1st Annual "Bursch Biker Bake-off" Day 5 "End of the Line"

submitted by Fred Bursch owner Bursch TravelAgency
One of the great things about my annual road trip is that it gets me out of my office and away from all of the other distractions piled up on my desk. When I returned to Alexandria on June 29 I was inundated with a week's worth of mail and all sorts of commitments. With those excuses, I know it is important to all of you to catch up on the final day of the road trip. (In fact, I was reminded of this weekend that I hadn't written this yet)

Friday morning (June 26) I got up and finally had some time to clean the bugs off the motorcycle. Even though I hadn't done much night riding, the bugs were pretty thick and it took several passes to get them off the windshield and the front of the bike. It was nice to finally be able to see clearly through the windshield. I had spent the night at Prairies Edge Casino Hotel, the Yellow Medicine Sioux complex a few miles south of Granite Falls. As I drove into town I marveled at where the flood waters had been a few years ago (maybe about 10 now.) I remember back to when the south side of Granite Falls was a large lake created by the flood waters and this whole area was closed to traffic. Since then there has been a lot of flood prevention and redevelopment, including the moving of several businesses.

When I arrived at the Granite Falls office that morning I had my first accident of the trip. I pulled into the parking lot and was moving into a parking spot in front of the office. I put out my foot to balance the bike and my foot slipped on some loose sand causing me to be off-balance on the bike. All of a sudden I felt the bike tipping from under me and I had no firm footing to arrest the fall. So there, right in front of the Bursch Travel office, lay 900 pounds of motorcycle, with me sitting somewhat askew. While I can lift it alone (it takes a bit of finesse) a gentleman watching from across the street came over and we righted the bike. The only thing damaged was my pride J Kristi Flaten and Ronda Kimpling were right there to greet me. Together we shared an apple coffee cake and some fruit; a very healthy breakfast to begin my last day on the road.

Because of the hot weather I had encountered, I had purchased a hydrating vest. It is made of gore-tex or some one-way fabric and can absorb up to a gallon of water. We put it in a pail of water for 10 minutes and then took it out and shook off the excess water. I wore it under my leather jacket and as I rode the wind passing through the vents on my jacket evaporates the water and it acts like an air-conditioner. It was so cool that in the 90 minute ride to Hutchinson I actually got cold. Of course when I arrived in Hutchinson I took off my jacket to find that I was wearing not only a hydrating vest but a wet t-shirt and wet jeans. Luckily I had a dry shirt that I could change into so that I looked somewhat presentable to the Hutchinson staff.

When I walked into the office Sheila's first words of greeting were "You're too early.” They had been watching for an empty parking space in front of the office and were going to block it off and put up a reserved sign with my name on it. Gayle was at home putting the finishing touches on our lunch so I spent some time catching up on my email until she got back. She had planned a healthy lunch with a chicken salad stuffed tomato, toasted garlic bagle slices, some lemonade to wash it all down and then a fruit pizza for dessert. We all sat around the table and it seemed like someone had shut off the phones. We had a very pleasant lunch catching up with what was new and exciting in Hutchinson.

Kathy Hall and her daughter Faith stopped by to greet us. They had been upstairs at the dentist office and Kathy said they were swearing off sweets because of it. Kathy sends me pictures of Faith from time to time so it was good to be able to see her in person for a change. Faith had just arrived from an orphanage in China about the time we purchased the office in Hutchinson so it has been fun to watch her grow up. Before we know it she'll be graduating from high school (she is now in kindergarten)

Leaving Hutchinson, Gayle and Sheila had given me directions for a more scenic ride to Litchfield. I had taken a couple of different routes over the years but never this one, so it was a pleasant change. Hutchinson has one of the few roundabouts in the state (most are in the Twin Cities) so hanging a left at the roundabout took me on the "lake road” to Darwin, home of the famous ball of twine.

In Litchfield I was greeted not only by Dianne Mitchell but Jill Ward had ventured down from Cold Spring to cover while Dianne had a doctor appointment. Diane had prepared a couple of signs, complete with pictures of motorcycles, that welcomed me to the "End of the Line.” Though not stiff or tired, I was definitely anxious to be on my way home. Together we had some fruit kabobs and some peanut butter/chocolate bars. You know you can't go wrong with those two ingredients and I had to have a second just to verify the recipe.

There was one final stop on my trip home. Just south of the city of Belgrade, on Hwy 71 is statue of a big black crow. Don't ask me the significance of why a crow, but it was on my list of bird statues. I positioned my motorcycle in front of the statue, got my camera balanced on a parking post, set the self-timer and jumped back into the picture. Black leather with a black crow background; it is a good thing I wasn't taking this picture at night.

I rode the final 40 miles back to Alexandria, I didn't check the odometer for the exact reading but I rode somewhere around 1,700 miles visiting all of the great people that work for Bursch Travel. Along the way I was treated not only to some great bake goods but to genuine hospitality, the same type that you show to your customers every day. It is no wonder we are successful â€" we have a great team that works together and enjoys what they are doing. Thanks for the great goodies and great memories.

By the way, no rain on day 5 either. What an incredible stretch of good weather. And additionally, when I got on the scale on Saturday morning I hadn't gained any weight. (Of course I hadn't lost any either but that's another story)