Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Whys and Wheres

This ride has been a long time coming. The desire to do this ride started about 20 years ago, when I was in Minnesota with (now) my ex-wife, traveling to Canada for a professional meeting in Canada. I've always been a bit intrigued by hearing that International Falls, Minnesota, was the coldest town in the contiguous USA. Not every day in wintertime, but often enough that the TV announcers frequently called it the coldest place in America. I know that designation is not truly accurate, but it caught my attention for years.

When we were in Minnesota, I wanted to go to International Falls as a part of the trip. Unfortunately she did not want to go there, and we didn't. I've always regretted that decision, and am now in a position to rectify the situation by going to International Falls as the major destination for this ride.

In looking at going to International Falls, it occurred to me that I need to include some things in addition to International Falls, like Duluth. Aerostich, the premier serious motorcyclist factory and store is located in Duluth. If you're a serious rider, you'll know about Aerostich. I'm making a list of small items to buy there; they give a 10% discount for in-store sales. So I plan to take advantage of that and no shipping costs.

Being that close to Canada, and with the close proximity to the Great Lakes, I decided that it would be neat to ride over lakes Superior and Michigan to see some of Canada and an area that I know nothing about. So, it will be an exploration of sorts when I do that part. It will include Thunder Bay, ON, a town I've heard of but didn't know where it was located.

Finally, I've ridden a motorcycle in 47 of the 48 contiguous United States. Quite an accomplishment, especially since my riding did not start until 2002. I've also done Alaska, Canada, and Europe during that time period. But I've not ridden in Michigan. So, my final "destination" is Michigan. When the front wheel touches Michigan, I will have ridden a bike in all 48 contiguous states. I'm looking forward to checking that state off my list.

I've decided to do this ride solo. I've done most of my rides with my good buddy, Gary, but decided to do this one alone to see how it feels to do an extended ride alone. I'll have more freedom to go and do as I want, so it will be a little different from most rides. The ten days or so for this trip will be my longest solo ride, and hopefully will bring no special challenges.

I hope to utilize the Motorcycle Travel Network for overnight stays when possible. The MTN is a network that is designed to lower motorcycle travelers cost on the road. The deal is that when you join, you agree to provide bed and breakfast to fellow travelers when it is convenient. All members have the same agreement, so an overnight stay is only $15 for bed and breakfast. The real bonus is that most motorcyclist are very open and friendly people, and meeting them and sharing stories makes for a great evening. I've used it once and it makes riding much more enjoyable. In addition, if you need help with minor repairs, they are most willing to help as they can. A neat system of partnering!

I'll close for tonight and write another post in a few days.

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