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We start the penultimate day of our trip at the Super-8 in Willmar, Minnesota. Farther into our trek than initially intended, we’re quite close to our planned stopping point of Lauderdale, a suburb of Minneapolis and home to my childhood friend Nick. We quickly eat the continental breakfast of cold cereal and individually wrapped pastries and head out of town. Stopping for a photo at “Trav’s Dino Mart”, US-12’s becoming a continuous reminder that we’re nearing home.
The Midwestern scenery is familiar. Small rural towns are dotted along the highway, running parallel to the railroad which services a grain elevator in each town. Communities gradually become closer to one another and bigger until we’re full in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Lauderdale is between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Minneapolis greets us with a construction-caused, Sunday traffic jam at noon. We wind our way through the freeway ramps and eventually make it to Nick’s.
It’s great to see an old friend. Nick and his girlfriend Ashley help us unload. Unpacked and changed into normal summer attire, Nick tells us that friends of his are having a barbeque and we’re welcome to join. We all pile into his Impala and head out. After stopping by the convenience store to pick up the traditional BBQ thank you of a case of beer we arrive. We’re greeted by cool people who quickly become friends. There’s plenty to eat and drink and talk about. This is most certainly the easiest day of the trip and the leisure allows for plenty of reflection.
Eventually the time comes to head back and settle in for the night. Both Nick and Robin are drummers, so they’ve got plenty to talk about. If anyone you know has ever tuned out while you’re talking about motorcycles, well, the format for drums is no different. We take some time to clean the bikes just enough for tomorrow’s final leg. Motorcycles washed and bellies full, we turn in.
Editor’s Note: Nicholas Plotkowski (our Minneapolis host) plays drums for The Get UP, a dynamic and exciting addition to the local soul scene. Check ’em out and bring your dancin’ shoes!
Ready for more? Day Seventeen: Minneapolis To Madison/Chicago
What’s Your Favorite Sport Touring Motorcycle Route From Willmar To Minneapolis?
There are seemingly no twisty, scenic travel options connecting the two. Which roads do you prefer and why? Where do you like to stop along the way? Your input is invited. Post an article!