The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jul 12 - Day 10 2015 Tour - Bismarck, ND

This morning was decision-making time for me, where to head out from here. Against my better judgement I tuned in the weather channel and that was all it took. Reaching Labrador may be fine for salmon swimming upstream to spawn as they don't expect to survive. I have a different slant on things. To make things worse Mother Nature is wrecking havoc throughout the entire central plains clear down into KY, KS, and MO, all places where I have friends I wanted to visit. I'm slow on the uptake at times but this was more than I wanted to deal with, at least on the sidecar, so I turned a full 180 degrees and pointed the Bumble Bee north again. Maybe Northwestern Canada will be friendlier....

The ride back up the way I came was uneventful, it was hotter today or so it seemed so I changed out of the leather jacket into a Kevlar shirt by Draggin Jeans. It's not as protective but lots cooler and heat stroke I don't need. I've kept myself re-hydrated by chugging down Gatorade at rest stops and sipping water from the Camel Back in between. Its foul taste has begun to diminish a bit but it's still yucky. I'll look into treating it when I get home but for now it will do as is.

The first 79 miles out of Valentine were torture, the road had cracks and repairs done poorly so that the bike bounced all over the place. To make matters worse there was a constant hard driving wind from the west so by the time I rode out of the bad pavement section I was ready for a long rest. No such luck. I did take a break at a gas stop where I met a Harley guy and his wife who were from Indiana. He told me they'd come through Kansas City and it was the worst rain storm they'd ever seen. Today they were heading home and not looking forward to it. Somehow I felt a bit better about my decision to skip riding into those areas.

Moving on the first stop of interest today was at Pierre, the capitol of SD. Being Sunday and all it seems the legislators slept in, typical for politicians everywhere. Not a big deal, I parked in a shady spot and got what I wanted, a brief look at the Capitol building and a couple of pics. It's a nice little town with lots of older homes kept in beautiful repair.

The next time I stopped for a photo was really just an excuse to get off the bike for a couple of minutes. SD is another state that grows corn by the boxcar load so why not use that as subject matter? I pulled off at a small turnout and was standing on the pegs shooting away when a state trooper pulled in beside me. Hells bells I thought, it's probably against the law or maybe he thought I was an agricultural spy from Iowa or something..

I hopped down from the bike and said "All's well officer, I'm just taking a few pics of your fine corn crop to show the missus when I get home."

"No problem" sez he, "I just thought I'd see if you were alright and not broke down."

"Hey that's great, I really appreciate it. Would it be alright if I shoot you?" (Arrgh, gag, sputter noises) "Um, actually what I meant was shoot your picture, not the other kind."

He said "Sure" and I didn't have to say smile as he was cracking up.I got off two quick shots and he was gone. I saw him stop to check on another driver a little ways down the road, then drive on and do a 180 pulling in front of yet another stopped car. By the time I passed by he was hooking up jumper cables to their stranded car. Nice guy. Really nice, I wish all cops were like him. exciting is that?

SD Law Man

Off to rescue another motorist
Not far up the road I came upon a neat little village called Agar and it was calling out to have its photo taken, just like the cornfield. I pulled over to take the shot and sure enough, an older couple stopped beside me and asked if I was broken down. I showed them my camera and said "Nope, I'm just a tourist taking pictures of your fine little community." They smiled and nodded like people were always doing strange things like that and they somehow understood, then drove away. I should have asked them if they'd like to be in the book I'm writing but everything went too fast.

Agar - population 77

Hay bales & Horse hocky, the best of everything. I even love how it all smells.

BB posing in the township of Agar
Once I'd cleared the Agar area I rode for miles and miles and often saw clusters of bovines, all squeezed together in tight-knit groups, heads down, tails switching, and probably a lot hotter than if they'd just loosened up their space a bit. I understand cows are social creatures and the herd's the word but by gawd when it's this hot out you have to wonder about them.

All alone again
This is why I like to ride the back roads.
Before long I crossed over the state line, out of South Dakota and into North Dakota. Not much going on at the border, just a few flies buzzing around and that's about it.

Bye bye SD
Yeehaw, it's ND!

As if North Dakota wasn't exciting enough all by itself they've got bragging rights to their own special native son Lawrence Welk! Hooee! OK boys and girls, here we go, a-one anna-two.
.'s true, he really was from ND
Sol that's how my day went, buzzing along on the Bumble Bee, talking to total strangers at every gas stop & rest break about traveling by bike, the weirdness of sidecars, etc, until eventually I reached Bismarck. I'm holed up in another Comfort Inn where the A/C works wonders on the environment. I grabbed dinner at a place called Hong Kong where they serve up a decent Chinese buffet at a reasonable price. With that out of the way and the blog finished I still have time for a smattering of TV. Maybe I'll see what's on the Weather Channel.



  1. Dude! You're in Lawrence Welk country. Forget the weather channel, tune in to the local polka show and work on your moves!

  2. Helpful folks, they are, in that area of the woods~


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