North Dakotans are Proudly Patriotic — Especially Bikers

Posted in America, flags, Mandan, motorcycle ride, motorcycles, Native American, North Dakota., Patriot Guard Riders, PGR, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2014 by northdakota365

c small flags on Regent main street

In the last half-century as an American, I’ve hung with diverse cultures and people.  I’m able to say assuredly that America lives…she is alive and well in the hearts of all the people with whom I’ve associated, cowboys, Native Americans and bikers.  Patriotism is not forced.  It is spontaneous and heartfelt.

That uniquely American culture here in the west, cowboys, is one of the most solid, bedrock community of patriots you can find.  Pride in America, loyalty and love is evident among cowboys. 06-12-10 cowboy under the flags 1 copy At the annual Wing Rodeo (a little small-town, low-key rodeo in Wing, North Dakota) flags flap furiously behind the rodeo queen who has the honor of riding the arena as people stand and applaud.   When posted in the center of the arena, the announcer does not have to say, “please stand, remove your hats…”  It’s too late. People are already standing, already placing their hands over their hearts before the singer renders the National Anthem. It’s automatic.AM Flag rodeo

mike old scouts flagOn the other side of the cultural divide, patriotism unites two distinctly different cultures. At the Old Scout’s cemetery scout_monumenton the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation,  legendary scouts who can trace their lineage back to the 7th Cavalry of 1875 are honored. Every generation, every conflict is represented at the cemetery where markers and flags mark the proud military history of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara scouts.

At a recent trip to the cemetery, I stopped long enough to honor Mr. Howling Wolf where the prairie winds had toppled his flag.

At every Native American event, the flag song, the honor song and the American Flag are part of the moment.

Yes, patriotism is alive in America — voluntary, spontaneous and freely expressed with emotion and gratitude.  Men shed tears, at the unfurled red white and blue.  Memories are replayed and hearts are bowed.

That is no more true than it is among the most patriotic groups I’ve ever associated with — bikers.  Even 1%-ers such as the Hells Angels and other outlaw groups will never let anyone disrespect our flag.  These clubs are populated with veterans and patriots.  Sep112011 bikes with flags sgntre

Sep112011 saluting the flag sgntre

 

It is because  the motorcycle culture is solidly grounded by veterans and patriots that when the Westboro Baptist Church defiled patriotism with venomous hatred, bikers responded with the birth of the Patriot Guard Riders.

 

 

At first, shielding the grieving families at military funerals, the Patriot Guard Riders have become a fixture at funerals and other military events. You’ll find them standing post, flying flags and honoring the military and America.

 

09-24-10 PGR flagline at cemetary

 

Many people have been slow to recognize the committed patriotism of motorcycle clubs.  However, this year, 2014, the Memorial Day ceremony at North Dakota Veterans Cemetery was prepared for motorcyclists.   They paraded in to the grounds, stopping all traffic on the highway, parking in reserved areas.

Nearly 400 bikers paraded in to North Dakota's Veterans Cemetery on Memorial Day 2014 to mark the annual event.

Nearly 400 bikers paraded in to North Dakota’s Veterans Cemetery on Memorial Day 2014 to mark the annual event.

 

HP Salutes bikers Wtrmrk

 

The biker parade in to the Memorial Day 2014 event was lead by the American and POW flags.

The biker parade in to the Memorial Day 2014 event was lead by the American and POW flags.

 

US and POW flag wtrmrk

 

Once inside, they were directed to park around the perimeter of the center of the sacred grounds.


bikes in foreground wtrmrk

 

A select 50 veterans who are also bikers were stationed at the half-mast flag poles that ring the center of the cemetery. Their role was to raise the flags to full mast when ceremonies were finished.Raising the flag wtrmrk

So the next time you see a group of bikers and intermingled in the mix is the American Flag,  know the flat is there because of a deep sense of pride in America, her flag and that for what she stands.  Many groups and cultures in America fly the flag even when popular sentiment devalues America and her proud heritage.  You can be sure, that those who seek to disrespect the American Flag or attempt to elevate other nationalities above that of America, they’ll get in trouble with this group of patriots.

Bikers are a proudly patriotic group and you can be proud that they are.

c flags in to Regent ii

 

 

 

 

 

From shows to roads

Posted in motorcycle club, rain, rainy street with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by northdakota365

If you’re a rider, you know what happens when you ride in the rain. You know what it feels like doing this:

2nd Brigade Stitches 4 wtrmrk

What happens when riders ride in the rain? They get wet!

Riding in the rain may dampen the body, but it doesn’t dampen the soul of a rider.

2nd Brigade Riding in Rain 12 wtrmrk

Riders stay plucky and upbeat.  They faced the worst that a spring storm has to offer — hail included — and they made it to their destination.

Now that warm weather is here, the late-winter run of motorcycle shows is ended for the year. It’s time to ride!

2nd Brigade riding in rain3 wtrmrkSaturday, riders with the Second Brigade Motorcycle Club spent more than 6 hours riding in beautiful warm May weather…but as prairie-dwellers know, keep your eye on the sky toward late afternoon, that’s when storms roll in.  And roll in they did on Saturday. The riders hustled to make it to their last destination, Lucky’s Bar in Bismarck.2nd Brigade riding in rain 2 wtrmrk

2nd Brigade Flaps 1 wtrmrk

Flaps rides in to the last stop.

The annual Armed Forces Day ride is the Second Brigade’s major fund-raiser of the year. The club spearheaded a move to place a POW-MIA monument at North Dakota’s Veteran’s Cemetery.  They got U.S. Department of Defense approval for their engineer architectural drawings and have spent each year actively raising the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for the monument.

2nd Brigade Riding in rain 5 wtrmrk

2nd Brigade Stitches 2wtrmrk

Riding in the rain is not the most pleasant experience.  At 60 mph, every rain drop stings.  It doesn’t take more than five or ten miles before leathers and layers are soaking wet.  Riding with others bonds the group who has braved the worst weather of the season.  Once inside where it’s warm and dry, they laugh and drink — and bid on silent auction items, raising money for the POW-MIA monument.

2nd Brigade Lucky's 2 wtrmrk

Second Brigade brothers get the silent auction items ready

2nd Brigade Lucky's 3 wtrmrk

Black and red escape the rain.

In earlier years, if you browse back in the 2Wheels archives you’ll see more road and ride photos of this annual fund-raiser. But alas, this year, only the last stop is all I was able to join.  But next year…more time to raise money with the Second Brigade for the POW-MIA monument. Are you donating your time and money to the monument?

 

Iron Stallion and Individuals kick off bike show season 2013

Posted in chrome, custom bikes, entertainment, Jamestown, motorcycle, Motorcycle show, Patriot Custom Cycle with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2013 by northdakota365

You can tell when something is done right when it keeps growing.  Individ Bike Show spectators wtrmrkFor 14 years, the Iron Stallion motorcycle shop and Jamestown Individuals motorcycle club have hosted one of the earliest bike shows of the winter/spring season.

Jamestown Individuals mc President Ry Walch and his greet "StreetKing" custom bagger.

Jamestown Individuals mc President Ry Walch and his greet “StreetKing” custom bagger.

From the Knights of Columbus Hall to the largest ballroom in Jamestown at the Quality Inn, bikes crowd the floor and even spill out in a display area out front.  This

year, some four-dozen bikes from Minnesota, to Dickinson were on display.

Individuals President Ry Walch says he’s please with the number and variety of bikes.  He said his favorite was a 1949 Ford.  That’s right, a Ford Motorcycle powered by a flathead engine.  A huge beast, more than eight feet long and so heavy it had dual shocks on both sides.

Individ Bike Show young spectator wtrmrk      Families spent the Sunday afternoon before the trophy presentation touring the bikes. By the time the show was done, nearly 400 people had visited the show.

Individ Bike Show 1200 Sporster winner wtrmrk

1200 Sportster, a winner in its class at the Jamestown show.

Mean Streak Kawasaki -- a trophy winner

Mean Streak Kawasaki — a trophy winner

There they saw decked out winners such as a 1200 Sportster,

a mean streak Kawasaki, black and red, right down to the red pipes.

6-Year bike build from a backyard garage in Harvey

6-Year bike build from a backyard garage in Harvey

A six-year garage project from Harvey, North Dakota was on display built from a 1947 Harley-Davidson hardtail frame.  The backbone, down tubes and tail were all stretched to help balance the 45 degree rake.

Soldier's Memorial by Patriot Custom Cycle wtrmrk

Patriot Custom Cycle, Dickinson, Soldier’s Memorial custom bike.

Across the way a tribute to soldiers from Patriot Custom Cycles of Dickinson.  Builder Wes Anable said it’s been one of his most popular bikes, “I could sell it every day, but I don’t. It get’s lots of good reaction.”  The cable-free front end with a 3 degree rake gives the front end a clean and open look.  It’s powered by a Harley-Davidson 105 stoker with an estimated 110 horsepower.  Anable fabricated the skin including the tank.  Bassackwards Studio of Dickinson did the air brushing and KraZkustomS of Glen Ullin provided the paint job.

Shock Glide built by Iron Stallion

Shock Glide built by Iron Stallion

When the annual show started fourteen years ago, it almost died out until Iron Stallion Motorcycle Shop kept it alive for two more years when the Individuals joined the effort. But Brian and Cole Mindt do more than organize and support the show. Their latest creation called “Shock Glide” is twisted.  The handlebars, forks and triple tree are all made from hexagon twisted steel.  Now with more than 4,000 miles on it, it’s had plenty of highway testing. Brian said the owner was shocked at how well it handled.  Brian tried it out. 30 mph, 45 mph, 65 mph and even 95 mph it handled true and straight. Perfectly balanced rumble strips and highway cracks are unnoticeable.  Brian said, “I asked him what he’d want to change or do differently next time. I told him this was an experiment.  He said he wouldn’t change a thing. It’s perfect.”

Perfect, just like the show itself, well run, well lit, good hospitality, no attitudes, everyone from families to gnarly grey-beards and long time patch-holders are all comfortable at the annual end-of-winter tradition.

The Sakakawea Loop – 255 miles. Danger.

Posted in photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2012 by northdakota365

One last ride – a ride to cover territory not ridden in 2012.  It used to be the best ride in the state, but now it’s not one that I’d recommend.  Here’s why:

A warm September day invites a late afternoon ride, and if it’s timed right, a rider can cover lots of territory in a day.  That was the goal of my last ride of 2012.  The edges and borders of that forbidden territory for bikers – the oil patch!

Coal Creek Power Plant along Highway 83 by Underwood

Mary grabbed her camera and climbed on the passenger seat to take these photos.  She’s an experienced rider, but she was glad she wasn’t operating the bike. It was a tough ride.

The ride started at Wilton and headed up Highway 83, the central belt strap across the mid-section of North Dakota.  It’s a great 4-lane highway. North of Wilton there’s good food and good gas at Washburn and Underwood.  A fun place to stop is Coleharbor at the Harbor bar.

Just around the corner from Coleharbor is the turn to Garrison on Highway 37 and 1804.  The road is in good shape for bikers, and after Garrison, the terrain changes significantly as the region changes from the prairies of the Missouri Slope to the Missouri Breaks, a region of hills and valleys feeding in to the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea.

Old Scouts Cemetery at White Shield, a veteran’s cemetery where Arikara and Hidatsa U.S. Army scouts are buried.

The first stop after Garrison and White Shield is the Old Scouts Cemetery.  Here is where patriotic and skilled scouts from the Three Affiliated Tribes are buried. It’s a military cemetery honoring those men and women who served in the United States Military. Their tradition and history go back to the days when the U.S. Army was at war against the Sioux Nation.  Members of the Hidatsa and Arikara nation signed up with Custer to help battle their mutual enemy at the time. Warriors such as Bloody Knife, Stab and Bob Tail Bull served with Custer.  In every war since then, tribal scouts used their skills on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces up to and including the Global War on Terror.

I wrote a historical documentary script on the Old Scouts – a story that never was produced, and sadly lives hidden where few people know about it. That’s why I stop, to honor these American Patriots, tend to a few neglected graves and say “thanks.”

Across the harvested grain field is the Congregational Church

From there, a hilly ride around Lake Sakakawea on 1804 goes past the abandoned Congregational

Interior of Congregational Church

Church where Charles Hall and Harold Case were affiliated when they left their homes in the East to minister to young Native American youth.  A monument in the cemetery marks Charles Hall’s burial spot.  Again, paying respects to those forgotten servants.

From the abandoned Congregational Church, north to Parshall and that’s where the tension begins – tension caused by the hundreds and hundreds of square miles of a massive construction project – the Bakken Oil field.  Homes, trailer parks, oil facilities, oil sites and roads are all under construction and it’s a tense place for bikers to ride. The traffic can be challenging.

Beware. Road Construction.

Not only is traffic a challenge, but so are the roads. Miles and miles of greasy, pothole construction paths where traffic is detoured while the road surfaces are upgraded to handle the intense oil field traffic.   As nice as the new roads will be, the detours on slippery, muddy paths around the construction are just as bad.   More than once my bike slammed and clunked when I hit potholes that I couldn’t avoid.  The clean bike I started with was covered with mud from the traffic I met.

In New Town, a stop at what used to be a little convenience store on the edge of town, is now a visit to a busy truck stop. There a chance meeting with a biker from Enid, Oklahoma was a high point.  Stroker is the Sergeant at Arms for the American Veterans Motorcycle Club in Oklahoma.  He wanted to find out about motorcycle repair shops in the region. He had lost part of his bike when he rode came in to the Bakken region near Killdeer. I should have realized that his story of the messy road construction north of Killdeer was a clue to what lay ahead.

Four Bears Bridge

His story of rough roads ahead was forgotten when until it was too late. After leaving New Town, a stop was required at the Four Bears Bridge. First to check out the bridge from Crow Files High, the historic hilltop named for the Hidatsa Chief.

Truck Traffic on Hwy 22

From there, the ride plunges right in to the oil field.  What should have been a direct ride south on Highway 22 became a detour further west through Keane and Johnson’s Corner.  There at Johnson’s Corner the detour turns back east to join Highway 22 south of the most intense road construction.

Oil field activity between New Town and Killdeer

Hopes for a smooth ride home were dashed as the ride-worthy section of Highway 22 was more intense road construction.  The ND DOT is reshaping the entire scenic highway because of the mud slides. Entire sections of the highway have been lost to gravity and loose subgrade.  If you’ve ever ridden Highway 22 before this year, you will not recognize the route. Not only has the road changed, but hundreds of feet on either side of the road have been reshaped to control the slides.  The scenic valley that once was home to the Lost Bridge monument is history.

After leaving the road construction area of Highway 22, it’s a straight drop down to Killdeer.  By now, the road construction and the detours have made the trip much longer than planned.  So, a quick stop at the Cenex truck stop (formerly just a convenience store) was all that time allowed.

South of Killdeer, the state’s only Roundabout, a busy oil field truck intersection of Highway 22 and Highway 200 where literally thousands of trucks intersect every day.  The state opted to build a roundabout instead of a signaled intersection.  It opened in October 2012, but was still under construction on this last ride of the season.

The ride back to Wilton on Highway 200 is a pleasant ride, though it was turning cold and dark.  The hills roll as the highway passes through towns such as Dunn Center, Dodge and Hazen.    At Washburn, Highway 200 intersects with Highway 83, and the loop is complete.  A quick evening meal at the Dakota Farms Restaurant in Washburn and the day is complete.

Thanks to Mary Tastad for taking these photos.

It’s a wearisome ride, made more so by the intensity of traffic, bad roads and detours.  This used to be one of the best rides in the Northern Plains.  Now, it bears a repeated warning. Do not attempt.

Have you ridden it this year? What was YOUR experience?

PGR remembers North Dakotans killed in war on terror.

Posted in flags, North Dakota., Patriot Guard Riders, PGR, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2012 by northdakota365

Patriot Guard Riders leave their bikes, flags flying, as they quietly move through the Veteran’s Cemetery.

The NDPGR flag

It’s a quiet event, but like a quietly ticking clock, it happens regularly each month.  Those whose schedules are free — and who remember — join with other Patriot Guard Riders at the state’s monument honoring North Dakotans killed in the Global War on Terror in Bismarck.  After greeting one other PGR members and the Gold Star Mothers who attend,  the group rides south of Mandan to North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery to remember the two-dozen North Dakota soldiers who have died since we were attacked on September 11, 2001.

There is no media coverage. There is no fanfare. This is deeper than the fluff of the nightly news. Family members who have lost a son, brother or father in the war join the monthly event.  A bonded community of grief and appreciation has been built from the ground up, the burial ground where young people lay, waiting for the resurrection. Until then, they are honored by the Patriot Guard.

At the monthly event, are  handshakes, and hugs, and  a prayer. A cluster of yellow balloons is released.  And a monthly marker is laid on the grave sites of those who have died fighting terrorists.  Other family members who are buried at the cemetery are also remembered.

On the right edge, a cluster of yellow balloons drifts off.

I cannot express how deeply moved I am by this event.

Moving through the graveyard.

A small band of farmers, mechanics, retired law officers, young riders, veterans and current members of the military leave their household duties and chores to make sure these young people who gave their lives for our freedom are remembered. The Gold Star Mothers — those who have lost a child in the war —  join the monthly event.

Mrs. Richter at the grave site of Christopher Wicks

The Patriot Guard stands with Gold Star Mothers to help shoulder their grief and remember the lives of their children, now dead. While politics rage and politicians wag, these solidly grounded riders know what matters — people.

A loop through history and scenery: Sheynne Valley Scenic Byway

Posted in Jamestown, lighting, Native American, photography with tags on October 28, 2012 by northdakota365

Ride the valley along the Sheyenne River

Start at Valley City

The grass is not always greener on the other side.  Eastern North Dakotans think they have to ride to the western part of the state for a good ride. That’s not true. The Sheyenne Valley Scenic Byway and loop is an under-rated ride.

Valley City’s Rainbow Arch Bridge

Catch this scenic ride at Valley City. From the Interstate, head in to town from the east at Exit 292 across the architectural wonder of the Rainbow Arch Bridge.  Stop at the park to read about the bridge that spawned Valley City and in turn the bridge that was rebuilt by the city.

Valley City is often called the City of Bridges, more than a dozen in the community connect the two sides of the Sheyenne River.  The 2012 Kickstands Up Motorcycle Touring Map shows options for looping back to your starting point, but for most riders, it begins and ends in Valley City.

North Dakota’s only suspension bridge was built 100 years ago to carry vehicles to what was the Teacher’s College. Now it’s a foot bridge

On the east end of town, head north on 5thAvenue, under the High Line Bridge. It’s one of the highest and longest single track bridges in the nation.

Highline Bridge, carrying rail traffic across the Sheyenne Valley

Looking north, the highway coming down the hill is the return route from Cooperstown. Kickstands Up recommends turning left at the grain elevator, looping around to come back to this point in about 2 hours.

 

 

 

 

Head North

Follow the signs to the fish hatchery. That means just north of town, you’ll head west at the grain elevator.

Go north along the western side of Lake Ashtabula.  There are parks and resorts for you to camp or stay overnight.  Once you pop up on the prairie, you’ll ride past one of the largest wind farms in the region where hundreds of turbines capture North Dakota wind to crank out power for Minnesota and points east.

Top off your loop at Cooperstown and Finley.  There you will find good gas at the Town and Country Coop. Coffee shops as well as curio, collectibles and even a gazebo  give you a chance to rest a spell in Cooperstown.

Cooperstown gazebo offers rest and shade

Most people ride north just a couple miles to the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Silo. The deactivated site is ground zero in the cold war standoff with the USSR.  Tours are available to see where airmen stood ready to launch missiles if needed.

Return to Valley City via Highway 3 or Highway 32. It’s a straight shot, a good highway with smooth riding.  You’ll enjoy the prairie landscape, smooth roads, bends, curves and turns that follow section line roads and skirt the wetlands. Traffic is light.  Depending on the time of year, there will be some farm traffic on the road.  Keep in mind, they’re not going much more than 20 miles an hour, so you’ll come up on them quickly. You and your riding companions will enjoy the quick 30 mile jaunt to Valley City.

Pull over to learn. History, architecture, archeology, culture abounds in the Sheyenne River Valley

Head South

If you choose to head south of Valley City at the well-marked Scenic Byway, you’ll see one of the nation’s top scenic routes.  History abounds. You’ll get plenty of chances to pull over and read about architecture, geology, culture and historic ethnic groups.  You probably won’t stop at all of them, but pick a few. Then next time, pick a few that you missed on your previous trip.Every hill you top opens up a vista of valleys and farms that are worthy of post card pictures.

Hidden in a valley is Kathryn, a cute little town on the rebound. There you can pull over to wet your whistle and visit with other bikers who make Kathryn their riding destination.  If you are an old school rider and don’t mind a hard-packed gravel road, you’ll ride something out of the 60’s if you follow the scenic route that leaves the east end of Main Street. If you are riding a dual-sport bike that can handle back roads, you are envied. The gravel road from Kathryn to Fort Ransom is one that most North Dakotans have never seen. It’s gorgeous. Most riders stick to blacktop. That means, go back out where you came in and turn south.

Farther on down the line is Fort Ransom a town that welcomes bikers with amazingly good food and cold drinks at unbelievably low prices — if you get there on the right day.   The winding switchbacks that take you down in to the valley is heavily treed, so take your time, visibility is limited.

Down in to Fort Ransom. The town guards the entrance to Fort Ransom state Park and historic fort.

Thor’s at Fort Ransom welcomes riders.

Once in town, head to what was the business district. Thor’s is where you’ll find some of the most hospitable people anywhere.  It’s like they’re trained to welcome you, engage you in conversation and make you feel welcome.  Across the street is a general store, and around the corner is a park where you can nap, or head north in to Fort Ransom State Park.

Climb back out of the valley at Fort Ransom and

head east to Lisbon, or west to Oakes. Either way, you can loop back to I-94 and head to Valley City for the night, or back home. It’s a full day ride and without a doubt ranks as one of the top three or four rides in North Dakota.

Head back east or west to finish the loop to Jamestown, Fargo or Valley City.

a.

Look for Kickstands Up maps for scenic routes including Sheyenne Valley Scenic Byway, motorcycle friendly businesses, coupons and offers.

Highway 83 – the Midway Highway

Posted in America, backroads, motorcycle, photography, Small Towns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by northdakota365

Evening along Highway 83 and a nearby maturing wheat field

You’ll feel undecided if you ride Highway 83. That’s because on the one hand you’ll have rolling ranch country, and on the other hand, you’ll have fertile farmland.  Highway 83 divides the state east-west.   It’s a superior ride from border to border, West Hope to Strasburg.

Maintained by the ND DOT, a major part of this route is 4-lane for easy cruising between Minot and Bismarck. The entire length is in top condition and lets you sample a variety of landscape and cultural heritage – Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, Ukrainians and Germans left their marks in towns along 83 at Kenmare, Minot, Washburn, Wilton, Bismarck, Linton and Strasburg (home of Lawrence Welk). Wildlife is abundant with pheasants and deer along the highway, so watch out.  Watch above for waterfowl; Highway 83 follows the Central Flyway or Midway Flyway for migrating birds.

Between Bismarck and Coleharbor, riders on Highway 83 flirt with the Missouri River

Bismarck is the linchpin for Highway 83.  Just as the route follows the Missouri River and so forms the division between east and west Dakota, I-94 and Bismarck divides this north-south route in to North 83 and South 83.

Let’s ride north from Bismarck.

North Bismarck offers riders much for their ride including fuel and food.  Traffic can be a challenge as drivers turn on to the highway and off to restaurants and stores.  Once you pass Walmart, you’re nearly on your way. Only one more stop light at Highway 1804 near the Burnt Creek Bar.

You’ll ride through a region of the Missouri Breaks, soft and deep hills on this four-lane road.  If the wind is strong you’ll feel the push from your side, so be ready.

A few miles later, south of Wilton, the wind gives you another feature to observe. More than 100 wind turbines turn in the wind to create electricity for points east, including Minnesota.

Headed to Wilton Cenex

Wilton –Many riders buzz right out of Bismarck to get away from traffic and congestion; they make their gas stop at the Wilton Farmers Union Cenex gas station and convenience store.  Premium fuel is available at the pump furthest out from the store.  The station is managed by a fellow biker and mechanics in the shop ride, too.

Bikes cluster at the Sportsmen’s Bar in Wilton

Area riders often make the jaunt to Wilton and head downtown to the Sportsmen’s Saloon.  Good parking on the street for you to back, up your bike.  Inside is a full menu with steak at the top of the offerings.

South end of Washburn, east side of highway Sinclair Station is best place for hi-octane gas and coffee.

Washburn — Back on the highway headed north, you’ll dip down in to the Missouri Breaks.  There are a couple of valleys and curves as you will flirt with the Missouri River just to the west of you. High octane fuel is available at the Sinclair station.  Kickstands Up Motorcycle Touring recommends the Highway 83 Express for a gas stop because of the high octane fuel, but also because of the coffee shop. It’s the only gas station in town without a curb-jump to get to the pumps.

Captain’s Cabin in Washburn is a stopping point for hungry or thirsty riders.

On the east side of 83 is the famous Captain’s Cabin. For decades, bikers have pulled in here for their steak specials.  Ron and Marge own the place. They are riders and they host the annual Cystic Fibrosis charity ride in August.  Captain’s Cabin is highly recommended by Kickstands Up.

Washburn’s unique place in United States History is on the north side of town.  Nowhere else in the U.S. can boast of the extensive Lewis and Clark history found here. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is only one feature of the historic landmark.  It’s a rest stop, museum and art display.  The artwork goes back as much as 200 years telling the story of the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians who befriended the Corps of Discovery in 1804.

Pull off the highway, park your bike and check out the authentic replicas of boats and other items used by the Corps of Discovery.  It’s worth the small admission fee.

Lewis and Clark Interp Center, Washburn

Ride to the north from the Interpretive Center on the blacktop to the rebuilt Fort Mandan.  The actual site is under water just a few yards out, but this replica marks not only where Lewis and Clark wintered as guests of the Mandan and Hidatsa nations, but also where fur traders and the U.S. Army provided security and shelter for early white settlers.  Put down your kickstand and check out the fort and the accompanying visitor center.  It’s a good place to take photos of you, your ride and or your riding buddies.

Oh, one more thing about Washburn – McLean County Sheriff and Highway Patrol rigidly enforce the 45 mph speed limit.

Underwood – Your first encounter with the Missouri River at Washburn will be repeated in just a few miles. First is Underwood. How’s your fuel?  If you skipped Wilton and Washburn for high octane fuel, pull in to the Sinclair Station on the highway at Underwood, Grimsley’s Sinclair. It’s a fast and easy in and out.

Coleharbor – Now you’re getting close to the Missouri River again. It’s been just a couple miles west of you. At Coleharbor you’re encouraged to stop at the Harbor Bar.

Harbor Bar, Coleharbor

“What harbor?!” You ask.  Once upon a time it was planned that a nearby harbor on the Missouri, just to the west of you would be a place where steamboats could take on a load of coal and carry it down stream.  The plan proved to be greater than the actual workings of a coal harbor. Even so, the town kept its name (misspelled) and the Harbor Bar thus got its name.

Nancy at the Harbor Bar is well-acquainted with the biker culture and she loves to host rides, groups and individuals at her bar.  The ribeye and prime rib steaks are surprisingly good for this roadside grill and bar.  It’s an easy in and easy out place to stop with plenty of good safe parking.

Just north of Coleharbor you’ll ride over plenty of water and your last encounter with the Missouri River as you ride Highway 83.  You’ll ride above the water table on a built up grade that carries a rail line, power lines and the highway. West of you is the backup waters of the Missouri River that forms part of Lake Sakakawea. On the east is Lake Audubon. This is one of the most prolific fisheries and waterfowl breeding grounds in America.  The Lake Audubon visitor center just to the east of the highway is a good place for nature buffs to park their bikes and expand their natural knowledge base.

Max – Your next chance for food and drink is at Max.  The slower speed limit here is necessitated by the oil field traffic that likes to speed through town. For you, the rider, it means slow down. The ND Highway Patrol sits there to catch speeders. The Max Café is just west of the highway, around the curve at the entrance to town.  It’s good home cooking and the bar is a small but pleasant dark place where bikers like to cool off.  Easy on-street curbside parking makes this a good stop.

Once you leave Max and ride north, you’ll ride through a section of the state’s prairie pothole region. Lots of waterholes attract waterfowl of all kinds. Other wildlife such as deer, skunks, raccoons and pheasants can be on the road, so pay attention.

Minot — You will know you’re getting close to Minot when the prairie dips in to the valleys that feed the Souris or Mouse River that runs through Minot.  If you are intending to continue to head north, take the Highway 83 bypass to get you safely around the city.

This is biker country.  It’s a military town, railroad town, oil field town and those demographics like bikes. You’ll find a large number of sport bikes ridden by young men and women.  A fair number of the old crowd rides cruisers and touring bikes.  Both the Honda shop and the Harley shop do a fair trade and are good places for service.

If Minot is a destination point, you’ll have plenty of reasons to stop.  The usual national franchises are all here for food and refreshments.  However, the best place for bikers to stop is on the north side of town, The Landing.  It is a biker bar and Chuck loves to host bikes. Here too, you will find adult music that’s a step above loud drunk bar bands, or a bunch of kids screaming in to microphones.  Every Sunday night, one of the state’s favorite biker bands, Fuzz and the Guns takes the stage.  Something good to do if in town on Sunday.

North of Minot – you “head for the border.”  It’s a four lane highway to almost the Minot Air Force base.  Beyond that on the way to the Port of Entry, you’ll ride past more wetlands and prairies that are easy.  If you don’t plan to ride in to Canada, you’ll either have to turn around or turn west or east. Kickstands Up recommends heading east to Bottineau.  More about that in another blog.

Next up here on http://www.2wheels2lanes1camera, read about Highway 83 south of Bismarck.

To find out more about this route, check out the photo blog

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