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Author Topic: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015  (Read 17074 times)

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Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2016, 07:28:14 am »
(Day 8 Continued)

Route: Cody to Belfry via 120 and 72.  From Belfry to Red Lodge on 308. Then from Red Lodge to Beartooth Pass (212) and then via 296 (a.k.a. Crandall Rd, Dead Indian Hill Rd) but also referred to as Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy back to Cody.



Entering Cody we pass a massive Rodeo park with a sign announcing Cody as the “Rodeo Capital of the World”.  We check into the Rodeway Inn which I still consider the best value for money accommodation on the entire trip.  Vaughn has to catch up on e-mails and I decide to fill up the bike and head out to Beartooth pass.  The sky is still filled with rain clouds and I keep my rain gear on because this will also help to keep warm going over the high mountains.  I make the decision to push through to the start of the pass (Red Lodge) which should be about one hour’s ride and then make a decision on whether I will have enough time to drive the pass as well as Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy.  The ride reports say that the pass is about 65miles long with plenty of twisties.  It takes just over an hour to get to the base of the pass.  I stop to take a quick pic, drink water and eat a bite of cheese.  As I look up I see a deer jump over the fence and into the road.  I make a mental note of their modus operandi:  A jump from the dense bush, over the fence and into the road, then stand dead still for a while before they move on and cross the road.  As I get onto the bike a second deer follows.  Okay, I will have to take it slow and stick as far as possible to the middle of the road.….

The pass doesn’t disappoint and the vegetation becomes less dense as you climb through tight corners.  A couple of Harleys pass from the front, scraping and struggling to get through the tight corners.



A GPS screenshot of Beartooth Pass illustrate the “creepy crawly” nature of the route.



The barren landscape close to the top of the pass….



Spectacular 360° views on top of the pass.






10,974ft above sea level, it is cold and I am thankful for the heated grips…  I now have to make a decision on whether to push on and ride the Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy back to Cody, or whether to turn around.  I do not want to ride after dark and it will be tight either way.  I “ask” Putin’s opinion.  Over the years I have learned to trust him.   If he says it will take nine hours to drive 80kms in the Kaokoland, then he was always right.  It is going to be tight but I decide to take the minimum amount of photos and push on….



Descending into the valley the denseness of the vegetation increases again.



I took only a few photos on Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy (also known as 296, Crandall Rd and Dead Indian Hill Rd) but in my opinion this road is every bit as beautiful as Beartooth pass.  And in terms of bike riding I would actually prefer the latter.



I do the last 30miles as the sun starts to set  and arrive back at the hotel at around 18:30.  What a day!



I send a WhatsUp pic of the GPS screen illustrating the curvy nature of Crandall Rd to Johan Olivier.  He replies with “Is it a gravel road…?”



« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 11:30:11 pm by Jabus »
 

Offline Sir Rat

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2016, 10:42:52 am »
Jabus I have not been interested in America as a destination for bike riding but you are slowly changing my mind.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2016, 11:09:07 pm »
Glad you like it R-O-V Rat  ;D
 

Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2016, 11:14:23 pm »
As promised in the RR of Day 4, I am posting another "story" that I wrote to Elmarie about an incident that happened when I took the photo at Mt Rainier.  It links to a scene that I saw 2 weeks later in Michaux State Park.

“Still Pretty”

Ek volg Paradise Road wat Stevens Canyon Road word en vat Roete 123 noord en swaai dan af op Hwy 410.  (Ek sukkel nog om te vestaan wat nou eintlik die verskil tussen ‘n “Route”, ‘n “Highway”, ‘n “Turnpike” en ‘n gewone “Road” is).  Op die GPS se skerm kronkel-vou die Chinnook Pas terug op homelf.  Amper soos ‘n mens ‘n filo-deeg sal vou.  (Nou nie dat ek al ooit iets in my lewe gebak het nie!).  



Die roete neem my nou geleidelik verder van Mt Rainier.  Ek kyk heeltyd terug na die berg, amper soos om ‘n geliefde by die lughawe af te gee.  Ek probeer my laaste “mental pic” van Mt Rainier vasvat, daai laaste bietjie lekker onder uit die kondensmelkblik te probeer krap.  Jy weet dit is verby, maar jy wil nog die laaste mooi herinnering op jou brein tatoeër…
 
Die berg se aansig verander om elke draai.  Ek wonder waar die beste plek is om ‘n “poskaartfoto” van Mt Rainier te neem.  Nou versper die hoë bome my uitsig, dan ‘n berghang.  Ek sien ‘n kleinerige karretjie langs die pad staan.  (‘n Klein karretjie in die VSA is opsigself  ‘n rare gesig).  ‘n Entjie verder sit ‘n jongman in swart geklee .  Soos ek nader kom sien ek sy kamera is netjies op ‘n driepoot opgestel.  Hy buk vooroor, maak ‘n verstelling aan die kamera en sit weer terug.  In die verbygaan knik my kop na links.  Hy glimlag en vat net aan sy pet.  Uit die hoek van my oog sien ek die pragtige aansig wat die ruiter-in-swart in sy visier het.  Die pad vernou weens padwerke en ek moet konsentreer.  Soos die 3 susters van Drie Susters fluister ek vir myself “Jy moet fokus my kind”.  

Ek is klaar spyt ek het nie gestop nie, en besluit om om te draai.  “Photographer’s remorse”: dis mos wanneer jy daai beeld in jou gedagtes terugspeel en weet jy het die knoppie ‘n oomblik te vroeg, te laat of glad nie gedruk nie.  Laasgenoemde is die ergste graad van hierdie “siekte”.  Ek weet ek moet omdraai anders gaan hierdie prentjie vir altyd in my kop terugspeel.
Die pad is smal.  Ek sal omdraaiplek moet kry maar die pad vernou verder.  Dit is afdraand en die padwerke maak die pad ongelyk. Ek staan regop en maak ‘n perfekte draai met die stuurstang in die “full lock” posisie.
 
Ek ry stadig nader, amper soos mens in die wildtuin sal maak as jy uit respek ‘n stilstaande voertuig nader.  “You’ve got a beautiful spot” sê ek vir die ruiter-in-swart wat sy kameratoerusting reeds opgepak het. Hy het ‘n melkbaard en het ‘n gebreide wolpet op sy kop.  Hy het al die tekens van ‘n tipiese nagraadse ingenieurstudent.  Bietjie meer volwasse as ‘n voorgraadse student.  Effens “nerderig”, maar nie te erg nie.  Effens oorgewig, maar nie te erg nie. Sy stap, tone in die 10 voor 2 posisie, buig sy knieë net effens, ook kenmerkend “nerderig”.  Maar nie te erg nie.  Ek draai my kop en kyk na die karakters in sy kiekie.  Bome links.  ‘n Helder meer in die voorgrond wat vroegoggend mooi weerkaatsings gooi. ‘n Berghang regs. Mt Rainier vertolk die hoofrol.



Ek draai terug na hom.  Ons oë maak kontak. Hy glimlag en sê “Still pretty”. Niks meer nie.  Hy sien duidelik die vraagtekens op my gesig, maar sê niks.  Ek herrangskik die woorde in my kop
”Still pretty…
                          Pretty still…
                                                  Still pretty….
Hy staan doodstil, sê steeds niks.  Dit is nog ’n eienskap van ‘n “nerderige” ingenieurstudent; hulle gee net sulke kriptiese wenke, onderbreek deur stiltes. Amper asof hulle vir jou wil sê: “Lei hierdie vergelyking maar self uit eerste beginsels af…”
                                                                                Pretty Still….
                                                                                                         Still pretty……”  
Meteens vang ek sy woordspeling op stil fotografie.  Ek glimlag. “Oh yeah, I get it”.  “Still pretty indeed”.  Hy glimlag tevrede, trek aan sy pet, amper ‘n soort van nerd-saluut wat hy vir my gee en stap tevrede weg.

Dit was twee weke gelede.  Vandag, skaars ‘n paar kilometer nadat ek die Michaux Staatsbos binne ry sien ek die pragtige meer. Die herfskleure en die wolke vorm perfekte weerkaatsings op die water.  Ek stop en sien ‘n ouerige omie gebukkend agter sy esel staan en skilder.  Ek neem ‘n paar foto’s en stap nader.  Die oom raak bewus van my en kom stadig orent.  Ek kyk oor sy skouer na die wordende skildery .  Die oom kyk vir my en glimlag.  Ek groet deur te sê, “Still pretty”.  Daar is ‘n vraagteken op sy gesig….



Ek gaan sit. Om hierdie poskaartfoto van Mt Rainier vas te vang het jy eintlik ‘n behoorlike wyehoeklens nodig.  Ek pluk my kiekiekakker uit my sak en dink aan my vriend, Theo. Toe ek hom op ‘n dag gevra het hoe “wyd” sy nuwe wyehoeklens nou eintlik is het hy geantwoord “So wyd soos die Heer se genade”.

“Yes, that is what I will call this painting” sê die Oom. “Still pretty….yes thank you, I will call it “Still Pretty.”  Tevrede stap ek terug na die motorfiets.  Verbeel ek my of stap ek effens “nerderig” vandag…?.





« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 11:26:05 pm by Jabus »
 

Offline Jabus

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Re: West to East across the USA [“Portland to Maryland”]: September 2015
« Reply #44 on: February 29, 2016, 08:50:03 pm »
Day 9: Cody to Gillette

Route: East on 14 and joining Interstate 90 at Ranchester and on to Gillette via Sheridan.



There is just no way that today’s route will rival yesterday’s riding experience.  The beauty of Yellowstone Park combined with the curves of Beartooth and Chief Joseph Scenic Hwy is hard to beat.  In terms of biking experience, the only day that comes close was the Walla Walla to Missoula ride.

Between Cody and Greybull we see lots of road kill.  Deer, raccoon and a variety of other smaller animals which I do not recognise line the road.  I think the modern day fur trapper can just commute up and down 14 and collect his stash.  I always wanted a Davy Crockett hat… :)

First stop is the Uptown Café in Greybull. 



As per usual, the Café provides great value for money.  I am tempted by the selection of homemade pies advertised on the wall: Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie, Lemon Meringue….  Wyk satan!



Greybull is an interesting small town with a “Cowboy” atmosphere.



While we await our breakfast to be served we talk about the politics and the possibility of Trump making it all the way as the Republican presidential candidate.  At the time everyone thought that he will fall out of the race as soon as the real politicking starts.  We discuss the interesting possibility of Trump running a campaign against Hillary.  Vaughn pulls out one of his quips, “Trump will beat her up like a red headed step child……”.  I’m not sure where he store all this nonsense…..
Our iron horses parked next to the plastic horse…



An old Pepsi sticker on the door of the Uptown Café.




We head out over the plains with huge cattle ranches on both sides of the road towards Shell which lies at the base of the Big Horn Mountains.  On the map the Big Horn Mountains looked like an isolated mountain range in the middle of Wyoming.  We pass “Dirty Annie’s Country Store”. I have no desire to meet Annie and push up the canyon leading into the Big Horn Mountains.  The sheer walls of the canyon are impressive (my guess is that they tower about 300m on both sides of the road).  The old geologic formations are clearly marked with signs specifying their type and age.  The aptly named Granite Pass is a great ride through the Big Horn Mountains and levels out at  2750m (9000ft)



The high prairie provides 360° views and the scenery reminds me of “Little House on a Prairie”.  I ask Vaughn if it was filmed in this area.  He pulls out the iPhone and starts the search and says, “No that was further east in Minnesota”, but then he starts to laugh……  “It may, however, remind you of another movie that plays off in this region……”.  “Which one?”  “The Cowboys of Brokeback Mountain roamed these mountains……..”  “Okay let’s go….”



The descent provides great curves and viewpoints; the Wyoming roads are in great condition.  The great plains and “powder river basin” lies ahead.  We pass through Dayton and stop in front of the Hans Kleiber Museum where Hans’s printing press etc are on display.





At our next stop at a gas station in Ranchester Vauhn buys us some Fried Pork Skins (or “Pork Rinds”).   This is a great snack and (without much success) I try to teach Vaughn the Afrikaans name for this i.e “kaiïngs”



A great source of fat and there are offerings in different flavours….  I’ve never seen this commercially in SA even though I saw them sold under the Lays brand in the US.



We are belted by very strong cross winds on I90 as we head into Gillette.  Coal (and gas) lies at the heart of Gillette’s economy.   30-40% of the US’s coal originates from the open pit coal mines in the powder river basin surrounding Gillette.   Massive 200ton trucks transport the coal to the trains which convey it to all corners of the US where it is used for energy generation.

The quality of the road surface deteriorates as we approach Gillette.  These roads clearly carry a lot of heavy trucks that take its toll on the road surface.




Vaughn locates a good place to eat…



I order a “small” salad for dinner….


 

Offline EtienneXplore

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Awesome awesome!!
Keep it coming!

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Offline ADV Rider

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Enjoying your RR Jabus.  :sip:
Aiming to make my Bucket list longer than my F#$% it list
 

Offline Jabus

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Thanks for reading!  :thumleft:
 

Offline Jabus

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Day 10: Gillette to Deadwood

Route:  East on Interstate 90 to Moorcroft, 14 north to 24 and 34 to north on 85 to Belle Fourche ,  Interstate 90 to Sturgis via Spearfish.



We make the decision to skip the conventional “donuts and coffee” breakfast at the hotel and head towards Moorcroft for breakfast. 

Donna’s Diner in Moorcroft is packed with locals by the time we arrive.  Vaughn and I discuss the “Diner culture” of the US.  I explain that when I was a young boy I can remember that we also had cafes where you can sit down and eat.  But when fast food chains such as Wimpy and Golden Egg arrived on the scene the cafes soon disappeared from medium to large towns.  Smaller rural towns still have them and my theory is that you should always have a dish that carries the name of the town.  There will always be pride in the “Citrusdal Hamburger” or the “Sannieshof Hamburger”.  A big difference for me is that older people in the US frequent not only the diners but also McDonald’s or similar chains.  My perception is that fast food outlets are more popular amongst young families in SA.  Older folks would rather make a flask of coffee and have some boiled eggs and “frikkadelle” under a tree in the Karoo.  But I may be wrong about this….  But then again I can’t imagine my dad paying R20 for a cup of coffee.  I will get the “My kind dit is ‘n plaas se prys…..” speech again  ;D







Another cultural difference is the habit of wearing hats.  I look around and mention to Vaughn that it would be considered rude or bad manners in SA to eat with your hat on while inside a building.
Vaughn smiles and says, “Well actually it is frowned upon in the US as well”.  He continues, “In the Golf club in my home town there is actually a sign that reads: You can take off your hat, you are inside now”.
The breakfast did not disappoint.



Vaughn points out the sign on the wall that specifies the cost of the buffet according to age…



Just outside the town we turn north onto 14 and ride through the open grasslands. Today will have several surprises.  The first is Devil’s tower.  At 360m it absolutely dominates the landscape and can be seen from a distance.  To me it resembles the Voortrekker Monument.   It is popular among tourists and has some spiritual significance among Native Americans.  It is also a popular spot for rock climbing.





We cross the Wyoming state boundary into South Dakota and Route 24 which all of a sudden changes into Route 34.
Belle Fourche is the second surprise of the day.  The geographical centre of the US is in town and an antique McCormick Deering tractor marks the entrance to the “Centre of the Nation Visitors Center,” also known as the Tri-State Museum.




At the information kiosk I ask the volunteer where the actual center is.  She points to outside… “So that is it?”, I ask her.  “Yes” and then as an after thought mentions that the real center is 15 miles out of town.  She is surprised when I ask directions to get to the real McCoy and asks, “Why do you want to go there?”  “Well, because that is where the real center is…..”



We take the 85 north but the last 7.8miles on Old Hwy 85 is dirt road and the RT wouldn’t enjoy that.  We decide that is close enough and take a picture.

Close but no cigar….



I select the timer function and line up the camera and take a first pic.  I have my bright yellow rain suit on.  Vaughn looks at the pic and says, “I think you should take another one because if you stand too close to me people may think that I brought my blow up doll along…….”.  I take another one.  We shake hands, we now have a pic at the centre of the US to add to our pic at the southern most tip of Africa….



When we stopped at the visitor’s center half an hour ago the rain clouds were building overhead. Vaughn gets off the bike and walks toward me….  “Well Jabus, as my Phillipino clients would say…..  I have a suggestment……”  I reply: “And what would your suggestment be?” “My suggestment is that we skip Mt Rushmore today.  The clouds are building and even if it does clear up, the sun will be behind the mountain which would not be ideal for taking photos”.  “No problem, let’s head out to Sturgiss instead and stay close to Mt Rushmore tonight so that we can reach it early tomorrow morning.

As we enter Sturgis we stop at the McDonalds to get a coffee.  Before I can say “WiFi”, Vaughn locates a place to eat.  “I think I found us a great place to eat”.  “Yes, I am VERY hungry, I pull his leg…..”
Within a couple of minutes we stop in front of the Knuckle Saloon.  Even from outside I can see that this place has great character.



The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attracts hundreds of thousands of motorbike enthusiasts every year. This year, 2015, was the 75th anniversary of the week long get together.  According to the polls nearly 750,000 bikers attended.  Keep in mind that the normal population is just about 6,900 people.

According to the sign in front of the bar, Johannesburg is 9,471miles away. Sydney is a distant second at  8,498miles.



The waitress has seen it all and giggles when I order “sparkling water”.  Before I can explain that I would really love a beer  but being on the bike and on the wrong side of the road…., Vaughn intervenes and says “with gas”.
Vaughn studies the menu as if he is reviewing a PhD thesis….“And what would your suggestment be for lunch”,  I ask.  “Oh I think you should try this” and then he proceeds with the description. “It is a meat patty, with onions and a cheese of sorts.  Traditionally they use…… And it is served between slices of Rye and Sourdough bread.” “Sounds good, I’ll try that….”

When the waitress arrives with the food Vaughn explains that this will be my first Patty Melt.  She looks up and announce to everyone in the bar, “My oh my, we are about to have an EXPERIENCE!” ;D



I can confirm that the Patty Melt was a real experience!  When she collects the empty plates, I thank her and say, ”This is probably the best Patty melt I ever had…. “  ;D

The bar is massive and has real character …



… I can just imagine the atmosphere when it is filled to the brim with hairy bikers…







I’m sure Hillary will remove this sign  ;D



As we leave the bar, I say, “Great suggestment, thanks Vaughn.  Never mind the centre of the nation, I think we have just been at the centre of the (motorcycling) universe!”



We’ve had three surprises under the belt today: Devil’s Tower, The Geographical Centre of the US and the Knuckle Saloon in Sturgis.  The biggest surprise was yet to come..…
 

Offline EtienneXplore

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Is it not an option to buy a bike in the USA, then do your trip and then sell it again when you leave? Sure you will loose some money, but surely it will be less than the rental paid to rent a bike?


Offline cloudgazer

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Loving the report.
 :thumleft:
keep it coming.
 

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(Day 10: Continued: Sturgis to Deadwood)

Route:  Sturgis to Deadwood via Alt14 and 85.



In one of our discussions with a fellow biker along the way we confuse the towns of “Spearfish” and “Deadwood” and say that we plan to stay over in “Deadfish”.  He laughs and corrects us.  “Great place nonetheless”, he adds.

As we ride into Deadwood I can see that the town has real character and lots of tourists.  We check into the Super 8 and Vaughn announces that he is going to his room to relax and do the “American thing”.  “And what would that be?” I ask.  “Well I’m going to take a shower and then lie on the bed in my underwear with a beer in hand and watch a ball game….”. The receptionist can’t get herself to stop laughing.  :)

I unpack my bags and take a quick shower.  The unexpected surprises of the day have left me energized and I decide to have a look at things to do in “Deadfish”. The WiFi connection is excellent and I Google” “Things to do in Deadwood”.  The first hit is “REO Speedwagon Concert in Deadwood”. This can’t be!  It is a Tuesday evening in Deadwood, surely REO Speedwagon can’t be in town!  I check the dates.  Sure enough, it is true.  I quickly check availability of tickets and see that there are still a couple of seats available.  I’m not sure if Vaughn also knows their music but I send him a quick text message hoping not to disturb his “All American Experience”. 

Within a flash he replies….



We arrive early at the Holiday Inn and Casino and celebrate an entertaining day with a Leinenkugel Oktoberfest. We both know all the songs of REO’s hit album, Hi-Infidelity, and expect that they will play most of it tonight. And Vaughn managed to get us “VIP” seats right in front! 

Dave Amato is the lead guitarist and changes his guitar for every song.  Sometimes he even changes halfway through the song.  This man can play!



Kevin Cronin’s voice is still as crisp as I remember it from my old Hi-Infidelity cassette.  Kevin gives a moving tribute to one of REOs iconic members, Gary Richrath, that passed away just 2 weeks ago (13 September 2015).  Bruce Hall is on bass guitar with his long blond hair and Swedish looks.

Bryan Hitt is the legendary drummer and Neal Daughty on keyboards.  Neal  is one of the founding members of the band (in 1967!!!). Kevin narrates the story behind the lyrics of “In your letter”.  Neal wrote this song after his wife ran off with the local drug dealer.  Neal’s comment at the time was “I’m really gonna miss that guy….” :)  It is a real pleasure watching these guys perform, they are passionate and professional.

 “Take it on the run”, “Don’t let him go”, “Keep on loving you”……



We sit at the bar and eat a small snack while a young local band (Zeona Road) sets up on a small stage in the background.  They took 45minutes to tune their instruments and do the usual “one-two-check-check....one-two-check”.  I know this ritual all too well and my theory is that there is an inverse relationship between the quality of the band and the length of time they take to tune their guitars…”.  QED

We sit and talk about the show and the audience.  I ask Vaughn about the two overweight girls that were dancing next to him.  Every now and then they lifted their arms and waved both hands high in the air. Almost as if they were attending and evangelical gathering….  “Yes” says Vaughn, “When I was at varsity my job in the student res was to clean the griller”. I wonder where is heading with this story but he continues, “I will never forget the smell of that griller”.  “Especially when I had to clean it the morning after we had a huge party….”.  I give him a puzzled look.  Then he delivers the punchline, “That was the exact same smell I got every time those two ladies lifted their arms into the air!”.

We both laugh and then he says: “Did you see the young guy to our left….?” “Yes I did” I reply, “The one that took off his artificial leg hallway through the show and swung it rhythmically through the air?”.  We had a great time!

REO Speedwagon played their last song and Dave Amato looks in my direction.  He nonchalantly flicks his guitar pick towards me.  I don’t think he will ever understand the value I put on that pick.  (Maybe I will explain later).

It really is my lucky day! :)



With this amount of luck I might just win the jackpot tonight… The concert ticket included a $10 casino voucher and on the way out I see the magic Zuma gambling machine. You won’t believe me  but the jackpot that evening was a very big number… It was… “Seven-hundred-and-sixty-nine-eight-hundred-and, seven-hundred……..  Listen properly…Seven-hundred-and-sixty-nine-thousand-eight-hundred…and twenty ….and seventy….”

Needless to say I did not win anything, the macine just laughed (”Hehehe”) when I deposited the $10 voucher…



I lay in bed that night thinking back to the jukebox in the Rawhide Grill n Bar in Starbuck….
 

Offline Rat Man

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 Excellent ride report Jabus, keep it coming please :thumleft:
 

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Day11: Deadwood to Pierre

Route: 385 to 16 (Keystone), 244 to Mt Rushmore.  



Today I will experience the last of the places on my “To See” list, Mt Rushmore.  I’m not sure when exactly my fascination with Mt Rushmore started.  I’m sure it featured in one of the trailers that I used to see in the “Drive-In”-theaters.  Was it a Paul Revere ad?  Or a Lexington ad? If I remember correctly there were Cowboys, Girls and a Helicopter involved…. (Maybe some of the Dogs can remember….)

We leave early morning and pass through Lead (which I will encounter again in Chicago).  The road through the Black Hills is in excellent condition and makes for great riding.  We only stop once to stretch legs and rave about the wonderful day we had yesterday.   REO Speedwagon in “Deadfish”, who would have thought….!

My first view of Mt Rushmore!  I get that feeling of meeting a “pen pal” (remember those?) for the first time.



“Da-Olda-faith-a-fool” gets tagged at the entrance to Mt Rushmore.



Mt Rushmore is well designed and has a great tourist vibe.  All the visitors are excited and there is an overall sense of “pride of being American” which in itself is great for me to experience.
 


Vaughn’s “suggestment” of visiting Mt Rushmore early morning was indeed excellent.  No clouds and with the sun from behind it makes for perfect photos.  While standing at the viewpoint he says, “I always wonder how many people died in creating this….”



We head back to Keystone and settle for breakfast at Peggy’s Place.  



I have now ticked off the last item on my “To See” list.  I ask Vaughn about the meaning of “Badlands”.  He tries to explain but then just says, “Well, you’ll see why it is called the Badlands…”

We discuss the route to Pierre.  The plan is to get to Rapid City and get onto Interstate 90.  We can make good time and we’ll be in Pierre in no time.  Well, that is what we thought, but the wind gods had different ideas….
This is the first day where it is really too hot for riding and as we saddle up outside Peggy’s Place it really gets uncomfortable.

Route: 16 to Rapid City, Interstate 90 to Wall and 83 to Pierre



We by-pass Rapid City.  This area is clearly a popular holiday destination with lots of RV’s on the road and campsites with entertainment for children along the way. We get onto I-90 and immediately feel the strong cross-winds coming from the north.  We will just have to open the throttle a bit more.  And a wee bit more.  And more…  It doesn’t get any better.  Approaching and passing the big long haul trucks creates a lot of turbulence and takes a lot of concentration.  I actually found that gearing down to 5th and turning on the cruise control worked best for me.  I also realised that the concrete bridges on the Interstate creates the most havoc… That short interruption of the cross-wind causes a quick jolt on the handlebars on the exit.

We stop at one of the fly-overs and stare at each other in disbelief.  “This was supposed to be an easy ride!” we almost say simultaneously.  



I saw lots of advertisements for “Wall Drug”.  All sorts of things are advertised from “Free Ice Water in Wall Drug” to”5c Coffee in Wall Drug”, and everything in between.  And I mean everything!  “What is this about”, I ask Vaughn.  “Well, it is…..”  Then he tries again.  And again…. But simply cannot find the appropriate words.  Eventually he gives up and says, ”It is a crazy place, you’ll see….”

Wall has a couple of Grain Silos (I suspect Maize and Oil Seeds) in the main street. The rest of the space is taken up by rows and rows of shops.

The best description I can think of is that it is a combination of “Oom Samie se winkel” in Stellenbosch, the Easter Show, Green Market Square and your local Flea Market….  All this mixed together and scale up 1000 times.  You will find a gift for your best friend and your worst enemy… all under one roof.  As Vaughn rightfully said, it is a crazy place…



On the I-90, it must have been the violent head shakes that rattled a couple of brain cells, I somehow remember reading in Jon Krakauer’s book (Into the Wild) that Christopher McCandless worked at a Grain Elevator in this area.  Not sure why that entered my mind, but anyhow, I enjoy Krakauer’s books…..

At Vivian we leave the I-90 and head north on 83.  The wind is right in my face, but it makes the riding a lot more comfortable.  I see a little girl and her dad standing next to the road with a balloon between them.  Tonight I will write Elmarie a story about this. (This will be in the next post).  We cross the Missouri River and enter Pierre, the capital of South Dakota.  We are tired!  We couldn’t get accommodation at the same motel and we head out in different directions…..  



My best explanation for the Badlands is that it is a combination of the openness of the Free State, with the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape and Cape Town’s howling South Easter.  Clearly the soil is not that fertile and the rolling hills make it difficult to farm.  
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 07:52:16 pm by Jabus »
 

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“Baai-baai Bokkie”

Elke aand het ek ‘n vaste ritueel.  Enige toer het ‘n ritueel. Indien jy nie ‘n vaste ritueel het nie veroorsaak dit net frustrasie.  Of miskien pla dit jou nie.  Vir my pla dit wel.  My ritueel begin deur seker te maak die fiets se tenk is vol petrol voordat ek by my slaapplek stop.  Dan laai ek my GPS, selfoon, iPad en kamera.  Soek op Google maps na moontlike roetes vir die volgende dag en kyk op YR.no na die algemene weervoorspelling vir die volgende dag of twee.  Weer terug na Google maps en skryf ‘n paar dorpies se name,  roete nommers en bakens op klein stukkie papier neer.  Hierdie papiertjies sit ek met magnete op die handvatsels vas.  

Ek maak my bril, kamera en helmet se lense skoon.  Maak seker al die “zips” op my baadjie en broek is toe vir die vroegoggend koue.  Dan doen ek ‘n paar strekoefeninge om my nek en skouers los te kry.  Was my sokkies, my hemp en  onderbroek met die hand uit en doen die ou koshuistruuk van rol dit in die handdoek op, wen die handdoek op soos ‘n rekkie om die ergste water uit die klere te druk.  Op hierdie manier is alles more-oggend weer droog. Ek maak ‘n kopie van die fotos wat ek die dag geneem het.  Ek maak ‘n paar notas, kyk deur die fotos en maak nog notas.



Sekere gebeurtenisse kan mens met ‘n kamera vasvang.  Ander weer “kliek” jy net so in die ry. Met die knip van jou oë.  Vandag se gedagtefoto was net nadat ons van die Interstate afgedraai het.  Die wind het ons verniel deur die Badlands.  Nou en dan het die warrelwinde my nek ‘n pluk gegee.  Amper soos ‘n derderangse chiropraktisyn.  Ek is dankbaar dat ons nou die wind eerder reg van voor kry…

Daar staan ‘n motor langs die pad geparkeer.  Soos ek aangery kom sien ek ‘n klein dogtertjie en haar pa in die veld langs die pad.: Pa sit op sy linkerknie, dogtertjie op haar hurke.  ‘n Ballon wapper omtrent op pa se kophoogte tussen hulle twee.  Pa staan regop en gee ‘n tree terug.  Die dogtertjie wikkel op haar hurke nader aan haar Pa en sit haar arm om sy kuit.   Hulle kyk in die rigting van die ballon…  

Die foelie ballon, in die vorm van ‘n hartjie, is iewers vasgemaak en wapper in die sterk wind.  Ek wonder wat is die ballon se ankerpunt….

Die pa vat die blonde dogtertjie aan die hand en begin in die rigting van hulle Chrystler loop.  Haar blonde krulhare en pienk rokkie waai in die wind.  Sy stop elke paar tree en kyk terug.  So amper asof sy iets vergeet het.  Dan stop sy heeltemal.  Sy draai haar hele lyfie terug en kyk na die ballon.  Sy waai met haar handjie uitgestrek in die lug.  Dan laat sak sy haar hand en vat-vat aan haar gesig.  Met haar handpalm na bo blaas sy ‘n soentjie in die rigting van die ballon.  Pa tel haar op en sit haar op sy heup, gee haar ‘n soen op die wang en vee met sy hand oor haar gesig. Deur die agtervenster van die Chrystler sit ‘n Laborador tong-uit-die-mond en kyk hoe hulle aangestap kom.

Met die verbygaan sien ek die ballon is mooi netjies met ‘n strikkie aan die agterpoot van ‘n bokkie wat iemand doodgery het, vasgemaak. Ek kry ‘n knop in die keel en dink “Die Badlands is nie so bad nie…”
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 10:51:00 am by Jabus »
 

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“Baai-baai Bokkie”

Elke aand het ek ‘n vaste ritueel.  Enige toer het ‘n ritueel. Indien jy nie ‘n vaste ritueel het nie veroorsaak dit net frustrasie.  Of miskien pla dit jou nie.  Vir my pla dit wel.  My ritueel begin deur seker te maak die fiets se tenk is vol petrol voordat ek by my slaapplek stop.  Dan laai ek my GPS, selfoon, iPad en kamera.  Soek op Google maps na moontlike roetes vir die volgende dag en kyk op YR.no na die algemene weervoorspelling vir die volgende dag of twee.  Weer terug na Google maps en skryf ‘n paar dorpies se name,  roete nommers en bakens op klein stukkie papier neer.  Hierdie papiertjies sit ek met magnete op die handvatsels vas.  

Ek maak my bril, kamera en helmet se lense skoon.  Maak seker al die “zips” op my baadjie en broek is toe vir die vroegoggend koue.  Dan doen ek ‘n paar strekoefeninge om my nek en skouers los te kry.  Was my sokkies, my hemp en  onderbroek met die hand uit en doen die ou koshuistruuk van rol dit in die handdoek op, wen die handdoek op soos ‘n rekkie om die ergste water uit die klere te druk.  Op hierdie manier is alles more-oggend weer droog. Ek maak ‘n kopie van die fotos wat ek die dag geneem het.  Ek maak ‘n paar notas, kyk deur die fotos en maak nog notas.

Sekere gebeurtenisse kan mens met ‘n kamera vasvang.  Ander weer “kliek” jy net so in die ry. Met die knip van jou oë.  Vandag se gedagtefoto was net nadat ons van die Interstate afgedraai het.  Die wind het ons verniel deur die Badlands.  Nou en dan het die warrelwinde my nek ‘n pluk gegee.  Amper soos ‘n derderangse chiropraktisyn.  Ek is dankbaar dat ons nou die wind eerder reg van voor kry…

Daar staan ‘n motor langs die pad geparkeer.  Soos ek aangery kom sien ek ‘n klein dogtertjie en haar pa in die veld langs die pad.: Pa sit op sy linkerknie, dogtertjie op haar hurke.  ‘n Ballon wapper omtrent op pa se kophoogte tussen hulle twee.  Pa staan regop en gee ‘n tree terug.  Die dogtertjie wikkel op haar hurke nader aan haar Pa en sit haar arm om sy kuit.   Hulle kyk in die rigting van die ballon…  

Die foelie ballon, in die vorm van ‘n hartjie, is iewers vasgemaak en wapper in die sterk wind.  Ek wonder wat is die ballon se ankerpunt….

Die pa vat die blonde dogtertjie aan die hand en begin in die rigting van hulle Chrystler loop.  Haar blonde krulhare en pienk rokkie waai in die wind.  Sy stop elke paar tree en kyk terug.  So amper asof sy iets vergeet het.  Dan stop sy heeltemal.  Sy draai haar hele lyfie terug en kyk na die ballon.  Sy waai met haar handjie uitgestrek in die lug.  Dan laat sak sy haar hand en vat-vat aan haar gesig.  Met haar handpalm na bo blaas sy ‘n soentjie in die rigting van die ballon.  Pa tel haar op en sit haar op sy heup, gee haar ‘n soen op die wang en vee met sy hand oor haar gesig. Deur die agtervenster van die Chrystler sit ‘n Laborador tong-uit-die-mond en kyk hoe hulle aangestap kom.

Met die verbygaan sien ek die ballon is mooi netjies met ‘n strikkie aan die agterpoot van ‘n bokkie wat iemand doodgery het, vasgemaak. Ek kry ‘n knop in die keel en dink “Die Badlands is nie so bad nie…”


Ek tjank nie gewoonlik op 'n saterdagoggend nie........ :'(
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