We spent the whole day with family, Nana’s funeral was after lunch, which was really nice as it gave me a chance to put the Eulogy that was written in my head onto paper. All the kids and grand kids were home, all the extended family made it, even the rain managed to show up! It was quite obvious to everyone that we have been in the sun for quite some time, our faces were quite red, well tanned I like to call it, but our Raccoon eyes were the give away of riding motorcycles LOL! Lots of family pictures taken and lots of people saying they were following us on our trip, even Ruth, who is in her 90’s is on FaceBook following us. She came up to me and said “I love what you guys are doing, now where is Carlson I just have to meet him”!
We spent one more night with my family before everyone started heading home, I was happy I got to see my 2 boys, and Troy and I were excited to get back on the road, pick up where we left off.
We arrived in Lyleton area on July 25th evening, we left Lyleton area July 27th at noon, I wanted to take Troy through a “quick” tour of my old stomping grounds, we rode to my farm where I grew up, rode to town (Lyleton), crossed the border where it was much easier to cross 25 years ago then now. Stopped in Antler ND, to see our favorite watering hole and headed south to Minot ND where we hope we can get a room. The city of Minot was hit hard by the flooding as well, still over 4000 people were with out a home, the state fair was cancelled and most hotels were full with residents. We rode across some roads that had sandbags on the shoulders, in fact 1 lane roads, we were physically and emotionally exhausted from the last few days, all we wanted to do was get a hotel room, have some food and sleep. Minot is less than an hour from Lyleton, we knew we could ride that but I don’t think we could have gone 2 hours, we pulled into a gas station, fueled up and started calling hotels. It was not looking good, nobody had rooms, the hotels suggested we call the city office as they get daily updates of vacancies. The city didn’t have good news either, so we decided to find a restaurant have something to eat and start calling all cities within a 100 mile radius. We went to Chili’s on the south side of the city, sat down, ordered our food and called every hotel we could find within a 100 miles, everyone was full! Our next thought was well let’s ride back to Lyleton and stay with some cousins, we were getting desperate at this time and more exhausted. Troy said let’s call again to the Minot hotels maybe someone cancelled, we rang up a few with no luck, then BINGO, we found a room! At this point we didn’t care how much it was haha, we just wanted a shower and a bed! The hotel was across the parking lot of the restaurant, so it maybe was 100 yards which is way better than 100 miles! We probably don’t need to go on any further about what happened next, checked in, unpacked, lights out! We did discuss where we are going to ride to tomorrow but not with much detail.
Rode 300 miles today, 150 miles of it Troy rode with a broke shifter
We weren’t early risers this morning, slowly we packed up and flipped a coin if we were going to head west then south to Mile City or south then west. The weather forecast showed rain towards the south so we headed west, seemed like the common sense thing to do at the time. Who said common sense was always a good thing?? We headed west from Minot ND, we didn’t get too far when we both agreed it is true weathermen to lie, Big Black Clouds were forming and oh look on the same path as us! The closer we got to the black sky the more serious it looked, like hail, high winds and something you would normally take cover. Hmmm in the middle of North Dakota taking cover isn’t that easy! Time to make a decision, stop or go… well we stopped to put more layers on and then rode like hell to beat the storm. The storm was coming down from the north, we were heading west, I didn’t do that good in school to figure out how fast we would have to go to beat the storm strip of fury but I do know how fast our bikes can go! It was quite scary and we did get some what wet but our goal was to reach this tiny sun beam up ahead before we were pelted with hail. PHEW we made it! Relieved we made it, happy to be mostly dry we carried on our way, stopping at the Montana border to get our picture taken at the state line sign. That is where Troy’s shifter stripped, Fairview MT, we pulled over the side of the road and tried to tighten it, fix it and Troy ended up learning how to use his back shifter until we could get it fixed. Miles City does not have a Harley Dealer but Billings does, so we will stop in Miles City for the night and get up “early” to make Billings HD shop for repairs. Oh BTW we have not done laundry since Columbia Missouri, and we won’t be doing it tonight as our Econo lodge at Miles City does not have laundry service either! Well there is always tomorrow!
Off to Billings MT Harley Davidson Dealership for repairs
We were actually up early this morning, it is only 150 miles to Billings but it is a Friday and who knows how busy Beartooth Harley Davidson will be, plus we wanted to make it to Red Lodge MT for the night. Troy still using his back shifter, the weather being very accommodating and us both still a bit tired, we stopped at a tourist road side turnout for a break. We learned a few things about rattle snakes, the Yellow Stone Trail and Buffalo Country. Refueled on protein bars and water, Troy ready to back shift the rest of the way to Billings. We arrived at Beartooth Harley Davidson just after 10:30am, we decided to get Angela’s bike serviced as well. There was a bit of a wait to get our bikes in, we were hungry and not seeing a place to eat we asked for a ride to a restaurant. They were more than willing to give us a ride but were so busy they couldn’t find someone to take us, so not to leave us stranded they gave us a demo Can-Am Spyder to use for the day(free of charge). We both have always wondered what they would ride like, now we get to try it first hand. We signed some papers, put on our helmets and left the parking lot with anticipation, excitement, & smiles . OMG what a disappointment, we got on the road and couldn’t help but compare it to riding a quad. We rode it around town for awhile trying to get used to riding it. Unfortunately it felt like the front tires were riding on the outsides of the crown and the single wide rear tire rode on the crown making it shimmy and shake like an ATV. We found a local restaurant with an empty parking lot and tried some slow speed maneuvering and braking.After some fun in the parking lot we decided we were better off having a bite to eat and take the Spyder back to the dealer and wait for our bikes. I suppose we are somewhat bias to a bike with two wheels. If ever it comes to the time we are unable to ride on two wheels this may be an option, then again so is a trike or better yet a Harley with a sidecar would probably be our first choice.
We got back to Beartooth Harley Davidson and our bikes were just going into the shop, we found a soft piece of grass in the sun and had a much needed nap. The shop was getting ready to close, Troy’s bike was finished and brought around and Angela’s was just getting washed. It is now after 5pm, we were ready to ride to Red Lodge, only 55 miles south but after a day of hanging around we were tired. We know it is Friday and everyone was anxious to leave work, and attention to details was not important to them, but it was important to us. The owner wanted to get the guys to re-wash our bikes but by this time we had our gear all loaded on our bikes and wanted to get to Red Lodge before dark. We fueled up and headed south, it was dusk by the time we got to Red Lodge, seen a few deer along the way, and were happy to check into our hotel! We were excited to see they had laundry service, started washing our clothes and were able to put on clean clothes to head downtown Red Lodge for Friday night fun!