Five is For Flashers


August 27, 2003

Miles City, MT -
Williston, ND

246 miles

3:45 driving time


Proper hand signals for motorcyclists

Five fingers. 

Whizmo is flashing five fingers at me.  There, he did it again.  He opens his fist, extend his fingers.  Close his fingers back into a fist.  Five-five.  Ohhh, he wants me to go 55!  But this is a 70mph highway, and Whiz doesn't usually leave change on the table when it comes to the speed limit.  Maybe he's pointing at the GPS, he wants me to go exactly 55mph so we can calibrate the speedometer?  No, that's not it either.

I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out what he's trying to tell me, when finally it dawns on me ... my right turn signal has been on for the last mile, and he's trying to signal me to tell me to turn the damn thing off!  This is what happens when you ride a bike that's not your own.  It takes a little bit of getting used to, that's all.  When we stop Whiz tells me that we need to polish our hand signal communication.  Isn't it handy that I just happen to have the universal hand signal reference chart right here?  No wonder I was confused.  The proper hand signal for "shut off your blinkers" looks more like "look at this grasshopper I just caught in my teeth!  I'm waving it up and down!"  Oh well, we'll get things organized pretty quickly.

The obligatory departing shot

We arrived in Miles City last night after a long day of trailering from Seattle.  The Whizmobile rolled up in front of my downtown condo just after 4am, and we were on the road shortly after that.  Fortunately, even Seattle's legendary bad traffic is pretty reasonable at that time of the morning. 

We are back on the road and I am loving it.  It's like we picked up right where we left off at the end of 2002's Great Divide tour.  Our careful methods and processes, developed after years of screwing things up, are dusted off and placed back into service.  It's going to be good.

There were moments when it seemed like this year's tour was simply not going to happen.  We went through the whole tiddler thing.  At the last minute, and I mean the very last minute, I was considering purchasing an ST1300 to take on this trip.  Yeah, like 12 hours before we were due to roll out of town.  Sensibility prevailed, and we stuck to the (latest) plan as detailed in the introduction, and I'm riding Whizmo's borrowed Kawasaki ZRX1100.  It was the right decision, and I'm glad I'm on this mount.  All of the careful planning paid off.  I think it's going to be a great trip.

Where's the hidden camera?

Loaded and ready to roll at Miles City

The 2003 Gizmobile

You would think that with gas prices back on the rise, pumping gas should be easier and more consumer-friendly.  Wouldn't you?  What the heck do you think this sign means?  "Press the above yellow button after pulling fuel nozzle?"  And while I'm on a roll here, don't you think that gas pumps are looking a bit too much like ATM machines?

I slip my Aerostich riding suit on. It's like a comfortable second skin, and someone (like me) thoughtfully left it well supplied with daily necessities like chapstick and glove liners.  The weather is in the mid-70's, heading for the mid-80's by later today.  A quick glance at the Weather Channel before we leave the hotel room shows some possible thunderstorm activity near Williston later today.  We don't care, we're on the road!

We take US 12 east out of Miles City, then north on Montana 7 aiming to cross into North Dakota near Beach.  Beach?  After enjoying lunch at the Dairy Queen Family Restaurant (apparently the only restaurant in town), we head north on ND 16, working our way up the western border of North Dakota toward Williston, the destination for our first day of riding.  Sure enough, about 15 miles before arriving, we see lightning strikes ahead of us.  I'm taking no chances.  I immediately put on the rubber boots, and new for the trip this year, neoprene gloves!  I am NOT getting wet this year. 

Just outside Alexander ND someone has erected a billboard with the Ten Commandments.  I wonder if this is something that occurred very recently, or if it's been here awhile.  Given all of the media attention in Alabama, is this sign next for the national media spotlight? 

Outside Alexander ND

Your faithful scribes here at W&G central have been working hard to polish up the website and bring you new and engaging features in the vague hope that some large media conglomerate will throw large sums of money at us for the exclusive rights to the W&G Reality Show.  We're still waiting for that call.  While we're waiting, be sure to press the down arrow up top in the navigation bar.  This will take you to the spiffiest new feature of all, Whizmo's daily photo gallery.  We'll be featuring some of the more artistically satisfying shots of the day in this area.  As always, your feedback is welcome.  You can just click on an envelope next to our signature images and let loose.

And don't forget to check out the always popular Contest Corner, where you can win prizes and fame.  Well, prizes for sure.  It's just down the page from here.

Tomorrow, we're off to Minot and more great riding!


 W&G Contest #1  

Name those Ridin' Tunes!

OK, to celebrate being back on The Road, we put together a medley of some
reasonably well-known musicians singing about riding.

Listen closely to the audio file by clicking the button below.
Enter your guess for each song title and artist for each song in the format shown below.
The first answer received that is the most completely correct will be declared the winner.

We need your name and email address to uniquely identify the winning entry.  Whizmo & Gizmo swear on a stack of balding tires that we would never, ever share your email address with anyone for any purpose.  We just need to know who the winners are!