Oshkosh Trip: Day 10

Day 10: Watertown, SD — Bowman, ND — 360 miles



[ Click to go interactive ]

We got a fairly latish start, getting out of the motel about 0930 local time — which could only be my doing as Dad’s an early bird. Of course, no sooner than we’re out the door, we have to make the mandatory Starbucks run, and I can’t remember why Dad wouldn’t have gotten his fix already, given the hour.

Tanked up on coffee, we are about to depart Watertown when Dad pulls over unexpectedly and begins removing the side panel on the Wing. The charging voltage is lower than normal, especially with a load on the system (like brake lights). He’s wired in an analog voltmeter, and it registers a small increase as the engine revs, but it’s definitely lower than normal. Well, shit. Now what?

We pop over to a gas station and find out there’s a Honda shop a few miles down the road.

Trouble with the Wing — The alternator wasn’t alternating so well.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/7.1, 1/400sec, 35mm focal L. ~2.5mi from yesterday’s last photo, map

They had a good digital multimeter and we find that with most of the electrical load removed (tail lights, head light, etc) that it’d get up to 12.9 volts at highway RPM; little more than treading water. The Goldwing has a 3-phase alternator and we figure that one leg of it has gone tango uniform. With a clamp-on ammeter, we’d have been able to know for sure, but, that’s more diagnostic tools than most shops have. I’ve probably not mentioned this, but, both my Dad and I Electrical Engineers; how many EE’s will it take to change an alternator?

Well, as it turns out, it’s full day’s job to yank the engine in order to gain access to the alternator. Ohh, and it’s about an $800 part to buy new. Tough call — we decided 12.9 volts should get us home…

Checking the wiring

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.0, 1/320sec, 27mm focal L. map

After our already late start, we finally made our way out of Watertown a little after 1100 local time. I follow Dad just to make sure there’s no problems.

Finally out of Watertown

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/500sec, 18mm focal L. @74 MPH ~36mi from prev photo, map

Too close to the lake

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/500sec, 56mm focal L. @73 MPH ~1.4mi from prev photo, map

There are so many natural lakes around here, it’s hard to believe. Click on the link above to get an idea. Looking at the terrain map for the above/below photo, the water literally has nowhere else to go.

No outlet — Looking at the terrain map, there’s no outlet for this lake. Not exactly the best place to build…

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/640sec, 70mm focal L. ~0.3mi from prev photo, map

The plan after coffee was to get down the road and stop for breakfast. We rolled into Webster at the crack of noon. So much for plans…

Webster, SD

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/640sec, 18mm focal L. @15 MPH ~5.1mi from prev photo, map

We pulled into a diner for brunch and were greeted by this feisty little rat dog. It was none too happy about us being there; it was seriously pissed. And all at the same time, ridiculously funny with its yappy little bark leaning way out guarding the car. I egged it on a little bit just to keep the laughs going — I’m sure the dog’s owner was watching the entire scene and getting equally pissed.

Attack dog

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/640sec, 40mm focal L. ~0.8mi from prev photo, map

Following lunch in Webster, SD, we turned west on US-12.

So many little lakes

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/2000sec, 27mm focal L. @75 MPH ~17mi from prev photo, map

More ethanol

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1600sec, 34mm focal L. @74 MPH ~26mi from prev photo, map

It’s interesting how interruptions like a train crossing cause an insatiable need to do something else. I twittered and took pictures. Dad cleaned the windshield. Priorities…

As good a time as any to clean the ‘shield…

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1600sec, 18mm focal L. ~25mi from prev photo, map

So, I might have mentioned this already, but the ability to absorb so many smells in the air is one of my favorite parts of motorcycling. Although, with that comes the need to endure the not-so-pleasant smells that are also out there.

Fresh carrion, anyone?

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/2500sec, 25mm focal L. @70 MPH ~51mi from prev photo, map

Among other things, my dad is a beekeeper. The Adee family is a well known in apiary circles because of the size of their operation: the run something like 80,000 hives! To put that into perspective, my mom and dad run 300-400 and that keeps them more busy throughout the year.

And since I’m on the subject, here’s a plug for my dad’s online store if you happen to need some fresh honey. It’s good stuff :)

Dad made special note of Adee’s bee operation — Largest beekeeping operation in the world.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1600sec, 70mm focal L. @50 MPH ~6.9mi from prev photo, map

So far, the Golding was holding up OK. There were a few times that I wished he hadn’t pulled the fuse for the brake light, but, fortunately, not excitement.

We got down the road a ~140 miles and stopped for gas. Dad was awfully worried about the battery giving out on him in the middle of nowhere. A service station had a battery that was about the right size, and he bought and had them fill it and put it on the charger.

Gett’n a backup battery

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/500sec, 70mm focal L. ~0.7mi from prev photo, map

We had some time to kill while the backup battery was on the charger. I walked about and took a few photos. Oddly enough, we’d been following these railroad tracks since Webster, and I hadn’t yet seen a train. These 2 locomotives were the sum total for all the miles we following these tracks.

Time to kill — Wait’n for the battery to charge.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/6.3, 1/1600sec, 29mm focal L. map

Saw this in the convenience store.

A proud lot here in Roscoe, SD

iPhone. map

After about 45 minutes or so, we called it good enough and loaded the spare battery into the trunk of the ‘wing and continued on down US-12. Awfully nice having all that space!

Hoffman Farms roadside art — It looks like it’s trying to be tumbleweed person, of sorts.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/1250sec, 52mm focal L. @72 MPH ~26mi from prev photo, map

As the afternoon wore on, we were starting to get a quartering headwind — had to pay the price sooner or later for all the tailwinds we got going east.

More lakes

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/640sec, 56mm focal L. @73 MPH ~9.5mi from prev photo, map

The Oahe Dam is supposedly the 15th largest earthen fill dams in the world largest earthen dams. A measly 200 feet of water height from the dam creates a pond that is 231 miles long — 4th largest reservoir in the US.

Oahe Reservoir — aka: the Missouri River

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.2, 1/6400sec, 34mm focal L. @49 MPH ~44mi from prev photo, map

Crossing the Oahe Lake (reservoir)

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.5, 1/8000sec, 29mm focal L. @50 MPH ~563ft from prev photo, map

There’s many arms that spider around from the reservoir.

Arm of Lake Oahe

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.2, 1/8000sec, 38mm focal L. @61 MPH ~3.2mi from prev photo, map

Rolling hills and fighting wind — even the ‘wing is getting some lean going.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.5, 1/4000sec, 70mm focal L. @73 MPH ~4.5mi from prev photo, map

This is the third time crossing this reservoir.

Another arm of Lake Oahe

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/4.2, 1/5000sec, 34mm focal L. @69 MPH ~7.3mi from prev photo, map

I was starting to get bored and tried a portrait at speed…

Bugs — just a light crop that afternoon.

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/3.8, 1/6400sec, 22mm focal L. @76 MPH ~33mi from prev photo, map

Field of purple — (focus focus focus!)

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/640sec, 70mm focal L. @71 MPH ~62mi from prev photo, map

Gorgeous farmland

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/640sec, 40mm focal L. @77 MPH ~7.4mi from prev photo, map

All along the route in South Dakota, I saw these “Why die?” signs. The other side has “Think!” in large letters. I have to admit, I thought they were marking the locations of underground electrical or gas lines and the red “X” had some words around it to say “no digging”; all just a clever reminder to call the utility company before digging. Most of the time, they put the signs far off the side of the road, about where a buried pipeline would be.

But, after spotting one closer to the lane, I finally noticed all the words: “X marks the spot” and “Drive Safely” at the bottom. And, then, just as the imperative suggested, I did think. And shortly after that, I saw several of the signs grouped together in one location on a bridge. It seams that bridges, corners, and very near to city limits are the most fatal places on the roads. Some states put crosses, but, I can’t help but think these might have slightly more impact.

Sobering reminders

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/640sec, 70mm focal L. @61 MPH ~9.3mi from prev photo, map

So, welcome to North Dakota, and all that — missed another sign.

We were slowed by repaving operations and had to wait for the “follow me” car. Throughout most of US-12, I’d been thinking to myself how nice the road surface had been. As I’m sitting there waiting, I took a good look at the old pavement and tried to find any sort of flaw in it. All I could think is this must be the result of the stimulus spending. Creating “make-work” projects because politicians really only know how to do one thing well: spend other peoples’ money. Doesn’t mater to them *what* it’s spent on, so long as they grab the biggest slice of the pie they can get their greedy mitts on.

Working on a perfectly good road — complete waste of our money

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/640sec, 18mm focal L. @15 MPH ~49mi from prev photo, map

OK, I’ll get off my soap box now. Thanks for letting me vent….

This is what they were paving over — Do you see anything wrong with that tarmac?

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/10.0, 1/1250sec, 18mm focal L. @58 MPH ~1.1mi from prev photo, map

For most of the miles along US-12, this railroad followed a similar route. Didn’t see a single train (not counting the 2 engines) on the entire route. I suspect it’s mostly used during harvest to get the crops out.

The jointed rail certainly isn’t built to be a high speed mainline railroad.

Unused railroad

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/5.0, 1/2500sec, 22mm focal L. @69 MPH ~19mi from prev photo, map

More idyllic farm land

NIKON D70, ISO 500, ƒ/7.1, 1/1250sec, 48mm focal L. @69 MPH ~10mi from prev photo, map

We made our way to Bowman, ND just fine without any battery troubles on the ‘wing. As soon as we got off the bikes our phones were a ring’n with news that my sister’s baby was born. I became an uncle; fourth grandchild for my Dad. Just 2 more days on the road and we’ll be able to visit the little tyke. We celebrated with a steak dinner.

The next day we roll Montana.

1 comment to Oshkosh Trip: Day 10

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>