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

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh Hail !!

Sunday morning we woke up to cloud cover and some light rain showers. Once we were both showered and dressed the rain had quit but it still looked pretty iffy. We decided to head into town in the freightliner and grab some breakfast.
When we came out of the restaurant the clouds were starting to break up and it looked like we may get to do some sightseeing on the bike.
Once back at the camper I decided to wash the muck off the back cap of the 5th wheel. I use a product called Protect All. You pour a cap full into a bucket and then, using a car wash type brush, wash an area and then just squeegee it off. I follow that up with a quick buff with a dry towel and it looks pretty good. Doing it this way you can wash using only a bucket of water and are not spraying the trailer with a hose since a lot of campgrounds don't like you doing the "car wash" type of hose downs.
Rudee helped me do the washing and I even got the ladder out and cleaned all the windows. We did stop with the back cap though and will need to do the roof and sides too. I'll save those for another day since to do the roof we will need to get the hose out and spray it down.
Once we got our chores done we decided to take a little ride. Niles and Ron joined us but their girls stayed home this time.
The skies were clearest to the west so I headed towards Wyoming. We rode to Newcastle Wy which is around 40 miles and stopped for gas. We had a couple of choices on the return trip and decided to head north east and loop back into South Dakota through Lead where we would turn towards home. We had plans for dinner and needed to be back by 4:30pm. Mike and Les Kennedy had invited us all to their rig for a Mexican meal and Rudee wanted to bake a cornbread cake to take over.
As we rode back towards South Dakota we were all keeping an eye on the clouds building to the east of us. They were large white billowing clouds and all I could think of was "oh no, here we go again".
We made it back to Lead S.D. and turned to make the 50 mile trip back into Custer when the clouds seemed to turn from white to black :-(.
They were still pretty far off in the distance and I thought we had a chance to make it back home and still be dry............. I was wrong .............. again !!
The rain started about 10 miles north of Hill City but it was not real heavy. We didn't even need our rain suits on and it was nice that the rain had cooled the temperature down.
Once we got through Hill City the rained increased and the temperature decreased, I was getting downright cold! Custer is only about 12 miles further so on we rode.
As we were approaching Crazy Horse Mountain (about 1/2 way) the rain started stinging a little more then usual. That's when I realized it was Hailing ...... OUCH!
The hail got bigger and more plentiful so I pulled off to the side of the road. Niles and Ron rode on.
Rudee grabbed her jacket from the saddle bag and we too got back on the road since besides the hail there was a lot of lightning and I really didn't want to just sit on the side of the road and get hit by either hail or lightning.
We rode about 4 more miles with the hail bouncing off us but when we finally made it into Custer both the hail and rain had stopped. Rudee and I both had some welts on us from the hail stones and were sure we would have some bruises.
I can cross "riding a motorcycle through a hail storm" off my bucket list now, not that it was on there in the first place :-).
We did have a nice evening at the Kennedys. Les made a Enchilada Casserole that was out of this world. We all gathered at their place and had a great meal and talked into the night before we finally called it a night and headed home. Thanks for a memorable evening guys.

Monday we were up early and, since the skies were clear, wanted to get an early start. The rest of the gang was just starting to stir so Rudee and I headed out on our own.
When we were here 5 years ago we started towards Devils Tower Wyoming but never made it. We were going to change that today. I retraced the route we had taken yesterday and we were soon back in Newcastle where we continued west on US 16. In downtown Newcastle we stumbled across a historical marker that denotes the spot where a cowboy named "Slim L" was hanged. Seems as though Slim murdered his neighbors because they owed him some money. The local Sheriff got suspicious when the neighbors were missing and questioned Slim who eventually confessed and led them to the bodies of his former friends and neighbors. While Slim was awaiting trial a lynch mob formed and took him from the jail at gunpoint. They proceeded to hang Slim from the railroad bridge in the center of town near the spot where the marker was. This all happened in 1903, I guess the old west was still alive then.

Devils Tower is an unusual volcanic formation and can be seen for miles.

The Indians thought it was a very spiritual place and still have ceremonies here. The National Parks Service does allow rock climbers to climb the walls (against the Indians objections) but we did not see any today.
We did see a guy who had parked his motorcycle on the side of the road and he was playing his bag pipes. Was a little strange to see a huge guy all dressed in leathers standing on the side of the road playing bag pipes, but I guess the differences in us all keeps things interesting :-).
We spent a little time at the visitor center and then loaded back up and retraced our steps out of the park.
We turned towards Huelet Wy and stopped at the Ponderosa Bar and Grille there for lunch. We shared probably the best cheeseburger we have had for a long time ......... ummmm good.
Once lunch was over we pointed the bike towards South Dakota again.

We rode through some small towns and eventually made it into Sturgis.

The rally does not "officially" start until this Friday. There were several vendors there setting up and a few of the bars were already open. We did a quick drive through and then decided to head towards home and find a place for supper on the way.
We ended up coming all the way back to Hill City before stopping at a bar and grille. We shared a steak and still brought 1/2 of it back home with us.
We were both pretty wiped out when we made it back to the 5th wheel. I built a fire and Mike and Les came over and had some s'mores with us. The rest of the gang soon pulled in (they had taken an evening ride) and we were soon swapping stories around the campfire.
No real plans today, just going to "wing it" and see what we can get into and of course I'll keep you posted.

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