The weather was remarkably good for mid-October, so I thought I'd take a chance on a ride through Wyoming and possibly into Montana. If things looked good, I'd turn west, into the Rockies. Otherwise, I'd turn east.
Riding towards the Nebraska border along some of the smaller Kansas roads.
Prairie View, Kansas. Like many of the small towns in this region, Main Street is no longer paved.
Throughout the ride I'd be seeing lots of these bright yellow Cottonwood trees.
There is an unexpectedly good restaurant just a block from the main north-south street through Norton. It was packed on this Saturday night.
Oberlin, Kansas. Paving bricks are the norm around here.
Wellfleet, Nebraska. There's a bit of Nebraska highway 23 that I wanted to ride. Wellfleet is near the start of it. It's been many years since the Wellfleet streets were paved.
Dickens, Nebraska. It is hard, sometimes, to take a picture of a town when there is so little left. Dickens does have a few buildings spread around the old (dirt) streets, but the commercial buildings are all gone. That's Main Street.
Lots and lots of corn was being brought in from the fields to the elevators. I'm assuming that most all of this is destined to become fuel-ethanol or cattle feed (or both).
You'll be seeing a number of roads that look pretty much like this one. It is not as flat as it might look; I like this area.
This road is dropping into the Platte River valley--the route of the Oregon Trail through Nebraska towards Scott's Bluff.
The route by Scott's Bluff. The paved road is mostly on top of the old trail.
This highway parallels the rails. The coal trains out of Wyoming (destined for power plants all over the U.S.) are frequent. Loaded trains going south, and the empties returning north.
An enormous amount of coal is being dug out of the Wyoming open pit mines. These trucks don't look all that big when you see them in the distance.
It's common to see small herds of Pronghorns (you won't see them in this photograph but they're out there).
Back and forth, back and forth; dumping their loads and going back for more.
Biddle, Montana has a small general store that stocks almost anything you'd need.
Bright yellow cottonwoods against the prairie grasslands.
Miles City, Montana.
I can't imagine what they were thinking to build this house on top of a hill. It's a good view, but the sharp winter winds must have been brutal.
Nothing but pickup trucks parked at the two bars in town.
It was quite cold the next morning, so I waited for things to warm up while having some breakfast at the Hilltop Cafe in Jordan.
Mountain passes to the west had already been closed for the winter, so even though the weather seemed fine, I chose to turn east.
There's a north-south bit of highway along the border that I wanted to ride. It's a good one. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is not far to the east of here.
It is remarkable that the original settlers of this area found enough level land to convert to farms--but, they did. Getting around would have been tough.
Regent, North Dakota.
Elgin, North Dakota.
There was no real danger parking the motorcycle on the road and waiting for the sun to drop. I saw far more pheasants than cars.
New Ulm, North Dakota. It was looking like I'd have to ride all the way to Bismarck to find a hotel.
It wasn't clear, at first, that this was a hotel and not just another bar. Actually, calling it a "bunk house" is more accurate. Anyway that's what the woman who signed me in called it.
Hazelton, North Dakota. I stopped in town to find a cup of hot coffee--more for the warmth of the mug than for whatever might be in it.
Connections are everywhere. These Hazelton men all knew a former colleague of mine from work.
Herreid, South Dakota.
Corn that hasn't yet been harvested. It'll all be cut within the week.
Onida, South Dakota.
Harrold South Dakota.
A long view down the hill, looking north. Traffic is never a problem on these roads.
Colome, South Dakota.
The Sandhills of Nebraska is one of my favorite regions in the country.
There are dozens and dozens of small natural lakes dotting the hills.
The side roads might start out paved, but you cannot rely on that to continue. Eventually, you'll hit pavement, again (or the road might end).
Wild turkeys grazing in the grass
This is not good farming land except here and there in the valleys. Many have tried; but, there's little left to show for their effort.
Middle Loup River.
You have to know about this bar/cafe as there isn't much of a sign to tell you. I've had lunch here before. Amazingly, the waitress remembered me even though the last time I was here was over a year ago. That tells you how often a non-local shows up.
That 8.5 gallon tank is a comforting thing when towns are fifty miles apart and cannot be expected to have fuel.
A nice week's ride.