OK so the subject may have got your attention but in reality this was motorcycle ride to the Black Hills to do some dual sport riding.
I have been through the Black Hills area of South Dakota before and always thought I would like to go back with a dual sport bike and was looking for a decent excuse to go. Last year on our trip to Alaska we had met up with a fellow ADV inmate and had kept in contact over the winter. He sent out his summer ride plans back in December and one of them was to meet in the Black hills near the end of July before bike week to do some dual sport riding.
He explained that some of his relatives would be there and that they were all great motorcycle people. I had met some of his friends at the D2D the previous year and immediately starting making plans to go.
I put the plan out to a few of my buddies to see if anyone else was interested. It was a ways off and most of them have to work so their level of commitment was iffy at best, but I was going so I started to make plans.
I have 2 bikes available for this trip. One was a BMW F800GS that would do the trip with no effort whatsoever and the other was a higher mileage ‘06 KLR that would need to be fixed up for a long trip.
I really wanted to take my time on this trip and enjoy some slower travel so decided that the KLR would be the bike.
I started to get it ready and take a couple of shake down rides. You can ready about my process in a previous ride report.
A friend that I had taken the trip to Alaska last year had indicated that he would be interested but had to work until the 19th of July. I was thinking I would leave earlier head out a few days before we were scheduled to meet Paul but once he committed we decided that we would leave on the Sunday. That would give us 3-4 days to get there and that would be a pretty leisurely pace.
I wanted to choose a route that avoided major highways and the flattest part of the prairie, so thought we would travel down through Minnesota as far as the trees lasted and then hook into the Dakotas.
Here is a map of the planned route.
Of course as per tradition of any trip a ride back home was needed. We went for coffee with some friends and on the ride over it noticed that there was a distinct wobble in my front end at slower speeds. I had put a brand new Heideneau K60 tire on the front a day earlier. I thought that the tube may not had not centered in the tire well so after coffee we returned home and I let the air out of the tire and blew it back up again. It seemed that the tire had not set up on the bead on one side. I filled it to 60 lbs but still no “pop”. I decided to just put 36 lbs of air in it and try it like that. We headed out and the tire seemed to be running fine so we continued on our merry way.
It is funny that we do not take pictures of places that we frequently travel, or take many on the first or last days of a journey. I have driven the day 1 route or at least parts of it a couple times but never took any pictures this time.
It was a very nice ride. The area we went through is all forested and the roads are noted as “parkways” on the road map. Although this region has a lot of tourist traffic due to the number of lakes etc it was a pleasant ride without incident.
We ended our first night in Akeley MN. I saw a sign for a community camp ground so thought we would be able to get some cheap camping. Once we got in we found out that it was $25 a site but for 2 tents on one site would be $40. We did not want to go look elsewhere and it was a tourist area so assumed that was about as good as it was going to get.
It was pretty warm out and one of the fellows who was there when we were paying had a nice cold beer. We asked him where we could get some beer but they explained that you could not buy beer in Minnesota on Sunday (who knew?) but the VFW was open and if we went there the barmaids name was Rene and to tell her Len sent us and we would be treated right.
Now who could resist an invitation like that?
We set up camp and headed down to the VFW.
We went inside and asked for Rene. The girl behind the bar said “I’m Rene” so we said “Len sent us” and she laughed out loud and immediately bought us a beer.
Wow what hospitality!
We spent the better part of a few hours sitting with the clientele who were coming and going and had a blast talking to everyone. We left there and I will admit that we could have been legally over the limit but we took some back trails and made the short trip back to the tent safe and sound.
I went and took a shower and went to bed. It rained overnight with a few good claps of thunder but by morning the sun was back up and except for a heavy dew we were dry and on loaded our heavy heads into our helmets and our way by 9ish.