We’ve arrived! After a 14.5 hour flight that apparently only took 15 minutes (we took off at 12.35pm on Thursday from Sydney and arrived at 12.50pm on Thursday in Dallas) we changed planes, had to repack our bags, and made it to sunny Minnesota around 7.30pm.

After a delicious dinner catching up with our American family, we collapsed into bed about 10pm and I proceeded to get very little sleep… By Friday I was a jet lagged mess but we breakfasted, organised ourselves with SIM cards at AT&T, and headed over to Moon Motorsports in Monticello to pick up the ‘new’ bike! We happened to run into Scott Madson (the former owner of the new bike) while we were up there and it was nice to say hi and put a face to the name!

Happily the Silver Streak was ready to go: all the old farkles had been moved across (lights, shocks, screen…) and new farkles added (auxiliary tank, foot peg lowering kit, and it was ready to ride! Back at home we fitted my fancy new seat and went for a short test ride to the DMV to change over the title of the bike, stopping for a (very late) lunch in Apple Valley.

When we returned I started playing around with the panniers as one of them was very stiff to open and I figured some WD40 and a bit of a play around might help. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to complete the task before I hit the wall at about 7.30pm, crashing into bed and not surfacing for roughly 12 hours.

After a full night of sleep (and some) I was mostly a normal person yesterday. Kiwi got up early to go and see off the starters in the Team Strange Minnesota 1000 (this year run by Rick Corwine) while I stayed happily ensconced under the covers. When I finally emerged, we ran errands, getting spare batteries for the Spot, a few other odds and ends and then I had some girl-time shopping up a storm at a ‘consignment store’ (good quality second-hand clothes at pretty cheap prices).

This morning I figured I was good to go and we mounted the Silver Streak to head back to Motoprimo in Lakeville to watch the finishers come in! It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and cool temperatures and it was lovely to briefly say hello to some Strangers we’ve come across before at various Butt Lites and IBRs.

First bikes in the lot with plenty of time to spare!
The ever-reliable John Pedro ready to stop the clock for those rallying

Inside we were happy to browse the merchandise and watch the riders arrive for scoring (a shout out to Mark from Arkansas who came and said hi – it’s very exciting to meet new people who read the blog – safe travels on your way home!).

Riders getting themselves organised and lining up for scoring
Ian (aka TableDrain) concentrating hard

We snuck out the door just on 8am as the last two riders cruised into the parking lot with about 15 seconds to spare! Either they planned exceptionally well or they got seriously lucky – either way I’ll be happy not to run it that close on the IBR!

Back at the ranch this morning we’ve done a trial run packing the bike and everything fits with a few cubic centimetres to spare! There will be some stuff (clean clothes for post-rally festivities) that we leave in Greenville which will free up space for rations on the bike and while I still feel like we have too much stuff, I’ve been reassured that it will all be fine.

All up, I’m pretty happy with things so far. The new MJM seat is excellent and combined with the lowered foot pegs it’s far more comfortable than the setup we had last year. We’ve got a plan to keep the new AirHawk attached to the bike if I decide I want to use it at some stage and I have a contraption set up to attach my phone to the top of the Camelbak that Kiwi uses so that I don’t have to hold it in my hands while navigating.

Tomorrow there are a few final items to be purchased: a couple of padlocks to keep the Pelican case secure and some white thongs (flip flops) that won’t blend into the hotel carpet and are therefore less likely to be left behind… Again, anything to avoid a repeat of the Dollar General incident of 2018!

Then on Tuesday we saddle up and start making our way south for a bit of a shake down on our way to Greenville… I’m sure there will be more stories to tell as we make our way towards the start line. For now I’m relatively relaxed and not tooooooo nervous about the roads ahead. We’ll see how long that lasts!

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