Day 67 Spokane Creek to Pierre, SD 239 miles
"I studied the lives of great men and famous woman, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had at hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm."
We hopped on the MotoBago for one more trip through the serpentine roads of the Black Hills to head East toward Pierre. The roads meander through the forest as if they were designed by motorcycle enthusiasts.
"Hey Jake, we could run the road straight across that valley."
"Naw, let's hug this here hill, then wind it across, stick it between those
trees and then carve a tight turn up the other hill."
However, whoever designed it, the road is a biker's dream.
Amazing how the forest ends and prairies begin, like someone carved them out
with a knife. And the open range brought heat and wind. Suddenly, South Dakota is a bit less fun. Since we rode in a mostly Easterly direction, it required a lean toward oncoming traffic to overcome the buffeting that wanted to push us off the road. QG complained of a stiff neck, from the helmet and overcoming the draught.
We wanted to stop at the Badlands National Monument, but the sign read,
'Entering...' and so on, and five miles later read, 'Leaving...' What? We
stopped at a gas station and reread the map. We missed it. Drat. I went inside to pay for the gas (old school) and asked about the park. "Two miles down the road."
Huh? We checked the map. No park. Went down the road. Found the entrance. Got
their map, and our map was wrong. That was wonderful, because not only did we
find the park, but we were right!
The marketing team that named Badlands nailed it. Apparently the French
originally named it, 'The bad place to travel through' or something like that.
It is rugged, desolate and foreign. I mentioned to Quilter Girl that this place must have broken many a pioneers' spirit as they struggled through this wasteland to get to the Oregon Territories.
The hills and spires jut up to the sky and look like they are carved with a
knife. Getting alongside them, they narrow to a point only a few inches wide.
We attended a movie that told us all about the Badlands, and lucky we got there today, because they said they are disappearing! In one hundred thousand years (give or take a couple weeks) they will be gone. And they are an inch lower than last year. Should have been there sooner. You might want to drop what you're doing or before you know it, they will be gone. I warned you.
Back on the MotoBago and off to Pierre. Farmland abounds, with huge tractors
trundling down the highways, their curb tires in the grass on the shoulder, the others on the center line. They crawled around the fields, harvesting at a great rate. Some cut hay; others combined and loaded trucks to haul off grain to the elevators. Bright yellow fields of stubble blanketed the landscape, awaiting the tractors to till them under once more.
The corn looks a bit lame. If you're a praying person, you might ask the Lord
for a bit of moisture on those Midwest corn fields.
We arrived in Pierre after four, cooked and weary of the wind. Checked into a
Super 8 and turned the air up high. I doubt we'll watch fireworks or anything, just chill...literally.
This tour has surprised me with how much history I've learned. Every historical marker, every visitor's center, gives us a bit more insight into this great country.
Happy Independence Day.
Don't forget the blog below (hopefully) for our last tour of the motorcycle museum.