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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
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Most Recent Trip

I posted this thread on another forum that I frequent and I thought the members here might enjoy it. The core of the trip was to attend a Naked Goldwing Rally for members of the forum where fans of the 75-84 (naked, not dressed) Goldwings gather. Although if you visit the forum you'll find the rules are pretty lax on the naked vs dressed issue. My wife and I traveled from Raleigh, NC to the Dakotas in our motorhome trailering her GL1800 trike and my C50. I hope you enjoy the pics and maybe take a little inspiration from them to set out on your own two wheeled adventure..........

I suppose I should start with the most recent as its freshest in my mind. That trip would be to Deadwood for last August's NGW Rally. Our (my wife and I) trip wasn't a quick ride there and back on the bikes. Instead we expanded our itinerary to include stops in Springfield, IL for visits to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as well as the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

Unfortunately no pictures were allowed in the museum, even so the experience was well worth the effort to go there. It was far more modern and extensive than we thought it would be. However, we did get a picture of Old Abe's last digs.

From Springfield we made our way to Mitchell, SD with an overnight stay in Nebraska in between. In Mitchell we visited an old friend the The World's Only Corn Palace. We've been to the Corn Palace once before but when we visited the first time many of the murals had been removed in preparation to begin construction for an expansion. Well this time the construction is complete and all the murals were complete and intact.

Traveling west on I-90 from Mitchell the next point of interest was a new one for us. Where I-90 crosses the Missouri River at Chamberlain, SD a statue has been recently erected at a rest stop that overlooks the river. The statue is called Dignity and was erected to honor the Dakota and Lakota cultures.

The Missouri River from the bluff behind Dignity rest stop.

We ended up at Wild Bills at the end of the day but with a problem. The first day out in our motorhome just before we got to the campground we were to stay at in Wytheville, VA the motorhome developed a problem with the air brake dryer. We managed to get it parked at a Sheetz station just as the air in the air brake tanks ran out and the parking brake set. We managed to get a roadside mechanic to the motorhome where he diagnosed a problem with the dryer and managed to get it bypassed. We drove the rest of the way to Deadwood with the dryer and governor bypassed. On the way we made an appointment at Frieghtliner in Rapid City to have it looked at. So the morning after we arrived we pulled up stakes for the one hour one way trip back to Rapid City to leave the motorhome at the repair facility. Terrie followed me to Rapid City on her trike and while the Winnebago was being serviced we took the trike to Badlands National Park at Wall, SD.

Just inside the entrance to the park there was a Big Horn sheep herd grazing on the grasslands.

We had visited the park in years past while riding two up on my GL1800 but while we were there a thunderstorm came up and pushed us ahead of it out of the park so we didn't get to see as much as we wanted. So this time we explored the park to our hearts content. Following are few of the pictures we took. Hope you enjoy them.

You can hardly go anywhere on the northern plains without tripping over a prairie dog hole and Badlands NP is no exception.

More scenic pictures.

I didn't take very many pictures during the rally. All of one day was spent following Warren through the Black Hills and the second we spent with Warren and his brother exploring Sturgis and vicinity. The third day a front was predicted to come through in the afternoon with bad weather predicted and everyone bailed. Either heading east to keep ahead of the front or west far enough to hole up for the night and let it pass. That left Terrie and me pretty much alone at Wild Bills so we decided to take advantage of the early part of the day and go to the Crazy Horse Memorial and on the way back to the campground head to Sylvan Lake and ride Needles Highway.

Its really nice that the Black Hills commission built a scenic reservoir with facilities about halfway between Wild Bills and the Crazy Horse Memorial.

We arrived at the Crazy Horse Memorial after a brief stop at the Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City for a little tasting. When we arrived at the Crazy Horse Memorial Terrie decided like the group did a couple of days earlier not to go in so we settled for a profile picture from near the entrance gate. At any rate she was able to scratch off a bucket list item.

Passing back through Hill City on the way to Sylvan Lake we saw this pickup truck with a load in it that you just wouldn't see in NC.

We got to Sylvan Lake in fine shape and ate a late lunch and perused the gift shop and took a little walk along the lake shore.

It was going to be somebodies big day that afternoon with the lake as a backdrop to the ceremony.

While eating lunch and hanging out we noticed the sky to the Northwest getting very dark and angry looking which is the direction we had to go to get back to Wild Bills. So we decided to skip Needles and head back to the main highway and hightail it back in hopes of beating the storm. Didn't work. About seven miles from the campground it began to rain and the further we went north the harder it became until it turned into a real downpour and just to make it just a little more exciting light hail mixed in with the cold rain. I hope the wedding concluded before the weather set in.

The next day turned out partly to mostly cloudy but no rain predicted so we headed for a revisit to Devil's Tower NP. The first time we visited several years earlier we didn't have much time to explore as we were on our way to Billings, MT so we only stopped in for a quick look see. This time we decided to thoroughly check out the place.

We circumnavigated the tower on the walkway.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 08:07 AM Thread Starter
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We had friends who live in their RV full time. They just happened to be staying in Spearfish, SD for a couple of months volunteering at the D. C. Booth Fish Hatchery while were in Deadwood. On a visit we took Spearfish Canyon to Spearfish and stopped along the way at a water fall.

I would post some pictures of the fish at the hatchery but my talents at taking pictures of large fish under the surface of the water are lacking. After we left the hatchery we stopped at the visitors center in Lead, SD and took the Sanford Lab Homestake Mine Tour. The first stop on the tour is directly behind the visitors center where you can see an open pit mine.

Look closely at the above pictures. You can see small black circles at different depths in the terraces peppered all over. Those black spots are the old horizontal mine shafts that the miners used to follow the gold bearing quartz leads. By the way, Lead, SD is pronounced like LEED not LED like the mineral. It refers to the quartz leads that the miners followed. Anyway, those mine shafts at one time were used by school children to go under the ridge on there way to and from school everyday. Of course that was before the open pit was created.

We took a bus to the hoist room of the mine where the hoists that raise and lower the elevators are. The hoists currently are used to get personnel and equipment to the Sanford Lab located a mile underground. The Sanford lab is engaged in neutrino research. The original gold mine goes to around 8000 ft deep but the levels below the lab have been abandoned and left to flood. The hoist, you can see the brake mechanism quite clearly.

The cable drum, the cable is over 5000 feet long and is radiographed on a regular basis for defects. It cost over a million dollars to replace the cable the last time is was accomplished.

A week after we took the RV to have the brakes looked at our new air dryer and governor assembly came in and we repeated the process to take the Winnebago to get the part replaced. This time Terrie and I took the trike to Mt Rushmore

It was cloudy that morning and just as we got to Mt. Rushmore it began to rain, not real hard but enough you didn't want to stand around in it. So in order to stay out of the elements we spent a lot of time (and money) in the gift shop. The rain did stop eventually but the day remained cloudy. From Rushmore we headed back toward Keystone, SD and picked up the Iron Mountain Road on our way to Custer State Park.

One of the interesting features on Iron Mountain Rd is the various views of Mt Rushmore at scenic pull offs.

Including through all of the tunnels on the road. Thanks Warren for pointing that out.

From Iron Mountain Road we took the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. When Warren led through the Wildlife loop a few days earlier during the rally only one bull buffalo and one lonely antelope was spotted. After talking to the locals it turns out that it takes about two weeks for the wildlife to return to their normal haunts close to the roads after the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I don't know what would push the wildlife away from the road during the rally unless its the bright reflections from all the shiny paint and chrome on the motorcycles, maybe it hurts their eyes.

As you can see our experience was quite different from the one during the NGW rally.

We had originally planned to head to Glacier National Park after the NGW rally but between the brake issue with the RV and the fact that half of Glacier was closed due to wild fires we just extended our stay at Wild Bills. However, he was booked up for the last two days that we wanted to stay in the area so we had to move the motorhome to a new location. We found a new (and better) campground in Rapid City. From Rapid City we took the bikes back across the Iron Mountain Road (tough job but someone has to do it) across Custer State Park to 87 south on our way to Wind Cave National Park. It turned out that 87 south of Custer State Park was a very beautiful ride. We both thoroughly enjoyed it even more than the cave itself.

We came across these guys on the way to Wind Cave.

Wind Cave gets its name from the original natural access to the cave. The cave is vast and its only opening was a garbage can lid sized hole. When the atmospheric pressure is high the cave equalizes and when a lower pressure air mass comes along then the cave breaths out. The resulting wind through the original opening is quite strong. Strong enough to push a lightly built person standing right in front of the opening. We took the free tour. I have to say I've seen prettier caves but it was worth the experience nonetheless.

Well the trip to Wind Cave marked the last of our Black Hills adventures. It turns out I've been in every one of the contiguous lower forty eight states save one, North Dakota. So before we started out on this trip we worked in a leg to include North Dakota to correct this deficiency.

We planned to stop in at the town of Medora, ND located at the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It turns out Medora is a happening place. Besides being the gateway town to the NP they provide some excellent western entertainment opportunities, including but not limited to a TR reenactor that gives a spirited performance in the Town Hall Theater at the Teddy Roosevelt Salute To Medora as well as a western steak dinner with all the trimmings at the Pitchfork Steak Fondue that precedes the biggest attraction The Medora Musical.

The entirety of the trip north to Medora was more of the Dakota Plains.

We hit I-94 east of Medora so our first contact with Teddy Roosevelt NP was at a regular interstate rest stop that also had a TRNP visitors center. The view at the back of the rest stop may make this the most scenic rest stop of the entire interstate system.

TRNP is a badlands but different than its SD counterpart. The badlands stretch through ND along the Little Missouri River as it flows north to its junction with the Missouri River. TRNP consists of two sections carved from these badlands. A northern section and southern section separated by seventy miles. Medora guards the southern section. Our original plan was to ride the southern scenic loop after which we would attend the TR reenactment. The second day we were to ride to the northern section tour the scenic loop and then ride back to Medora in time for the Pitchfork Fondue and the Medora Musical. However, after checking in with the Medora Weather Station

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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we discovered that a soaking all day rain was predicted for our second day. Not good. So we changed our reservations to the various events and cut out our trip to the northern section. After changing the reservations at the local ticket office in Medora we returned to the park and toured the scenic loop.

We finished our ride and made it back to town in time to take a walk around Medora before the show started.

After the reenactment which was outstanding we had plenty of time to make it to the Pitchfork Fondue and Medora Musical venue. The location of the fondue and musical is on a hill that overlooks Medora and the surrounding countryside.

You can see the entire town of Medora in this picture.

Well it was finally time to put on the feedbag. Here are the steaks lined up waiting to be fondued.

While waiting in line for the buffet and our steak we were entertained by the Pitchfork Fondue Band. (To be honest I have no idea what the band's name is).


After dinner it was time to mosey across the parking lot to the musical venue.

Escalator down to theater seating.

The stage is set.

And the show begins.

The second day in Medora was spent in the RV watching movies on DVD and listening to the rain.

After the rain cleared out but unfortunately not the cloudy skies we were at the point that comes along on every trip and that where we reverse direction and begin setting out for home. To add a little variety to our return to SD we decided to head a little further east than where we met the interstate on the way north and take the Enchanted Highway south. Apparently this is what makes a county road enchanting.

Can you tell what this rooster thinking? Maybe he's worried about the upcoming hunting season.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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After leaving the enchanted highway and working our way south and east toward our junction with I-90 we pulled over at one of the easy in and out historical markers that happened to be big enough for the RV and trailer for lunch. Turned out we stopped at a shallow valley that was used by the Sioux for decades as a camping spot during their migrations following the buffalo herds. The valley floor is littered with stone rings that the Sioux used to hold down the bottom edge of their Teepees. And example of which is in this picture.

This valley is also the location of the last great Indian buffalo hunt where around 5,000 animals were slaughtered. Additionally it was used by Custer as a camp site when he led the expedition to the Black Hills.

After turning east on I-90 we stopped at the South Dakota Tractor Museum. I was hoping to find examples of equipment that my Dad used and that I operated growing up on his farm in Michigan during the 50's and 60's. I was somewhat disappointed in the tractor displays not because of what they had wasn't interesting but they didn't have anything that I specifically operated either helping my Dad or working for neighbors. That was until we left all the pretty restored examples in the warehouse building and began touring the back lot where the stuff that is basically junk is stored outside. Here I found an example of a combine that I began operating with a corn head mounted on it when I was thirteen years old and then with the grain head every summer and fall thereafter until I joined the Navy at age nineteen. The last time I saw my Dad's example is when I was home on leave and it was parked in its usual spot but no longer used because all the internal sieves and grain channels had rusted out. He had a friend that owned a cutting torch come over one summer and cut it up for scrap. Had this thing been operational which it clearly is not I'm pretty sure I could jump on it and run it like I had the last time I used it.

After leaving the tractor museum we headed to Sioux Falls to see, well Sioux Falls. The city of Sioux Falls has built a park around the downtown falls complete with observation tower, restaurant and gift shop.

The restaurant is located in the old generator house.

Sioux Falls is a combination rapid and falls with many variations that reveal themselves as you move around the park.

After leaving Sioux Falls we moved to Waterloo, IA where we planned to stay over the Labor Day Weekend but another rain front rolled in and set up what turned out to be a five day soggy wet period. Terrie and I decided to skip the rain and headed out not stopping for more than a night until we reached Sevierville, TN. You know where Dolly Parton is from. Might be just a coincidence that Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is just down the road. Well we bypassed all the attractions that Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg had to offer headed straight for Smokies on the bikes. We decided to visit Cade's Cove in the heart of The Smokey Mountain National Park. It seemed like return to normalcy as this is the type of country that were most used to riding in.

After the Smokeys it was a long days drive home.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 09:54 AM
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great pics...sounded like a great trip...thanx for sharing. Glad to see you got home safe.

Whats the big hurry...slow down and enjoy the ride!

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 10:58 AM
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Thanks. Fantastic write up.

I can head East or West, it doesn't matter as long as it's on 2 wheels.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 02:16 PM
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Great read..........since I live in Hot Springs (southern edge of the Black Hills) I get to ride most of the roads you talked about on a regular basis. You missed a great road by not riding the Needles Highway. The best one is Iron Mountain Rd without a doubt.

Lead, or follow, but just stay out of my way.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Duffy View Post
Great read..........since I live in Hot Springs (southern edge of the Black Hills) I get to ride most of the roads you talked about on a regular basis. You missed a great road by not riding the Needles Highway. The best one is Iron Mountain Rd without a doubt.

I rode needles but the wife didn't get a chance to. Don't tell her she missed something she's liable to make me go back
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