I woke up at 5am again this morning, though this time it was not intentional, I just couldn’t sleep due to being excited to start the day. After allowing Dwayne to continue sleeping until around 5:30, we woke up and started getting things packed while we waited for breakfast to be served at 6. After stuffing our faces with some waffles, we loaded up the bikes, bundled ourselves up since it was a cool 52 degrees and windy, and we hit the road.
We started out heading west on Hwy 20 again before hitting SR-61 North into South Dakota. At Martin, South Dakota we hit Hwy 18 heading west again until we got to Hot Springs. This stretch of road got extremely windy at times, and we were extremely happy to get a break when we got to Hot Springs. After a quick stop to gas up the bikes, have a cup of coffee to warm me up, and eat some beef jerky and a Quest bar, we headed up Hwy 385 until we got to SR-87 which goes up through the Custer State Park, and ends up turning into the Needles Highway. This is where I got my first experience in dealing with huge buffalo in the road, literally 5 feet from me. Apparently I was quite comical, as Dwayne got a good laugh out of me freaking out saying, “Oh my god, there is a buffalo in the road, oh my god, what do I do?!” Hahaha! I was excited and scared all at the same time, as I have heard that they don’t always like motorcyclists all that much. Luckily, these buffalo were not interested in attacking us, so we made it past them unscathed. This picture was taken of another group of Buffalo that were at a safe distance from the road for me to stop and take a picture.
After a couple more groups of buffalo in the road, and one that was NOT happy that I rode past him as he stood beside the road (he turned and ran, luckily), we made it to where 87 turns into the Needles Highway. If you have never driven through the Needles, you definitely need to make the trip and do it sometime. It is absolutely gorgeous. At one point there is a one lane tunnel, and as we got up to it to go through, there were four mountain goats that were standing at the entrance to the tunnel, trying to figure out whether to go through it or not. As we approached them, they freaked out and tried to run away from the tunnel. This was hilarious, as they were running into one another and one of them tried to dive under the guard rail to the left of us, but as soon as he got under it he realized it was a drop off so he had to put on the brakes and scramble back into the other goats.
Here are some pictures from the Needles:
After the Needles, we scooted down to the Crazy Horse Memorial. We decided we didn’t really care enough to pay to go up and see it though, since you could pretty much see it from the road, so we just stopped at the entrance and took a couple of pictures and got on our way to Mount Rushmore.
When we were done at Rushmore, we took a detour down Alt 16 a little ways before turning around and going back up Alt 16 the other direction. We then hit 16 up to 385 again to Lead. After stopping in Lead to gas up again, we hit Alt 14, also known as Spearfish Canyon Highway. This was an amazing ride. The scenery was incredibly gorgeous, and the road itself was an absolute blast. We didn’t hit much traffic, so we were able to ride at a pretty good clip, and the curves on that road are pretty much perfect. There is a waterfall called Bridal Veil Falls on that road as well, but we didn’t stop to take a picture of it at the time.
When we arrived in Spearfish we stopped in front of an Italian restaurant named Roma’s to figure out where our hotel was and we ended up having dinner there. It was pretty good, though that my have been partially due to the fact that we were starving by this point. After dinner, we went to the hotel and unloaded all of our stuff, then we hopped on the FJR and ran back to the waterfall to get some pictures before dark.
We ended up riding 383 miles today. Total mileage for the trip is 1433.