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July 5, 2009

South Dakota - Day Seven & Conclusion

Today we rode over to Wyoming. Headed west on 16. We were not sure what to expect since we were riding away from the Black Hills.

What a great ride!!! The road near Jewel National Park totally kicks ass. Especially at Hell Canyon,

We stopped for pictures of the Welcome to Wyoming and South Dakota signs. While moving over to the South Dakota sign a family walked up. I offered to take the family photos. We asked them where they were from and they said St. Louis! i said no way so are we. They were from Wildwood. Had spend a few days in Custer and were headed over to Yellowstone! Damn small world! I had forgot to mention when we were at the Mt Rushmore night lighting ceremony the man we sat next to has moved to Iowa but was from Ballwin!

The afternoon found us resting in the RV as some small showers had set in. Riding in the Black Hills in the rain wasn't something I wanted to experience.

After a nice nap we decided since it was Wednesday night and our normal Wednesday nights at SLSC meeting/ride that we would do a Northern SLSC ride. Since I am to lazy to report that part, I will direct you here for that part:


One of the last places we rode to on the bikes was Crazy Horse. As I previously have mentioned Pete and I were so moved by the entire Crazy Horse Memorial. We will be come regular donors to the cause. ..and of course go back!

That basically concludes our time in Paha Sapa (Sioux for Black Hills) I have left out so much from our trip not to bore our readers. But it is suffice to say we had just a grand time. We will be going back in no time to the Black Hills. Pete and I loved the area. If you ever have a chance to go, do yourself a favor and go! Even if you are in a cage you will have a great time.

On the way out of South Dakota, we headed south to do the off Interstate way home. One of the last things we saw was a heard of Buffalo! It is funny cause my friend Vanessa sent me a text saying don't forget my buffalo pictures missy! I swear no longer than I was laughing and reading this to Pete, this heard appeared!!


South Dakota - Day Six

Badlands Part II

Yes we did the Badlands on the way into the Black Hills but in the RV. I really wanted to go back so Pete could really enjoy the entire Byway.

We headed out of Custer and took the fun way across 244 to 16 to 44. 44 is a Byway in itself that parallels I-90. Pretty straight but great scenery across the prairie land and through the north and south sections of the Badlands.

We took a break on a bridge across the Cheyenne River. The landscape is so different from the Black Hills but just as gorgeous in it's own right.

After leaving the Cheyenne River break we climbed a small hill then after wards it was pretty straight into the Interior, SD.

Pete and I communicate via Scalas, there are times when we will not say much and just take in the scenery. I look in my rear view and the DN-01 headlight is a small spec way back. I slow down to about 45mph and the spec grows a little so I stop. Pete rolls up beside me and I re- establish our Scala connection and said, everything ok? He said everything is perfect but I am not riding across this beautiful scenery at 90mph, I want to enjoy it. Opps :)

We roll into Interior and stop for gas and lunch at the Cowboy Corner. YES! Special of the day is sloppy joes!

After lunch we do the entire Badlands byway again. Worth every mile!

After the Badlands we head back in to Wall and come home via I-90. At one point we hit some crosswind doing 80mph and I lost my rear bottom fairing on my Burgman.Ii say to Pete don't stop, screw it, to dangerous.

Ordering a new one is better than having him out on the Intestate getting it back. The previous owner of my bike had painted it. So now I will order the replacement piece and this will make me paint the entire bike. Something I have wanted to so anyway. Now to pick a color. I am leaning towards metallic hunter green with the color flakes.... We shall see.

For now I am riding a half naked rear bike, actually doesn't look half bad. Maybe I can get Ron the mad scientist modder to do something I have in mind ;)

Great day, 270 (s)miles of outstanding riding!

Came back to the RV and slept 12 hours :)


July 4, 2009

South Dakota - Day Four

Gold, Gun & Guts.... Welcome to Deadwood

Day 4 found us on the road to Deadwood. I have been a huge fan of Deadwood ever since the HBO series of the same name. I was most anxious to see Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane's graves.

The trip to Deadwood was across Hwy 385. No hairpin turns of Needles or Iron Mountain Road but a great road on it's own. Surrounded by grand beauty. Most notably was Pactola Reservoir.

Deadwood was not the Deadwood of 1876 but there were familiar buildings and sights to see. We had fun going into the Old Saloon No 10 where Hickok was murdered. (even though the location has been moved slightly up the street). We enjoyed an awesome buffalo burger at the Buffalo Steakhouse. Deadwood has 80 casinos located in the small gulch but yet still has a lot of charm and character.

I have no idea who the skank ho is.. cool bike though.

After Deadwood we headed over to Sturgis. This was not in our plans but we thought 10 miles from the mecca of all things two wheels we have to go right? The road in to Sturgis totally kicked ass. We get into Sturgis and I am waiting and waiting to see what the hoopla is all about. Before I know it we are back into the prairie lands. I say to Pete through the Scalas, I think we missed something. So we turn around and head back. I see a sign that says business district to the left. I say to Pete ahh ok we did miss it. I see Sturgis Harley Davidson....closed. Umm odd the holy grail land for Harleys and it's closed? We turn down the main drag and every business is closed?? Yup, Sturgis is ghost town 51 weeks of the year. But at least we can say been there done that bought the t-shirt for Pete albeit in Deadwood. Cracked me up!

After Sturgis we headed over to Lead, the site of the Homestake Mine. Cute little mining town that once housed America's largest and deepest mine. We stopped by Boondocks on Hwy 385 for a soda and a look at some vintage cars.

We returned to camp tired after a long day and relaxed by a warm campfire.

More pictures in no particular order:


South Dakota - Day Five

The day started much warmer than the previous day. Was good for us since we decided this was our riding day. We headed over 16 and past Crazy Horse (this was something we were treated to several times a day during our stay). We did the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway and the Custer State Park Wildlife loop.

To learn more about the ByWay, click here:


I have been on a lot of great roads but I think the Needles Highway was the nicest road I have ever ridden. Was just spectacular. We had hardly encountered any other traffic on the road, no one passing us, no one blocking our way, nothing. Pete and I ended up eating lunch by a babbling brook.

In the evening we went back to Mt Rushmore to do the Presidential Trail hike and watch the night lighting of Mt. Rushmore.

Just a perfect day all around!

The pictures really tell the better story about the day! Here they are:


South Dakota - Day Three

"My land is where my dead lie buried."

We awoke to a very crisp cool morning. We were of course concerned about our St. Louis family and friends who started the day at 85 while we were snuggled up and it was 45 outside. Nothing like snuggling up with Pete and Slasher in the Black Hills!

We were excited to finally get on the bikes! We were teased with views of Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse on our way in late Friday night. We waited for the sun to rise and heat up the Black Hills before we started out on our adventure to see two the two great sculptures in the Black Hills.

Our first stop was Crazy Horse Memorial.

Crazy Horse was less than 8 miles from our campground. The ride over is nice, as you head east on Hwy 16 you are treated to see what waits you; the glorious Black Hills. Gorgeous stately Ponderosa Pines rising up straight as arrows from the rugged but beautiful masses of granite hills with beautiful clouds and sky to crown a perfect picture.

Leaving Custer north on 16 you can see Crazy Horse about 3 miles from the site. Your first thought is wow that is big but really what is the big deal. You have heard all the stories, 61 years in the making and you get an Indian's face. Most every person we spoke to about our trip to the Black Hills normally remarked don't waste your time or money seeing Crazy Horse, it is not worth it. As we got closer to the entry gate the monument got bigger and came more to life.

We took our outside pictures then headed into the visitors center to watch the video about how Crazy Horse Memorial was started and it's progress to date. Normally these videos are blah and you can't wait for them to be over. Pete and I both sat in awe as we heard the tale of how the Crazy Horse Memorial was conceived. We were blown away by the Lakota Indians dream as well as that of the sculptor they chose Korczak Ziolkowsk. I will spare you the history lesson but keep this one fact in mind. This man never took one dime of federal or state aid (even though it has been offered numerous time) to build the Lakota's dream. The philosophy is one that still lives today through Korczak Ziolkowsk's wife and seven childern that still work on the Memorial. As we walked through the visitors center we learned more and more about this family who have dedicated their lives to this enormous dream. By the minute we were becoming huge Crazy Horse as well as Ziolkowsk fans.

We took the tour to the base of Crazy Horse, as you get out of the bus you are awe struck by the massive size. You can fit Mt. Rushmore in the head alone of Crazy Horse.

As we were leaving and looking at the mountain I said to Pete, now when I look at the mountain I actually see it in it's finished form. I no longer see just a mountain with a face. I see a finished Indian tribe and family's dream coming to life. They give you a piece of mountain to take home. Pete and I made a promise to each other, if the Memorial is complete before our life ends we will come back. I can not begin to place in words how moved Pete and I were by the entire Crazy Horse experience.

Back on the bikes heading north on 16 we are heading to Mt Rushmore. Hwy 16 is a faster road that gets one from north to south through the Black Hills. Even though it is more of a faster road it is in no way less beautiful.

We turn east on 244 to Mt. Rushmore. Now the fun begins. Here comes our elevation changes with twisties throw in for fun. Pete and I were talking through the Scalas all the way and I think the only words shared were.. wow just awesome! We pulled over at most every pull off to take in the glorious scenes nature was providing.

One of my favorite pull offs on 244 was Horsethief Lake. Water looked inviting but with a water temperature likely in the 60's we skipped and pressed on to Mt. Rushmore.

Look close, Pete captured a kid jumping from the rocks into the lake!

From Horsethief Lake you climb higher and higher into the Black Hills. Granite spires begin forming on each side of 244 as you head into Mt Rushmore National Park. As you clear the granite spires there is a pull off. We pull into to see the view to the south of beautiful Black Hills. It is only till you turn around to see why this pull off is here. There is George Washington peaking out of the granite spires!

I remember first seeing pictures of Mt Rushmore when I was in second grade. Having only seen Mt Rushmore in 2D it is so damn cool to see George Washington in 3D right before ones eyes. We get back on the bikes and head to the visitors center. Although much smaller than Crazy Horse it is nonetheless grand. The patriotism that builds in ones body as you walk through the 50 state flags approaching the Grand Terrace is cheesy yet very genuine. Your heart swells and your eyes begin to water. You remember why this country was founded and why we are the greatest country in the world. (no disrespect meant to my non-American friends)

What more could this day bring??

Now the reason we brought the bikes on this trip await us! Iron Mountain Road!

Iron Mountain Road is actually US Highway 16A. It is the long, scenic route to Custer. The road winds for about five miles to the top of Iron Mountain -- hence the name. In the first five miles we rode through three tunnels and over two pigtail bridges. Each of the three tunnels frames a view of Mt. Rushmore. The next 12 miles the road slowly descents after a series of hairpin turns and one more tunnel into Custer State Park.

You know you are approaching Custer State Park when you see signs that read, Buffalo are dangerous do not approach. The anticipation begins. Will we really get to see buffalo? I mean come on we read before we came to the park there we about 1400 buffalo in 71,000 acres. What are the chances?

I know Pete is really excited to see buffalo. As we headed down a steep snake curve there before our eyes are a huge congregation of burros. LOL, cracked me up! We navigate through the mass of burros and cars and find a safe place to park. As we are parking the bikes, I notice to the right in a prairie field a heard of approximately 120 buffalo. I am watching Pete and I realize he has not seen the buffalo as his attention is towards the begging burros. I turn to Pete and say babe look over there.... I see a huge smile cross his face. Way to cool :) The burros really loved our Special K breakfast bars!

Custer Park is full of great roads while surrounded by beautiful scenery and numerous wild life. While in Custer we saw buffalo, burros, prairie dogs, rabbits, countless deers and antelope. Saw lots of signs for snakes and turtles but saw neither did hear a rattlesnake but decided it was best to vacate the scene.

Every time we saw a sign that said Beware of Snakes we could not be reminded of our dear friend in St. Louis, Steve a/k/a Snake If you ever meet Steve you would understand why his nickname is directly opposite of the great guy he is!

After resting in the RV for a few hours we headed back to Crazy Horse for a light memorial show, in a word: Outstanding!

A nice crisp 47 degree ride back to the RV was a great way to end the day!

Here are a few more pictures in no particular order.


June 28, 2009

Day 2 - South Dakota

Ater a great nights sleep in Mitchell, we awoke to beautiful clear skies. A scooter friend of ours (Buckeye Burger) said that Cabelas in Mitchell was a must see. Of course this was not hard to convince Pete we should go. If you don't know Cabelas is the hunting equivalent to Bass Pro Shop. All I can say it is way to cool! If you are ever in Mitchel, SD, Buckeye is 100% right, go see Cabelas!!

The hunting trophies that adorn the walls are amazing. The centerpiece is a huge taxidermy collection of wildlife.

After Cabelas we headed over to the World's Largest Corn Palace.. ok sure it is also the World's Smallest as it is the World's ONLY Corn Palace.

Finally on the road burning day light right??? We head across the plains of South Dakota. Just as they are beginning to be a tad boring we see a rest stop with a scenic overlook. Pete and I look at each other and say how scenic can more prairie lands be? Then I remembered we were approaching Chamberlain, SD. This is where the Missouri River splits the state.

WOW is all I can say, the pictures can tell some of the story but will never begin to fully show the beauty.

Still burning day light and we want to be to Custer, right? Back we head on 90 West... As we get to Kadokta, SD the landscape to the south starts changing. We start seeing Badland exit signs. We thought what the hell we are here let's do the Scenic By Pass into Wall via the Badlands.

OMG, I am so happy we did, it was a truly amazing site everywhere we looked. We were also fortunate enough to see a storm roll in across the Buffalo Grasslands National Park and into the Badlands. Afterwards we were treated to a rainbow. We plan to go back to the Badlands on the bikes as there is more we wish to see.

Still burning daylight?? Wall here we come! Wall Drug. Never heard of it? Ok google it! Most everyone told us to skip it but we went. Was a cheesy place but cool! We had a buffalo burger in the Badlands Bar in Wall then got back on the road.

Now we REALLY are burning daylight! Next stop is Custer via Mt Rushmore (bummed Mt Rushmore was not lite up) and Crazy Horse. We pulled into Custer about 11:30pm exhausted but the day was absolutely perfect in every way. Nothing planned we just rolled along South Dakota stopping at every great big ball of twine she threw at us!

June 26, 2009

South Dakota - Day One

On Wednesday, Pete picked up the RV and started packing while I was at work. Wednesday night, Pete's bother-in-law Mike came in town for business. Pete picked him up at the airport and then brought Mike over to load the bikes. (Thanks Mike)

We are using JFred's 3 rail trailer (Thanks JFred). The DN-01 tire is a tight snug fit so it makes the bike lean a tad. As a result we were very nervous.

Having stayed up very late packing the bikes and spending time with Mike we slept in till 6am. Still feeling nervous about the DN-01 lean we decided to go to Wal-Mart and get more ratcheting tie downs. The DN-01 leans but the Land Shark is going no where with 5 tie downs on left side. Probably overkill but we feel better.

Here is our home away from home for 10 days! 29' RV sleeps 8, since it is only Pete, Slasher and I, I think we are set.

One of the advantages of having the RV is bringing our cat Slasher! She is doing so great and loving help drive the RV!

We headed out of St. Louis at 9am, was fun coming across Missouri on something other than a bike. We hit a few rest stops just to make sure the bikes were still with us ;) Just a piece of mind. The ride up through Iowa and south east South Dakota was really not that bad. we enjoyed seeing following the Loess ("luss") Hills of western Iowa.

We headed west on 90 from Sioux Falls to a beautiful sunset!

While watching the awesome sunset, Pete was remarking on how mesmerizing the clouds were ahead. I made a mental note we were 30 minutes out of Mitchell after being on the road for over 12 hours, I thought to myself maybe I better talk to Pete more to keep him awake :) Then out of nowhere we both see this BIG white/gray blur headed towards the windshield. Then we hear a HUGE bam on top of the RV. Pete pulled over to inspect and reports no damage or anything on top that shows a hit. Fast forward to Friday morning. Daylight inspection finds an owl carcass on the satellite mount. I will spare you the photos :)

We pulled into Mitchell to spend the night. Mike had mentioned if there is Wal-Mart, stay there they welcome RV overnight parking. So that is what we did. A really nice Wal-Mart SuperCenter that was open 24 hours. Nice of Wal-Mart to do this. However they got an additional $150 from us which is the norm when Pete and I enter any Wal-Mart. Note to self we really need to buy Wal-Mart stock.

Nice long sleep and we will be ready for Day Two: Cabelas, the Corn Palace, Wall Drug and finally our destination of Custer!

I am marveled by technology. We are traveling down I-90 while I blog on my laptop.

Other pictures from Day One:


March 6, 2009

World's Largest Amoco Sign

So nice here this morning that I headed out on a 3 hour detour to work!

February 23, 2009

Boots the Scooter Riding Dog

Boots and Wade

It's with saddest I report that Boots passed away. She was doing what she loved best, traveling and being with Wade, they were in Florida. If you know Wade, you know that Boots was a constant and loyal companion. She went every where with Wade! Boots has more miles on a scooter than most humans and she loved it!

We will miss you Boots! (even if you gave me posion ivy ;) )