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
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.
I like it
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):