The ride to Hill City to take the 1880 Steam Train was scheduled to leave at 10:30 and was on the road at 10:29 according to my trusty Timex Expedition. We left Deadwood with 15 bikes, one Toyota pickup truck and 21 people in still more drizzle.
We stopped on US 385 for fuel and the wet started to ease up. Continuing on to Hill City, we eventually found blue sky (OK, partly blue) and dry pavement before we pulled in to the station. We bought tickets for the train leaving at 1:15 for Keystone and return. Then we had some food at the station cafe. In retrospect, with the time available to us, we should have adjourned to one of the nearby eateries.
We were directed to be ready to board at 1:00. Just before that time, the train from Keystone pulled in headed by engine 110, a 2-6-6-2 Mallet. We boarded one of the open cars and, before long, we were pulling out and heading up the grade to the summit. After that, it was then all downhill to the town of Keystone.
At the first crossing, we saw a man in red on a bicycle who waved at us. We waved back. Then, at the next crossing, there he was again. It seems his name was Freddy and he was a 66 year old dentist who paces the train to Keystone and back three days a week. And he did, all the way there and back. The ride through the Black Hills scenery was picturesque. At Keystone, we had a 15 minute layover before starting back to Hill City.
As we pulled into the station, it started to sprinkle. We took this personally since we had left under blue skies. There were still patches of blue several places but not where we were heading. The group split with Jamey taking some to Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore while Mal and I led the rest back to Deadwood. We didn't lead very well because the Wing and Concourse passed some traffic and we never saw the rest until we stopped in Deadwood and waited for them. It was a nice ride but I did slow down when the road was wet. We went through several wet/dry cycles on the run.
Back at the hotel, we waited for the other group to arrive and then walked downtown to Diamond Lil's, a restaurant owned by Kevin Costner above his Midnight Star Casino. Sandy and I had turkey pastrami sandwiches with chips that were excellent. So was the service. And the whole place was lined with displays of Costner's costumes from his various movies. They tell me he formed his attachment to Deadwood while filming Dances With Wolves.
After supper, we walked further downtown so Mal could find a shirt for Yvette. Then we hiked back uphill to the hotel where we hung out in the lot for a while before turning in relatively early.
Today's Route (85 motorcycle miles):
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