Riding the Four Fs: Fall, Foliage, Football and Food

There’s a saying among motorcycle enthusiasts – and I’m sure other travelers: It’s the journey, not the destination. But when that destination is a place that serves up good food, football and foliage, it might be the reason for the journey.

A recent Saturday dawned cool and sunny. Cool enough, in fact, to bundle up in extra layers when I rolled the Harley out of the garage (Strange thing, we have this two-car garage and the only vehicle allowed in it is the Harley).


Off-track already, but that’s the joy of riding a bike in the fall; the journey has twists and turns and usually ends up involving food. This one was no exception. Had we got an earlier start, a ride straight into Medora for lunch at Boots Bar and Grill for a burger was warranted. But given that Dickinson State kickoff was a just over an hour away, this time we would have to skip lunch – kind of.

Leaves were turning all along Old Highway 10, which is our preferred route – slower pace, nice little towns and better scenery off the interstate.

When we’re on the move and on the bike, my wife and I prefer fast meals to keep just enough in the gullet to keep us going. Others prefer a juicy ribeye or burger. Boots has it covered and there’s other bikes to check out in the parking lot.

First stop this day was the Wurst Shop (every time we go to Dickinson) for jerky and beef sticks. There’s also a cool little German Kitchen there where you can get brats and listen to folks who show up to play acoustic music. Then it was back on the bike and over to “The Hank,” or the Biesiot Activity Center (right) for the game.

Sitting with the KDIX radio crew is always a treat, and so are the local doughnuts that show up for the game. They’re the perfect capper to pre-game jerky and – of course – hot dog and popcorn. When the game got so far out of hand - again - it was time to hit the road. That seems to happen every time I ride to Dickinson State for a game.

Halfway home, the sun started dropping along with the temperature. I realized that I was going to make it home for the University of Mary game at the Bowl (the MDU Resources Community Bowl to out-of-towners) in Bismarck. Wifey had had enough football and wanted to go home. She’s a trooper, so I let her combat roll off in the driveway and I headed to Nardello’s for a Philly cheesesteak. Then it was on to the Bowl where I settled onto the bench outside the fence where I occasionally had the honor of sitting with the late great Roger Haug - a coaching institution in these parts.

As the sun set behind Mandan, I ate my sandwich, looked at the yellow trees along the Missouri River, watched some football and was reminded that these days are numbered. Fall will pass, football will end for the winter and the leaves will drop.

These are the days that make fall special in North Dakota.