Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Deadwood South Dakota - Spearfish Canyon and Sturgis

We woke later this morning and didn't step outside until 7:00 AM. It was another glorious, sunny morning in the Black Hills and there was no dew on anything. We decided that breakfast at the motel cafe was the easiest thing to do and, when we got there, the lady remembered us and our orders from yesterday.

Seen outside the cafe

After breakfast, someone pointed out a Denali with Ontario plates parked next to our Avalanche. It turned out to be a man and his son from Alliston, Ontario, about 200 miles south of Sudbury. Dad was a retired CN worker who had specialized in responding to wrecks. It turns out his father had served in WW II with the 1st Special Service Force, aka the Devil's Brigade. This was their first trip to the Black Hills and they were heading home today but they were sure they would be back.

Fellow Canucks

There was  a group getting ready to head out to Wyoming to see Devil's Tower but we had already been there several times. Sherm, Lanny, Sandy and I decided to ride Spearfish Canyon and then stop at WalMart in Spearfish. Kroppy and his friend Charles decided to join us.

Lanny led us out of the lot and we rode north to Lead and kept going, up past the resort where Jamey and Trouble held the Aztec Rally several years back. Lanny was just cruising, which translates to a spirited pace for me. There is only one intersection up here and our fearless leader almost missed it. Once we made the turn, we were in the scenic Spearfish Canyon on a very good quality road sweeping back and forth between steep canyon walls.

Spearfish Canyon wall

And more walls

Lanny led at a nice, civilized pace. But being who he is, he eventually started to roll on the throttle a bit more. I started to fade back and then allowed Sherm on the Harley to go by. Both are much better riders than I am, something I reflected on as they pulled away. This doesn't bother me because these are two of the quickest and most competent riders I know. I try not to let my ego write a cheque that my abilities can't cash. 

Lanny in the lead

Lanny opening up the lead

OK, now we are third

On the way down, we came to a falls with a parking lot on the other side of the road and a crosswalk in between. There were a number of people there and what looked like one person waiting to cross, so I slowed way down. Getting close, I saw it was just Mac Guy so I just waved without stopping.

Lanny and Sherm stopped on the outskirts of Spearfish to wait for us and then we all waited for Kroppy and Charles. Then we proceeded to WalMart where I waited outside as everyone else went in. There was an older man, thin as a rail and wearing a Stetson, standing under a tree so I got talking to him. He was 75 years old and had a 100,000 acre cattle ranch about 90 miles north of town, in the middle of nowhere as he put it. His sons ran the ranch now and he came to town every two months or so to see the doctor about old horse  and cow injuries.

I looked up and saw a group of bikes turning off the Interstate. The yellow GoldWing and lime green shirt at the end identified Stewey so this was our Devil's Tower crew. I hailed Malachi on the CB and, when they all pulled into the WalMart lot, he came over to say Hi. For some reason, the rest of the group didn't. Then they headed out before we did.

VROC on the  move - Spearfish SD

Parked near shade at WalMart

Leaving Wally World, we stopped for fuel and then got on I-90 East for the long 18 miles haul to Sturgis. Sherm and Lanny tried to get me into the lane changing rhythm they had practiced on the way up here but we didn't have enough vehicles to pass to get proficient.

A small ranch

It's easy to keep up to Lanny in a straight line

In Sturgis, we stopped for a moment to locate Bear Butte State Park on the GPS. Then we headed the 7 miles out of town to the gate. On the way, we saw a local police officer having a conversation with a ca driver about the speed limit. We decided to stay within it.

There is a charge for going into the state park but we could see the butte and some buffalo from the unmanned gate so that was good enough for us.

Bear Butte

Buffalo in the field

Full zoom

Rock formations at Bear Butte

Charles' Harley VROD

Like we can stay INSIDE our vehicles

On our way back to Sturgis, we stopped to snap a few pictures of the Full Throttle Saloon, billed as the Largest Biker Bar In The World.

This place will be busy in a few weeks

Looks kind of wild......

There you are, it must be the largest because they say so

Biker cowboy?

And a bridge to nowhere

Back in Sturgis, we parked on Main Street. Lanny and Sherm bought some last year rally shirts for very good prices and then we walked on looking for food. Many of the places were closed but should open soon. We stopped at Weimer's where three of us had one of the specials, steak fingers, cottage cheese, tomato and toast. Sandy had the other special, potato soup and a hot ham and cheese on a bun. On the way out, Sandy picked up Sherm's forgotten camera and then the server chased us down the street with the new shirts he left on a chair.

Sturgis Main Street

Bob's was closed

Weimer's was open

Sturgis Main Street today

Sturgis Main Street next month

We rode back up 14A to Deadwood and the Gold Country Inn. No one else was there although Trouble walked in soon after.

Sandy and Trouble killing time

The rest of the riders rolled in later. Rocky/Jamey had gone to catch the big Devil's Tower but had passed them while they were stopped at the WalMart in Spearfish. He got to the tower and didn't find them but they arrived just as he was about to leave. They stuck together after that.

While we were waiting, a green Vaquero and a Special Edition Mean Streak stopped in the motel lot. I walked over to talk to them and found they were just passing through. Scott and Liza were headed home to Toledo, Ohio and were surprised to find that they had stumbled onto the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club Black Hills Rally. They couldn't stay but I gave them our web address and explained that the Great Lakes VROC group was all around them. They seemed like nice folks and I hope we see them again.

Scott and Liza

Stewey is fine

Tom Miller and daughter Lauren arrive from Kentucky

Supper was to be at the VFW Hall, a few blocks from the motel. Hamburger Wednesday is a big thing around here so we had trouble finding seats together. This was not a bad thing because we got to meet some local folks. Sandy had a burger and I, glutton that I am, had two bacon cheeseburgers.

Walking to the VFW hall

VFW Hall

New hotel where Randy Travis was supposed to play tonight

As  supper wound down, Sherm got a weather alert on his phone. It advised that a storm over Belle Fourche with high winds and damaging hail was headed our way at 25 MPH. We headed back to the motel and got the bikes under cover as best we could when they advise that the storm no longer represented a threat to life or property. But it was better to be safe than sorry since most vehicles around here have hail damage to them.

We spent the evening wandering around the parking lots talking with each other. I had a great time later on talking with Rocky/Jamey and Malachi about many things. We talked of shoes and ships and sealing-wax,  of cabbages and kings.......

Sherm is telling Malachi what he wants for Christmas

It was with great regret that I eventually had to take leave of some fine company and head off to bed. This Black Hills Rally is turning out to be an even better time than we had expected, and we had set the bar high.

Today's Route (77 motorcycle miles):

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