11, 2016. I am holed up in a SWEET Inn on a lake, appropriately named, The Inn at Starlight Lake.

Let me start at the beginning.

We left Friday the 2nd. I was apprehensive about riding in the NE on Labor Day weekend, but it all turned out pretty well. The first day was a long grunt to get into NY. We stayed at the 3 Bears Inn, which had delightful food and deplorable beds, and was right next to the freeway. Oh well, 1 out of 2 isn’t bad.

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I can’t remember much about the day, Ken was lead mostly, but it worked out better if K&E went together and Karyn and I rode together, we met up for gas and food, and major intersections. One rule on this tour is minimal interstates, so this Bar Harbor trip was 3 days each way. We took 4 days getting there, nice and easy. Lots of small (and smaller!) roads. K&E are paper map people, I am a GPS person, so there was a little adjustment period while we figure out what worked.

Day 2 was into the Adirondack Mountains! This was very fun, but the traffic got thicker and thicker.

We met for breakfast in Bouckville, great little spot Ken found.

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Loved the dog sign.

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more and more color!

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some lake, some where. dang lot of lakes up there. One day I am going to be a float plane pilot.

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Saranac Lake. We got a motel room here and stayed the night, going out for NY Mexican food was an experience, the food was good, but that ain’t Mexican.

Day 3

dammit, you guys get up too early! Coffee in the room, and vamanos! We Ride! Its nice to get an hour or so under your belt (and tires) before having breakfast. This place was awesome, and the coffee was great.

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not the restaurant, silly. you may have noticed by now, the motorcycles will be a continuing theme….

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View from our table!

Passed lots of Amish horse carts this morning, you’re warned by the steaming turds…the cuteness winner was the Amish family walking to church, Sunday morning best on, the boys just beaming at the bikes. Nice.

Ken and Elaine are very experienced long distance riders, I can learn a lot from them. One of the tips is to stay in KOA campgrounds. I have always been very skeptical of them, but out here in the east they’re pretty good. We stayed in a sweet cabin with kitchen, fireplace, BBQ, lawn swing, and all the amenities. Ken grilled us up some sirloin tips, Elaine made a salad, we dined sumptuously!

Day 4

Into Maine! Before, tho, we cross out of NY into and past New Hampshire and Vermont. No, I didn’t stop for any maple products. One VERY cool thing was crossing Lake Champlain by ferry, Elaine likes ferrys, as do we all.

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Lining up….

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Woo HOOO! This is a big lake, full of history, lots of battles in the Revolution on this lake.

We intended to ride up Mt. Washington, but the one way road, not through, and 1 mile of dirt, no railings, and $17 fee made the others bail, I didn’t though, so up I went. Yes, it is steep. No, there are no railings. The dirt section was not too bad, but they watered it to keep the dust down, which didn’t help.

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going up….

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and up…

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Highest recorded wind speeds experienced by man were here, 231 MPH. Note the chains on the building….

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be an exciting drive in winter, eh?

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going down. Spooky stopping, one lane road, not much forgiveness here.

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the gang were down the hill a ways, enjoying a snack and dip in this…

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We Have Arrived!

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K&E booked a KOA just across the bridge on Mt. Desert Island, which is the island that Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park reside upon.

Ride & ParTAY!

loading up the cycles…and here they are…

Ken’s, very modified. Ken’s done all our bikes.
I ‘think’ this started out as an R80ST, but now has a 1000cc engine and old skool airbox. You’ll note other modifications…🙂

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Next is Elaines, AKA 2Lane. This started out as a monolever R65, but now also has a 1000cc engine with the stock R65 rear end, for that jet assist takeoff feeling. Ken also put in a taller 5th gear. Pelican bags, by Ken.

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Karyn’s R80. This is a basically stock monolever R80, but now has the windscreen, EnduraLast charging system (we’ve all got that)and the ladies and I also have an LED headlight bulb from an ADVrider.com vendor. Schweeeeet!

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You already are familiar with The Beast. It is much dirtier than these…so I will leave the photo out. 😉

Lift off, 8am tomorrow.
First leg; Boneyard East to Marathon, NY
Second leg; Marathon, NY to Lake Saranac, NY
Third? TBD

Pennsylvania

Not much to say about getting here, except…Cool! I tagged West Virginia too!

lots of interstates today, booooooooooRING…skirting Ann Arbor and Toledo, I am on the way to Ride & Party Ken & Elaine’s place in PA near Pittsburgh. Ken sends me the route, typically, just a paragraph with highway numbers in it. I do get out in the boonies eventually, though, and in Woodville, on Hwy 20…there appears The Speed Trap Diner. Can’t pass that up! Great spot!

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Biker Babe Avenue…

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Due to the fact I was dodging thunderstorms all day, not many photos. I didn’t miss them all, either. My Roadcrafter got rewashed, and the bike got the bugs blasted off of it. Still, Hwy 250 avoided a lot of it, and the thunderstorms followed me all the way to McDonald, PA. The GPS was awesome, it showed the rain very accurately. Green means water, yellow means buckets of water. I don’t want to know about any other colors.

This fixer-upper was in Germane, PA. That is some old stuff there.

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Floated into the smiling arms of Elaine, dancing the green hills of Pennsylvania with the rhythm of the road accompanied by Peter Green’s “A Fool No More”….perfect.

R&P Karyn flies in tonight from LA, her bike is here getting worked on, Ken & Elaine have a place here and in Phoenix, so Karyn rode it over to Phoenix and Ken trucked it out here when they came out for summer. Karyn has flown out several times this summer for rides. We all leave Saturday morning for Maine, heading to a cool tavern/motel in Marathon, NY first, then someplace near Lake Placid, NY, then Bar Harbor….and LOBSTER!

Those 3 will come back here the following weekend, I might, but I might head south from there too. All depends on the weather. Right now it is wonderfully cool, low humidity, and awesome.

Michigan

I seem to be getting on the road about 10am on this trip, getting out of Duluth was no different…but before I got on the freeway I ride back to Aerostich and leave the owner, Andy Goldfine, one of my business cards. He is a member of the same motorcycle club as I am, Ride & Party….getting pretty slim on the members these days. He writes back a few hours later saying he was sorry to miss me and do I have some updated email addresses…cool!

I am so glad I am avoiding as much interstate as possible, these two lane highways are the best…where else do you get to stop and check out such cool old buildings!

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This one had a satellite dish and telephone box, so it was inhabited. brrrrrrrrrr!

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The Beast clicks over 58,000 miles…there are way more miles than this on the bike, that is not a stock speedo, but this will do.

I approve!

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Iron River at Lake Superior

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Just motoring along minding my own business, along comes a sign…”Hoot’N’Holler Tavern, 2 miles>>>”

Cant pass up that name! damn nice fish sandwich, draft beer, and a heck of a view. Great stop!

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Lake Gogebic (?)

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I intended to camp somewhere along the south shore of Lake Superior and check out Pictured Rocks State Park, but with the last days of summer winding down and school winding up…everything was either full or too spendy for me. $140 for a room by myself is too spendy. I did try to find some national forest campgrounds, but the only signs are at the highway, once you turn off it, good luck finding the campground. I ride 10 miles down one road before quitting. So…we keep rolling, and rolling, and rolling.

Hello Fox River Town Park! Goodbye $8!

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totally awesome Luci solar powered lantern…(mpowerd.com) It is sitting on my waterbottle for extra light.

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this was a great site, but I seem to have absorbed a bit of whisky in the evening and am moving a little slowly this morning!

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Finally roll into Holly, Michigan, where my buddy Dave is waiting in his wheelchair. 3,323 miles, 1/2 quart of oil. Go BMW!

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Dave is A Real Man…apparently

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Holly Town Hall…cool little town. I love the freight trains rolling through the night, wooooooooooooowooooooooooo

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Why yes, it is!

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Minnesota

Now Minnesota starts throwing me some curves, so I am liking it here.

I was pushing for Duluth, but it was late in the day, strange city, rush hour, tired….maybe not.

I investigated about 5 campsites in ND but was pretty disappointed with them. However, the first site I checked in MN was awesome!

National Forest campgrounds are usually the nicest and cheapest, but they don’t come better than this…

Mabel Lake, MN

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Lets see;

Shade, check

Private beach, check

Level, check

firewood already present, Bonus!

site paid for already, Bonus!

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Dinner cooking

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Sunset on Mabel Lake, as the mosquitoes swarm out. They came out and dawn and dusk, not much fun then!

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The Mississippi river! Gotta do The Great River Road one day.

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Hwy 200 from Missoula, MT to MN, thanks for a great run, 200!

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aaaaand, Aerostich, in Duluth, where my Roadcrafter suit is being stitched, washed, & waterproofed before I head across Wisconsin into Michigan. I am hoping to camp over by the Mackinaw bridge into the Michigan UP, but we will see what the weather holds!

North Dakota

ND was more hills and straight roads. I totally scored on the road construction, probably 50+ miles of construction, including long sections of dirt, but it was the weekend, so no crews, no stopping, and no mud! That might have been pretty ugly on a week day.

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I think this is Montana….

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SO glad I have an R80G/S!

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I thought of camping here, but no shade, $20, no thanks.

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Not bad for 2,000+ miles!

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Lots of oil fields and closed down trailer parks for workers

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Oh yes, and sunflowers! I fell over turning around in that sand pit behind the bike where the helmet is. That could have been a tough one to lift, but it t’was a breeze.

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Water towers announce oncoming towns

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derelict houses,

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and barns

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Hand hewn beams inside that one!