Sunday, July 11, 2010

BMW Rally 2010 - Day 3

Greetings from Keystone, South Dakota just a few miles from Mt. Rushmore. We'll be staying here for a day to see the sights around the area and then continue on to Miles City Tuesday morning. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This morning I was awake before 5 so I got up and got ready. The plan was to take advantage of the free breakfast since they were supposed to have biscuits and gravy at 6am, then hit the road because I was worried about the distance versus time since we wouldn't be on interstate and I didn't realize we'd gain an hour crossing time zones. We were leaving town by 6:30 with a beautiful sunrise to the east. The sun was hidden behind a patch of clouds but the rest of the sky was clear so you could see a great startburst like pattern. We headed north on US 183.

When we got to I-80 we stopped at the truck stop to get Reagan a new antenna. This time I picked up a 3' fiberglass unit that was lighter than the 2' or 4' firesticks. While I installed the antenna Reagan was visiting with a local who found the Spyder to be interesting. Shocker! With the new antenna installed it was time to resume our travels up 183.

In Ansley we picked up Hwy 2 north, we stopped in Dunning for fuel at the local Sinclair. It definitely wasn't a state of the art gas station. It had the old analog dials on the pump and strangely Super Premium was cheaper than plain unleaded. I opted for the plain unleaded though thinking it was probably newer than the Super. After Reagan completed a riding gear correction, we resumed our travels. The temperature to this point was in the lower 70's and the sky was clear blue.

In Thedford we turned north onto US 83. When we reached Hwy 20 we turned left and continued north into Valentine where we stopped for a bio break. I picked the Shell/McDonalds figuring they'd have clean restrooms. What I hadn't planned on was the crazy number of people all over the place. As normal, somebody was interested in Reagan's Spyder. This time it was a lady from Beaumont, TX. My this is a small world.

After the break we took Hwy 83 north out of town heading for the South Dakota border. We stopped at the border for a state sign photo and then we were on indian reservation land. Oh how I hate reservation land. Speed limits usually suck, gas stations are spotty and service at them is usually slow. Well, a few miles onto the reservation we passed a gas station and I decided to stop since I wasn't sure when and where we'd find the next station while riding through reservation land. That was a good thing too, as we didn't find another station within 60 miles which would have really pushed the Spyder's range. Of course the station didn't have pay at the pump and the attendant was too stupid to turn on 2 pumps for 1 person. So much for a quick gas-n-go.

With full tanks we resumed our travels up 83 to White River where we headed west on 44 and then back into more reservation land. At least there weren't any reservation law enforcement present so we made decent time.

Finally off reservation lands we reached Hwy 377 and turned left into the very small town of Interior which apparently only comes alive for the Sturgis rally. There were several bars/grills and none of them looked like they had been open since last year's rally. It was after 12:00 and we were sort of hungry so we pressed on looking for a place to eat or a scenic overlook to stop at and share some snacks that we had on the bikes.

Although we had turned left onto 377 we were still on Hwy 44 and it took us through a small part of the Bad Lands National Park. I actually found a few curves, wow! At this point we knew were close to Rapid City and there was also a pretty nasty weather system up ahead. It wasn't a matter of if it was going to rain but rather when it was going to rain. Just as we rolled into Rapid City it started to spit on us. Reagan stopped for gas while I scouted for a place to eat and get out of the impending rain. We found a pub/grill next door to the gas station where we stayed for the next 2 hours waiting for 3pm so we could check into our hotel in Keystone.

As 3pm neared and it was obvious that the rain wasn't leaving, we geared up in our rain gear and headed over to Keystone. Traffic was moderate for a touristy place and we found our hotel without incident. Check in was easy and we even managed a parking place right outside our front door.

After getting everything inside, we opted to walk down to the Borglum Museum to learn a little bit more about Mt. Rushmore. By the time we were done I realized I really needed a nap so we walked back over to the hotel for a short nap. And after a decent nap, Reagan suggested we go over to Peggy's Place for some pie since neither of us were really hungry for a full dinner. Our waitress was from Texas and said she spent winters down in Victoria because it was too cold to stay up here.

After a nap and pie, I was ready to go see the metropolis of Keystone so we walked on into town. Lock up your wallets folks, for a town of only 311 they work really hard to separate you from your money with all sorts of touristy junk. But the walk was free and good for us. BTW: I'm wearing my new Tour Master Solutions boots and they are great for walking around as well as riding.

Like any good day, this day is ending with a cold beer while sitting outside with beautiful scenery. WiFi sucks at the Travel Lodge, but my Sprint Overdrive hotspot is here to save the day.  Today we road  430 miles over 9 hours and 48 minutes. Considering the 2 hour stop in Rapid City, we made incredible time through reservation land.

Tomorrow Reagan is the tour guide for the area and she's asking me for my input. So I'd better wrap up this blog post.

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