"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Riding the Black Hills

We have spent the last few days exploring the Black Hills on the bikes. The weather has been great except for one little incident.
Monday we decided to head for the Lead/Deadwood area of the Hills. The ride over was great, traffic was light and it was warm and sunny. We rode to the town of Lead S.D. first and visited their big hole in the ground, the Homestake Gold Mine. This mine was in operation for over 100 years and the hole is huge. We spent some time looking around the museum gift shop but passed on the mine tour itself.
Next we rode through Spearfish Canyon which is a scenic twisty drive following a creek. There was even a waterfall along the way. This road reminds me of some of the roads we have been on in the Smokey Mountains.
The day was heating up and temperatures were getting close to the 90's so we headed for Deadwood which is one of our favorite towns here in the "Hills". I love the historic buildings that line the main drag. Most have been refurbished to what they looked like in the "boom" days of the late 1800's. Rudee likes it because each of the restored buildings houses a casino :)
We parked the bikes in a parking garage. We had set a time to meet back at the bikes so we could all explore on our own. As we were doing our things the skies suddenly became very dark and it started storming. We were inside one of the casinos when we heard a loud roar and looked outside to see tons and tons of golf ball sized hail stones falling. The noise was incredible and I was sure happy both us and the bike were under cover.
The hail only lasted for a few minutes and the skies cleared up and it quit raining. We called Niles and found out they and Terri and Ron had ridden out to see Wild Bill Hickok's grave site and were in the cemetery when the hail hit ...... ouch! They were able to take cover under a pine tree that offered them some protection though and there was no damage to their bikes.
We met up shortly afterwards and headed back to the campers. Welcome to the Black Hills!
Tuesday Ron and Terri joined Rudee and I on a short trip to Hill City S.D. which is only about 15 miles from Custer. We had reservations to take the 1880's train which is ride in vintage cars pulled by a steam engine. The ride winds through the hills over to Keystone S.D. We boarded the train and started our hour long ride. The tracks were used to haul the gold and other minerals from the mines in Keystone over to Hill City where it was transferred to the main line and sent to Rapid City. The main line is now a scenic bike path so this train is now "track locked". We enjoyed our trip and had time to walk all the of shops on the main drag in Keystone before our return trip. The cost of the ride was $22 each but I found a coupon on line for $2 off each.

Wednesday started out with Rudee and I riding into Custer for breakfast. On the way back to the campground I was able to meet and interact with a S.D. State Trooper. I was not paying much attention to the old speedometer and he stopped me for going 52 in a 45 and gave me a warning. I guess they are pretty strict around here and with the Sturgis Rally approaching I think they keep a close eye on the motorcycles.
Back at the campground we loaded up and headed out. Today was going to be another riding day. We rode into Custer State Park and paid our $12 for a week long pass. We spent the day touring the scenic roads of the park. I think the pictures show it better than I can describe it so I'll just post some photos
We are having a great time and looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful area. I'll keep you posted.

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