Independence from Ho Hum

Absolutely spectacular riding day!

I got up before 6:00, tent wet from overnight rain, figured I could lay it out and let the sun dry it, if only the sun could rise above the trees. What did rise above the trees was a hot air balloon! Cool.

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The usual breakfast and dying/packing took almost an hour and a half. Still, on the road before 8:00, before the tourists and their lumbering RVs. The roads were dry, mostly open and the smell of Black Hills Spruce in the cool air, ahhhh, it doesn’t get any better. I wandered into Custer, found an Apple fritter and a buffalo.

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The parade wasn’t until 10:00, with a B-1 flyover. Still, by then the roads would be clogged, I had to go. First up, The Needles Highway, named after needle shaped rock formations. If I had the time, a hike among them would have been real nice. But, I’m on a motorcycle riding mission.

This road connects back with 16A, a classic Black Hills road, switchbacks, curves and overlooks. The GPS view, a motorcyclists dream

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The only thing missing were the bison. I didn’t see any at all. Last time here, they were all over the place. Sounds like they are being rounded up in the southeast corner of the park. 16A takes you back to Keystone and Mount Rushmore. I intended to do, but there was a line a mile long just to get to the parking lot. I bypassed and settled for the profile view.

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I stopped for lunch at the Subway in Lead. The owner is at least third generation there and had a lot of facts to share. Lead is home of the Homestead gold mine with shafts well over a mile underground. Turns out, our old friend William Randolph Hearst owned the mine and Homestead was the first company listed on the NYSE. Or so the Subway guy says.

It is also the Sanford research site for particle physics. The LUX WIMP study is going on there, earned a Nobel Prize in 2002. You get bonus points if you can guess what the acronyms stand for. Hint, the “X” is for Xenon and the “P” is for particles. The above ground pit

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Next stop, Devil’s Tower but not before more riding fun, this time Spearfish Canyon. What a gem. I stopped to chill down at their Bridal Falls.

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Lord it was hot. 98 degrees when I got to Belle Fourche. The B-1 also flew over their parade this morning and the only thing still going on was the rodeo. Not going to sit in the hot sun for cowboys. . Onward…

The towers rise out of the flat land spectacularly. I got there just in time to set to my tent before a brief shower. A bike around the monolith, dinner with blueberry pie ala mode for a great end to a great day.

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Tomorrow, the Big Horn Mountains and more.

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