Great River Road to Memphis

From one awesome city to another, I followed the Great River Road to Memphis from St. Louis.

It was suppose to be a partly cloudy day. No such luck. When I woke up it was cloudy and about to rain. Luckily, I managed to pack up just before the rain started. It was nothing serious though. But enough that the drops stung my face and had to put my visor down.

Antigravity Battery

I stopped for my usual McDonald’s breakfast.


A large coffee and cinnamon melt.

I needed to charge my cell phone but couldn’t find a plugin in the entire restaurant! I guess they don’t want me hanging around. No problem though. I pulled out my Antigravity Battery and charged my phone.


This battery is great. It does everything from charging my phone to charging my motorcycled batter should it go dead. And I can charge it through my motorcycle as I travel.

Mississippi River

I really didn’t see much of the Mississippi River today as I rode the Great River road through Missouri, over to Kentucky, into Tennessee and finally into Arkansas. But I did see some of it.



Somewhere between Clinton and Hickman Kentucky I got lost. I thought I was following the Great River Road signs, but suddenly they disappeared on me. As luck would have it I was running out of gas as well. It is nice having a GPS though. You are never really lost. I set it for the nearest gas station.

It took me through a series of gravel and partially paved roads through fields of corn and soybean. At one point I misjudged a corner. I had to lean hard to make it. The tires started to come out from underneath me. I thought for sure I was going to end up in a field. I was turning and braking at the same time. Not a good thing to do, but I needed to slow down fast. After a couple expletives under my breath I managed to make the corner thanks to my ABS. I was quite amazed how it transitioned from the paved to gravel portions of the corner in the wet.

I made it to the gas station where, of course, it started to rain harder.

Weather Shift

At this point I just wanted to get to Memphis and was thinking about getting a cabin at the KOA I booked. I rode through the rain on the interstate.

Now, I am not sure where the north ends and the south begins in the US, but I think I found it. All of a sudden I rode out of the swath of cloud the had engulfed me, and into blue sky and stifling heat. I watched as the temperature got up to 34 C. I got into Memphis and it was HOT and HUMID.

That is one think ab out riding a motorcycle, you feel all the different weather. Not like sitting in a car not feeling anything.

It was time for a cold drink and settle in my tent for the night.


Route for August 23, 2016


Great River Road

I decided that I wanted to ride the Great River Road from the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park, to where it end in New Orleans. This would require a loop up to Itasca State Park and the start of the Mississippi River.

As I left I was crabby 🙁 The main reason was because I had to pack up a wet tent and gear. Just not a fun way to start the day.


The day did get better as it got hotter and hotter as I made my way to Itasca State Park.

Mississippi Headwaters

The Mississippi River meanders south from Itasca State Park for for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta at New Orleans before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the world’s great rivers, and especially so in North America.

The Mississippi Headwaters is located in Itasca State Park. It cost $5 for the day to enter the park. But I had to do it. The headwaters was a milestone for the start of my Great River Road ride.


Also it would be pretty cool to see. I wasn’t the only one who thought so. The place was packed with people walking across the stones that mark the start of the great river.






The Mississippi starts it path to the Gulf of Mexico.


And I start my ride following it along the Great River Road.

Great River Road

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns.


The Great River Road is arguably the longest and most important scenic byway in America. The drive takes about 36 hours of straight driving to travel from north to south along the byway. Most people take four to 10 days to make the journey. Me? I will take as long as it takes ha ha. I also want to take a few detours to visit things along the way.

But the first step along the way is to go to the KOA at Bemidji for the night.


Route for August 17, 2016



The main reason I was in Minneapolis was to change my rear tire. But that wasn’t the only thing that happened in the two days I spent there.


August 15 was a day at the KOA Northwest Minneapolis to relax.  I had a list of things to do.

There was the usual laundry to do.

I set up a Timelapse film video on my YouTube channel about me, given to me by my kids!  Thanks!! It turned out awesome! I did have some problems setting it up though. Thanks JUHLi SELBy for the help!

I also decided to start to re-read the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

But most importantly was a Skype call with my daughter Carllee and Ian. The day before they got engaged! Congratulations!

Moon Motorsports


On August 16 I was off to Moon Motorsports to finally get a new rear tire.


I arrived at about 9 am and stood in line at the service desk. I didn’t have to stand in line for long. Right away the window of the Service Manager opened and he offered to help me. I explained I was traveling and needed a new tire. No problem he said.


A hour and a half later I was out of there with a new rear tire for a fraction of the cost that I paid in Fairbanks, Alaska. Awesome!

As for the tire, I got a Heidenau K60 again. While I wasn’t happy with how long the previous rear tire had lasted, I didn’t want to mix front and rear tires. I could still get more miles out of the front Heidenau K60 tire. So we will see how this one lasts.


Mall of America

I had expected to spend most of the day at Moon Motorsports as I had at other BMW dealerships to get work done. To my surprise I was out in less than 2 hours. So I had time to spare. What to do? I have heard lots of about the Mall of America in the past. It is the largest mall in the United States. So off I went.

While I am not a shopper, and I certainly don’t have the money or space to purchase anything, the Mall was actually quite fun.


An amusement park is at the centre of the mall.


The four floors around it contains a shop for every brand and product imaginable. I swear there are more than one Victoria Secrets store in the mall. At least I seemed to pass it lots 🙂



A good day was interrupted at the end by a torrential downpour and lightening.


I hid out in the KOA laundry room until it ended. When it did, I went to inspect my Big Agnes tent. It was dry inside! Even though is was in a pool of water. I moved it to higher ground and went to bed.

Route for August 16, 2016

To Moon Motorsports


To Mall of America


And back “home”


South Dakota

After a fun day at Sturgis, it was time to move on through South Dakota heading to Minneapolis.

After you leave the Black Hills area of South Dakota, there is basically one view you see the entire ride – flat, bald, prairie. My GPS had me taking the interstate. There was no way I wanted to ride a freeway. So I overruled my GPS and took a rural route. To tell you the truth I don’t think it made any difference other than no vehicles on the route I took. No vehicles also meant very few restaurants and camping spots.

Faith, South Dakota

I did get caught in a parade in Faith! I even got a few waves from onlookers ha ha. In retropsect, I should have stopped and enjoyed a few hours art their fair. I need to stop being so goal oriented to get someplace. As the Alabama lyrics go, “Oh I’m in a hurry to get things done Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun All I really gotta do is live and die But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.”

Finding Camping

As time went on I was thinking I would never find a place to camp for the night. I stopped at a couple places but they had no showers ha ha ha. OK I know I am being picky and I won’t always have that option. But this is America 🙂

Kindred Spirit

I did meet a man and his son at a gas station. They asked the usual questions and then they lit up when I told them I was heading to Argentina. The son was traveling in a van from the US to Argentina! He was home right now due to a death in the family.

Codington Memorial RV Park

As I reached Watertown I thought for sure I would be spending money for a hotel. I then passed by a lake and saw camping. My GPS indicated a RV park. I thought it may be another false alarm, that is camping without a shower.

I decided to do a u-turn and go to the Codington Memorial RV Park. When I arrived I was amazed. What a great find. Now for the ultimate test, did they have showers or would I have to use the lake? They had showers!

The camping spots were spacious.




Next on the agenda was dinner. There was no restaurant around, so it was back to the camp office to pick up the basic food groups: drink – Dr. Pepper, Main Course – Bush Beans, and for dessert – Milk Duds.


The day ended with a swim in the lake.



Route for August 13, 2016


Livingston Montana

Today was to be a positioning day to get to Livingston Montana so that the next day I could do Yellowstone Park and the Beartooth Pass.

It was a short and enjoyable 3 hour ride from Great Falls to just outside of Livingston.


Along the way a guy in a older BMW kept passing me. I suppose he would stop and I would pass him and then he would catch up and pass me. Eventually I needed to get some gas and so stopped at Livingston. Wouldn’t you know it, there was the same BMW. After he finished filling up, he came over and introduced himself as Bob from Livingston. The motorcycle he was riding was a 2001 1150 BMW GS. It was in immaculate condition.

We got to talking and he asked how far south I was going. I said “Argentina.” The guy at the pump across from me started to laugh. He sarcastically said, “You’ll enjoy Ruta 40.” Such as small world. And I am constantly amazed at the people that talk to you when riding a motorcycle.

Anyways …. Bob, as it turned out, had ridden to Inuvik before and had also ridden through Mexico and Central America. He gave me advice about staying away from the Mexican border towns, especially at the Nogales border crossing.

In my previous career I had been to the Nogales border on a security tour. It was a border like no other I had seen. There were a line of of vehicles being torn apart and sniffed by dogs. On a perch overlooking the wall into the Mexico side of the border you could see a line of of people wanting to walk across the border.

I wasn’t planning on going through the Nogales border, but rather heading to Tijuana and doing hte Baja first. Bob said that part is just like the US.

Off Bob went, another interesting person met along the way.

Livingston KOA

Made it to Livingston KOA.



As I walked around I noticed two chairs amongst the trees. The picture is above as my featured image. The chairs overlooked the Yellowstone River.


I was attracted to the image. Not sure why. Perhaps the beauty I found in it. Perhaps the romanticism of it. Or perhaps the loneliness it symbolized. Perhaps all of the above. I entitled it on Instagram as “soulmates.”

Not a bad KOA. Weird to have an indoor pool though. Time to charge electronics to prepare for tomorrow. Really looking forward to Yellowstone and Beartooth!


Route for August 8, 2016


Great Falls KOA

It was time to take a bit of a R&R break in the sun and warmth at the Great Falls KOA in Montana. I had been riding for pretty much a month in the rain, cloud and cold for the most part. The weather in Great Falls was predicted to be hot and sunny. Although each evening the thunder storms would arrive and they would sometimes close the pool down due to lightening threats.



KOAs are generally pretty good – clean washrooms, free showers, free wifi, and a swimming pool. Some are better than others, and the Great Falls KOA was one of those.

They gave me a small but nice camp spot partially under a gazebo!



I settled in to relax around the pool.


You can see by the pool that the campground is geared towards families. This is fine by me. I love watching families having fun in a pool. It brings good memories of having fun with my kids. In many ways I wish those times lasted forever, and if I had the time back I would have enjoyed them even more. I suppose this is a common reflection of parents. But then again, I hear a lot of parent saying they can’t wait for their kids to grow up. Not me.


While at the pool I met Abby. Abby was about 2 years old. This is generally the age of women I attract ha ha. Abby kept coming up to me as I lay on my lawn chair. She would just stand and stare at me. Her Dad and Grandmother would call her. She would leave for a few minutes and then back she would come. So I engaged in 2 year old conversation. Her Grandmother would call and I would say your grandmother is calling. She would just point to her and stay with me. It was funny.

I wonder what makes a 2 year old attracted to some people and run away from others?

The same for animals and adults too. Why are people attracted to others?

Camping next to me in the campground was a mother and son from Montana. She always greeted me with a pleasant smile. And her son would come and let me know when the hot tub was open as he knew I like relaxing in it.

They left on the Sunday and I was staying until Monday. Strange, but when they left it left a void. I missed them. Why is that? I suppose as a solo traveler I ponder these things.

In any case it was a nice break and I need to beat back the urge to keep riding.

Route for August 5, 6 and 7, 2016


Liard River Hot Springs

I thought I could get to the Laird River Hot Springs the day before and then go back to the Air Force Lodge. But it was 160 km away. Too far to go there and come back. Today, going to the Liard River Hot Springs was my main objective on the way to Fort Nelson from Watson Lake.

I got to the hot springs just after it opened at 8 am. There is a very cool wooden boardwalk leading down to the springs.




The springs are not situated in a cement pool like Takhini Hot Springs, but rather dug out in the ground. Pretty amazing. I first went to the right and took a step into the pool. Way too hot. I then tried the stairs down to the centre. This was just right.



The bottom of the springs is covered in rock that doesn’t bring up dirt as you walk on it or kick it. The spring goes around a corner a bit where the water gets cooler but is still warm.


As more and more people arrived, I decided it was time to make my exit. Just as I was leaving I met a fellow motorcyclist who was going to attempt to get to Prudhoe Bay on his road tires. Possible if it doesn’t rain. But good luck if it does.

Toad River

The woman at the Watson Lake information booth suggested I stop at Toad River for something to eat on my way to Fort Nelson. It is kind of a cool road stop. The ceiling was covered in hats.



The staff were nice and the food was good too. At least the potato and bacon soup certainly hit the spot after another cool ride.

Fort Nelson

When I got to Fort Nelson the weather was nice enough to camp. The woman who checked me into the Triple G Hideaway was quite the character and had no problem teasing me. We had fun going back and forth.


The campsite was also licensed! Bonus!



After setting up, and doing laundry, I decided to hit their restaurant rather than finding the A&W in town. The beer was good. The Newfie Fries I should have avoided. But they were so tempting. Newfie fries consist of fries, gravy, onions, ground beef, mozzarella cheese, and turkey dressing! No way I was getting through it all as it was a big serving and very rich.

The one disappointing thing during the day is that I saw lots of Bison on and beside the road. Ok …. That wasn’t disappointing, but what was is that I thought I caught them on my GoPro. When I went to down load the picture they weren’t there. OH Well , sorry, no pictures.

Route for July 29, 2016


Waiting in Tok Alaska

I am stuck in Tok, Alsaka, for two reasons. First, it is suppose to pour rain all day. And second, because I was planning on going to Dawson City, but it is the Dawson City Music Festival this weekend, and every hotel and campground is booked solid.

Goodbye Brent

Brent and I have been riding together for I think ten days now. We accomplished something major together. We conquered the Dalton Highway and made it to the most northernly point in the western hemisphere that you can reach by a vehicle. While be both could have done it alone, it was much safer and cheaper to do it together. Plus, it was nice to have someone to share the momentous occasion with.

Today was the day for us to part company. I am going south the way he came up, and he is going south the way I came up. I am sure our paths will cross one day again. We are both planning on entering Mexico together at about the same time.

Off he goes.



It wasn’t long after that the predicted rain fell.


I waited as long as I could at the hotel and then went to Fast Eddies restaurant to wait out the rain. The rain won.

Some gas, air in the tires, and some riding around finally outlasted the rain. What should I do now? Go back to the hotel at $89 US or camp for $27 US? I had definitely overspent this month and so camping was tempting. On the other hand, it was suppose to continue to rain and so hoteling it was tempting. Money won!


I prepared for the rain by bringing out my multipurpose tarp.



Went to bed and still no rain. I heard a few drops during the night but that was it. Great decision Brian!

Route for July 24, 2016, Staying in Tok


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