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Leonard's First Tour Part 4

Motorcycling articles by Leonard R.

Leonard - Motorcycle Touring contributor

Continued from Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

Day 9. Sunday.

We broke camp earlier then usual, the sky just showing some day light. Breakfast was fast, standing up and in between rolling up the blankets and storing stuff. The dishes were washed out under a cold water faucet. By the time we rode out of the park, the sun was up and the skies were clear, promising a good day.
Wisconsin is a beautiful state, with rolling hills, forests and lakes. Even heavy traffic back then was light by today's measures. We saw beautiful farms and most everybody waved to us as we passed them by. It was uncommon for people to see motorcycles in those days, so we were sort of a quick novelty. We are sure several little boys at the supper table would say, "Dad! I saw two motorcycles today." It makes me feel warm to know I might have put the motorcycle bug into some boys heart.

It seemed to me traveling through the country side was pure pleasure, with fun stops here and there to fill the tanks. Eventually we made it to Merrick State Park, Wisconsin.

This park sits on and along the banks of the east side of the Mississippi river. The river is a little more narrow here, but flows very slow. The park was nice with dense trees and nice camping spots. About the only thing I remember about this park were the birds. Thousands of birds. Birds in the trees, birds on the ground and birds in the water. We wondered how so many birds could find to enough to eat. We logged about 200 miles this day.

Day 10. Monday

This morning we awoke to clear skies, but very cool temperatures, with a head wind. We scooted on North West, running parallel to the Mississippi River for about fifty miles before cutting due North, through the country side. We rode through some nice towns with beautiful scenery. River Falls, New Richmond, Osceola (past some pretty water falls) and into the town of St. Croix Falls, all of which are in Wisconsin. At St. Croix Falls, we crossed the St. Croix River into the town of Taylor's Falls, Minnesota. This area is famous for it's river cliffs called dells.

Osceola Falls in 1965 on Leonards motorcycle tour
1965 motorcycle tour of the usa We rode on west another fifty miles or so into the small town of Princeton, Minnesota. We made inquiries about a possible park, but none were to be found. Just before entering Princeton, we did ride by a rest area. It was large and wooded and along a State highway.

Since this was farm country once again and traffic after 6:00 PM is pretty non existent, we decided to camp in the rest area. We saw no prohibitive signs, so we figured we could plead ignorance if we were challenged by the law. Pleading ignorance seemed to come pretty easy for us.

The air was even colder then when we had started, so we made a fire in a rock burning ring we made and laid big rocks in the fire. Then, after that we dressed in our clean jeans and sweat shirts. We hung pieces of ham on a stick to warm over the fire and had ham sandwiches on buns while sitting around the fire.

Just before climbing into our beds, we put the hot rocks in the tent on some large pieces of bark and crawled under all of our blankets. This was Marv's idea and it worked! The rocks seemed to keep the chill off, because we didn't wake up at all that night. We made about 230 miles this day.

Day 11. Tuesday.

We rose to clear skies, but the air was still nippy. We still had a couple cans of Dr. Pepper, so heated them in a pan. We had heard about "hot" Dr. Pepper and gave it a try. Surprising, it was good and helped us warm as we packed the bikes. Today we were headed to a high school friend's farm at Armstrong, Iowa. He had moved with his family a couple of years earlier from our home town of Webster City.

We skirted the North side of Minneapolis, Minnesota, because we didn't trust ourselves not to get lost in such a big city. Instead we rode down and through Mankato.

The Minnesota country side is pretty. Lots of lakes and farms. Minnesota has a logo stating that is "The Land Of Ten Thousand Lakes." I believe this, because we were forever passing by small lakes.

When we got to the town of Armstrong, we had to inquire at the post office as to where our friend's farm was. The route was about 8 miles, with only a couple being gravel. We were used to riding on gravel, so that was not a worry. Our friend Benny and his family were home and so surprised to see us. Our plan upon arrival was to stay a couple of hours and then head on home, since our town was only another 100 miles.

But, Benny's Mother would not hear of this. So, we spent the afternoon and night, catching up on things and having a wonderful farmer's supper. The first real home cooked meal in Eleven days. Bedding was laid on the living room floor for us and sleeping indoors was a real treat. We logged about 180 miles this day.

Day 12. Wednesday

We woke early with Benny and his Dad and helped them with the farm chores. Chores were always done before breakfast. Although we couldn't do the more complicated things, we could spread hay, carry water to the calves and other simple jobs. While doing this, we could talk to Benny and get the chores done quicker. We knew with out having to be told, that after breakfast, Benny and his Dad would have to take to the fields. It was a work day for them. So, after breakfast, we packed the bikes, said our good byes and headed on South towards our homes in Webster City.

Marv and I were a little solemn riding our last hundred miles to home. Our adventure was over. The last Eleven days were now just memories. We were riding back into the real world of responsibility and obligations.

For the first few years after this trip, Marv and I would remember something and remind the other of the incident and we would laugh. But, as time went by, a lot of the minor, incidents slowly faded from our memory only to be triggered by something seen or said. We called this the "2,000 mile trip", because it was slightly just over that amount.

This was the only touring ride Marv and I ever did together. Marv had put his motorcycle away a couple years later. But, I suspect his wife and him are now enjoying wonderful rides in heaven. To you old buddy and our memories, I dedicate this story.

The End

Leonard's First Tour: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

Back to Leonard's Two Wheels by the Campfire page

Leonard's First Motorcycle Tour in 1965 - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

Leonard's One Pot Camping Recipes - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

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