Hells Angels. Swamp donkeys. Chess: 2,000 miles around Lake Superior.
Columnist Steve Lange motorcycles 2,000 miles around Lake Superior in six days, solo. Here's Part II.
In Part I of his spur-of-the-moment, 2,000-mile solo motorcycle/camping trip around Lake Superior, Steve Lange rode north to Duluth, then east to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., then headed north and west along Superior's north shore. He's already been stopped at the border, been photographed with the Wawa Goose, and been offered food, beer and coffee at every campground, probably because he looks like someone in need of free food. Here's Part II.
Sunday morning: I head west along Superior’s north shore. Get hit by the kind of rainstorm that forces me to pull over into one of the few gas stations along the route. Every other motorcyclist has the same idea, and the small station is filled with bikers, including a large group of Hells Angels.
I grab a coffee and sit on the curb.
“Where you guys headed?” a guy asks me.
“It’s just me,” I say. “I’m heading back to Minnesota.”
“Oh,” he says. “I thought you were one of the Hells Angels.”
I walk to the park next door to take a selfie with the giant statue of Winnie The Pooh.
Also, I notice the Hells Angels vests don’t have an apostrophe after Hell. There’s a big group of them standing together when I catch this, and it would be easy enough to explain to them how this should be possessive, but I decide not to say anything.
Sunday night: Camp at Temperance River State Park near Lutsen. A woman and her daughter offer to share their campfire dinner.
Monday morning: I head north on the Gunflint Trail, hoping to see a moose. Hike something called the Moose Viewing Trail, and sit at the Moose Observation Deck for an hour. I do not see any moose. Someone, probably after a similar experience, has carved the following into the wood: “Where all the swamp donkeys at, though?”
Monday night: I pull into a small amusement park with putt putt golf and a mini zoo in Grand Marais.
I obviously don’t mind doing things alone. I’ll watch movies, go to concerts, attend ball games. Last summer, I was the only passenger on a horse-drawn carriage tour in the Wisconsin Dells. This summer, I was the only passenger on a double-decker boat tour in the Wisconsin Dells.
But when I assess the amusement park situation from the parking lot – when I see all those families and groups of kids – I realize that I draw the line at mini golfing by myself.
Tuesday morning: My camping neighbors, the woman and daughter, offer me coffee.
Tuesday: I leave for Rochester. I have a match at the Rochester Chess Club at 6 p.m. and 300-plus miles to get there.
It’s raining, hard, but I pack up my tent in the rain, then ride in the rain. Just when I’m soaked, just when I’m too cold and miserable to want to ride anymore, the sun comes out and dries me off, and everything is good again.
I make it to chess just in time – and win my game – and then ride home to tell my family all about it.
Steve Lange is the editor of Rochester Magazine. His column appears every Tuesday.