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Goodbye, Champ. Hello, Harley.

"Champ" passing through the Needles Tunnel in the Black Hills in May.

“Champ” passing through the Needles Tunnel in the Black Hills in May.

 

Our new Harley is ready for its first adventure. He'll have to earn a nickname.

Our new Harley is ready for its first adventure. He’ll have to earn a nickname.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We said goodbye to our 2002 Victory Deluxe Touring Cruiser this past weekend. “Champ” (named for his champagne-and-cream paint job) had taken us 48,000 miles since we picked him up second-hand in 2007. ┬áHe went to the Grand Canyon via Route 66, climbed Colorado’s “Million Dollar Highway”, visited all four corners of the state of Minnesota, drove around Lake Superior, followed the Mississippi River from its source in northern Minnesota to New Orleans, and took us safely through the Black Hills. He also served as a weekday mule, transporting my husband to and from work.

It was sad to see him go, but he was an orphan. Polaris made that particular style only one year. Parts were had to find. At 52,000 miles, he had given good service.

We went down to Harley-Davidson of Winona last Saturday to take part in a pre-Sturgis bash and promote my books. (The photo of Champ, by the way, is on the cover of my new book, Ride the Black Hills.) We took the opportunity to test-drive a couple of Harleys and wound up trading Champ for a 2016 Road King.

The ride home from Winona on Hwy. 61 was highly enjoyable. The weather was beautiful and the Road King handled the curves so smoothly! We’re heading out soon for Glacier National Park. It will be fun to discover how the “new kid” handles the mountains.

Motorcycle Lag

The road to Devils Tower, Wyoming

The road to Devils Tower, Wyoming

It’s what you get after spending seven to ten days riding a motorcycle. Similar to jet lag, it persists for a couple of days after you park the bike in the garage. The sound of an open throttle brings it all back — the wind, leaning into a curve, the hum of a well-tuned engine, the vibrations under the foot pegs.

Traveling by motorcycle is far better than going by plane. There are no TSA inspection lines. No two-hour waits at the airport. You just get on the bike and go.

We just returned from a trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. It’s early; motorcyclists were few and far between. So were the other tourists, in fact. Compared to a sunny day in July, the viewing plaza at Mt. Rushmore was practically empty. And we had many roads all to ourselves. A great way to get away from meetings, deadlines and political debates. In a couple of months, Spearfish Canyon and the roads leading to Sturgis will be filled with the rumble of Harleys, Victories, Hondas BMWs.

By then, I’ll be well over my motorcycle lag and ready for more adventures. The motorcycle season is open! Get out and Ride Minnesota!