Saturday, July 09, 2005

Estevan Saskatchewan to Duluth Minnesota

Although the temperature dropped off a bit overnight, it was humid right from first light this morning. We were up, packed and on the road by 6:00 AM Mountain Time. We ran in a light haze down to the border at North Portal passing coal drag lines looking like prehistoric creatures in the fog. The flat terrain had been rendered hilly by these monsters.

As expected, the U.S. border guard was bored silly at North Portal. He asked us every question he could think of and then thought up a few more. Then, a first, he wanted to see inside the trailer. For those who know how the trailer works, you know this is no small feat. I opened the lid about a foot and he was happy.

Once across the border, we took Hwy 52 down to US 2 and then east into Minot. The rest of the day was uneventful as we pushed east into a quartering headwind with the bike letting me know at every fuel stop just how hard it was working. I don’t believe I have ever gotten worse mileage on this bike.

We rolled past Rugby, the geographical center of North America and Great Forks where we crossed into Minnesota. At Crookston I showed Sandy where I acquired my written warning for speeding a few years ago. At Bemdji, I noticed that one of the tail lights on the trailer was on even though the bike was off. A strange situation, but rather than debug it I pulled the very hot bulb and deferred troubleshooting until we stopped for the day.

A few miles down, I wondered if the other light was working so I stopped at a small gas station to check. It was OK but we spent a while there because there was a fellow with a new silver ’05 Wing with only 300 miles on the clock. We talked for a while and answered a bunch of questions he had.

Continuing on, the road went down to two lanes and tree cover blunted the effect of the wind. Gas mileage improved and we arrived at Cloquet (pronounced like croquet) Minnesota where we grabbed a bite and then found the KOA. The tally was 620 miles in 11.5 hours. After setup, we showered and spent some time in the hot tub before returning to our site.

The wiring problem had automatically fixed itself before I could try to troubleshoot it. This means either that it has gone away or that it is intermittent. I hate debugging intermittent problems. Time will tell.

Cloquet is just outside Duluth so we’ll have an easy 400 mile day tomorrow to the Soo.

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