KLR650 Sheyenne River Valley Ride

After a warm, sunny day of exploring the 75 mile Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway, I stopped overnight at a small campground near the Sheyenne River. I planned to move on early the next morning, but as often happens, my plans worked out differently than expected.

Overnight, the temperature dropped to 28 degrees and I awoke at 5:30am nearly frozen in my sleeping bag. I quickly started some coffee before hypothermia set in and I began paradoxical undressing. The sun was not up, but the eastern sky over the dark woods across the river was growing brighter. The campground and surrounding woods were completely silent as I shivered beside my frost covered KLR and waited for the coffee to brew.

Then the morning silence was broken when a distant herd of cattle mooed in unison for just a few seconds. The mooing stopped and a heartbeat later, from a grove of trees across the river, a flock of wild turkeys answered with a chorus of gobbles. The turkeys paused and the cattle mooed again; and the turkeys gobbled a reply. I listened in amazement to this back-and-forth, I had never heard anything like it. I grabbed my camera and wandered to the edge of the wooded campground

I hoped to see the cows or the turkeys, but neither was in sight when I reached the fence that separated the campground from an adjoining field. In the upper picture, the cattle were off to the right and the turkeys were across the river to the left. By this time the sky had grown brighter, but it was a cold morning when I took this picture!

Then as suddenly as it began, the mooing and gobbling stopped. I wanted to hear more and hoped it would continue, but it did not. I was left to suppose that the cows and turkeys had finished their morning conversation. That was a disappointment, but the mist rising from the river in the upper picture was an amazing sight. In the lower picture, the mist is more fog-like.

Hot coffee had warmed me a bit and the warm cup felt good to my fingers, but I was not ready for a highway ride on such a cold morning. Instead of the early start I had planned, I made another pot of coffee and spent the morning photographing the river and surrounding woods. 

After the cattle and turkeys were quiet, the only sound was a faint, rustling as frost covered leaves slowly dropped from the trees. The temperature slowly rose along with the sun, and the melting frost promised another beautiful day. The KLR started right up in spite of the cold night and quietly idled as I wiped it dry from the melting frost. .

About noon, the temperature neared the upper forties and I rolled out of the campground, anxious to see what else waited down the road in the Sheyenne River valley. My departure was later than planned, but I was not on a schedule. And the morning chat between the unseen cows and turkeys, as well as the quiet time in the frosty woods were worth the delay. 

On the road, my plans are often sketchy at best. I have a general idea of where I am going and where I will spend the night. But, it's important to allow time for the unexpected delays that make these trips memorable.