August 06, 2007 GMT
USA - The Middle

Being an Arctic citizen on a motorcycle in South Dakota has its disadvantages. Temperatures rose to a record high 107 Fahrenheit; or 42 Celsius if you like. I felt like a polar bear in a zoo in Cairo. In Rapid City I found relief in an aircon motel with a fellow biker from Canada, but eventually I had to move on. It was plain awful because the breeze when driving was warmer than me thus heating me up instead of cooling me down. And if that wasn’t bad enough - Americans everywhere gave me a really warm welcome.

A moment feeling at home
I perspired my way into a nearby town to find a new refuge, but they were all occupied by fashion-conscious men with soft leather pants, stylish bandanas, and with colorful drawings on the back of their jackets. It seemed to be a group thing; matching tattoos and everything. Their motherly attachment was underlined by resting safe in the lap of the women sitting behind them. The name of the town was Sturgis which is famous for arranging the largest motorcycle rally in the world. One week a year approx. half a million Harleys roll into town. However, it might be the world’s biggest rally, but not the best. The best rally in the world is Nord-Norge Treffet arranged by HMC. Everybody knows that. Maybe that is why the boys in Sturgis were seeking comfort in the bosoms of their loved ones – Nord-Norge it’s just too far away.
Mt. Rushmore: Four of the most significant characters in US history.
From left: Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Tom Selleck and David Hasselhoff
After a sun scorching, sweat slobbering drive through Nebraska the temperatures finally plummeted as I rode into tiny Parkersburg in Iowa. I was relaxing in the shadow outside the gas station next to a sign saying “No Loitering” when the local Sheriff pulled up beside my bike. As he stepped out of his vehicle and the polished star on his uniform twinkled in the sun I knew what to expect. Oh yes, I’ve seen Rambo; the wandering veteran in small town America. I would be dragged down to the station, stripped for all my belongings and brutally flushed with the fire hose while all sorts of traumas would go through my head. I tried to remember where I had my sewing kit, but the Sheriff was too fast. The interrogation was something like this:
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m driving across America.”
“Cool! Would you like a cup of tea with me and my wife?”
Jason Johnson, the nicest Sheriff in America
With a map kindly sponsored by the Butler County Sheriff Department I maneuvered up to Decorah, a center of Norwegian-American culture and the annual Nordic Fest. The official reason for the festival is to celebrate Norway as an independent country. The real reason is to have fun. The people behind the festival are the ancestors of the Norwegian settlers in the 1850’s, and the result from 150 years absence from the motherland is remarkable. Add some influence by the American way and you’ll see ladies in traditional dress (bunad) roaring down the street on Kawasaki ATV’s. In Decorah you’ll learn that the prime leisure in Norway is to make kitchenware of whatever you find in the woods, that lutefisk is served with potatoes only, and that the main instrument in traditional Norwegian polka is the tuba. Amy and Dane who runs a café on Main Street gave me the opportunity to clarify a few things, and together we designed an up to date menu. So if you want the most delicious Norwegian stuff, visit Oneota Net Café. Nam nam. I promised to mail the recipe on kvæfjordkake. And of course, when interviewed by Decorah Newspapers I made sure to invite all Decorans to next years Festspillene i Nord-Norge. Oh yeah, its gonna be a good one.
The parade in Decorah was somewhat different from those at home
What nice people look like
In Wisconsin I came across the Harley Davidson factory. I though why not, knocked on the door, apologized for not driving a Harley, and wondered if I could have a look inside. Sure, no problem, and a member of staff gave me an hour tour through the factory halls. It was very interesting.
The factory
.. and their latest model
Encouraged by the good start of the day I continued to Michigan. I was still recovering from the jolly Norwegian time in Decorah when I saw a road sign approx. 10.000 kilometers sooner than expected:
Within an hour I was in the city of Norway. Within the next I was invited to the Mayors office (or City Manager as he was called). Suddenly I knew loads of new people. The owner of Norway Mercantile Gifts, Crafts and Apparel gave me a Norway-Michigan sweatshirt, cheerful Paula at Norway City Hall invited me to an evening with her family, and I spent the night in BJ, Trisha, Josh and Grace’s camper van. And as I woke up in the quiet sunrise, watching two deer jumping across the road, I felt grateful for yet another day where anything could happen. As usual I started by folding out the map to evaluate my options. I was not that far from Canada.
Hmm, Canada…
Paula is putting a life jacket on her dog before it goes swimming

Posted by Erik Saue at August 06, 2007 04:26 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!