Last night another guest was out in the parking lot at our motel checking out our bikes. Of course I wanted to check his out too, since it was a non-Harley and did so while we talked. A Honda ST 1300 it was, a slick, fast sport tourer. Which reminded me that despite this being a motorcycle blog I haven’t even gotten around to mentioning what motorcycles we’re riding. Well for whatever it’s worth, I’m on a Kawasaki Versys and she’s on a Vulcan 500. We both love our bikes and they’re awesome, but this is a blog about motorcycling not motorcycles, so we’ll leave it at that. Anyway the ST 1300 rider was a pretty nice guy and had ridden up to Fargo, North Dakota to watch his local team in some kind of regional little leagure tournament. It’s summer and that’s the kind of thing you do if you’re a rider living out in this part of the country I guess. If you ask me, it doesn’t seem too bad.
Today for the first time we had a little adversity to deal with. To cut to the chase, someone took a spill on their bike. As is many times the case with accidents, a string of several instances of both poor judgment and bad luck were involved.
We woke up in the morning determined to get an early start. Also, I wanted to stop off at the park we would have camped at the night before, since I’d been there multiple times and felt some connection to the place. Unfortunately it was quite foggy, perhaps due to the rain evaporating off from the night before. And so we rode off at moderated speed for the conditions, eventually turning off the highway to take the local roads to the park itself. Here we moderated speed even further, but we had 10 miles to go and so didn’t drop it off perhaps as much as we should have. And so we were going along at one point when without any warning the paved road turned to a dirt one. My first thought was “Oh sh!t” and I let off the throttle to try to lose some speed before the bike would get thrown by some irregularity in the dirt/gravel and plow over. This worked out well, but then my second thought was also “Oh sh!t” and I looked into my rear view mirror to see how Päivi was handling the situation. And then my third thought was “Oh sh!t” again because she was already down.
OK, so the post-mortem. Poor judgment number one was wimping out of camping at the park last night because of a little wet grass. Bad luck number one was the poor weather that caused us to do this. Bad luck number two was the fog, and poor judgment number two leaving early in the morning anyway instead of waiting for it to lift. Bad luck number three was the unpaved road, which turned out to be only a 500 foot section that was for some bizarre reason left that way. And poor judgment number three was the carrying of excess speed along an unpredictable country road in the fog.
With all of this working against us it may have been more of a miracle if nothing had happened. Fortunately the injuries to both Päivi and her bike were minor enough that we could chalk it up as a learning experience and continue.
We made our way west to the next big town, Pierre, and there called a halt for the day to rest and lick our wounds. Probably not a bad thing overall to have some rest, and we made a point of getting a motel that had a pool and a hot tub. In the evening we had a stroll along the sandbar-filled Missouri river and I found my first IPA since Wisconsin.