Thursday, June 21, 2018

Deadwood South Dakota to Sioux Falls South Dakota

Today was the first day of summer, the longest day of the year and the beginning of the long slide towards winter. There should be enough there for both optimists and pessimists.

The hotel breakfast included biscuits, gravy, ham and scrambled eggs, as well as small pancakes made by a machine. I had a bit of everything except the pancakes, which Sandy tried and liked. The breakfast room was full of mostly older folks from the Fort Hood area of Texas here on a bus trip to gamble. They seemed to be having fun.

The various DOT's were reporting on road closures in the upper Midwest due to flooding. Northwestern Wisconsin including Superior and Ashland and the Michigan Keweenaw Peninsula seemed to be hardest hit. So far, the I-90/US 10 roads to Green Bay looked OK, as did the straight route from there to the Soo.

We left the hotel at 7:15 and headed south on US 385 towards Keystone. They were resurfacing just outside Deadwood and installing wood post guardrails down near US 16, where we encountered a flag person and pilot car.

 The hotel had lots of Canadian flags out front

 We did not get to Historic Main Street this time

 This was a surprise

 As was the old car

 Leaving Deadwood and turning left on US 385

 Getting US 385 ready for bike week

 Pactola Reservoir

 At the front of the line again - five minutes

 A familiar view

 Guardrails with wooden posts

 Lots of ATV's here

 I resemble this

 No Vacancy on a Thursday morning

 Keystone - the Gateway to Mount Rushmore

In Keystone, we skipped Mount Rushmore and followed US 16A, also known as the Iron Mountain Road. It climbed, winding its way through several tunnels (each framing Mount Rushmore) and over several pigtail bridges (where the road went under and then crossed over itself in a short distance). This was our first time through here in a four-wheeled vehicle. After cresting the Norbeck Overlook, we started down the switchbacks with 10 MPH hairpin curves.

 Our Iron Mountain/Needles Loop

 This sign sets the theme

 We will be going over that pigtail bridge momentarily

 I never noticed the name before

 Mount Rushmore framed in the tunnel mouth

 Another pigtail bridge

 And another tunnel

 And another view of the monument

The Iron Mountain descended and leveled out. Most traffic would continue to SD 87, which becomes the Needles Highway after going through the Custer State Park gate where they collect a fee. However, we learned years ago that if one takes a right turn on Playhouse Road, you bypass the gate and end up a little further along the Needles Highway.

 This was the only notice on Playhouse Road

 On the Needles Highway

 Lanny will remember a bus at this pullout

 Looking at The Needles

 The road was narrow

 Meeting oncoming traffic was a challenge

 But the scenery was spectacular

 Mostly watch out for cars who are watching scenery

 The tunnel is long and narrow

 It is fun watching tour buses navigate this tunnel

 One of the great motorcycle roads - they were enjoying the sun

Leaving the Needles, we worked our way down Highway 87 to the Custer State Park gate and just drove on out, making a right turn on Highway 89. This was also challenging but not as tight as 87. There were some broader switchbacks as we descended to Hill City.

 Hill City

 I like it

 Burn area

 This is where we turned off and descended to Keystone - Full circle

Leaving the loop, we headed down to Rapid City, with the GPS following the route it determined when I entered Sioux Falls as a destination up at The Needles.

 Rapid City and flatlands (relatively speaking)

Before getting on I-90 East for our 345 mile straight shot to Sioux Falls, we fueled at a Conoco (where they had 85 octane without ethanol and 87 with). Then we got lunch to go at McDonald's (if you thought there was a smoothie in this, you would not be wrong). Finally, I booked a deluxe king room at a Super 8 in Sioux Falls.

We hit I-90 at 11:15 AM. It was 73 F but felt like 85. The speed limit was 80 MPH. And before we reached Wall, a Wide Load flatbed threw a rock into our windshield.

 The big one was today and the small one 2" below was WWR Taos in 2016

 Wall South Dakota - home of Wall Drug

 Full size dinosaur

 Badlands to the south

 Lots of black cattle

 Military convoy not doing 80 MPH

 The first place I ever ate rare beef

 Crossing the wide Missouri River

 Sculptures in a field

 And a graven image

The drive was long and straight. I had to stop at a couple of rest areas to wake up. At the last one, about forty miles before Sioux Falls, the attendant (a nice older man named Jim) told us that I-90 was closed east of the city due to water over the road. Apparently their record rainfall two days ago was augmented by more heavy precipitation yesterday. Supposedly, there was a detour. We thanked him and decided we would take a close look at the various DOT sites.

 Water in the fields approaching Sioux Falls

We decided to pick up Subway and take it to the room. Then we backtracked to the Super 8 the GPS had found. This was not our hotel and, since last Friday, was not even a Super 8. I got out my confirmation, entered the address and followed the GPS to another property right beside I-90. This was nice with a pool and hot tub. Our deluxe king room was huge.

 The river through town looks high

Pumping out a railway yard

We ate our sandwich while I finished the blog for the day. The WiFi loaded all the pictures. Bonus.

Tomorrow, we will be heading for a Bayshore Inn in Marinette, Wisconsin. We have never stayed at a Bayshore before and are looking forward to the experience. Word tonight was that I-90 had been reopened. Sure hope it doesn't rain overnight.

Today's Route (456 Equinox miles):