Day 13: July 5, 2000
Sault St. Marie, MI to Fargo, ND
(751 miles)

The way I see it, I had 2 strikes against me when I started out this morning. Strike 1, I had bragged in yesterdays trip report about being invisible to police. Strike 2, it was the 13th day of my trip. So, of course Strike 3, I got a ticket today. I would like to point out that this is the first ticket I have ever received while on a cross-country trip!

I was up early and ready to have the bike serviced by 7:30 AM, but the dealership did not open for business until 8:30, so I had breakfast at Studebakers, which had a real Studebaker outside, and lots of car parts inside. At the dealership, I told the owner that at the Daytona 200 motorcycle race this year, the factory teams were able to change 2 tires and fill a bike with gas in 17 seconds, and asked him if they could provide a similar level of service to me, as I was on a tight schedule. This did not go over so well, but they were able to change my rear tire and change the oil on the ST in 1 hour an 15 minutes, which was pretty good.

So I was on the road by 10:00 AM, and because I felt like I needed to catch up to my schedule, I started riding like my hair was on fire. When I get behind schedule, I tend to forget that this is endurance riding, not a world land speed record attempt. (See Day 2) So I was bombing down MI Route 28 at about 85, when I observed a vehicle gaining on me rapidly in my rear view mirror. I slowed, but he still was able to clock me at 71 mph. When we started chatting, he was fascinated by my Four Corners Tour, and was really a nice guy, so he gave me a break, and wrote me a ticket for 60 in a 55 mph zone. Pretty nice, I thought, but the weird part was that because I was from out of state, Michigan law says that he would either keep my license as bail, or I could pay him in cash, for approximate cost of the ticket right there on the side of the road! How odd! So, I paid him $49.00, and soon was on my way again, with an object lesson in hand about why endurance is more important than raw speed. My radar detector was irrelevant in this encounter, as he caught me the old fashioned way, by hiding in the weeds, watching me go by, they overhauling me and clocking me by pacing me, and recording the speed on his odometer. Oh well. From doing 85, to getting a ticket for 60 in a 55, is a pretty good break!

So, the day passed at 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit, and it took FOREVER to get out of Michigan, but I would be damned if I was going to get 2 tickets in the same day. So, the endurance rider took over, and we pushed on and on, with short pit stops for gas, food, and other necessities. My revised schedule called for me to make it to Fargo, North Dakota today, and when the sun set I was in St. Cloud, Minnesota, with 170 more miles of Interstate highway ahead of me. So despite Richard's best advise, I rode on, arriving in Fargo around 1:00 AM. But on the plus side, I am back on schedule (the revised schedule), and I have every hope of making Blaine, Washington before the Post Office closes on Saturday.

Also, I was able to find and reserve a room at my old favorite, Motel 6 here in Fargo. I slept for about 5 hours, it is now Thursday morning, and I am getting ready to hit the road again.

The changes in the weather yesterday were incredible. When I got to Superior, Wisconsin, the temperature dropped to the low 50's, with strong wind off the lake, so I stopped and donned every piece of clothing I own. By the time I got to St. Cloud at sunset, the temperature was in the high 70's, and I was sweltering. In Minnesota, they have this cool ground fog that develops just before sunset, it makes the land look really ghostly.

In the cold & wind, I crossed the Bong Bridge from Superior, WI to Duluth, MN. The Bong Bridge was named after "Dick" Bong, who was out greatest fighter pilot ace, with 40 enemy aircraft shot down during World War II. I guess he was born in Wisconsin in the outskirts of Superior, and they have names this beautiful bridge after him. And the reason I bring this up is that crossing Bong Bridge in the high wind was a real adventure!

Today promises pretty good weather, with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. I have a lot of freeway ahead, so I had better get going.

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Rick Brookes
ST1100, VFR750F, Hawk NT650GT
1998: 50cc Quest
1999: Bun Burner Gold
Summer 2000: BBG 3000, Four Corners Tour

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