Published: September 13th 2012September 13th 2012
We left the motel a little before 10. The weather was beautiful; the temperature was perfect and there were no clouds or wind. We rode through Sturgis, although there was not really much to look at; its claim to fame is the motorcycle rally held each year the first week of August. Over one million bikers descend on the town for a week long party. It must be an amazing sight, all those people packed into such a small town. Of course we just had to visit the Sturgis Harley dealer, I mean really, how can you go to Sturgis and not visit the Harley dealer?
We left Sturgis and rode the 20 or so miles to Deadwood, a beautiful ride over a wide, gently curving road through the Black Hills. We visited the historic center and learned that Custer saw gold when he rode through which started a gold rush resulting in the birth of the town. We found out that Wild Bill Hitchcock was killed while playing poker in Deadwood and that Calamity Jane was not as good looking as Hollywood would have us believe. All in all it was quite interesting learning about the history of Deadwood.
We left Deadwood and traveled Mt. Rushmore, stopping in Keystone, South Dakota, for lunch. The view between Keystone and Mt. Rushmore was breathtaking. When we got to Mt. Rushmore, we were disappointed to find that it cost $11.00 to park. We didn’t think it made any sense to pay to park when we could see the Monument from the road, so we didn’t go into the visitor center.
Our next stop was the crazy horse memorial, where we spent a couple of hours in the visitor’s center and museum. It is a fascinating monument that is still under construction. It dwarves Mt. Rushmore, and even though it is not complete, it is still awe inspiring. The project began over 50 years ago because, as Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Lakota wrote, "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too.” They convinced Korczak Ziolkowski to undertake the project. When he died in 1982, his wife and children took over the project and continue to this day.
When we were in Keystone we saw a tee shirt that exclaimed successful navigation of the Needle (rt. 16a) and Bill seemed interested in going on that road. So when we left The Crazy Horse Memorial for Wind Cave National Park we took rt. 16a, which is a narrow, twisty, curvy road up and down a very large hill (small mountain). When we got to the end Bill told us he never wanted to do that again.
Rt. 16a goes through Custer state park. At the entrance to the park they collect (extort) an $11 entrance fee. We decided to continue on to Wind Cave National Park via a different route.
In South Dakota you have to pay to park and pay to ride, they should change their state motto to the “Pay to Park and Ride state”
The ride from there to Wind Cave National Park was nothing short of spectacular.
When we were in Wind Cave National park, we saw bison, prairie dogs, and deer. Bill and Rick were dump struck when they saw the bison. We stopped in the visitor center to get a stamp, but it was too late to tour the cave. We checked into the Super 8 in Hot Springs around 7 pm and went next door for dinner. We all agree that we like Holiday Inn Express a lot better than Super 8.
I am literally running out of superlatives to describe the rides we experience. The ride from Deadwood to Hot Springs through Wind Cave National Park was just about perfect. Clear skies, cool temperature, wide, well paved roads through gently rolling hills and curves, and scenery to die for. Anyone who has a motorcycle should ride through the black hills at least once in their life. Truly, this is the ride of a lifetime.
The wireless connection at the Super 8 is terrible and so slow that I can't upload pictures. I will try to upload some then next time I find a wifi.