Northwest Adventure 2014… Day 12

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

Departure Location: Rapid City,ND

Time:11:29

Weather Conditions:79

Daily High Temperature:89

Destination: O’Neil, NE

DailyMiles Logged:412 (not interstate miles… Backroads, hillbilly, hick town, 25-55mph roads in many cases through mountains, canyons, flatlands, in the rain… you get my drift)

States Covered: South Dakota, Nebraska,

(Note: This entry is being written two days later in the fog of what is now nearly an additional 1000 miles!)

Late departure due to Harley Oil changes:

Our stay at the Hilton Garden Suites was very pleasant once again, thanks in part to the VIP status afforded us by Elizabeth’s presence.  When she walks into a Hilton, Conrad himself greets her at the main door and asks her if he can help her with her bags… Jon and Randall’s harley’s needed a little bit of TLC, and that apparently is what they received from the not so efficient team at the Rapid City Harley Dealership. (More like pokey city…)  They had originally estimated a return to the hotel by 9:30-10:00 given their expectations of the “Express Service” offered by Harley.  This actually became a return for departure time of 11:29.  I took advantage of the extra time and reorganized my luggage and snoozed for a few more minutes as the droning of FoxNews in the background lulled me into a state of half consciousness and slumber.

Visit to Sturgis, South Dakota including the BMW Dealership:

Our first destination was Sturgis, South Dakota for a quick ride through the main strip and what was a mission of sorts… to find the one and only BMW dealership on our route for the past 12 days.  Sturgis Motorsports is a little off the beaten path, and did not have a large selection of new BMW’s that is, unless you are interested in a new 2013 model GTL or RT.  However, they did have the quart of oil that I needed AND a BMW of Sturgis T-Shirt that made Matt and I feel a little less left out from the HD guys that have been picking up Harley T-Shirts at what seems like virtually every gas and food stop…  ( just kidding, its only every other!)

BMW of Sturgis

BMW of Sturgis

Ride to Nemo, SD.  Beautiful ride despite the rain:

While we were inside the BMW dealership, the heavens began to open up and pour rain on us for the first time on our trip.  This gave me an opportunity to test out my new Tourmaster one-piece rain suit for the very first time.  I can say that it definitely kept the rain out, however, as far as me remaining dry, that is another story as I was sweating like a prostitute in church during a revival conducted by a minister with the gift of prophecy!

Interstate to Wall, SD for lunch and a quick visit to Wall Drugs:

Our Next destination was the famous Wall Drugs, located in Wall South Dakota for lunch, however our route there was back through the Black Hills on the Road to Nemo.  Nemo is a small town, and this road takes you to said town and it is also referred to as “The Road To Nemo.”  It is noted for its beautiful scenery as well as its gentle to moderate pace through a nice twisty road. Visiting Wall Drugs was a little like stepping back through a corridor of time to the old west… that is until you were reminded by everyone around you holding a smartphone in their hand that you were still in the brain dead present.  Mindless zombies roamed the streets and shops, staring into their “smartphone” and completely missing out on the experience of all that Wall had to offer.  I closed my eyes and imagined John Wayne or Clint Eastwood walking the street or under the canopy defending their town from those that might mean it harm.  I could hear the jingle of the boot spurs and rhythmic thumping of their boot heals pounding the wooden walkway.  I allowed myself to be transported for a few moments to a place I had always imagine… the old wild wild west.

But we were here for lunch.  The menu was interesting, but I opted for the Veggie burger which was a disappointment, but not as big of a disappointment in the onion rings that were obviously frozen out of a box, just like every other restaurant that is disinterested in creating an authentic experience for their customers….  Maybe the neon signs in the windows should have been my first clue. IMG_1147 IMG_1150 IMG_1146 Ride through the Badlands National Park Loop:

Any visit to South Dakota would be incomplete without a ride through “The Big Badlands.”  This was almost omitted from our trip due to our late start, but Jon made the right call and we made the trek.  Our ride transported us to what I can only describe as a place unlike anywhere else on earth.  I felt as though I was one of the Martian rovers traversing the Martian landscape discovering new sights for the very first time.  This was a perfect way to say our farewell to what I think was one of my favorite states of our trip.

I could definitely seem myself riding back to South Dakota again in the future to spend more time exploring all that she has to offer a motorcyclist adventurer. IMG_1156 IMG_1171 IMG_1166 IMG_1164 IMG_1158 IMG_1157 IMG_1179 IMG_1176 IMG_1175 IMG_1174 Heading south towards Nebraska:

From the Badlands, we turned south toward Nebraska.  As the landscape changed once again, we were back to rows of cornfields and livestock out the wazzoo…  Daylight was escaping us and we were rapidly realizing that we were in literally the middle of absolute nowhere.  That realization was reinforced as we stopped to snap a quick photo of the “Welcome to Nebraska” sign and there wasn’t another car, house, animal, street light, or anything else that would suggest population as far as the eye could see or the ears hear.  The temps were dropping as well, so we all added an extra layer or two for good measure. Jon asked that we cluster up tight and run our lights on full high beams so that we could appear as a wall of light to any oncoming traffic… There was still over 150 miles to what would be our “lay up short” stoping point of O’Neil Nebraska and nearly 250 left on the days goal.  I think we saw three cars over the course of the next 100 miles.

We landed at the Holiday Inn Express in O’Neil and settled in after midnight for an early start the next day rolling out at 06:45. We are exhausted and nearly spent, and most folks I have talked to offer little sympathy and remind me that this is all “self-inflicted” misery.  I disagree… This is an adventure of a lifetime that most folks only dream about.  We are doing it.  We are living it.  Realtime.  This is not a TV show where we are watching other do something great… We are doing the Great Something.  We are stretching our physical limitations to points beyond what we could have imagined.  We are doing what some have called foolish or impossible.  This is real life, and this adventure is ours forever…

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