Black (Hills) is the new Sturgis

Today’s adventure starts in Pierre, the capitol city. My free camping just blocks from the capitol, came with a office. I had set my tent up just outside the left-center outfitted fence for the baseball field. Another camping poacher warned me that the sprinklers near where I was had come on at 2am the night before. Sure enough, at 1am sprinklers on the baseball field came on. One of them cycled just enough outside the fence to wet my fly. Ugh. I had to pull the stakes and drag my tent ten feet to safety.

Up at 6:00, packed up, made my oatmeal breakfast loaded the bike and left before anyone else got out of their tents/RVs. Since fireworks are legal, everyone and his brother was shooting off really big stuff, I mean the kind that go thump and send an explosive high in the air. That must have kept them up late,

The plan for the day was to explore the Badlands and ride on to the Black Hills. Starting off of Super Slab led me along lesser two-lanes. I noticed signs along the fenceline that said something about the Deadwood Trail. I pulled over to check out out.


I couldn’t make out the wagon shell tracks and there was no sign of Mex.

One cannot escape the advertising exclusive of Wall Drug. The signs are literally every 200 yards along the road. I stopped for a picture.


The start was grey and overcast but by the time I got the scenic drive, the sun was out and it was warming up. The Badlands are a spectacle, unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture on my phone so use your imagination.

Down the road towards Rapid City the sky got really dark, rain and lightning were directly ahead. I spotted a closed gas station that looked like it had shelter. I pulled over and waited for the storm to pass with three hard core Harley couples. We waited an hour and the storm just sat over the only road west. Their conversation revlolved around NASCAR, conceal/carry and construction equipment. We had little to talk about.


I decided to make a run for it and got into a heavy rain that felt like hail. Big drops of rain at 65mph do that.

I stopped in Keystone for a late, 4:00, lunch. Keystone is the definition of a tourist town. I couldn’t wait to leave and got caught in another squall. Crap. I sat at the Norbeck overlook as the sun came back.


16A is the road to ride in the Black Hills. There is a tunnel where you get Mount Rushmore framed by it. If my phone didn’t have such a crappy camera you could see it here. Once again, use your imagination to see the dead presidents in the glowing light.


I lucked into a campsite site to a cancellation at Legion Lake. Pretty way to end the day.


Tomorrow, Needles Highway, Mount Rushmore, maybe a 4th parade and off towards Devil’s Tower. I may have to get moving if I want to make it to Whitefish on time.


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