According to our normal practice Kaj and I rented a Harley for our vacation. We were on the road for 15 days, visiting 11 states and 6 national parks in the Midwest of the United States (the yellow line on the map).

See the snapshots on this page...

We picked up our hog in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at House of Harley.

Of course the two large standard mounted trunks and the king size tour pack wasn't enough for Kaj. So she insisted on bringing her beauty box... :-)

We turned on the radio and were hitting the I-90...

...heading west through Minnesota and S. Dakota.

We passed hundreds of miles of flat grassland. In fact the only variety was the billboards in the roadside.

Except for refueling and lodging, our first stop was Badlands National Park...

...which is located in the southwestern S. Dakota.

Badlands is a huge area of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. In addition it contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.

We stayed in Sturgis for the night. Unfortunately we were about a month to late for the motorcycle rally...

...and we were the only bikers on Main Street. The local Harley dealer told us, that there were more than 300.000 bikes for the rally.

We passed Devils Tower in Wyoming. When I saw it in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I thought it was a wing. No mountain could look like that. But it's real! Scientists believes the 272m high tower is the core of a volcano exposed after millions of years of erosion. It was designated as the United States first National Monument by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906.

As we drove across Wyoming the landscape became more and more hilly and the number of oil drilling rigs increased.

After a few more miles the landscape became quite rocky...

...and we were entering Yellowstone National Park.

We stayed in Yellowstone for three days, as it was impossible to break away. Of all the places we visited on this tour, Yellowstone was the absolutely best.

The landscape is extremely varied and untouched. From high mountains to deep canyons. From thick forest to open prairie. In addition there is a very rich wild life.

See more snapshots here...

We left Yellowstone driving south through Grand Teton, there is a part of the Rocky Mountain system.

The entrance fee gives admission to both parks.

Of course we saw a lot of cattle, but no one like the one on the I-80 between Rawlins and Cheyenne. It turned out to be a buffet restaurant with cow stuff all over - even the mailbox. :-)

Stop if you see it. The buffet is absolutely fine!

Next stop was Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. We followed the continental divide, which runs northwest to southeast through the park on its course from Alaska to Panama. A sign announced: "Every drop of snowmelt or rainwater to the west of the Great Divide flows toward the Pacific Ocean - every drop to the east toward the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean".

Every time we stopped, we was surrounded by a lot of small squirrels and birds.


We left the Rockies driving southwest through a very beautiful autumn landscape...

...and were entering Utah.

We were spending a day in Arches National Park...

...which is located in the southeast of Utah, 5 miles north of Moab.

Arches National Park preserves more than two thousand natural sandstone arches, including the most famous attraction in the park - Delicate Arch.

The best time to watch the color changes of Delicate Arch is at sunrise or at sunset (the picture).

We returned to Wisconsin through Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.

In the south of Colorado the sky was turning black and we drove into a very heavy thunderstorm. It was thundering and raining north of us and south of us, but fortunately it didn't come off where we was driving... :-)

We ended our motorcycle tour visiting H-D's power train plant in Milwaukee...

...and our local guide (the little picture) showed us Milwaukee downtown and introduced us to frozen custard. Thanks, John! :-)

The power train plant are  manufacturing engines and gearboxes.

Of course it was prohibited to take pictures of the assembly line, but you can see it dimly behind the old turning lathe there was placed in the hall... :-)

I bought John's old truck. A '93 GMC Typhoon with only 4500 miles on the clock. We drove to New York via Niagara Falls in it. We were spending the last day of our vacation on Manhattan and were climbing the 354 steps in the Statue of Liberty.

It's nice to travel in the United States and there is a lot to see. I'm already planning the next tour: California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona in the autumn of 2003... :-)

Copyright Niels A. 2000   -   To the main page