A great dusty cloud of man and machine arrived one day. These were
untamed, gray men unhindered by the conventions of the rules of the
road or of soap and washcloth. These were the riders of the Great
Pembina Trail ride. (Pembina Trail runs along the Agassiz Interbeach area about 10 miles west of Thief River Falls. It goes north to south for many miles)
Lisa and I heard their rumble a few years ago, at that time they were
a small group of friends and relatives who rode their all-terrain
vehicles across road and through gravel pit. Their eventual goal was
the beer garden at the Pennington County Fair. They included our two
nephews, Derek and Cody, and our buddy Lee Rolland plus a group of
road-warriors some of whom were connected by blood others by no more
than a deep, abiding belief in the curative powers of beer.
The boys were back recently and made their usual stop at our farm. I
noticed Casey Skjerven had dedicated all available storage to
high-quality sustenance-like blister packs of cheese and crackers.
Casey apparently has a deep and abiding belief in the curative powers
of partially-hydrogenated oil. However his willingness to share and
his good character were evidenced by the expectation of occasional
calls from fellow riders of “hey Casey, throw me a lunchable.”
I laughed over a cold one as I surveyed the scene in our front yard
that day. Dirty machines and dirtier drivers all drying in the
sunshine after a visit to the last mud hole in Pennington County-they
appeared as the cast of the classic post-apocalyptic movie, “Mad Max,
the Road Warrior.” Lisa and I talked to as many as we could and I
even drove Cody’s new wheeler. This brief test drive gave me the
fever for a new atv- quickly cured by the price tag.
We wondered if next year we should have a sprinkler system set up to
cool these guys off or maybe get some corporate sponsorship and book
“Molly Hatchet” or “Lynyrd Skynyrd” to play an open air concert for
these guys. Lee suggested we set-up a “car wash” for the driver’s to
pass through on the way into the yard. It’s really not a bad idea,
although the hot water wash cycle might cause a few injuries.
I believe we had 22 wheelers and riders that day, an awesome sight.
They came in two groups, those who create the dust and those who
drive through it. Some of the drivers had goggles for protection
while others sported only a protective layer of dust or wildly
overgrown facial hair. I am a big believer in comfort which caused
me to admire our visitors who were dressed in such a way that
entering an establishment with a “no shoes, no shirt, no service”
policy would have been an act of war.
Like Santa, they left without cue but with perfect disorganized
purpose. The fast ones, the side by sides, the slow ones and finally
the sweeper atv which is responsible for picking up survivors. We
watched all 22 leave in a moveable cloud of dust into the sun and
against the wind.