......left Marquette on the Upper Peninsula on a cloudy Sunday morning. "No worries" I figured. It'll get sunny shortly. Took off in a T-Shirt and shorts.....
....after, like, sixty miles, I had to don full gear (Carhartt, thick hoodie sweatshirt, rain pants, hiking shoes and gloves). Dropped from 68 degrees to about 57. NOT fun when rising a skooter at 55-65 MPH.
Stopped at Odanah, Wisconsin - Easy 178 mile ride.....cheap, really nice hotel at the Bad River Band's casino (didn't see a river, but can't imagine it being too bad) for, like, forty buxx.
FAR preferable to that fucking joke of a Days Inn in Marquette that I got raped for $60 at and given a room that, by comparison, makes -
A) - A walk-in closet seem kinda roomy
B) - Any basic room at a Microtel seem like a suite and
C) - A standard hotel room in Europe seem fucking palatial.
No Internet provided by the Ojibwe , but I survived....the Ojibwe quickly made back the $20 difference from me at their casino.....
....on the next day, the Ojibwe Nation's best hockey coach got the ax.
- Left Odanah on Monday Afternoon and crossed into Minnesota at Duluth. I had never been to Duluth (or, on the other side of the crossing, Superior, Wisconsin), but I always had images in my mind of it being this old port with tons of huge grain silos and a few rusted-out husks of old factories.......wasn't too far off from what I had pictured.....
Cruised into St. Cloud, Minnesota Monday Night and spent an hour scouring motels that had the basic necessities of life - specifically, a bed, a smoking room, Internet Access and preferably some sort of coin laundry (hadn't done laundry since I had left Niagara Falls). There were a couple nicer motels for, like, 34 buxx that almost fit the bill....but no Internet. Wasn't gonna spend the evening nightclubbing around St. Cloud (as Minnesota bans smoking in bars, thus, none of my funds were going there), so I needed all of the motel room prerequisites. Found a Motel 6 that had most of 'em (except for some sort of laundry facility)........so I took it.
Now, I had been veeery leery of Motel 6 since the Red Stick episode (Le épisode du Baton Rouge) about six weeks ago, as well as a stay I had in a Motel 6 in Benton Harbour, Michigan about 14 years ago. Said that I wanted to see the room first, saw it, walked around the grounds, felt fine, and stayed there for forty buxx.
There is absolutely NOTHING interesting about St. Cloud, Minn. It's a mildly sprawling 60,000 person town with nothing really fascinating about it at all. Foks were very friendly there, food was great......but the sort of place you'd grow tired of after about four hours.
- Easy 174 miles in to Arlington, South Dakota. WAS gonna stay in Brookings, South Dakota, but rode past it and found Arlington (an agricultural community of about 900 souls) to be cheaper via research on the Internet.
Found it to be friendlier as well. GREAT folk, nice hotel room for forty-four buxx, so everything worked out. Did laundry at the laundromat there (a rather strange looking brick structure) and I ended up closing the bar.
When you really need to do your laundry whilst investigating where exactly to store your grain.....
Downtown Arlington, South Dakota
The Schmidty's Tavern 2AM crew (l to r) - unknown, unknown, Randy, Jules and Currin
Couple things that refreshed my memory about South Dakota -
- GREAT folk! The people in this state are thee nicest you'll meet anywhere. I had resided in the Western part of South Dakota many, many, many moons ago, and had grown to love the citizenry here (left because ALL the jobs paid absolute piss!). Nothing has changed in that regard (in the regard to the very friendly people here.....although I'm sure that they still all get paid a rubbish hourly wage).
- RED beer. Now, when I used to live here, I could never grasp the concept. I mean, I despise tomatoes and all of their derivatives (save for pizza, spaghetti and chili), so the idea of mixing two shit products (Budweiser and tomato juice) has always held about as much appeal to me as spending a week in the tropics - namely, none at all! I'd seen red beer in a few places around the Intermountain West, but they don't drink larger quantities of it anywhere then right here in South Dakota! Hell, specifically for the South Dakota market, Pudweiser/InBred (Budweiser-InBev) has introduced a new canned red beer beverage of Bud and Clamato......
- WHY the hell is something called "Unleaded Plus" on huge signs at gas stations here, like, ten cents a gallon cheaper than normal unleaded?? Ahhh......right......NOW I remember - Just like back when I resided here, the "normal unleaded" is the standard 87 octane (85 octane west of the Missouri River allegedly due to elevation [DO NOT get me started on that - I'll explain this later on how the Oil Companies and petrol refineries have hoodwinked the state legislatures in the Rocky Mountain West into saying that it IS legal for 85 octane petrol to be labeled as "standard unleaded" by using that wonderful trick known as 'bad science']), while "Unleaded Plus" is 89 octane....but....BUT....BUT......
And that's it.
Either way, NONE of that shit's going into The Helix!!
If I cannot locate Ethanol-free 91 or 93 octane petrol.....I'll put the regular 87 Unleaded into it, and then run to an auto parts store and buy a bottle of hard-core octane booster.
Sorry about that!! I know Ethanol in petrol is good and Lefty and environmentally-friendly and helps our farmers and all that shit......
....but I still have fresh memories of a $200 carburetor cleaning on The Helix caused by ethanol petrol in Oregon from earlier this year!!
When the farmers and Environmentalists care to pay for my carb being cleaned all the time....then Ethanol it'll be for my vehicles!!
Off to the Little House on The Prairie tomorrow....