I started this blog because I love to take motorcycle trips both local and around the country. And I love finding that roadside attraction or quaint town and of course the best places to eat. So I'd like to share my adventures with friends old and new. And I would like to hear about yours. Feel free to share. What's the nicest ride you've ever taken? The most scenic ride? The longest ride? Rallies you've been to with thousands or a solo ride? The town you fell in love with? The food that you'd go back for? Talk about the motorcycle shops along the way. We all love a warm friendly face. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so use them to help others share your experience.

Friday, August 19, 2011

DAY 10

Today brought a huge change in the weather and we were a little hesitant about heading out for what we had planned for the day. The weather channel called for possible thunderstorms and highs of only around 66. But the weather around here can be very fickle and even when it does rain, sometimes it will last only a short time and then pass.

So after breakfast we got ready for our day. Our first stop for the day was the Crazy Horse Monument. Since it is only about 6 miles from our hotel we used this ride as a gauge for what to wear and how far to go for the rest of the day.
 I must admit that although I usually don't overdress when I ride, but the light jackets that we wore to the monument were not going to be sufficient for the ride that I had planned for the rest of the day.

We did the 6 miles and had a wonderful time during our visit to the Crazy Horse Monument. We watched the short video and learned a lot about the origin and progress of the ongoing project.
The way that the sculptor started the carving and what he went through to make his dream a reality is truly an inspiring story.
We took the bus ride that takes you much closer to the mountain than you are at the visitor center. Faith got some great pics and you can see more of them on my facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/rvaracchi

 It's amazing to think that the mountain in the background will someday look like the statue pictured here. It is a family operation with most of the children carrying on the process. But all of the planning and sketches were done in the 1940s and it is truly unbelievable when we learned how the sketches were painted on the mountain with a paint brush while hanging from a rope on the side of the walls.
The final project will dwarf Mt Rushmore by more than 10 times.
The final projected date for completion is 2036.
So the clouds were blocking the sun and at times the mist was rather heavy. We decided to go back to the hotel and gear up for our ride through the mountains.
We got the leathers on and Faith even wore her helmet to keep her head a little warmer.
The plan was to head north on 89 and then take the Needles Highway around and then we wanted to go through Custer State Park on the wildlife loop again.

 We weren't on the road long before we came around a curve and I happened to see some horns rising from the grass in a field. As we got closer we realized that we had come upon a half dozen long horn steer lounging in the grass.
I pulled over and Faith walked back for some photo ops.
Then we got to the Norbeck Byway. this has to be one of the greatest motorcycle roads that we've ever been on. The climbing and the curves and the tunnels and the switchbacks are both exciting and quite a challenge. Although you can drive the "pigtail" bridges along 16A near Rushmore and view the monument through bridges carved in the mountain, The Needles Highway is a ride that makes The Tail Of The Dragon look like a Sunday morning ride.
 To start off when you get on 87 from 89 you come to this fantastic tunnel that is a one car lane cut through the mountain.
A huge tourist stop and there are usually a lot of cars and bikes parked here for pics and just comparing notes about where they've been and where they're from.

Again, I've posted only a few of the pics and none of the video here. you can check out more on my Facebook page.

I hope to have video up soon.

 Now that we've driven some of the best roads that a motorcyclist could want, Faith wanted to go back to the Wildlife Loop Road to see if we could find more buffalo.

As luck would have it we came upon a herd of buffalo very early along the road and then we found another on 16A right outside of the park.
 Here is a Marmot that we saw earlier in the day along the road near the Crazy Horse Monument. All of the animals that you come upon seem oblivious to the humans gawking and calling and photographing. I guess it just becomes a part of their day.
And of course along the Wildlife Loop you're bound to meet the donkeys. We had to stop again for more pics. Here we found a mom being very protective of her young.

So all in all a VERY nice day. The rain never came and the sun actually peeked out a time or two. The temps really never got very warm but it was a welcome change from the sun beating down on you all day long.
The trike also likes this cooler weather.  She ran great and we did 82 miles before calling it a day and going for a buffalo steak dinner...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Tomorrow should be a relaxing day with no definite plans....They are calling for another weather day like today so we're just hoping that it doesn't rain...Tune in tomorrow to find out how we did.

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