I pushed my travels into the night. After hours of not finding any suitable place to pitch camp, I finally saw a state park to poach. Traveling with lots of camera gear does not allow for the packing of extra comforts like a tent. I found an empty campsite in the dark and unrolled my sleeping bag next to my bike. Even though I was exhausted, I could not sleep in the extreme humidity. I ended up donating a few pints of plasma and red blood cells to a marauding gang of mosquitoes, and then it rained. All I had for shelter was a space blanket. The worst thing about the space blanket was that the only way to keep the mosquitoes at bay was to completely envelope myself in it like a cocoon, and the material quickly heats up into a festering sauna. It was a long night.
Day 12: Leveraging Harley
With no sleep at all, I got out of my heat pouch at first light in hopes to evade the park ranger. My selection for the camping spot sucked and was situated on an off-cambered gravel road. While turning the 900-plus-pound beast around, I dropped the bike. No worries. I have made this freshman mistake all too often. However, I couldn't stand the bike back upright. It was knocked over leaning downhill on the loose gravel. My feet slid on the rock while I tried to lift the bike. I was fucked. I gathered tools from the forest for the next hour to build a fulcrum to erect the bike. Using rocks and a sturdy timber, I ended up leaving the Milwaukee steel much less erect than I was hoping for.
Luckily, I found the only other person in the campground, Hippy John. Unluckily, he was an old codger with medical problems. He gave me just the extra needed strength to pick my bike back up and invited me to his trailer to trade breakfast sweets and coffee for my tales of the road.
My next stop would be Fargo, just a stretch down I-94, and then I'd leave ND behind. I lingered a little longer with Hippy John. The freedom of riding solo had been good, but I was glad it was peppered with plenty of good-old-fashioned North Dakota hospitality. Cheesy? Yeah, sure. Addictive? You betchya!
Some might think North Dakota is hell on earth. I have learned throughout my misadventure that there is radness in every state of this awesome country. There is more entertaining stuff in ND than just the movie Fargo.
Between Bowman and and Amidon lies "The Open Range." Keep your eyes open for the range-top stove sitting in an open range with its door open. Cool? No? Breaking up the monotony of vast nothingness? Definitely.
There is a speed trap right outside of town. Fell free to crack the throttle. It's just an old cop car with a mannequin in the drivers seat.
Not like your sad '82 T-bird, the four-headed thunderbird statue in Steamboat Park looks powerful.
The largest stack of empty oil cans is not as big as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is interesting enough to stop by just to say you been there.
OFF the Beaten Path
Hickson to Street, ND
Considered the straightest road in America, ND Highway 46 has no shifting in either direction for a full 31 miles of brain-numbing straightness. Lock your handlebars straight, turn on the cruise control, and take a nap. Not recommended, but it can be fun.