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Author Topic: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis  (Read 297 times)

Offline DesignFlaw06

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2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:07:45 PM »
Time for another long weekend ride.  A Nighthawk Rally without any Nighthawks.  Four of us trailered from Michigan, one trailered from Kentucky to ride in western South Dakota.  Basically Sturgis, without Sturgis or the million bikes.  We arrived at the hotel around midnight and we were on the road a little after 9 AM, since we had to unload the bikes and such.   I was all set to try out my new GoPro Hero 5, when I realized the night before that I was missing the remote cable. 

Friday

We modified the route to hit Best Buy first thing and see if they had the remote cable.  If they did, great, if not, I was just going to buy extra batteries and make the best of it. They had the remotes, but no cable.  Remotes are $80, which I really didn't want to spend.  When I explained my predicament to the manager,  he offered me employee pricing on the remote which was $50.  You know what?  This is what I bought the GoPro for and I'm not going to be here again any time soon.  Plus we went out of our way for me to go to Best Buy.  A $50 mistake doesn't even crack my top fifty most expensive mistakes, so I bought it.


It was still early, but we had a vast wasteland ahead of us so we ate lunch in Rapid City.  Firehouse Brewing Co. was our selection and it was decent enough.  They have tons of billboards along I-90 with old fire trucks in various configurations.


The new remote had a charge on it, so I slapped it on the bike and took off.  It takes some nice pictures.  Our Kentucky friend Jim mentioned there was a missile silo nearby.   A quick Google search showed us that it was right where we were going today.  Well almost.  The historical Monument Missile complex is just a history museum.  We wanted to see the rocket!  The park ranger said the actual silo was about 15 minutes west down I-90 and there was a park ranger there for another 45 minutes.

The air conditioned building felt nice, but we wanted to check out the silo so off we went.


https://www.nps.gov/mimi/planyourvisit/visiting-launch-facility-missile-silo-delta-09.htm

This is the Delta 09 launch site.  It held a 1.2 megaton nuclear warhead.  Had we missed the park ranger, we would have only been able to see this from the road.  There are motion sensors on the property that is likely to get you arrested if caught.

Sadly there was no launch button I could press. :(


The park ranger was very knowledgeable.  Part of the START treaty signed by Bush and Gorbachev allowed a couple silos to be used as historical sites on both sides.  Russians are welcome to inspect this property at any time for any reason.  The ranger said there has only been one visit.  He has a picture of Colin Powell at the site with the Russians for that visit.

If the time came to launch, the cover that the kid is standing on would open via an explosive charge.  During the test, that entire steel / concrete structure blew off the tracks, through the fence, and over 100 yards beyond.  Not only did it take out the fence directly behind it, but it took the rest of the fence surrounding it out too.

OK, enough history lessons.  There's riding to do in the Badlands, which was the destination for this particular loop of the trip.  With the later start, the run to Best Buy, and the missile silo, the day was getting away from us.  There was a benefit to the silo stop as we watched a small rain storm fall over where we were going to be riding.  Spent enough time off the bikes to miss that shower.


Like most scenic spots, pictures don't really do this place justice.


Believe it or not, there are roads in there.


There wasn't much traffic and most of the cars pulled over if we caught them.  We decided to do a couple action shots.  This one was my favorite.


After that, it was late enough to put us in "Get Back" mode.  We had to take a 9 mile gravel road shortcut and it was paved from there on out.  There was a section towards the bottom of the route, Rt 2 I believe where we opened it up a little bit.  Not a car, building, or person in sight on a straight road slightly downhill.  We weren't at "Go To Jail" speeds, but clipped along pretty good.  As we were approaching the end of the road, we finally saw another car that lit up like a Christmas tree once he saw us.  Crap.

Fortunately, he motioned for us to slow down as he went by.  I was already slowing down anticipating getting pulled over.  That was all we saw of him, but still followed his directions and toned it down a bit for the rest of the way. 

Quick bite to eat and got to bed.  Another big day coming up.

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 01:08:06 PM »
Saturday

Saturday morning was a pretty good size loop.  Most of this area I have seen before, but not on a bike.  Devil's Tower is something I hadn't seen at all, so I thought it made a good objective for the day.


We didn't make it too far before we pulled over for some pictures.


This is profile view of George Washington's head.  You can't really see the others, but it served as a decent photo opportunity.  From there, the route got interesting.


The route I had planned, I thought, was pretty good.  Turns out I was wrong.  We left Hill City with our eyes on Four Corners via Deerfield road.  That road is paved for a good portion, but eventually turned to dirt.  The sign said it was another 23 miles to get to Four Corners.  But the other road at the intersection looked paved.  It took us out of our way a bit, but we decided it was the better route to go.  Turned out that pavement lasted another mile.   We pressed on, hoping it would turn to pavement soon.  It took 10 miles to do so.  We made the right call, because the other way was 23 miles of dirt the entire way.

We jogged through Spearfish Canyon on our way up to I90.  It was a nice road and I've got video of it, but there was a bit of traffic so that held us up a little.

Once we got out of Spearfish Canyon, I took us on I-90 to save us some time on our way to Sundance.  It didn't take long from there to reach Devil's Tower.  It costs you $10 to get in on a motorcycle.  Worth it or not is debateable since you're looking at a giant Earth zit you can see from the road.  But there's an interesting visitor center that explains how it was formed, history behind it, spiritual meanings, etc.


I didn't realize you could actually climb it.  There is a permit required to do so. A large portion of the tower was closed due to some bird's nest or something.   It takes these guys between 6-8 hours to climb.  Coming down is about an hour and a half.  Over 5000 people climb it every year.  Some go to the top, others only go part way.  In the history of allowing people to climb, only 6 climbers share the record for the fastest rate of descent.


We found more gravel, but it was just off the path.  A good chance to get some photos of the bike with the tower in the background.


I really like this one.


Objects in mirror are larger than they appear.


You can tell the color is changing in this picture.  Rain is imminent.  The original idea was to run through Spearfish Canyon again and make a stop in Deadwood.  We abandoned the second run of Spearfish Canyon and only passed through Deadwood.  It was a long enough day and it was time to head back.


After we made it back, we thought it was a good idea to hit Mt. Rushmore at night so we didn't have to spend that time on the route the next day.  We piled into the truck and headed over.  Two of the guys had never seen it before.  I knew they had some special ceremony at night when they lit up the heads so we wanted to make it for that.


Truth be told, I wish we had arrived a little earlier.  The ceremony was longer than I anticipated.  They show a video narrated by James Earl Jones that talks about why each president is on the monument.  It was neat, but it didn't go into much detail about how it was constructed / carved.  After 40 minutes, we had a chance to browse through the visitor center for about 20-30 minutes.  We missed the video talking about the construction, but there were some neat exhibits in there.   All stuff I had seen years ago, but it is nice to have a refresher.


I reflected on how much a different time we live in. The 4 men on this monument achieved greatness and a legacy that will live on forever.  If the idea of Mt. Rushmore had been proposed today, it would be so incredibly criticized and the politics would never allow it to happen.  It seems like today, monuments are only acceptable when and where something terrible has occurred.  I don't see a new national monument in my lifetime that isn't the result of a tragedy.

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 01:08:38 PM »
Sunday

Sunday was the final day of riding.


Sylvan Lake is one of the more picturesque spots you can visit.  I didn't realize we organized ourselves by height.  Left to right is me, Guy, Nick (naskie18), Gary (Huys), and Jim (jspringnator).


I climbed the easy rock formation.  There were guys climbing the rock behind me.  We kept waiting for them to jump off, but there is a hefty fine for those who do so.


Panoramic shot of the lake.  Jim split off after this.  He had a long trip back and just wanted to get a head start.  Today wasn't going to be a long day anyway so I can't say I blame him.


The Michigan Four continued on to Crazy Horse.  Up until now, I had only taken pictures from the road.  We decided to make the visit in this time.  I found it more interesting than I thought.  I mean, the rock doesn't look any different from what I remember 5 years ago or 25 years ago.  I found out why inside.

This basically was the project of one man for about 7 years.  He started breeding help after that and it has been a family operation since.  All of the faces in Mt. Rushmore would fit in the space of Crazy Horse's head.  This guy was ambitious.


We decided to eat lunch there and it was a good thing.  It started pouring rain in the middle of our meal.  Thought we could wait it out.


The goal after Crazy Horse was Wildlife Road.  There was a gap in the rain where we could get geared back up.  Those dark clouds behind us is where we were headed so everyone put the rain gear on.  I don't have any still images of Wildlife Road, but you have the potential to see plenty of wildlife.  Another instance where I need to get through the videos.  When I went about 5 years ago, I remember trying to get a car through a herd of bison.  The only thing we really saw were some donkeys harassing people in their vehicles.  If you had your window rolled down, they were poking their head inside to see what you had.


After Wildlife Road, it was back up Iron Mountain Road in the opposite direction as before.  We had cut our planned route short by about 100 miles due to the rain delay.  Plus we decided we could get a jump on the 17 hour drive back home.


The thing about Iron Mountain Road is there are 3 tunnels.  Each of the tunnels are carved out to frame Mt. Rushmore.  That's easier to see in person than on the camera, but you can see it if you look close.


Gary headed through the tunnel while the GoPro took pictures.


Guy's turn.


You can't see Nick, but he's actually on top of the tunnel taking pictures out the other side.  Neat idea, but the photos captured weren't as spectacular as we'd hope. He did get a shot from here though.


There wasn't much to tell from here.  We saw a few vehicles that we wondered how they were going to make it.  The pigtail bridges were neat.  That's in more video that I have to put together.

We got back to the hotel around 5 PM, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and loaded up the bikes into the trailer.  We were on the road around 6:30 or so.  We made it to Sioux Falls, SD around 2 AM.  Slept for about 3.5 hours and continued on our way.  We made it to my house around 8 PM EST.  The other 3 still had another 3 hours to go, but all arrived safely.

All in all, it was a great trip.  Everyone stayed upright and safe,  no tickets were issued, and we got another experience that we won't get at home.

Offline clearviewx

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 05:41:42 PM »
Outstanding.  Thanks for sharing. cheers3
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Offline Hog Dog

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 09:00:45 PM »
Enjoyed your report and pics.  Never been in SD, but it looks like an interesting place.  Sounds like a cool cop that motioned to slow down instead of writing tickets.
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Offline Dan

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2017, 09:36:22 AM »
That is such a cool trip, so wish I could ride there.  When did Guy get his FJR?  Does he still have his Sportster?  Great photos by the way, some of these photos are just downright amazing.

Offline hppants

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2017, 10:17:31 AM »
Well done, Tim.  That tour is on my bucket list, but I can't tell when I will get that way.

Who's got the 2005 FJR?  Brings back memories.....

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2017, 10:37:33 AM »
That is such a cool trip, so wish I could ride there.  When did Guy get his FJR?  Does he still have his Sportster?  Great photos by the way, some of these photos are just downright amazing.

Guy bought the FJR not too long after the New Hampshire rally.  He figured out what good riding is apparently.  He claims he's never getting rid of the Sportster as he put way too much time and effort into rebuilding it. 

Who's got the 2005 FJR?  Brings back memories.....

That guy is Guy.  He's the latest addition to the Michigan crew.  He works with Gary, who has the 2014 FJR.

Offline NH750Kitch

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2017, 09:15:19 AM »
Great write up and pics as always Tim!  thanks for sharing  ridn2
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: 2017 Black Hills Rally - Sturgis without Sturgis
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2017, 11:15:58 AM »
Awesome pix and story. Thanks for sharing!
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