It's been about 5 or 6 years ago now. I decided I wanted to ride up to South Dakota and see their badlands. I'd seen the sights in Southeast South Dakota but I was back home in Arkansas when I heard about the Badlands.
So as all you riders know, not having been there before is good enough reason to go now. Not having a touring bike at that time wasn't a reason not to go. My 2001 750 Honda Shadow ACE would just have to do.
So I loaded up the tent, sleeping bag, prescriptions, a few dollars cash and went. If you haven't seen it, and that kind of stuff interests you, it's worth seeing.
With the nice weather and still in possession of a couple dollars, I wasn't ready to come home.
Wyoming is right next door and I'd never seen that Devils Tower from Close Encounters. So I went there. Wow! Never seen anything like that before! For miles before you get there, you can see it. The closer you get, the bigger it gets. Wow! And everybody that rode a Harley was there.
I'm sure there were other brands there but that's not what I came to look at. Don't remember any sour pusses, everybody seemed to be real friendly but what would you expect? Everybody was riding on a nice day!
A day or so later I rode in to Denver, Colorado. It was pouring down rain! I felt like a drownded rat. Had my rainsuit on but it was raining outside and I was sweating inside.
I got off the interstate and out of the rain at a gas station. Now I wanted to head back home. I called my wife to let her know I was still alive and kicking and complained to her about the weather.
I told her I didn't know where I would be spending the night and it was at this time she reminded me we have a nephew that lives in Castle Rock, just South of Denver.
She called him, got his address and away I went.
He had his garage door open for me when I arrived. First time I had been to his house.
I was thinking how good it was going to feel sleeping in a house while at the same time he is apologizing to me because I would have to sleep on the couch. (His mother-in-law was visiting).
I was tired. I would have happily slept on the floor in my sleeping bag. Supper was all the pizza and soda pop I wanted. A hot shower and clean dry clothes feel so good.
I slept all night long and only woke up when I started smelling coffee, waffles, bacon and eggs. I didn't want to make a pig of myself, but I got full and I did have a second cup of coffee.
It was sprinkling rain and the temperature had dropped when I left. I decided to head south and east and just work my way back towards Arkansas. Occasionally a spot of blue sky could be seen, but it never lasted long.
That night I stayed in Montezuma, Kansas. Small, city RV park on the west side of town. I had been there before and knew there was a nice, grassy area for tents.
I was concerned about the weather but I pitched my little Wal-Mart tent and went to bed. I was reading my book when the storm hit.
Kansas has wind! I wasn't really worried about being blown away, but I was afraid of my tent being flattened! I used my hands and feet to hold the tent in place. I had put the cover over my bike and I was worried what was happening to it.
The wind seemed to keep changing direction, so I had to keep turning around to hold the tent up. Then the rain started. AAagh! My little cheapie Wal-Mart tent had a netting material on top for ventilation. The cute little rain fly wasn't much bigger than the netting on top.
So I'm sitting on my bottom, my feet holding the bottom corners of the tent in place and with my hands, I'm holding up the top.
The wind blows the cute little rain fly up, and the rain gets blown in right in my face! I don't know how many hours this went on. It was awful! For some reason, I had put more stuff in my tent than I usually do.
Everything was getting soaked. I reckon it was sometime after midnight when it started letting up. I couldn't sleep in my soggy sleeping bag, so I put on my rainsuit and slept on top of it.
Next morning it was fairly calm but still overcast and cool. I rode to Dodge City next morning and found a laundromat. Almost everything went into a big monster dryer.
When I got my sleeping bag out, it was so warm and dry, I wanted to spread it out on the floor and take a nap. But that may have irritated other customers.
I was so tired, I only rode to Greenfield (Greenland?). The place that was nearly wiped out by a tornado years ago.
I stayed at their city park that night. There was just a light rain which made for good sleeping. Next morning it was cold! I headed south.
Just west of town is a highway that goes straight south to Oklahoma, across Oklahoma and in to Texas. Just before getting in to Texas, it started warming up, finally.
Spent that night in a Texas rest area then home the next day.
I have not spent another night in that $30 Wal-Mart tent, but I did use it for about 3 years before that.