Our last sun­set walk on the stun­ning La Bar­ri­ta beach. Bumped in to a way­ward bud­dy, played with the oth­er dogs, and then chased crabs after sun­down. This is the begin­ning of a huge adven­ture for Miss Man­cha and I’m hap­py that we could just have a bit more time on the beach togeth­er.

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After a few great days with John and Kate, I hopped back on the bike to get mov­ing south again..  The weath­er has been incred­i­bly warm, and this after­noon when I left was no excep­tion. I did bun­dle up in my rid­ing jack­et but jeans would have to suf­fice..  By after­noon, I was down to rid­ing in a long sleeved shirt for com­fort alone.

Most of the day has been spent on the Inter­state, in part to con­serve time, and most­ly because it was head­ing in the direc­tion I want­ed to go. By the time I got past the city of Mt. Ver­non, I was start­ing to get a bit peck­ish, but also kin­da frus­trat­ed that I couldn’t find food oth­er than chain restau­rants and fran­chised rapid-meals..  Yuck.  I’d actu­al­ly resigned myself to skip­ping lunch entire­ly and find­ing a good sup­per once I’d found my way back to in to the small towns again.   Only, this was Sun­day, and East­er was com­ing, so very lit­tle in the way of non-essen­tial ser­vices (oth­er than gaso­line, cheap tobac­co and fire­works again) were even remote­ly close to open..

After stop­ping at an estate sale in hopes of find­ing some good antique books (no luck..), I head­ed down the 45 free­way in the hopes that I’d make it some­where with a bit of food by night­fall.

In a bit of a lull, I found myself fly­ing down a stretch of open high­way, sur­round­ed by trees on both sides when I passed a small BBQ sign on the side of the road.  I didn’t quite clue in to what I’d read until in the cor­ner of my eye I noticed the restau­rant on the side of the road, and across a gul­ley that I was rapid­ly pass­ing.   Once I’d near­ly flat-spot­ted my tires, I hauled Thirsty­Girl around and head­ed back for the dri­ve­way..

Big Daddy's Barbeque

As I pulled up and tried to park my bike on the grav­el road behind the smoke shack, I was imme­di­ate­ly impressed by the smok­ers and the build­ing itself. There isn’t much to it, and to call the place rus­tic would be kind, but it’s an hon­est, no-non­sense kin­da place and the smok­ers were hand built. To me, this is pure heav­en.

Big Daddy's Smokers

Inside the restau­rant was built like a place you’d want to hang out.. Signs and mem­o­ra­bil­ia cov­er the walls, a col­lec­tion of mod­el cars and var­i­ous relics make the whole place awe­some!

Smoky Joe - Big Daddy's Barbeque Depot

Smoky Joe him­self has build most of the build­ing you see behind him, and the lac­quered bar­top tables under his arm. He took the time to sit down and vis­it with me after mak­ing an incred­i­ble plate of ribs up for me.

To be clear, I was so excit­ed about the food that I’d already dug in before real­iz­ing I need­ed to take a pic­ture for you.  I was in such a hur­ry to get back to my meal that the pho­to I did take was kin­da half-heart­ed.. It doesn’t do this phe­nom­e­nal meal any jus­tice, but take my word for it–SO tasty! :)  This was only half of my rack of ribs, the pota­toes are hand cut and the cole slaw made from scratch. Again, good, hon­est, food.  I can­not stress enough, how much I val­ue good, real food.

Make sure if you’re in south­ern Illi­nois, that you make a point of stop­ping in to Big Daddy’s.  It’s just off the high­way so be care­ful not to miss it, but you’ll find Smoky Joe there on the week­ends for sure..

Big Daddy’s Barbeque Depot

One mile north of 141 on 45, Nor­ris City

Open: Wed. & Thur 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Fri. & Sat. 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Closed Sun­day, Mon­day & Tues­day

(but call first: 618÷962−3602 I think he may have changed the hours.  I can’t quite seem to find the card with them list­ed!)

Try the ribs, try the samich­es!

 

Half rack of ribs

Joe was a true char­ac­ter, and we man­aged to talk pol­i­tics, cul­ture and local his­to­ry all in my short time there..  I was look­ing for a good place to camp for the night and he sug­gest­ed head­ing up to High Knob Camp­ground in the Shawnee nation­al for­est to watch sun­set with the eagles.

Which I did..

And in [THIS] spot you may even see a video if you check back..  My lit­tle lap­top had a ter­ri­ble time doing any sort of work with HD video so if it ren­ders before Sun­set tomor­row, I’ll post a video of the sun­set from tonight.. ;)

Turns out, this is a fan­tas­tic lit­tle hide­away, espe­cial­ly for horse and mule rid­ers..  More on that tomor­row..

And your map:

View Larg­er Map

Well, it didn’t feel like a trip through Scot­land, but it seems that there may have been more than one bek­ilt­ed set­tler around these parts at some point in the past. Regard­less, there def­i­nite­ly is some pret­ty coun­try­side between the towns of Glas­gow MT and Aberdeen South Dako­ta.

Best burger EVER!The morn­ing, as is my cus­tom, start­ed off pret­ty slow. I woke up late, and took my time get­ting ready. On my way out, the hotel staff rec­om­mend­ed I stop at Bergie’s in Nashua MT for a bite to eat.. I’m so pleased that did, this was quite pos­si­bly one of the best burg­ers I’ve eat­en in ages. FRESH bun, incred­i­ble hand­made pat­ty, tasty but uniden­ti­fi­able spices and a sauce to beat all sauces..: I could wax poet­ic about it for ages, but I shan’t. Instead, please be sure to stop by there if you’re in this neck of the woods!

Room for more.. Small Town Bar

Fertalizer Plant

Con­tin­u­ing on, (with bel­ly full) I made my way south through some pret­ty incred­i­ble ter­ri­to­ry. Sim­i­lar to the Bad­lands in Alber­ta, the Mon­tana Bad­lands include the req­ui­site dinosaur muse­ums and tourist traps com­mon to these areas..

Montana Badlands
Along with some spec­tac­u­lar coulees and wide open fields, there came one of the most ridicu­lous wind­storms I’ve expe­ri­enced on the bike. Since it was com­ing direct­ly out of the west (I was actu­al­ly rid­ing across the weath­er front) it was either at my back or direct­ly at my side. For those of you who don’t ride, a cross-wind push­es the tires of a bike out from under the rid­er in a lean that’s sim­i­lar to high-speed cor­ner­ing. A big bike like this FJR presents a pret­ty big tar­get for the wind (think barn door) and some of the gusts I caught were awful­ly aggres­sive. The bike han­dled them with ease, but it was exhaust­ing as a rid­er to con­tin­u­al­ly fight the wind over this 400+ Km leg..

I had an inter­est­ing encounter with an old Indi­an man who called him­self Low Bear, on the Stand­ing Rock Indi­an Reser­va­tion.. He and anoth­er man approached me to chat whilst I fueled Thirsty­Girl and had a quick snack of chick­en wings..

We spoke of his trav­els to vis­it fam­i­ly up in Cana­da, and his love of the Rocky Moun­tains (and fear of bears of all things!). Toward the end of our con­ver­sa­tion, he shook my hand and with­out let­ting go, sang me a tra­di­tion­al song for trav­el­ers.. It was one of the most touch­ing expe­ri­ences I’ve had in my trav­els to date.

I stopped here short­ly after that encounter to col­lect my thoughts and look over the val­ley below.
My first sunset stop

And, as promised, the movie (I’m dis­gust­ed with the video qual­i­ty) of what my sun­set sound­ed like.. If you squint, it might just look nor­mal.. :)

And Today’s map

View USA — Day 3 in a larg­er map

Hmm. It appears that I’m in tech­nol­o­gy hell. It’s late, Pho­to­shop won’t work, I can’t charge the GoPro (which keeps con­sum­ing its bat­tery on stand­by) and that point ‘n shoot cam­era shoots REALLY hor­ri­ble video..

With that in mind I’ll upload the last video of the day (once it’s ren­dered) to give you some­thing to appre­ci­ate the beau­ty of this place.. Prob­a­bly in the morn­ing. Because it’s late. and I’m going to bed.. G’nite!

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I’ve had the tremen­dous plea­sure of work­ing with an incred­i­ble bunch of peo­ple on a project in Saskatchewan over the last nine or ten months and though the win­ter was bru­tal­ly cold, and just plain mis­er­able on the open prairie, work­ing with good peo­ple made it pass quick­ly.

As the spring end­ed and the begin­ning of sum­mer drilling sea­son began, I start­ed to real­ly enjoy my dri­ve out to Kinder­s­ley. As much as we poke fun at Saskatchewan for being flat and bor­ing, it’s actu­al­ly quite beau­ti­ful once the fields begin to turn green and the rain reju­ve­nates the myr­i­ad of ponds and sloughs that pep­per the coun­try­side and accen­tu­ates the superb sun­ris­es and sets with some tru­ly awe inspir­ing reflec­tions.

Over the past few months I’ve been strug­gling to rekin­dle my love of pho­tog­ra­phy, some­thing that died a lit­tle when I was doing it full-time and pro­fes­sion­al­ly.. I man­aged to sneak out to catch a few pho­tos at sun­set while work­ing south of Plen­ty. Unde­terred by squadrons of hun­gry mos­qui­toes, I man­aged to get a great walk in just north of the rig and a few pho­tos to share with you..

Seri­ous­ly, I wasn’t kid­ding about those mos­qui­toes..

Farm Equip­ment south of Plen­ty, SK

Mor­ris in the sun..

Prairie jet­sam (note, this was NOT from the rig in the next pho­to..)

Savan­nah 441 drilling in the sun­set