Friday, June 14, 2013

Three Thousand Two Hundred Seventy-One Miles Later

(Warning - photo loaded blog post head!)
And we are home!  Our South Dakota motorcycle trip is history.  When you say you are going on a motorcycle trip to South Dakota, most people think you are headed to the Sturgis Rally in August.  We are not big on those type of rallies, just a little too much excitement for this old biker couple!  But we are brave enough to make the trek on our own and battle whatever elements Mother Nature can produce in the month of June.  

This photo is deceiving.  Our trip began with dodging rain storms followed by strong winds that had our bike leaning at an scary angle.  I've become pretty brave when it comes to riding behind my trusty driver under most circumstances, but the 50 + mph winds were a challenge.

We did see some pretty country through Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and of course, South Dakota.  We saw several barn quilts, which I love to photograph, but I was busy hanging on and couldn't get photos of most.  This one was in Iowa somewhere, I think.

One of our first stops was The Badlands National Park.  Beautiful, eery and fascinating landscapes that years of erosion have created.

Mount Rushmore was a highlight of the trip.  The weather was beautiful the day we visited and we were able to get another tourist to snap our photo under the careful watch of the Presidents.

Zooming in to get a closer look!

We rode the famous Needles Highway.  No problem getting the Harley through the tunnels, but definitely a challenge for the RV's and tour buses.  One advantage of visiting the area in early June is the light traffic.  I had time to jump off the bike, have D turn around and drive back through the tunnel so I could snap a pic for the blog, without any one else traveling by for several minutes.

We chose the coldest, cloudiest and windiest day to travel over to Wyoming to visit Devil's Tower.  I definitely can say that my best pre-trip purchase were my leather chaps!  So happy I had them to wear on may occasions over our 11 day adventure!

This is the best we could do for a "Close Encounter" at the Devil's Tower.  We were cold and running out of time to hike the trails around the base.

After all, we had to get here, before they closed!  Being this close, we had to stop on our way back to our B & B.  Sturgis seems like a pleasant small town.  Hard to believe it turns into mayhem during Rally week!

We spent our last full day in South Dakota, roaming more of the windy roads of the Black Hills.  Crazy Horse was more interesting than we thought it would be.  It's kind of sad to think that such a gigantic project will likely not even be finished in our children's lifetimes.
We found several herds of buffalo.  There were lots of cute little calves in the groups, but I guess I didn't get a very good photo of them.  You can see one little guy peaking out from behind his mama near the center of the pic.

More scenes from the Needles Highway.

We stayed at the Peregrine Pointe Bed and Breakfast while exploring the Black Hills  and the areas near Rapid City.
The owners and hosts, Eileen and Warren.  If you are ever in the area, we would highly recommend this place!  Breakfasts were wonderful too!

On Thursday, we loaded for our trip back home.  Of course, it was one of the prettiest days of our trip!  Although we wished for a little warmer weather, we kept reminding ourselves that it was so much more pleasant than riding when it was 90-100 degrees!  One reason we probably won't return in August for the Rally!

We left I-90 behind and took some of the less traveled roads on the way to Iowa.   There is a lot of flat land in South Dakota (and that comes from someone raised in Kansas!) but we did see a few interesting things. This old grain elevator was one.  Another was the cattle roundup on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, complete with several authentic cowboys.  Unfortunately, someone wouldn't slow down long enough for me to get my camera out for that one!!

Our destination for Friday night was Fort Dodge, Iowa where our friends Marcie and Larry live.  We enjoyed a short visit and some wonderful meals with them.  Marcie and I grew up together in Kansas and we both can't remember ever not being friends.  Though we've all been busy with family, careers and moves, it was great to re-connect!  We certainly appreciated the hospitality and look forward to keeping better in touch.

This was our trip odometer when we pulled into our driveway on Sunday afternoon.  Three thousand, two hundred seventy-one miles!   There are lots more photos of other sights, but I won't bore you with them. But we had a wonderful trip!  What an adventure!  Where to next?