Northwest Adventure 2014… Day 11

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ July 7, 2014/ BMW R1200RT, General Rants & Raves About Riding, Northwest Adventure 2014, Touring/ 0 comments

Departure Location: Baker, Montana

Time: 08:29

Weather Conditions: sunny and 79

Daily High Temperature: 91

Destination: Rapid City, South Dakota

Daily Miles Logged: 295

 

As we departed the Red River Inn & Suites in Baker this morning, I could not help but be intrigued by what means a small community such as Baker stays in existence.  In conversing with the receptionist at the front desk, she informed us that the oil boom keeps them busy most of the time and that it is unusual for them to have vacancies.  Their facility is new and quite clean, however, their complementary breakfast left a lot to be desired.

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Nasty Bugs… Get off of my windshield!

FaceTime with Rion...

FaceTime with Rion…

FaceTime with Melody Grace!

FaceTime with Melody Grace!

We rolled along Hwy 12 saying good bye to Montana and hello to North & South Dakota.  This ride was very pleasant and a good way to start the morning off with gentle rolling hills and long sweeping turns that were a pleasure to ride.  North Dakota’s scenery along Hwy 12 was very similar to what we had been experiencing in Wyoming and Montana, however, there was a lush yellowish green blanket covering the landscape where the cattle were grazing.  Our entrance into Marmarth ND was met with little fanfare and we left almost as quickly as we arrived.

Continuing on Hwy 12, we rode through a town called Rhame.  Its most memorable feature to me was its primary cross street, Main Street, that was simply two blocks long.  One in each direction of the intersection with Hwy 12.  As we headed due south towards Mt. Rushmore, we also rode through the community of Belle Fourche and Spearfish which is where we stopped to top off our fuel before heading into the Black Hill Forest.

After a few more miles, we found ourselves looking for lunch and what we found was at Dakota’s in Hill City South Dakota.  This of course was after paying the obligatory visit to the local Harley Shop, that carries no motorcycles mind you!

My RT at yet another Harley Dealership... Funny, there were no bikes to be found inside!

My RT at yet another Harley Dealership… Funny, there were no bikes to be found inside!

I was delighted to taste a genuine buffalo burger.  It was delicious.

I was delighted to taste a genuine buffalo burger. It was delicious.

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Our lunch joint...

Our lunch joint…

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Lunch was terrific as three of us elected to try the Buffalo burgers.  I chose to sample their homemade chips while the others had frozen fries and baked beans.  Our waitress was most personable and very attentive.  She along with numerous others we have encountered on our trip out west was here on a visa from an eastern European country for the summer.

The ride into the Black Hills National Forest was spectacular as we were treated to a wide variety of colors and textural palate variations from Yosemite and Yellowstone.  Our pace was comfortable and we made our way to see the Chief Crazy Horse monument located just north of the town of Custer, SD.  I was in awe as to the magnitude of this project and the fact that the original sculptor knew when he started the project that someone else would have to finish it.  He and his wife had ten children, seven of which are involved in the project today.

We met one of his daughters as we walked through the Sculptors Residence and struck up a quick conversation about the Steinway Concert Grand that was at the main entrance.  She told Matt and I that it had been a gift from his family to her father in 1969 and that if he found out that you could play the piano, he would insist that you play it for him before he would let you leave his home.  I was also amazed that this project has been funded 100% by private donations and the family is committed to completing it in that manner.

Chief Crazy Horse

Chief Crazy Horse

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The Steinway Grand

The Steinway Grand

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We collected our group and began to make our way towards Mt. Rushmore.  As we rode away from Crazy Horse, I was filled with wonderment as to the level of commitment that it must take to dedicate ones life to a single solitary pursuit, knowing that you will never complete what you set out to accomplish.

A brief shower accompanied us on our ride to Rushmore, and upon our arrival the sun was shinning once more.  We made our way through the parking plaza but got separated as we found places to park.  I found my way onto the top level of the parking structure and was rewarded with a priceless photo of my RT with Rushmore in the background!  I must say that much of Rushmore’s splendor was marginalized after having seen the magnitude of Crazy Horse just an hour before.  Rushmore is amazing in that it is finished and symbolizes much of what makes our nation the greatest nation on earth.  However, Crazy Horse simply towers above in so many ways.

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Tomorrow we ride to Sturgis for a brief stop and then we pick up the pace again as we will say goodbye to Elizabeth and Annette for the remainder of the trip.  I will be a little sad to see them go as they have been amazing fun and have put up with our shenanigans in stride.  They also covered over 3000 of the 7500+ miles of our adventure with nary a complaint.  It has been a joy getting to know them more through our shared experiences and I hope it is not another year before we get to ride together again…

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