Tuesday, August 13, 2013

From South Dakota to Wyoming to North Dakota

We live in such a beautiful country...we are so blessed.  I packed up my tent, my cat, and hopped on my trike at 9:30 a.m. to drive out of Sturgis and into the gorgeous Black Hills, which I have been looking forward to seeing for quite some time.  I absolutely loved the Black Hills, with the amazing sights all so close together.  Deadwood, Lead, Keystone, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer, the incredible Needles Highway and then I took the long run up to Wyoming to see Devil's Tower at sunset.  I had great weather despite the storm warnings and managed to dodge all the rain storms passing through this area and had a total blast doing it!  This day was unforgettable and so beautiful with its sights.  I felt the need to say "woo hoo" and throw up my hands in JOY countless times during this magical day.  I couldn't resist stopping in Custer to see The Naked Winery and to grab a bottle of wine called "Climax" before heading to Wyoming.  And the wine was actually GREAT!  :)

The narrow one lane passage through several spots on the Needles Highway was exciting...somehow everyone managed to take turns driving through 4 of these single lane tunnels and it all turned out well.  I had this highway all to myself for many of the miles, and it not only rivaled the Tail of the Dragon with its twists and turns, but it was a lot more scenic and stunning every mile along the way.
Sneetches gets a run in

Custer, SD
Devils Tower at Sunset

I was joined by George Orr, my Montana friend and riding partner for the rest of this trip.  I got to see Devil's Tower at sunset by myself and then again in the morning with George..."Close Encounters of the Third Kind" came to mind several times as we explored this area.

Devils Tower-Morning

We left Devils Tower and headed to Belle Fourche South Dakota, where this area is  known as the geographical center of the nation.  The sky started to turn black in Belle Fourche as a massive set of storms whipped toward this town from the North, where we were supposed to head toward North Dakota and it became necessary to find shelter quickly!  Right at the perfect moment, we drove past open doors to a car repair shop where the kindest man named Tom who managed this brake repair center waved us in out of the approaching storm and gave us shelter in a bay of his garage until it passed.  The hail, wind, rain, lightening and thunder was frightening, as opposing storms clashing overhead in what looked like a tornado whipping around us!  It was great to stay safe inside until the worse of these storms passed, and then there was still time to head off to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and make it to the Bunkhouse in Medora by 8:30 p.m., just as it was getting dark.  It seemed like a very long day because the weather continued to tangle with us on the upcoming ride north into North Dakota, with winds coming from all directions, more rain, and very chilly temperatures.  Thank God for biker rainsuits.

Belle Fourche Storm Approaching
Thank God for safe passage during all of these tremendous days of travel and exploration.  I love my life so much, and I'm always thankful for another day.  Tomorrow is a driving tour of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and then we blast off to Great Falls Montana to celebrate the birthday of friend, Diana Bell, who turns 56 tomorrow.  There is a mermaid bar in that town called the Sip and Dip, which I saw last Fall, and I can hardly wait to go back!  A good time will be had by all!  And pictures will be posted!

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