North By Northwest: A Solo Motorcycle Adventure from Georgia to Alaska (Day 7)

July 29, 2019

Day 7 – 7/4/19

Taking a long-distance motorcycle adventure means signing on for some tough days, and yesterday certainly checked that box. I was ready, both mentally and physically for a shorter and easier day. Fortuitous scheduling meant that I’d have fewer miles to cover, and I was guardedly optimistic about an uneventful ride to Grand Forks, North Dakota.

When I planned this riding day, I identified two possible points of interest on my route. One of those was the former Wadena Air Force Station, which closed in 1970. The site was sold for civilian use, and the buildings have been repurposed into a drug and alcohol rehab facility. As curious as I was to see some Cold War relics, I figured that the staff and residents didn’t want a guy on a motorcycle poking around. So, I scoured the Internet last night for another interesting stop and came across the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum in Perham, Minnesota. I was happy to avoid I-94 as much as possible, and this would put me on a parallel route to Fargo. I thought the Museum might be closed for the 4th of July, like many other establishments, but their website indicated they’d be open. With that as my first destination, I left Saint Cloud and found myself racing freight trains throughout the morning. I hope this one wasn’t trying to tell me something about my sense of direction.

A pleasant and welcome thing happened on the way to Perham: Historians studying this adventure will note that at 9:42am Central Daylight Time, the temperature was cool enough for me to close the vents on my helmet for the first time since departing Georgia.

When I arrived at the Museum, I was disappointed to see a handwritten note on the door with apologies that they were closed and would be open the next day. No worries. It was 72 degrees, and I kept a positive attitude and got back on the road heading towards Fargo.

I planned to stop in Fargo for lunch and a quirky attraction. Fargo has really embraced its eponymous movie, even though the majority of the action takes place in Minnesota and involves embezzlement, kidnapping, and grisly murders. At the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center, located just off the highway, one will find the actual wood chipper used in a climactic scene, along with other memorabilia.

There’s also a Walk of Fame with concrete impressions left by celebrities across a broad spectrum of fame and notoriety.

I finished up at the Visitors Center and headed down the road for lunch, living up to the cliché about BMW GS riders and Starbucks.

I did have an unpleasant discovery when I was taking out my fairly new earplugs: The stem on the left earplug became detached, leaving the actual earplug in my ear.

Fortunately, I was able to pull out the earplug without having to call for the Jaws of Life and used my backup pair for the rest of the day. After lunch, I had just over an hour’s ride on I-29 north to Grand Forks and was able to check in to the hotel a bit early. Although it was 80 degrees outside, there was no humidity to speak of, and I went for a comfortable afternoon jog. The remainder of my 4th of July was quiet and relaxing, which was just what I needed.

Daily portrait challenge (x2): Follow the sound and smell to the popcorn.

Kirk makes a special delivery to Starbucks.

Tomorrow, more Cold War history and making a run for the border.

Total mileage: 265.9

Lodging: Hampton Inn, Grand Forks, North Dakota