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tntmo

Cold and wet - North Dakota to San Diego

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I’m always inventing reasons to ride.  Really don’t have to, waking up is reason enough but I guess I enjoy convoluted plans.

This one involved helping my kids and visiting family and friends, great excuses.  My son recently transferred to Utah from an overseas tour and was needing some additional space to get his stuff there.  My daughter moved to North Dakota and was looking for a pickup.  

Well, I was in the right place at the right time and got a free truck along with a free trailer.  Both needed some attention, but approximately $600 had a combination that I decided to trust to go 2000 miles towing my Super Ténéré.  

....stand by.....

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Tom, best of luck on your adventure. I am eagerly awaiting your ride report and YouTube video(s).

Ride safe!

 

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A special thank to our own Uncle Champ for the trailer.  It was a bit rough around the edges but I got it together for not much money.  He only charged me one beer that he gave me.  Hats off!

I really should have done more on the truck, but didn’t want to invest a lot if I had to abandon it.  A fine line....  anyway, oil change, plugs and wires, water pump, thermostat, alternator.....good enough?   I hope so.  I had a moral dilemma about what tools to bring.  

I knew I was planning to leave the truck and trailer at North Dakota and ride home, so couldn’t bring much if I wanted to bring it back.  I just decided to get a bit more religious.  Nonspecific higher power, watch out for me.  

I didn’t even drive it on the highway until my son and I left.  I also had never trailered a motorcycle more than 150 miles prior to this.  All in!  He was getting stationed at Hill AFB near Salt Lake City so it’s about 750 miles.  We left at midnight since my truck has no AC.

First 150 miles goes well.  I was worried but no issues.  We got to Vegas at sunrise, perfect to avoid heat.  Took a nap north of Vegas and continued on.  

The old K1500 just kept working, we got to Utah without issue.  My son got his temporary lodging and I crashed with him. Day one success!

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11 minutes ago, Uncle Champ said:

I'll bet that trailer is happy, good job.

Safe travels, if you need anything let me know.

The trailer was awesome.  I didn’t want to leave it.  Thank you so much!  

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I was lucky enough to join my son at PT with his new squadron, it’s great to still be able to embarrass my kids.  😁  He’s working with a public affairs group, appears to be 90% women.  Guess he chose a good job.

We went exploring and apartment shopping since he was authorized ten days for that.  Ended up finding a basement apartment that was clean and reasonably priced.  The lady renting it mentioned to both of us several times that she was newly divorced and a single mom.   I just told my son to stay out of trouble!

After I was sure he was set, I departed for the next stop.  1200-ish more miles in the untested combination without a wingman. I gotta say it was a bit unnerving.  I contacted a friend in Billings Montana which was about 500 miles away.

 Left early and just went nice and slow.  Stopped for a nap near Yellowstone National Park, checked the oil and tire pressure about halfway and it all seemed fine.  Why worry?  Welcome to Billings!

Spent the afternoon/night with my buddy and his dad.  Over halfway there!

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On 10/3/2019 at 8:58 AM, Huntndogs said:

All good, your traveling with a master mechanic.

 

And a monkey wrench 

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4 hours ago, Wierdrider said:

And a monkey wrench 

All Tom needs is duct tape and WD-40. If it doesn't move but it is supposed to, use WD-40. If it moves and it isn't supposed to, use duct tape.... 🤣

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Where was I?  Oh yes, Billings Montana.  It snowed a couple feet north of me but I was unconcerned.  Got coffee, said my goodbyes and headed out.  

Raining a bit, the wipers work but sometimes ya gotta reach out to get them going.  I crossed the border to North Dakota and it was still almost 500 miles to my daughters place.

Remember me saying I didn’t fix everything?  Well tires are expensive and I didn’t want to spend much if I had to abandon the truck .  One of the front tires started to develop some scary cracks.  The spare was there but pretty old.  Ummm, get religious??  I slowed down.  Stayed in the right lane.  Really stupid but I kept going.  

100 miles away the tire was way worse.  Slow and steady.  I see the Air Force base ahead.  As I creep to the gate I can feel the tire wobble.  3 miles to their house...it made it!  Really dumb and mostly dangerous but I got this truck, trailer and motorcycle 2,000 miles on a $600 budget.

Looking back, yeah...at least a couple of used tires?  Didn’t use a drop of oil or coolant.  Solid truck for them, after a set of tires. 

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Nice job, Tom! Time to unload the Super Tenere and start riding. 

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I forgot to mention how impressed I was with western North Dakota.  Theodore Roosevelt NP looks awesome and I would like to go back to check it out some more.

Eastern North Dakota...not so much!

Anyway, I spent a couple rainy days visiting.  Always a treat to spend time with my granddaughter.  I kept watching for a break in the weather and thought I had one.  The bike was in the garage, my laundry was washed and I packed up to start the journey home.

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2 hours ago, tntmo said:

I forgot to mention how impressed I was with western North Dakota.  Theodore Roosevelt NP looks awesome and I would like to go back to check it out some more.

Eastern North Dakota...not so much!

 

Good stuff out there we have some family property little north east of the TD park used to go every summer as a kid.

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Day one on the bike: Grand Forks, ND to Milroy, MN

The morning I set out from Grand Forks it was 36 degrees.  Frost was in the long term forecast along with rain every day for the next four days.  I figured it might be my only chance, it might snow after the rain!

 I set my maps for “avoid highway “ and bundled up. Got a hug and kiss from the daughter and granddaughter for good luck.  Lots of small towns, lots of standing water.  Too much rain this year.  It’s 300 miles from my daughter’s place to my parents farm.

 I really enjoy riding the small side roads, and as I get closer to my parents place things start to get recognizable.  About 50 miles away from the farm, it starts to drizzle.  At least it’s warmed up to almost 50 degrees.  After a cup of coffee  I get my rain gear on and continue.  

My mom and dad were waiting for me, my brother came over and we all just hung out, had dinner and told stories.  I got to sleep on the same couch I remember being in the house since forever.  Some things never change....

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P.S.  I will add photos after I get home and warm up.

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Day two on the bike: Milroy, MN to Omaha, NE

Rain was in the forecast every direction.  I was considering just staying in Minnesota for the winter.  I said my goodbyes, got some travel tips from dad (bridge is still out from flooding last year) and was off.  Light rain, just an annoyance.

 I took the other county road to avoid the washed outbridge, turned west and crossed Plum Creek on my way into Walnut Grove.  The setting for the TV series Little House On The Prarie, it’s about 12 miles from my parents farm.  I was thinking about all this stuff, and noticed the burgundy sedan going the opposite direction.

MN state trooper.  I glanced down, 72 mph.  I wasn’t sure what the speed limit was here, but the troopers brake lights said it wasn’t 72.

The trooper looked to be about 17.  He looked at me like I was a fool to be riding in the cold and rain.  Being that I’m old, I got a warning.  Handshake, thanks for your service, son...I’m on my way.

My first stop is LeMars, Iowa.  Did you know there’s more ice cream produced there than anywhere else in the world? It’s a vacation destination!  I have a buddy there, timed my stop with his lunch break so we got to catch up over coffee at the Hy-Vee.

The rain stopped while we were chatting but it picked up afterwards.  Of course.  On to Omaha. Nice back roads again, up small hills and over small rivers.  A retired Navy buddy lives there, he greeted me with a cold beverage and a warm home.  

We went out for dinner at a river boat casino. He hit up the roulette table and doubled his money.  I gambled enough already making this trip so I just watched.  Home to some more beverages and catching up, the weather actually looks like no rain tomorrow?  I sleep hoping for good weather.

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Nicely done. I see on FB you got home safely EARLY this morning. Laying down the miles...I'm jealous.

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