Sunday, September 24, 2017

I'll Continue..... Sunday: Bad Luck Day

Sunday, I had a bit of bad luck... John and I started out in the morning and went down Spearfish Canyon, up to Deadwood and Lead, then down 385 towards Hill City. We got down to the Pactola Lake Reservoir and took a break. John wanted to meet up with some of his friends later in the day, so we split up. He headed back towards Belle Fourche, and I continued on.

From Hill City, I took 244 to Keystone. I got a couple of pictures of the side view of Mount Rushmore, but I wasn't going to wait in a huge line to pay $10 for a season long "parking pass" that I would only use once..

I left Keystone on highway 40 and rode over to Hermosa. I gassed up and took a short break. When I left Hermosa, I rode highway 36 west, towards Custer State Park. Just before the park, I turned right onto 16A, Iron Mountain Road. 16A is a n awesome road. Personally, I think it's best ridden from south to north because 2 of the 3 tunnels line up with views of the 4 faces of Mount Rushmore...

From 16A...

From one of the tunnels...

From Google Maps...

At the crest of the mountain that 16A crosses, is the Norbeck Overlook. I'ts a viewing spot with a large parking lot, right after a section of switchbacks...

There are 2 pigtail bridges on 16A. I had a hard time finding a place to stop to snap a picture...

16A took me back to Keystone. From there, I continued on 16A to 16, then looped around to Hill City again. This time when I left Hill City, I took 323, Old Hill City Road, towards Keystone. There's an old time steam engine powered tourist/sightseeing train that runs back and fourth, several times a day, between Hill City and Keystone. 323 crosses the tracks at least 8 times. I managed to snap a few pictures as the train passed by...

I took the back roads into Rapid City and met up with John and our friend Teressah (the mother of the child I never had) ((long story from 17 years ago..)) at Marlin's Restaurant. After dinner, John and I headed back to Belle Fourche for the night. We stopped at the Cenex station to fill the bikes to save some time in the morning.... That's when things went bad...

After filling up, I noticed a large puddle of green under the front of my bike. The bottom seam of the radiator was leaking. I guess it was better to find out now, than to discover the problem after starting out on Monday, and breaking down in the middle of nowhere.. Or, having it overheat and seize up on me 100 miles from the closest town.. @#%$&***!@... We parked the bike at Wyatt's Hideaway Campground just a few miles from town. When I used to go to the rally every year, the group I was with stayed there. A great place for tent, cabin, and RV camping in the Black Hills... Thank you Kent!!!

First thing Monday morning, I was on the phone figuring out how to get home. U-haul, wanted $821 + taxes to rent the smallest truck and drive it one way to home... The local car rental place had NO Cars!! I had to ride on the back of John's bike the 62 miles out to the Rapid City Airport, pick up a rental car from Hertz, drive back to Belle Fourche, load up my stuff, and head home.

I HAD to be home! I couldn't wait around... I got to the Hertz return at the Duluth Airport just after midnight. I met Nancy and we headed home. 804 miles in the rental car plus another 82 miles to get home from Duluth. I was too tired to do much the next day.

A few more pictures from Sunday's ride....

One more... I couldn't pass this up. Hayward, SD.... I live near Hayward, WI...

So, how do I get the bike back? My plan is to rent a u-haul trailer on Wednesday night, leave first thing Thursday morning, drive to Wyatt's, load up... Head home Friday morning. Still MUCH cheaper than the $821 for a one way truck would have been!

I'll pull the bike apart this fall and find a place to fix the radiator. A new one from Kawasaki is.... Are you sitting down?......... MSRP is $986.23.. OUCH!!


  1. Bad luck on the radiator, hope you get it sorted quickly and easily. Love the looks of all those curves!

  2. Ouch thats pricey. Did you have radiator guards on the big Z?

    Love your photo's, Mt Rushmore is on my bucket list of places to go one day. Looks great. Hope your back up and running soon.

    1. One of the first things I bought for her was a Cox Racing Radiator Guard. It collects a lot of bug and stops a lot of stones. I'll have to get the bike back home and pull things apart, but I'm pretty sure it's a seam that split. It was wet only in one tiny spot in one corner, but it made a big puddle.

  3. Great pics Erik. I am glad you were able to find a car. Must have been surreal to be riding on that back of your friend's bike. Glad you have a way to get the bike home, but man that is a spendy radiator. Keep us posted on the issue.

  4. Erik, such nice riding in that area and things were going so well... Can't believe your failed radiator issue; they aren't known to have that problem, are they?

  5. Not that I've heard of... Now that it's home, I can try to find a place that can fix an aluminum radiator or pick one up of ebay. So much cheaper than a new one $$$$

    It was still a great vacation!!!

  6. Great looking countryside. Hope you can get radiator repaired. In my former town there was a place that reconditioned them. Always had taxis in the shop.