Saturday, September 30, 2017

She's Home...

On Thursday morning, at 4:25, that was 2 hours 35 minutes before sunrise, I left for South Dakota. I had rented a nice, but heavy, 5x9, single axle, U-haul trailer from the local dealer and picked it up at closing time on Wednesday evening.

I drove straight through to Wyatt's Hideaway Campground in Belle Fourche. 731 miles in 14 hours with 3 stops for gas and 1 for food.

I spent about an hour at the campground loading and securing the bike and talking to the owner, Kent.

I was back on the road at 7:20 (WI time). I started east and drove until I got tired. I was going to stop in Chamberlain but when I stopped for a pop at the only 24 hour gas station, the cashier suggested driving a little further to Kimball. He said the rooms were half as expensive as the ones in Chamberlain. We talked about trucks and motorcycles for about half an hour before I got back under way. I pulled into the parking lot of the Westwood Inn at 1:00 a.m., 1007 miles for the day!

I wasted no time the next morning and was back on the road at 7:50. I kept the speed down on I-90. It's posted 80 MPH but I was holding it at about 60 or so... had breakfast in Sioux Falls and made 2 more gas stops on the way home.

I got home about 6:30 Friday night, unloaded the bike, rinsed the leaked antifreeze off the trailer bed, returned the trailer, gassed up and was home and all unloaded by 7:30...

Secured with 8 straps... 3 in front, 5 in back... It didn't move at all! The trailer has a built in wheel chock for the front tire and 8 big D-ring tie down points. The only improvement to their trailer design I could think of was, if the tailgate could be folded all the way flat into the box for better aerodynamics when the trailer was empty.

38 hours
1534 miles
$260 for 100 gallons of gas.. but the truck wasn't full when I left on Thursday morning.
$55 for a motel
$52 for the trailer
$300 for the rental car 2 weeks ago.
No problems

That was still a savings of more than $153 when compared to the $821 + taxes, that U-haul in Belle Fourche quoted me to rent their smallest truck one way to WI...

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!!

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!