Day 21 – The land of 10,000 lakes
Date: 06/22/2016 Wednesday
Starting Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Ending Location: Maple Grove, MN
Starting Odometer: 11335.9
Ending Odometer: 11585.9
Mileage Today: 249.1 Miles
Mileage Total: 4731 miles
Today’s MPG: 37 mpg
Total Average MPG: 41 mpg
Leaving Sioux Falls
Today is a short drive, and there is no need to get to the hotel in Maple Grove (Minneapolis) too early, so I had a leisurely morning, and left the hotel at about 8:30 AM. The planned 244 mile trip should be done in about 4 hours, plus any time needed for refueling, and stretching. I should arrive at 1PM, if all goes according to plan.
No plan survives first contact with the enemy
I’ve always loved this saying. It seems to illustrate that no matter how well you plan, you need to plan for your plan being tested or tossed out when the obstacles start coming. And so it goes on this trip.
The bike has been running great, up until now…Today, at about the 120 mile mark, as i was riding through a small town, I noticed that the bike was not shifting properly. Several attempts to shift up or down did not result in an assertive change into the proper gear, but instead they either caused me to go into Neutral, or some other gear (there are supposed to be 6 gears, but ‘m pretty sure I found at least one more).
With about 120 miles to go, I thought about whether I should try to make it to Minneapolis and fix it there, or perhaps a roadside fix would be best. After thinking about it for just a moment, and being unsure about the root cause, I decided to pull over, and have a look.
I pulled off of the State Highway 60 into the driveway of a business that sells farm equipment. It was a couple of big buildings, with a boatload of big farm implements in front. The driveway was tar, but there was a shoulder that was gravel, and seemingly no one around. This looked like a perfect place to do a little maintenance.
I took out the tools, and had a look at the problem. i discovered that the linkage for my after-market shift lever was misaligned, and as a result of the mis-alignment, coupled with the fact that some road grime and dirt had gotten into the bearings, I could feel that the linkage was the problem.
So, I took off the shift lever, and cleaned the bearings and couplings at both ends of the linkage. I then adjusted the linkage so that it was aligned properly. The last thing that I did was to squirt a little bit of the lubricant that I have in my case into the bushings, and then reassembled the whole mess.
The whole repair took about 25 minutes, which isn’t bad, but it was the first of several delays that I would face today.
Heavy clouds, no rain…
Perhaps you’ll recognize this phrase from the Sting song of the same name. I’ve always been a fan of that song, and as I was driving towards Maple Grove, i could not imagine a more appropriate song to be playing in my head. You see, throughout all of the states so far, and over the 4700 miles that I’ve already traveled, if I looked up, and saw clouds, it was a certainty that i would find myself in rain.
in Minnesota, things are different. Apparently, it is possible to have clouds covering the entire 240 miles of the journey, and to never feel a drop of rain. It was surreal to be driving along, always thinking that I’m about to get rained on, only to have everything stay nice and dry.
Minnesota – The land of traffic and construction
Once again, it seems that there is another big difference when it comes to Minnesota. Throughout most of the US, when they are doing maintenance on the road, the process is well managed, and the roads remain open. The routes going in either direction are usually altered, closing lanes, stopping traffic in one direction at a time, and other things that slow traffic down, but the roads always remain open.
Not the case in Minnesota. In Minnesota, they close the entire road, and simply route you around it. It doesn’t sound like too much of big deal, except that you don’t what the detour looks like in advance, and the detour can easily be 15 – 20 miles long.
When you’re on a motorcycle, thinking that every minute the rains are about to come, and you’re late to get to the hotel, the last thing you want is the unpredictability of an ambiguous detour. But, that’s exactly what I got.
To make matters worse, all of the roads that make up the detour, also have detours on them, and there is increased traffic flow and congestion on the detours.
Arghhh, it really sucked, and it quickly had me wishing for the traffic patterns in towns like Custer, SD, or Panguitch, UT.
I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink…
Admittedly, riding a motorcycle when you’re tired is a very dangerous proposition. Well, there have been a few times in the past couple of days where the sleep time, and sleep quality have not been sufficient to ensure that I’m fully rested. In all cases, usually after a couple of hours in the saddle, I start to yawn, and need to get off the road, splash water on my face, and/or get some coffee.
This is starting to bother me. I really don’t like the fact that I’m too tired, and need to adjust my riding style accordingly. So, I’m going to see what I can do about getting to bed earlier, which will hopefully chart a new course over the next 4 weeks.
Dinner with friends
After checking in at the hotel, and doing my laundry, I got dressed, hopped into an Uber, and headed to Minneapolis for dinner. I had a nice time, getting caught up with Paul and Chance, talking about old times, and talking about the state of affairs at my previous employer.
We had a great dinner, and it was really great to see a couple of friends, and to share an evening.
What’s in store for tomorrow
Tomorrow morning, I’ll head out of Maple Grove, and travel about 245 miles to Crandon, WI. This weekend, I’ll be enjoying the off-road trucks, running at Crandon, the birthplace of Short Course Racing.
The Route for tomorrow is shown below.
The illustration above shows a very simple, ordinary day. Let’s hope that it turns out that way.
Good job fixing the shifting!!! For me, if I get tired on a ride, I’ll pull over and get some rest doing whatever power naps I need to feel good.
I’m debating whether I need to order a new piece of linkage, or wait until I arrive in Connecticut, or even make it all the way to South Carolina.
As to the power naps, I agree that using power naps is a good way to get refreshed. The dilemma that I’ve faced so far is that many or most of the places I’ve stopped have been in the middle of nowhere, with nowhere to sit down, or lie down. Usually, my only options have been coffee and water on my face. But, I’ll look more closely for picnic tables and the like.
Now that I’m heading East, it seems more likely that I’ll find picnic tables at rest stops and gas stations.