Doug Grosjean's
Alaska Trip Report

June 1999

Day 23; Sunday, June 20th, 1999
Start: Glendive, Montana
End: Bismarck, North Dakota
207 Miles

The band plays all night long!! The fairgrounds finally get quiet around 6:30 AM, and I sleep soundly for about an hour or so, then drag myself out of my tent.

I head over to the area where the food was, there's a group of people sitting around talking quietly. Figuring that it would be polite to say goodbye and thanks for the fun times, that's what I'm attempting to do when I realize that these are some enthusiastic party-goers..! They aren't early risers, they haven't went to bed or quit drinking - I finally manage to get away, while they slur and mumble about all kinds of things that I donít quite follow.

I pack up and head over to the local truck stop near I-94 for breakfast. While there, one of the custom Harley guys and the Gold Wing guy show up. We all sit together, and talk.

"Bob", the Harley rider, the stereotype Harley rider, is pretty much bald on top, but has quite a bit of hair around the sides of his head. And it's looong hair. But what's really funny is that on the back of his head he has two eyeballs tattooed, just above his receding hairline. The effect is like looking at a bearded smurf when you look at him from behind, and it cracks me up......!

But what's really fun is when a mom and child enter the truck stop, and this happens several times, and with the child invariably saying "Look, mom! That man has eyes in the back of his head!!!" and the mom invariably saying "Shhhhh, Tommy; don't point, shhhhhhh!!!!" and ushering the child past Harley Bob.

And each time this happens, Harley Bob has a bemused grin on his face as he watches mom and child out the corner of his eye; I'm not sure, but I think he enjoys the shock value.

We talk about many things, and I remember little (due to exhaustion, I realize now) other than that at one point we talked about noise. I end up giving Harley Bob a (new) spare set of earplugs that I have in my tank bag before I leave.

Then I'm eastbound on I-94 . Not sure how far I'll go or where I'll stop, but I'm heading home now.

I'm really tired. And it's so hot out, the heat just makes the fatigue worse....

I cross into North Dakota, and stop at the first roadside rest to get a drink and to use the restroom. Ah, it's so nice and cool inside the rest plaza - but I'm still tired.

And when I come out of the restroom, the first thing I see is the entire underside of my perfect (though mud-splattered) R1100rs...... I can see the oil filter, the drain plug, the finning on the underside of the sump..... my horizontally opposed twin is now a vertically opposed twin...

Damn! I get all this ways without putting a scratch on the bike, and now thinking that the worst is over the stupid thing falls over in a parking lot. Aaaarrgh!

There's a man and a little boy standing not too far away, so I ask them if they saw what happened - they say it just fell over all by itself. The man helps me lift it up, and it's instantly obvious what happened. The sidestand sank into the hot asphalt. Shoot! The bike itself is only mildly damaged, with some of the white base coat visible in the scratches on the fairing and saddlebags, and a little smooshing of the silver paint on the left valve cover. Mostly, the cylinder head protectors and the saddlebag guards did their job.

I think about this for a minute, about the bike falling down.... I've ridden a quarter million miles so far in my life, and lived 3.5 years in Phoenix. I know better than this, how could I be so stupid? I have a little plastic foot in my tank bag's left pocket for situations like this, and I never even thought about it...

I take this as a sign that I'm too tired, and decide to get a motel pretty soon. Before I do something really, really stupid. I'm just so tired.....

And so by 3:00 that afternoon, exhausted after a measly 200 miles, I'm checked into a very nice, air-conditioned room in a hotel in Bismarck, North Dakota for around $30. By 3:30, I'm sound asleep with the air conditioner cranked up.

I sleep until 11:30 PM, when I get up, read some business related paperwork that I've carried all the way across the continent and back, and watch Star Trek; before going to sleep for the night in a nice room between clean cool sheets.

It's quiet, and I sleep really, really well.

Doug Grosjean
Pemberville, Ohio