Motorcycle Trip 1988
Trip Dates: Sunday, August 28, 1988 - Sunday, September 4, 1988
Travelers: Ernest Lenertz and Richard Becker
Transportation: 1985 Honda Gold Wing Aspencade 1200 (Ernie's bike)
1986 Yamha Venture Royale 1300 (Richard's bike)
Miles Traveled: 2,873
$250.25 spent on trip
Our 1988 motorcycle trip began from Minot, ND, Sunday, August 28, 1988, as Richard left Minot at 7:30 AM in 49 degree weather. The insulated coveralls felt good. Arriving in Grand Forks at 12 noon. Here I meet up with riding partner Ernie Lenertz and off we went. An information center near Fisher, Minn., was our first stop. Still on No. 2 we stopped for coffee in Bagley, Minn. Here we turned South heading for the Itasca Park. Paid our park fee and seen where the mighty Mississippi River starts. Still heading South we spent the night camping at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park some 491 miles from Minot.
Monday we were up by 6 AM and on the road in 40 degree temps after a hot shower. We decided to head for St. Paul. By the time we had breakfast the sun was shining and the temp. was going up. We spent much of Monday looking at motorcycle shops. Richard finally purchased a much needed tank bag at Dr. Mudspringer, Inc. for $74. Ernie looked at two-way radios for his bike, but decided Santa may bring them, since he knows that he's been good so far this year! Now it was decided to head South through St. Paul, Minn., and on to Winona, Minn., on No. 61. This ride along the Mississippi turned out to be the nicest road of the trip. They had rain, so things looked green and you could see the river most of the way. The curves and nice pavement turned out to be a motorcycles delight. We spent the night camped outside Winona, Minn., in a KOA camp grounds.
Tuesday morning up to cool temps., but still and sunny. After breakfast we toured the Winona Knits factory. This was interesting seeing all the steps in making sweaters, gloves, etc. Purchased some things and off to the Watkins Products factory. They didn't seem very friendly and didn't have any tours, so around noon we headed South and East to La Crosse, Wis. Here we toured the Heilman Brewery. Had our two free beers and headed to Milwaukee, Wis. Arrived in Milkaukee around 7 PM. I-94 was sure a busy road with a lot of truckers. Richard got a kick out of listening to them on his CB. We spent the night at Ernie's oldest daughters place. Linda & Dan Wahl. Linda had a big supper ready when we arrived.
Wednesday Ernie and Richard went for an early morning walk, then unpacked the bikes and off to Milwaukee for the day. The first stop was near the river front. We found a large ship being loaded, so we asked a dock worker if we could climb aboard. He said sure, so up the long rope ladder we went. The first guy we seen we asked if we could look around and take some pictures. He shook his head yes and pointed to his mouth, which meant he couldn't speak English. On we went. Richard climbed up on some boxes and took some pictures down below of workers loading flour and wheat bags. Now here comes someone running toward us screaming something we couldn't understand. He told us this was a foreign ship and we couldn't be on it and no pictures. Now we were following him to the captains quarters. After going up a lot of stairs we found the captain and he can't speak English. We after telling him we were from ND and just wanted to see the ship he told us the ship was headed for Peru. Now two men with the Coast Guard and speaking English came to ask the captain some questions and we thought this was our chance to get down the stairs and off this ship. Thand God for those two Coast Guard fellows for coming to talk to the captain and giving us a chance to get away. Who knows where we could have ended up going. Around the river front we spotted a Russian ship waiting to be loaded with corn. No, we didn't go aboard. Now it was off the find the Harley Davidson factory for a tour. Arrived just in time for this interesting tour. Be sure if you go to this place you wear heavy shoes and long pants or they will turn you away from the tour. Now back
to Linda & Dan's for a steak, corn on the cob supper. We also toured the Miller Brewing Co. and two beers.
Thursday morning we left at 7 AM headed for Chicago, Ill, to meet some guys at the Atex computer headquarters that helped install the first computer system at the Minot Daily News in 1984. Richard had worked on site and on the phone with some of these workers. Arrived at about 9:30 AM, after Ernie piloted us to the front door. We spent an hour there. Now off across Chicago and the traffic we headed for Indiana. Went through South Bend. This was a real tough district, was glad our bikes didn't stop here. Now we headed for Michigan following the lake shore. Spent the night outside of Ludington, Mich. This is a very scenic drive. You really don't see much of the lakes though. Around Traverse City, Mich., is a very pretty area.
Friday we were on the road by 7 AM heading North. Again following the lake shores. Arrived at Mackina City crossing the lake by way of a 5 miles bridge. This was a very high and long bridge, that found us stopped in traffic on it for some time. We took the ferry across to Mackinac Island. As the ferry pulled out Ernie remembered his key was still in his bike, but too late now. Just hope nobody notices it!! Mackinac is a tourist place. No motor vehicles on this island. Either horses or bikes. Purchased a few things and caught the next ferry back. Ernie's bike was still there, so we cranked them up and headed for Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to catch a ship going through the locks. We did catch one going through in the dark. Set the tents up in the dark. A couple from Canada invited us over for some refreshments, so we slept good that night. Forecast is for rain tonight and Saturday.
Saturday we were up and riding by 6 AM. After coffee we again went to the locks. No ships scheduled this morning, so we decided to shop around a bit and head for Duluth, Minn. It began to rain about 9:30 AM, so we put on the rain gear. Drove in a hard cool rain all the way to Duluth, Minn. We couldn't find a motel or camping spot in Duluth, Minn., as there was a huge softball tournament here this weekend. We headed in the rain West to Grand Rapids, Minn. Arrived here at 12 midnight to find the motels all full here also. We found a local policeman and he suggested we follow him to the fairgrounds to pitch our tents. We were so tired and cold after riding 590 miles, that some cover at the lit up fairgrounds would have to do. We jumped in our sleeping bags with our clothes on. This was not something we had planned, but no other choice.
Sunday morning we slept in until 7 AM. Being in the city fairgrounds we had no showers. The restroom at the coffee shop had to do for a face wash and a good brushing of our teeth. We decided to take No. 2 through Remer State Forest and catch 200 for home. Richard made an emergency bathroom stop in the trees off the road and Ernie didn't notice it. When Ernie noticed it he turned round thinking something may have happened to Richard. Ernie headed back looking for Richard while Richard headed ahead looking for Ernie, not knowing we had just missed each other. Look for each other for about a half hour. We did find each other and headed on West. Now we ran into the 35 mile per wind we heard forecast. And yes it was a side wind. A motorcycle riders nightmare. A lunch break at Hillsboro, ND, gas fill in Cooperstown, ND, and on to Minot. We stopped for a rest in Carrington, ND, and Harvey, ND. Arriving home in Minot, ND, about 6 PM.
Another enjoyable couple weeks riding. Bikes never missed a beat. Only real trouble was Ernie's flashlight stopped working about the second night of camping.