Great Alaska Adventure: Now We Are Three
Since May 30 and for 2,822 miles Marilyn and I rode as a twosome. Today’s 348 miles from Bloomer to Fargo was ridden as a threesome with Hanna appropriately perched on the princess seat behind me. For the next 34 days and 6,000 miles or so she’ll see Canada, Alaska and parts of the western United States from her new throne. Other than a little sunburn on her face, I think it was a good beginning. The weather cooperated with no rain and temps in the mid-50s at 7 a.m., reaching 80 degrees by the time we rolled into Fargo.
For those of you keeping track (and no one but me really is), when I crossed under the Welcome to North Dakota sign I checked off my 48th state on a motorcycle. If my luck and my Harley hold up, I’ll notch number 49 when I ride into Alaska in eight days. I’m not sure I’ll ever tally all 50. After all, now that I’ve seen scenic North Dakota, Hawaii would just be a let down.
There were two ways to get from Bloomer to Fargo: The quick way on the super slab or the longer way on roads less traveled. I chose the latter as I generally do.
U.S. highways, state highways, county highways and even some un-numbered roads today took us through fecund Wisconsin and Minnesota farm lands covered with waving grains and grasses that a city boy has no hope of identifying but which no doubt will, in various ways, feed people across the country and around the world. Whenever I travel in the countryside I’m always reminded–and amazed–at how much work America’s growing class puts in to feed the rest of us.
We saw a few of the more than 10,000 lakes that dot Minnesota’s countryside. I wish we could have seen more but they were too frequently secreted by dense forests blocking the view of road-bound travelers. My GPS teasingly revealed hundreds of blue dots and specks as we sped by, but despite efforts to peer between the dense branches of lofty pines, I rarely caught more than a glimpse of the lakes and shores lined with aging vacation cabins and pristine resorts. But I knew they were there, waiting for another trip.
Chance sightings of relics from days before superhighways reward riders who take what author William Least Heat Moon referred to as “Blue Highways,” minor roads on maps that usually show up as meandering blue lines connecting county dots with names like Barron, Almena and Turtle Lake. Today’s roadside parade of cultural artifacts included a 30-foot tall root beer mug, a 25-foot chef with a wooden spoon cruelly menacing a 4-foot snowman and a motley army of misshapen tin soldiers of various sizes manufactured by a folksy metalsmith with too much time and scrap on his hands. Hanna saw the same thing and captured them with her Nikon for me to use this evening as illustrations to my tale.
Tomorrow’s ride goes to Kenmare, ND, our last stop before crossing into Canada, eh (I’m practicing my “ehs” so I’ll fit in while were in Canada.) Could see some rain tomorrow, eh?
“I can’t wait to get on the road again.”