After leaving Sturgis, I took the scenic route through the Black Hills. I went a little out of my way to check and see if these fellers were still OK.
Crazy Horse seemed to be doing OK too, so I moved on.
I took 385 South all the way to Hot Springs.
Route 385 serpentines through the Black Hills and cuts across the outskirts of Custer State Park where herds of buffalo roam. On this day I saw one lone bison on the horizon above and one more on the side of the road before leaving the park’s grounds.
The town of Hot Springs was quiet and the buildings downtown were made of local limestone.
I saw an old vintage bike shop on the main drag. I stopped and had a look. The guys inside immediately excused themselves for starting Happy Hour a little early. I was coming from Sturgis so it seemed like normal behavior to me.
The owner bragged that any bike in here could be started with one kick. Then he proved it on that old Bonnie to the left by the window in the photo below. Sucker was loud!
The Mammoth Site is exactly what it sounds like. They unearthed a bunch of mammoths and other prehistoric creatures at this one time mud pit.
They have built a large structure directly over the archeological dig where visitors can come and observe.
Entire skeletons have been slowly exposed from meticulous hours of brushing away the old mud.
A short faced bear like this one was dug up here as well.
The guys at the bike shop in Hot Springs recommended I take 71 instead of continuing on 385. They said it’s a nicer ride. I can’t compare, but it was a nice ride.
I took 71 to Crawford where I got a $50 motel room for the night.
I’m always attracted to the forgotten places.
I guess this was an old church. The piano is still on the stage covered in bird poo.
Carhenge is a sculpture just outside of Alliance, Nebraska. I rode through here a few years back but had no idea Carhenge existed. At the time I was preoccupied by a bird that had just committed suicide on my headlight and splattered all over my bubble shield.
It was a cloudy day much as you might expect at the site of which this is an homage.
And on this day, Bonnie turned 80. Normally that speedometer would be needling at 80 for the photo op, but I could not control the fact that I was approaching a small town. Gotta respect the small town speed limits. That’s where they get ya!
I saw a sign for old Route 66 so I took it. This brought me to the home of the upcoming Testicle Festival.
I was going to get off at the next exit anyway. And since none of my journeys is complete without a good, wet, hilly dirt road, here was my last opportunity. But there was something I wanted to see.
The Holy Family Shrine is an architectural masterpiece.
Though enclosed, you almost feel like you are outside.
It is a beautiful, serene space built atop a hill that overlooks miles of Nebraska land.
Then I crossed into Iowa.
I took Route 92 directly across Iowa from West to East.
I stopped for this ’73 Road Runner (above), but stayed on the road for this old classic (below).
These landscapes really do look like Grant Wood paintings.
A pleasant surprise along the way! Route 92 runs right into the birthplace of John Wayne in Winterset, Iowa! Below is the house where he was born.
The courthouse in Winterset oversees Madison County.
Yes, that Madison County. The one with the bridges. You could make a journey of just seeing the covered bridges. Many of them are miles down unpaved roads, so I did not explore too much on this visit.
Across the Mississippi!
As is often the case, once I cross the Mississippi River, I hightail it home.
I woke up knowing it was going to be a rough day. In my mind I was going to ride through a massive storm and still complete the 700 miles still to go. I did ride into the storm. At one point I saw that 80 and 76 split. My original plan was to take 80 all the way. For some reason I thought I could cut through the storm quicker on a Southwestern route. It was not to be. That storm was moving to the east at such a pace that it was riding with me. I rode 5 hours in that beast of storm.
The storm had been so bad that people actually congratulated me once I finally broke through and got to a service area. Really. Numerous people wanted to talk about it and one old guy even patted me on the back. I felt euphoric having blasted through that monster. At the same time I felt beat up, tired and puzzled by my will. It was like going into the day, I had something to prove and suddenly realized there was no need to go into that storm so aggressively. Perhaps a lesson was learned. That lesson was put into effect when the Interstate started winding it’s way directly into another storm. I wasn’t having it. I took the next exit.
Route 75 south led me to Route 30, one of the nations oldest highways. This is an old Tollhouse from the early days before Route 30.
I rode around a storm or two. Eventually I got back on the main road, but I was wiped out.
I shacked up in Carlisle, PA. Once there I realized where I was. When you want to get from 76 to 81 going east, you have to exit here. The town is basically a truck stop.
Tomorrow would be a simple ride home, so I checked out the local truck stop. A guy I met at the motel highly recommended the fries. I had a meal and a beer as I soaked up some of the local color. It was Karaoke Night. There was one fight but no one sang.
Now, back home to the hustle…
And the bustle.