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Thread: PA to the MOA National and Superior's North Shore

  1. #1
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    PA to the MOA National and Superior's North Shore

    I recently returned from a 10 day/4000 mile trip to the St Paul National following this route. I took a few pictures along the way.

    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

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    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    In planning my trip, I wanted to ride out through Iowa and South Dakota since I'd never ridden in those states and because my wife's family history is partly in those states and I wanted to see some family history.

    Day 1. The fastest way to Iowa - you don't often hear people say that - was via the interstates. I never sleep much the night before a trip like this, so I was up and out the door of my home in the Philly area by 4:30 am headed west. I hoped to reach Danville, IL, a little over 700 miles away.

    When traveling west on the PA turnpike, I always stop 90 miles out at the Lawn service plaza. Today was no exception.



    Days like this for me become stopping briefly for snacks, gas and bathrooms and trying to always be making steady progress.

    I actually like riding the PA turnpike, especially west of Carlisle where there are tunnels and the scenery becomes quite rural. I made good progress through PA, stopping as needed.







    I rolled and ate my way across Ohio.



    Indiana.



    I arrived at the hotel in Danville at 4:00 central time having a really good first day.



    I had an early dinner at a Bob's Big Boy across the street and turned in early.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  3. #3
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 2.
    As is my habit, I was up early, packed, had the free bowl of oatmeal and was on the road by 6:30.

    I picked up I-74 westbound.



    I love riding with the rising sun behind me on a cool morning. Today my destination was Clear Lake, Iowa so had more time today to explore. I like looking at college campuses, so today's first stop was in Champaign.



    I even had time today to take a stroll on the Illinois prairie.



    Like moths to a flame, I started to pass loaded beemers probably headed to St Paul and in rest stops and gas stops chatted with others headed to MN.

    Peoria was the only bottleneck of the trip with road construction, but I wasn't delayed for too long. Short of Galesburg, I pulled into Knoxville. Many years ago my wife and I had a picnic in Knoxville and I wanted to find the park. I couldn't find it, but found the county fairgrounds where I stopped for a rest.



    It started to rain lightly and I pushed on towards the quad cities. The sun came out and it started to get quite warm. I picked up I-80 to Iowa City, and after a detour into town to, you guessed it, look at the U of Iowa campus, I headed north on I-380. After getting to Cedar Falls, I exited the four lane.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Cedar Falls. There was a nice downtown area and I stopped for my afternoon caffeine and sugar infusion, and to get out of the heat.



    After "lunch", I walked around town and explored a little.







    With it getting later in the day, I headed out of town on Iowa 57.





    Photographic evidence that at least SOME roads in Iowa curve.



    In Parkersburg, I picked up Iowa 14 north and detoured into Greene, Iowa. Like lots of towns around there, there was a water tower, grain elevator by the railroad tracks, a hardware store and lots of churches.



    Where route 14 turns west near Charles City, there was the recreated town of Roseville, but I didn't have time to stop for long.

    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  4. #4
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    From a map, you can't really tell much about a town, and not being from the area, I look forward to small towns, not really knowing what I'll find. I pulled into Rockford, and ended up spending a bit of time here.







    They're quite proud of their Devonian fossils, which they remind you of over and over.





    There was even a gravel pit outside of town where you could fossil hunt. I poked around but don't know the difference between a fossil and a pebble.

    I headed out of town towards Clear Lake, but stopped to measure the height of the corn. It's taller than I am.



    I got to Clear Lake and Clear Lake State Park around 3 and set up camp. My neighbors were a couple headed to St Paul from Missouri.
    Terence
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  5. #5
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    My mother-in-law was born and raised in the very small farming town of Corwith, IA in Hancock county and the family farm is located there. I remember her stories about growing up and her mentioning the towns nearby. My route was to take me through there tomorrow, but with sunset several hours off, I headed west to Hancock county. I had trouble getting out of Clear Lake, as the bicycle ride across Iowa was in the area and there was a festival going on. Clear Lake was fairly large and a resort town and had a lot going on.

    Corwith sits off the highway, but the grain elevators are visible from a distance.



    It's a very small town, but not unlike a lot of other towns I went through in the area. There are few businesses in town, which is dominated by the grain elevators, with residential areas around the downtown and cornfields surrounding the town.



    Just outside of town is the cemetery and I visited my Oxley relatives. My son carries this name as his middle name.



    After spending a lot of time wandering around the town, I headed back to camp. I stopped in Britt for a look around. Britt is known for the annual Hobo Gathering.



    Garner is another town my mother-in-law spoke of.



    As the sun was getting low, I hit the road.



    I got back to the state park as the sun was setting.



    I have to say, this was the least favorite of my campsites on this trip. This park is more for RVs with pull through sites and not much shade. The price was right though!

    I ended the day with soup and pop tarts.

    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

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    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    Day 3.
    My destination today was Minneopa State Park in Mankato, MN after first visiting Sioux Falls, SD, the birthplace of my wife. After a delicious breakfast of coffee and pop tarts I packed up and headed west. It was a beautiful morning as I rode B55 through Hancock county.





    I made my way back through Corwith, LuVerne and on to St. Joseph. I like how the town grain elevators and church spires announce themselves before the town does.



    I turned north to the county seat of Algona, a fairly large town for the area.



    I headed west and picked up Iowa 15 north to Fenton. The Methodist cemetery outside of town got my attention and I stopped. As a final resting place, this would not be a bad one.



    I detoured into town to see the grain elevator and post office. What a small town.





    As I was parked there, a woman drove up and we got to talking. I mentioned I had visited the cemetery and she was the Methodist pastor in town and that was "her" cemetery. After chatting a while longer, I pushed on north and west.

    I got to Armstrong, IA and Iowa 9, that I would follow all the way to SD. I passed through Estherville and Spirit Lake. Spirit Lake is quite large and there were lots of boats.





    While stopped at the Spirit Lake sign, an Iowa DNR truck stopped and the driver also had an S and we chatted for a while. It was a nice break from the road.

    West of Spirit Lake I explored some of the side roads. The crushed stone roads are easy to navigate. I was surprised by the number of windmills in Iowa and Minnesota.



    Last edited by terham; 08-12-2014 at 12:59 PM.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  7. #7
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    From my map, as I approached Allendorf, it looked like I would pass by the highest point in Iowa. I hoped it was marked and I could get a tongue-in-cheek picture. I detoured into Allendorf, but never found the spot. There were some rises in the road but no markers.



    I looked at the map later that night and realized my map reading skills had betrayed me and I went to the wrong area. The highest point is off Route 60 north of Allendorf but it was too late for me.

    I passed through Rock Rapids, and they really are the city of murals. I went down various side streets and there are murals on lots of the buildings.



    As it was mid afternoon and I hadn't eaten lunch, I stopped in Larchwood and looked for a place to eat. The Main Street Bar & Grill hit the spot. The food was good and the AC was soothing. I had the grilled Tuscan chicken special with a cup of tortilla soup.



    My steed had been out in the hot sun long enough so I pushed on to SD and Sioux Falls.



    My wife was born in Sioux Falls and lived there until she moved away at the age of 10. I went looking for the house she first lived in with the expectation of taking a couple of exterior shots for her and moving on. As I went by the house I could see someone was on the front porch and thought there goes my stealth plan. I removed my helmet and tried to look presentable, difficult under the best of conditions and near impossible after riding in the heat for most of the day. From the sidewalk I got the attention of the man on the porch and explained that I wanted to take pictures of my wife's childhood home. He was a little startled at first, but soon warmed up to me - it's hard to resist my charm - and he invited me up into the cool of the porch. What followed was the highlight of my trip. I spent a couple of hours there with him and we called my wife and they had a long talk. He was also interested in the history of the house and was glad for a link to the past. I eventually headed out reluctantly with an invitation to come back for dinner sometime.

    The house.



    I spent a little time in the Sioux Falls falls park, which was really nice, and then headed east to Minnesota.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  8. #8
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    It felt good to be finally heading east. I took I-90 from Sioux Falls and took the first exit in Minnesota (MN 23) and headed north to Pipestone. I saw churches, windmills and trains.







    I love riding the plains with the rolling hills seeing the grass and grain that grow there. Very different from Pennsylvania.



    I arrived in Pipestone around 4:30.



    They close at 5 so I didn't have much time to look around, but this is a quarry where the Native Americans came to get the stone for their pipes. You can see some of the open rock faces. One more place I would've liked to spend more time.

    When I got to Marshall, I turned east towards Mankato.



    As the sun was getting lower and the shadows were getting longer, it was nice to be riding with the sun behind me. Route 5 in Niccolet county was probably my favorite road of the trip.



    The road was flat but had lots of high speed sweepers and I started to push as it was getting later. The road surface was really good and there was no traffic. It helped that the sun was behind me as it was a cloudless sky. I had started the day with the sun behind me and ended the day with the sun behind me.

    I passed New Ulm and eventually arrived at Minneopa SP around 8.



    I went to the campsite I had and saw no one, and it was a little creepy. When I stopped I was swarmed by mosquitos and I started to rethink staying there. After a little bit I decided to head into Mankato and look for a hotel as I was a little cranky from the long day and didn't want to deal with the bugs. As I was riding out of the park, I passed a campsite with 2 beemers so I pulled in to talk to them. I calmed down a little bit and since I had bug spray figured I would stay. I went back to my site, lathered up with extra strength bug spray and that made the bugs manageable. I'm glad I stayed as it was a great place to camp, up on a bluff overlooking the Minnesota R.

    A gourmet dinner followed.



    There was what I think was a wild turkey and two young in a tree nearby making a bit of noise but I enjoyed watching them. After my usual whiskey nightcap, I got in the tent to avoid the bugs and I went to sleep listening the the hooting of a nearby owl. Perfect.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  9. #9
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    During the night I was awakened by either an approaching tornado or an approaching train, and I hoped for the latter. I had never heard such a loud train and in the morning I saw there were tracks right below my tent. I thought it was coming through my tent and it was a loooong train.

    Day 4.
    I rose with the sun and it was a beautiful morning, and I was glad I had stayed. You don't get this in a hotel.



    Since this was to be a short day, as St Paul wasn't that far away, I was in no hurry to leave and enjoyed a second cup of coffee watching the sun rise.



    I eventually pulled out of camp around 8.



    I spent some time in the park riding out to see Seppman's Mill, a wind powered mill from the 1860s set up on a hill. It was a nice ride along a winding crushed stone road.





    I went and looked at the water falls on Minneopa Creek and then headed to St Paul.

    My first stop was in Faribault for a pancake breakfast, as I was in no hurry in contrast to the last couple of days.



    I enjoyed sitting in the restaurant listening to the Minnesota accents. I kept thinking they were exaggerating for me.

    I passed through Northfield and stopped at Carleton College, since I like college campuses.



    I stopped at St Olaf's College on the way out of town, got on the interstate and headed for the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, arriving a little before 1.



    It's always nice to finally arrive and be among the faithful. I met my friend Mark, who I was sharing a hotel room with, and we headed off to get something to eat and immerse ourselves in all things BMW for a few days and rest up for the ride home.

    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  10. #10
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    We played tourist on Friday by having breakfast at Key's Cafe and Bakery, a place mentioned in the Owner's News, and went over to the Cathedral of St Paul. Really nice church.



    We spent the afternoon and evening at the rally visiting the vendors, looking at the bikes, eating within walking distance of the fairgrounds and staying for the evening entertainment.







    Also enjoyed my free beer - thanks Revzilla! I thought about staying where I was until the Sunday morning service.



    Saturday was our day to ride, and after talking to some people at the rally, decided to ride down the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River. I-94 east into Wisconsin, county road O to route 35 took us to the river. It was a nice ride south with good views of the river.



    We had planned on riding to Stockholm for breakfast. We got there early before the crowds.



    When in Stockholm, I figured I should have the Swedish pancakes.



    After breakfast we walked around and took in the sights.









    By the time we headed south there were a lot more people rolling into town.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  11. #11
    MearthA rdalland's Avatar
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    ride what you've got; enjoy the road you're on!

    Reid - Stone Ridge, NY - MOA #69187 - Turbo Fluffy Motoclub - IBA #50182

  12. #12
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    We had been told when we got to Alma to look for a sign for a county park and go up to the top of the bluff for a view of the town and the lock and dam at Alma. Pretty impressive place with great views.



    One of the locals at the overlook advised us on a route back on route 88 and 10. It was a beautiful ride away from the river and heading north. Now I see why Wisconsin has the most MOA mileage contestants and accumulates the most miles. The roads and scenery were outstanding.



    Back in St Paul, it was time for the afternoon sugar and caffeine rush.



    After getting sufficiently buzzed, we headed over to the rally to hang out some more and attend the closing ceremony. For some reason, my name was never drawn for any of the grand prizes. Most of the food vendors were closing down after this but I did find a classic fair dinner.



    The Mustang Sally Band put on a great show on Saturday night. Unfortunately, with it over, that meant time to head back to the hotel and pack for an early departure on Sunday - Mark home to Oklahoma and me north to Lake Superior.

    I have been to the last four rallies, and I thought this was one of the better ones. The location was good, there were good roads in the area, the music on Friday and Saturday night was really entertaining - I haven't stayed too long in the past but stayed until the bitter end both nights - and the weather was really comfortable with only a little rain on Thursday night. Although I didn't camp, the camping facilities looked nice and comfortable. There were signs posted that the MN health dept required tents to be 8 feet apart so tents weren't crammed together and there was plenty of space. I liked staying in a hotel, and though we were 5 miles away, there was a mini rally at the hotel each night. There were always people in the parking lot or in the lobby or bar to talk to. The only drawback to staying in a hotel was not being able to drink at the rally in the evenings. Getting to and from the fairgrounds could be a problem with traffic at certain times of the day, but I traveled outside the morning and evening rush hour and really didn't have a problem. Attendance was 5866 I think, so the fairgrounds could easily handle it. I hated to see the rally end, but all good things come to an end, so off to the hotel we went to pack. We turned in with alarms set for 5am.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  13. #13
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    We left the hotel before 6 under cloudy skies with cool temperatures and it was quite windy. I headed north on I-35 towards Duluth. About an hour north of St Paul I stopped for a pancake breakfast.



    I had seen a black R1200S in the McDonalds parking lot next door and as I headed up the road I saw the same S by the side of the road. I stopped, but he was only digging out his rain gear as you could see showers ahead. I rode through a couple of showers and as I neared Duluth it got chillier. At one point I thought a squall line was approaching me but it was fog bank. I stopped at a rest stop briefly since I could hardly see.



    Since this wasn't the kind of fog that would lift anytime soon, I pushed on slowly.

    Last year when I was returning from the Oregon National I passed through Duluth and was struck by the view i had south of town. I had read the best view of Duluth is from Enger Tower in Enger Park so I headed there with not much hope of seeing anything.

    The view was a bit disappointing.



    It was less foggy by the lake and I picked up MN 61 along the Superior shoreline. Eventually the view improved somewhat and you start to see how large Superior really is.





    I pulled into Gooseberry Falls SP as it started to rain pretty steadily. As I walked to the visitor center I met Pete who had flown to Seattle to pick up an airhead GS and was riding it home to NYC with a stop at the rally. We talked for quite a bit and decided to ride north together. We headed out under somewhat improving conditions and stopped briefly at Split Rock Lighthouse.

    Pete wanted to push on so we eventually parted as I was in no hurry. I stopped at Temperance River for a walk through the woods and along the lake shore.



    I eventually stopped at one of the picnic spots along the lake for a peanut butter tortilla I like to eat while traveling.



    The lake water sure was cold!

    Grand Marais was an interesting town and I took a longer stop there at the harbor.



    MN 61 was a great ride as it hugged the lake shoreline and I stopped plenty, especially as it started to warm a little and it became sunny.







    My last stop was at Grand Portage to look around the recreated village there and I headed for the Canadian Border. After answering most of the border agent's questions correctly, I was allowed to enter Canada.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  14. #14
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    I headed north on route 61 and was initially disappointed, as the road left the lake and I had been spoiled by the views in Minnesota. The road itself was fun to ride and wasn't too crowded but I was hoping for more lake views. I headed through Thunder Bay. At one of the rest stops I met a Maine rider heading home. The road heading north had lots of beemers homeward bound, with many of them being Ontario riders.

    My destination for the night was Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. I eventually reached the turnoff and headed south down the peninsula, which forms part of Thunder Bay. The park is at the southern end down a 20 mile or so two lane road. It was a great ride, and I eventually reached the park, arriving around 7, now being back on eastern time.



    I saw a fox and a couple of deer when I was coming down the road. This was a really nice park and I had a campsite right on the water.



    You can see the sleeping giant profile. It reminded me of the Easter Island statues that have fallen over.



    Each campsite had steps down to the water to make access easier and probably avoid erosion from people walking on the banks. It was a perfect place to watch the sun set and take your evening medicinal whiskey.



    Being that far north and at the western end of the time zone, it was light till after 10. At one point a fox came trotting through camp and not a %^$#$ was given.

    After a long day on the road, I slept well.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  15. #15
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    I awoke to a cool morning, but thankfully not foggy, and headed out a little after 7. My destination was Pancake Bay Provincial Park near Sault Ste Marie.

    At the very southern end of the peninsula is the old silver mining town of Silver Islet.







    The ride back up the length of the peninsula was great fun as there was nobody out on the roads yet. When I got back to the Trans Canada, I gassed up and headed east. The run up to Nipigon is away from the lake and there weren't many views. The section from Nipigon to Marathon is really good as it follows the lake more closely.

    Nipigon harbor.



    This stretch had scenic view pullouts, rest stops and waterfront towns to visit, so I didn't make very good time through here, but I was in no hurry. There was a lot of road construction on bridges so there were one lane roads with lots of stops. A couple of times I found myself next to a motorcyclist, one who told me of an alternate route when I got closer to Ottawa and one I ended up next to a couple of times and he told me of an upcoming scenic view where we pulled over to continue our conversation. I probably talked to him for an hour, but he was a local rider and was fun to talk to. I like diversions like this when out traveling.

    Shots from the Nipigon to Marathon stretch.













    I was quite chilly, though wearing most of my layers. I had my electric jacket on put had not hooked it up. My rider friend mentioned it was unseasonably cool and it would get cooler beyond Terrace Bay but warm up beyond Marathon. He was right about the first point but not about the second. It never got warm and I was a bit chilled all day.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

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