July 24

Good riding across ND

Hold on to your hat, helmet or headrag. This blog is visual trip across western North Dakota.

If you are a motorcyclist who is used to riding through and in lots of traffic, you would love North Dakota’s motorcycling, especially west river North Dakota. 

I followed I-94 across the state for a photographic entry in to my other blog 2wheels2lanes1camera.    It was a great day to show what North Dakota looks like this time of year, a perfect entry for North Dakota 365.

From the outskirts of Mandan where “west river” begins, motorcycles are numerous.  Near the city, sport bikes or “crotch rockets” are plentiful, speeding down the smooth concrete ribbon of Interstate 94.

Further west, it’s motorcycle touring terrain.  Packed motorcycles head west across the state, enjoying the lack of threatening drivers in their cars and trucks — free to twist the throttle and cruise.  People whom I’ve talked to from other parts of the nation such as southern California where it’s thought that motorcycling is a popular pastime are impressed with the number of motorcycles in North Dakota.  They are surprised to see scenes like this where bikes fill the parking lot of a local pizza joint/beer joint called the Evil Olive. (More about that in a soon to come blog entry.)

Dickinson's Evil Olive

I’m certain you’ll find more pickup trucks with one passenger headed down the highway than any other form of transportation, but it sure seems to me that it makes more sense to take advantage of North Dakota’s wide open spaces to conserve gasoline, leave a smaller carbon footprint and enjoy the ride on two wheels at 45 mpg than to hurl your pickup down the road on four wheels at 12 mpg.

So, if you’re headed across North Dakota, don’t be surprised if you see more motorcycles than you expect. North Dakota is a motorcycle haven of wide open vastness.  What would it take to get you to ride across the state with me?

June 21

It’s taken a lot of mistakes in order to learn how to get from this:

The bare essentials

to this:

loaded and ready to roll

When I took my first motorcycle road trip of 5 weeks, back in 1971, I had only a sleeping bag rolled up on a luggage rack behind my seat.  Times have changed. A sleeping bag in a tree row isn’t what it used to be.  Now, I go prepared, tent, cooking gear and of course tools.

tools for the highway

My first road trip had no saddlebags, and only a crescent wrench and screwdriver. Now, I carry an entire socket and wrench set plus an assortment of other tools, including a quart of oil and a siphon hose.

I got out of motorcycling during those kid years, but  once they were edging out of elementary school, I got back in to it.  I quickly learned a plastic grocery bag strung between the handlebars won’t even make it downtown.  Then, I learned that bungee cords holding a bag to the passenger seat worked a whole lot better if I installed a sissy bar to stop the bag from sliding off.

Any good road trip now, starts here…saddlebags, pack, and of course my cameras ready to record the trip.