Monday, June 6, 2011

Oakes, North Dakota

Robert Pirsig's Childhood Home

Began the day in St. Paul with a visit to Robert Pirsig's childhood home.  Then visited the Sutherlands' home.

Sutherlands' Home

Left for Oakes by way of Hwy 55.  Of course, lots of lakes in Minnesota, but also a lot of fields in the western part of the state.  It was a cool 95 degrees for most of the day's ride of 300+ miles.  The rides have been going very well and we've managed to stay on course except for one wrong turn today that we corrected immediately. 

Staying at the Twin Pines Inn this evening, which is the old E&I motel where Robert Pirsig stayed with Chris on their trip.  Will be heading to Lemmon tomorrow but will stay in a hotel instead of camping out at the reservoir as Pirsig did since I'm with my pop. 

The bikes have been running fine except yesterday mine kept dying each time I would put it in gear.  We were somewhere in western Minnesota and after grabbing some ice cream and trying to start the bike, it kept dying every time I'd put it in gear.  As I began to get worked up about it, thinking where in the world am I going to find a mechanic in a town of 50 people, I looked down and noticed my kickstand was down which automatically shuts off the bike if you try to put it in gear!  My pop has enjoyed sharing that story. 

We've made pit stops about every 1.5 - 2 hours of riding time.  By the way, thanks a ton to Rob Nichols who suggested the tactical use of talcum powder (in some parts known as Monkey Butt). It has really saved my tush.  Have made sure we stop and have ice cream each day, I don't think I could survive a day without it.  Today had some great mint chocolate chunk from a shop in one of the many small towns we've visited.  It was excellent.  Tonight, we ate ribs at The Angry Beaver (Craig, this made me think of your work retreat story!).  Gonna miss my pop paying for dinner when he leaves, it'll be back to hamburgers. 

Three things he wanted:
beer #1, water #2, and an ice cream sundae #3

The weather is very nice this June evening, breezy and about 75 as I'm sitting on the porch of the motel typing this.  It's a wonderful, clean and well-maintained motel in a U shape with a continuous front porch running on the inside for guests to sit in the plastic chairs and contemplate their day.  For those who love riding motorcycles, I now understand the compassion for long rides.  The meditative aspect is unparalleled and the feeling of quiet and freedom is unbeatable.  I tried to turn on the radio (I'm fortunate enough to have a good radio on the bike which I can hear at any speed) but noticed immediately how it interrupted my thoughts and, instead of letting my mind work, I just felt zombie-like after zoning in on the music.  I turned it off, preferring the hum of the engine, the feeling of the wind, and the calming of the mind.  Culturally, I don't believe we spend enough quiet time letting our minds work and wander.  I anticipate my family not appreciating my return when I insist on them turning off the tv more often!

On to Lemmon tomorrow, will be a shorter day at only about 250 miles.  From my experience so far, I'd recommend a sabbatical to everyone.


  1. Glad things are going well. Enjoy all of your time, the good, bad and ugly as it goes way TOO fast!!!

  2. It's wonderful sharing this adventure with you. P.