Open Roads

Well it’s Labor Day weekend, which means panic sets in. In this part of the country everyone knows that the opportunities for summertime activities are numbered come this time of year. People go a little crazy trying to get in that one last activity – fishing, boating, camping, or motorcycle riding.

Me? I’m busy moving this week. Well actually, for the next couple of weeks. Have a 16-day overlap between the old place and the new, and since they’re only 4 blocks apart I can take my time. Which is why I snuck out of town today.

Hit the road shortly after sun-up. Wanted to get to the missile command post that I didn’t make it to last weekend. It’s about 100 miles away and I wanted to be there when it opened. It was a bit cool, but a pleasant ride. The point of today was to get on roads I’d never been on before – either in a car or on the Harley. Pretty uneventful trip to Oscar-Zero, except that both times I topped off the gas, I managed to spill some. Jeesh.

Oscar-Zero was pretty neat and definitely worth the trip. It’s an old missile command post and since I was the first one there, I got a private tour of the facility. Really interesting to see how they functioned out there. While it was a nice place to hang out on a gorgeous day, I can imagine it would be a bear in the middle of the winter. Much less all the security processes and duties. While it was a great tour, I’m kind of glad it’s services are not needed anymore.

Didn’t really have a destination in mind once I was done at Oscar-Zero. Just wanted to get some miles in. I’ve got a map of the state that I’m marking all the roads I’ve taken the motorcycle on, so I decided I’d just color in some more. Headed up to Devils Lake and that was a good choice. Really pretty back there and lots of lakes along the way – including one dry one. Stopped for lunch and gas in Devils Lake and once again needed to figure out which way to go. Didn’t feel like taking the main highway and wanted to get some extra miles in so I went some 25 miles further north to find another back road. It was starting to get warm out. I’m cold-blooded and can wear long-sleeves and several layers even at 90-degrees. But I decided to lose my hoodie and gloves as I turned the corner going east. Glad I packed the empty T-Bag along. I’ve got the little stow-a-way, and it’s perfect for rides like this since I don’t yet have saddlebags. About 50-miles later I made a bold move and changed into a short-sleeve (nearly sleeveless) shirt and the vest. First time riding with bare arms. Glad the sun was shining, but even so I’d find myself with goosebumps every now and then. Didn’t matter though, the wind and sun on skin felt good. Rode all the way back home that way, even though the sun was getting pretty low. I’m usually the one to yell at the kids to wear their safety gear riding bicycles and skateboards. Gonna have to bite my tongue now.

Had one interesting little encounter near the junction of Hwy 18 and 200. Had nothing to do with the intersection, but a pickup decided it liked my lane better than theirs and was maybe 500-400 feet in front of me before it decided it should return to its own lane. I saw it coming and pretty much slammed on the front brake (didn’t get my foot on the rear brake in time). It ended well, even if I was in 2nd gear. And what was really notable, I didn’t even get an adrenaline sweat out of it. Not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad sign, but I’m just glad I wasn’t tomorrow’s news.

Was also a bit surprised by how few bikes I passed today. Saw more this afternoon, for sure, but really not as many as I expected on such a gorgeous day. Their loss. Most of the roads I rode were pretty empty, which I love. Then I can take my time and enjoy the scenery rather than watch the speedometer and rear view mirrors.

Really wanted to hit the 4500 mile mark today in the big push for 5000 this season. Fell 15 miles short. Sounds like an excuse to get up in the morning and go for breakfast in some small town maybe 30-50 miles away…

Odometer: 4485 miles