Getting up and getting dressed, it was really nice to be able to put on jeans that didn’t have bug guts all over them. Yay laundry! (You would be surprised how a little bug can feel like a rock when it hits you on the shin or the knee.) We grabbed some free Comfort Inn breakfast, strapped on the bags and headed out. On the way out, we rode through the historic area of town and got a few pictures.
Then we got back on the road and headed up 85 towards North Dakota. We were planning on spending the night in Jamestown, SD. I was excited to take this route and head into North Dakota because according to the HOG (Harley Owner’s Group) map, this is a scenic route. Ok, this would be a scenic route if what you want to look at flat green grass and maybe a few hills. We stopped in a tiny town named Belfield to eat lunch at this nice little restaurant, Trapper’s Kettle Restaurant. It was full of hunting and trapping trophies. There were bear, moose, elk, caribou, deer, antelope, ram, beaver, various birds and more. There were traps and pelts on the walls, there were dozens of head mounts and even a few full size animal mounts enclosed in glass. The food was actually very good. Kirk had an elk burger and they had ice cream and gelato. YUM! They had a little magazine type things on the table with all kinds of funny and interesting facts in it.
It was a nice break in the monotony of the trip.Then it we hit the highway to drive across North Dakota. We normally try to avoid highways, but this time it just was the best way to go.
All I can really say about the trip through North Dakota is…Can it please be over now? It was by far the most boring ride of the entire trip.(Sorry to anyone who lives there. I am sure that there are some interesting places there.) It was just so long and boring that we decided to stop earlier in Bismark, ND. We did pass through a few small towns with some interesting buildings and metal works. These pictures pretty much sum up the day.
Oh and let us not forget this giant cow statue….WHY? I don’t know.
And this lovely sign. I guess people in North Dakota are so bored that they go around shooting holes in this particular sign….crazy!
The next day we got up with a renewed sense of adventure (and sore muscles) and hit the road. We were excited because we would be leaving North Dakota today and getting into Minnesota. The plan was to spend the night in Duluth. Notice I say “the plan was” a lot. Things didn’t go as planned at all the entire trip. Well, maybe 2 of the 9 days, maybe. (See Tip# 5) Things were going well in the beginning, and we made it to Fargo, ND with no problems. We found the Harley-Davidson store and bought Kirk a shirt because I don’t think we will ever be back to North Dakota. It was lunch time so we pulled out google maps and found a little sports bar/restaurant to eat lunch at. We headed over to the Silver Dollar, which also is called the flying pig for some reason. Turns out, it is a very biker friendly bar, with weekly rides and other biker events. The food was good, the service was good and the atmosphere was fun.
We entered Minnesota and I couldn’t find the sign to take a picture of so I didn’t get one, but we were there, finally, out of North Dakota. Kirk decided to start counting lakes, backwards from 10,000. It became ridiculous because he started counting every little pond and puddle, but it passed the time. As we drove along, we went through a town called Akeley. They apparently claim to be the birthplace of Paul Bunyan (among 6 other cities in the U.S.)
As we were riding, I could see the clouds forming in front of us and feel the air change. There was rain somewhere I could feel it. We stopped to get gas and we were still on track to make it to Duluth, so I sat down and tried to find a hotel for us. There were no rooms under 300 dollars available, and even those were few. I wasn’t about to pay 300 for Comfort Inn. So we started back tracking our mapped out route to see where we could stay, all the while, the clouds were rolling in. We weren’t finding anything and were starting to panic a little bit. We needed to get as far as possible so we didn’t end up having to ride 600 miles the next day because we had to get to Saint Ignace, Michigan in order to make it to Saint Joseph on Sunday. There were several little towns, but none had hotels or motels or Bed and Breakfasts or even Airbnb’s. We were really stressing when we finally found this little motel on TripAdvisor in Floodwood, Minn. called the Stardust Motel. It didn’t have website, didn’t have rates listed, didn’t even say whether they had rooms. We took a shot and called the phone number. The lady answered and told me that she had one room with 2 queens,someone just called and cancelled. I asked how much, afraid she would say an outrageous price because it is the only room within a hundred miles almost, and I’m sure that she could hear the desperation in my voice. Thank goodness she said it was only 60 dollars. I told her that I would call her back because I had to show Kirk where it was on the map and run the mileage numbers, but as soon as I hung up I regretted it. I was terrified that we wouldn’t have a place to stay the night. I tried calling back and we ended up playing phone tag a little and then we connected long enough for her to tell me that there was a big storm there and it was messing with her cellphone signal and then the call was dropped. I took a chance and texted her to say that we wanted the room if she still had it. We had to get back on the bike and get started. We couldn’t wait around any more or it would be so late when we got there. We put our rain gear on because the clouds looked really bad, crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t get into it, and got back on the road. I texted back and forth with the motel owner and she was so kind, and held the room for us with only my word that we were going to show up. We managed to stay behind one storm and in front of another and finally made it to the motel around 8:30pm. We checked in, which consisted of me paying exactly 60 dollars and her telling me what room we were in and that the key was in the room. It was a nice cozy room. It was probably one of the cleanest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. I was very happy about that because you never know what you are going to get when you are dealing with a small place like this. I would totally stay there again. We found a subway that was still open and got sandwiches for dinner, headed back to the room and settled in for the night exhausted once again.