Jun 15, 2009

Into the Farm

Going into southern North Dakota is nothing like going into the wild. ND is wilder than, say, Kansas, but pretty tame compared to Montana, Wyoming, the Yukon, or Alaska. There are farms everywhere, trucks most places, and little towns in good shape or not all over the southeast corner of North Dakota.

Selfishly, I'm disappointed that ND appears to be doing pretty well. I had a collection of ND "ghost towns" on my route sheet that I'd collected from the web. I don't know where they found their information, but most of the towns appear to be doing ok to pretty well. My first stop, for example, was Dwight; a town that appears to have weathered the worst of its losses and is rebulding. I did, however, find that Garmin's road information (especially the dirt roads) could use a little updating. Trying to get to a couple of these towns via dirt road taught me some useful lessons about turning around in a nasty spot. A lesson I never seem to get enough of.

This mediocre photo is of the third dead end I ran into on my first day. There was a very nice jacuzzi next to the river, but I didn't feel like heating 200 gallons of water with my camp stove, so I didn't take advantage of it.

This was a spot where the 250 would have been really fun, but most of the ride has been better suited for the 650. Even the 100+ miles of dirt roads were mostly better suited to the big bike because of the strong side winds and the generally decent condition of the roads.


Life On Two Wheels said...

Interesting. I'm starting to plan my first long distance trip and Wyoming is going to part of the route back. Wild you say? Should be interesting on a SV650s...good thing I ordered my Corbin last week.

Anonymous said...

When I first went to Colorado on my own I was rather disappointed to discover how much of it was private property, no trespassing, keep out. Hey, guys, I mean, what about Jim Bridger? Where did the wilderness go, as opposed to no fishing or hunting or anything?

Years later I read articles by Bob Hicks in his once-upon-a-time magazine New England Trail Rider. He described finding in the surveys still-on-the-books rights of way that he and his friends would explore, having to meet the occasional shotgun with brandished legal documents promising Armageddon or at least a bothersome day in court for those who dared stand in their way. Abandoned towns, railways, and roads. Bridges to nowhere, lacking floors.

This has been balanced, in my mind, by the knowledge that there are people whose every second word is "Penton" (Ed Youngblood is example #1) so the off-road world would, I knew, do just fine without my two cents.


Anonymous said...

It was always my fondest hope that, after a long and arduous climb, using oxygen, crampons, pitons, rope, and all the craft of the climber, the alpine assault team finds pay binoculars atop the summit, with a display of scenic postcards. Makes me think of poor old Scott, struggling against all odds to the South Pole only to find the area littered with Amundsen's excess gear.

In fact, at Baxter State Park we were passed on one of the trails by a man in a hat and topcoat, carrying a suitcase. No go-light, rip-stop down-and-nylon Eastern Mountain Sports establishment for him.