Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Day at the Races....

We woke to a cold, but thankfully dry, day. I was expecting to look out the motel room window and see frost, it was almost cold enough. There was radar indicated snow 50 miles away. We decided to go out and brave the cold. John wanted to ride to Sturgis and find out what time the supermoto races started. They were going to start their practice laps and qualifying at noon.

We left Sturgis and went south, down Vanocker Canyon Road. It's a beautiful, twisty road with a good surface and lots of elevation changes. Some 9% and 10% grades, with lots of 25 MPH curves and right angle corners. Parts of Vanocker Canyon Road are posted 35 MPH and 45 MPH. We enjoyed a spirited ride down the canyon.

When we got to the end of Vanocker, we turned left onto Nemo Road. Nemo's not quite as twisty as Vanocker, but it's just as fun to ride. Nemo ends at the cut off to Johnson Siding. From there, we turned around and ran back north to Sturgis. It was a great way to spend some time before the races started.

It never did warm up much. I think the high I saw was 50°F.

We spent the next 5 or 6 hours watching the races. If you're not sure what supermoto is, it's like motocross on the street with some dirt sections and some big dirt jumps. The bikes are motocross style and most of the riders were running street tires front and rear. A few were on knobbies. The course ran on several Sturgis streets, around a some buildings, across a parking lot or two... There were several classes, including youngsters riding 65cc and 80cc bikes, amateurs and vets, and a couple of pro classes, both 250cc and 450cc.

We didn't make it back to our motel until after dark and the temps were falling fast.

No racing and ALL riding tomorrow!!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Game Cancelled Because of Rain!

I woke up early this morning, around 5:30, and it was pouring rain! John and I spent the morning watching TV and checking the radar. It rained heavily until noon, then it slowed down to a constant drizzle. He called some friends of his, Kathy and Dean, and they came over to our motel and picked us up in their car. The four of us drove down to Sturgis to check on the Supermoto races. We met one of the racers and he told us that the practice, qualifying, and races, had been cancelled for the day and that if the weather improves tomorrow they'll be racing.

We walked around town for a while then decided to head for Deadwood. John and Kathy did some gambling, while Dean and I walked up and down the main street. We all went to the Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant in Spearfish for an early dinner. Afterwards, they dropped us back of at the motel. It finally quit raining around 9:00 tonight...

The forecast for Saturday is dryer, but much cooler.

Only a few pics today.

Even if it's frosty in the morning, I'm going riding!!! I've had enough waiting for better weather.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Arrived in Belle Fourche...

Yesterday it was HOT, today it was much cooler. We got started on our way west about 8:30 this morning. There were a few sprinkles along the way, but no heavy rain. We drove about half an hour and stopped in Gettysburg for a quick breakfast. We were back on the road in less than 15 minutes!

We crossed the Missouri River and stopped to take some pictures.

On both side of the river there were huge fields of sunflowers. Most of them looked like this...

They would have been an amazing site a month ago.

We were in Faith just before noon. Faith is the home of "Sue" the T-rex...

We Got to Belle Fourche in time for lunch. We had a couple of tacos at Taco John's before heading back out of town to do some shopping in Sturgis. John wanted to find a hoodie. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow and the temp could drop to 37°F by Saturday morning.

We checked into our hotel and unpacked. John went to check on some friends of his, and I made a run down to Spearfish to buy a few snacks for the room. The temp has been dropping and it started raining again. The fires out west and down in the southern area of the Black Hills have made for a very overcast and hazy sky. The hills are hard to see from a distance.

We'll see what tomorrow brings. I want to ride but the weather might not cooperate!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Checking in After a Long Hot Day...

Tonight's post comes to you from the Faulkton Inn in scenic down town Faulkton, SD. Population 747.

The plan was to meet John at the Holiday gas station in Hayward at 8:00 this morning... I was ready and packed. I woke up early, showered and was on time, until I took the first picture of the trip.

Nancy wasn't home this morning to send me off, so I used a mini tripod and the self time to get the, "start of the trip" picture. I put on my jacket, helmet, and gloves, and headed down the road. It was a nice cool 56°F this morning. A hoodie under my mesh jacket was perfect. 7 miles later, I realized that I had forgot to grab my camera.. DOH!!!! So, a quick u-turn and 10 minutes later I was back on my way.

I ended up 15 minutes late, and when I got to the gas station, John was standing on the side of the road watching for me.

We took highway 77 west, through Minong and Danbury. An hour after we started, we crossed the St. Croix River into Minnesota.

77 turns into MN 48 at the river. We followed 48 to Hinckley, MN.

A little fall color and an old stone railroad viaduct...

We turned south onto I-35, and got off the interstate 3 miles later at highway 23. Another hour later, we had a gas stop in Milaca, MN.

Foley, MN...

We continued down 23, through St. Cloud, MN, past Willmar, MN, to highway 7. Then west on 7 to Montevideo where we stopped so John could take the liner out of his jacket. It was getting warmer, HOT actually.

From Montevideo, we headed west on US 212 and stayed on it all the way to Faulkton, SD. Along the way, I saw a bank clock that said 95°F !!

We were seeing a lot of butterflies on 212. When we got to the motel, the staff was telling us that because of the fires in Montana, the butterflies migration path had moved east, into SD. There were lots of them.

Here's one in the parking lot...

479 miles today. Another 250+ miles in the morning. We should be in Belle Fourche in a little over 4 hours after we leave here. Twisty roads tomorrow!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Time for Some Maintenance...

My 9th riding season on the big Kawasaki is winding down, the bike has 53,615 miles on it now.

Since I bought it new in the spring of '09, I've done 15 oil changes, 5 front tires, 6 rear tires (got a flat in one rear tire while in Nevada, put a plug in it, rode home, then replaced the tire... better to be safe than sorry), 3 air filters, 1 battery, 1 chain and sprocket set, and 1 set of spark plugs.

I have an opportunity to take a long weekend road trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota! Before taking this road trip, the bike needed some maintenance. I installed the 6th front, and 7th rear tires, Michelin Pilot Road 2. I also installed a new chain and sprocket set. I did it's 16th oil change and flushed the brake and clutch fluid..

I've scrubbed the bike clean and waxed it up. I've got the GPS and Xm radio hooked up and tested. I just need to pack some clothes and I'll be good to go!

The new chain and sprocket set...

New tires.. already mounted up!

I'll be riding with my buddy John. We're planning to leave Wisconsin on Wednesday and getting to Belle Fourche on Thursday. Staying until Monday, or if the weather is going to be bad, leave on Sunday instead. I should be home by Tuesday evening at the latest.

There are going to be Supercross races in Sturgis this weekend, so we'll try to watch a little racing and do some riding in the hills. I really want to ride Spearfish Canyon, Vanocker Canyon Road, 385, 244, Iron Mountain Road...

This is Iron Mountain Road, AKA 16A. I hope you can click the pic for a bigger view of it! Or, search Google Maps for, "Keystone, SD" and check out the road, it's just south of town. If you ride it from the south to north, you can see Mount Rushmore as you drive through a couple of one lane tunnels..

My last trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota was in 2013. It will be nice to get out and put on some miles again!

If all goes as planned, there should be frequent updates with plenty of pictures... I hope...