Monday, September 8, 2008

Conclusion to this trip

Well, it's two days later after arriving home and i finally have time to finish this up. We got up on Friday Morning ready to head for home, the last few nights it got below freezing, started at Devil's Tower and continued in Yellowstone. Brrrr, don't camp in KOA after Labor Day, the walk to the restroom at night is a real chiller. Makes it hard to get back to sleep. We packed up and headed out, nearly 500 miles to Spokane, WA and a stay in an Extended Stay Studio, nice place with all the comforts of home in a space about 14 x 14. It did have a really nice shower and fully appointed kitchen and perhaps most importantly heat. Saturday we woke up very early and headed for Wenatchee, we know the road really well and make amazing time, stopped in Wenatchee and visited with the daughter that lives there and my sister. Then off to Bellingham via highway two and Stevens Pass. Home by 5:30 and it was soooo nice. We are already making plans to return to Deadwood and the surrounding area in late July next year.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Catch Up time

I realized reading over the past posts that i have said nothing about the trip to Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Well, I finally got the pictures uploaded so I figured a bit on that trip would be good. We headed out early and went to Rushmore first, as you can see we didn't get as far as the gate, Mike didn't want to pay for another gate fee to get in when he pretty much just wanted to see it. However, next year we will be going up close and personal, there is a train that runs to the mountain in Hilltop a small town at the base of the mountain so combine a fun ride with a bit more exploration. So, get the pictures, turn around and head for the Crazy Horse Memorial which was fascinating but again needs a lot more time to fully explore. We were there for close to 2 hours and didn't even see everything in the complex, very interesting place and there are tours out to the site, up close and personal. Wish we would have been there on Labor Day as they had a big blasting. When they set up for a major progress blast they turn it into sort of a fireworks show. Also before Labor day they have a laser light show said to be amazing. The amount of Indian history encompassed in this one place was amazing. We figure next year we will split the two, do Rushmore for 1/2 day and Crazy Horse for 1/2 day, might get a bit more understanding then, Well, there's a bit on that trip. :)
P.S. We bought an interagency pass good to next September, gets you into all sorts of places, federal parks and monuments, BLM, and several other places, we were able to trade in all our receipts from the previous places off on the cost also, so it cost us like 10 bucks more than what we had already spent.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yellowstone Ho!

Busy day yesterday and today, we left Devil's Tower for the nearly 400 mile trek to Yellowstone. Lots of driving, only 95 of it on I-90 then off on 16 to travel the back roads and a couple of mountain passes to the East entrance of Yellowstone. Once we passed through the gate it was a different story, 45 miles an hour and watch out for animals and tourists, funny how folks will stop in the middle of the road for a buffalo. Took us 2 1/2 hours to do what should have been 1 1/2. Amazing scenery though but it got dark before we exited the park.
Went back today and did some exploring, we immediately came to the conclusion we need to few trips to see it all. Snow in one of the passes already, guy at the office says 2 weeks and there will be snow in the KOA campground. I never realized the altitude of the park. The animals, 4 and 2 footed are interesting, but to me the vents, volcanic activity and the recovery of the forest from various fires was way more interesting. We did go to see Old Faithful but our timing was off so I guess it will be the next time around.
I prefer the animals to be a bit farther away than the buffalo were a few times as you can see when I get the gallery uploaded. I have restrictions here on my usage so I will do what i can. They are chasing grizzlies out of the campground at night, makes me scared to go down to the girls room.
We are looking forward to coming back on the bikes next summer when it is a bit warmer and doing all our exploring that way. There are dozens of bikes in the park at any moment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Homeward bound

Stayed in Devils Tower KOA last night, my advice is don't bother. Cabins were worn, mattress was pretty much non-existent, office closed at 6pm and the folks were not at all friendly.
Well, back to Deadwood which was way more fun. I spent three hours taking pictures and looking about in Deadwood and definitely didn't get it all. We took a little bus tour up to the cemetary and around, learned quite a bit about deadwood in the process, like the fact Wild Bill and Calamity Jane were only passing acquaintances, she was sort of the original stalker. The town decided in 1980 to become a casino town to restore the buildings before they all fell apart. So, 4% of all profits go to restoring the town and it has been very successful but there is a casino every other storefront. Gamblers heaven, but we don't gamble so the history part was a blast. We are definitely going back next year. So enjoy the pictures and I'll write a bit more this evening, Mike is tired of sitting in this hotspot parking lot.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Holding pattern

The internet sucks here, will hit a hotspot first thing in the morning and put up the post about our amazing day in deadwood and nearly 200 pics from there as well as pics from crazy horse and rushmore (different album) Thanks for your patience, see you in the morning.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Off to Deadwood

The day dawned as the last several have, hot, sunny, and windy. We got loaded up and headed out of Mitchell, SD to Deadwood, 375 miles. We thought we would get there relatively quickly but we hadn't counted on the severe wind, Motorcycles passing us were leaning over heavily to make any progress against the wind and we encountered exhausted motorcyclists at every stop. Then throw in intermittent rain and putting on the gear and taking it off and it was not a great day to be a motorcyclist in South Dakota. We just had to fight the wind with the trailer jumping around. The roads were not fantastic either.
If you ever get to South Dakota go see the Corn Palace, didn't get to go inside but did get some great pictures that are in the gallery and a little book on it's history, very cool place that is the home to the Corn Festival (hmm, thousands of acres of corn all around, wonder why they would have corn festival). Many famous folks have played the corn palace and the palace in one incarnation or another has been around for 100+ years.
The other funny stop was a little place called Cowboy town which apparently has a little replica of a western town with animatronic people and everything. It also has live buffalo surrounding the area and it sells all kinds of buffalo products, a bit of a quick stop, and tons of fireworks.
Not a lot of pics but i will get some up tonight, however tomorrow night will be a biggie, Rushmore, Deadwood, and the Crazy Horse Monument, so stay tuned. We drove through Sturgis, pretty quiet after the labor day Mustang rally Sturgis for cars instead of bikes, lol. Up the hill and over to Deadwood, oh my, mini reno, seems the place is history, casinos, and hotels. I will get the good stuff and forget the modern stuff.
One last note, we saw our first gas station of the future, we pulled into this little gas station along the road, it had some advertisements for hot coffee and such on the outside. The pumps said credit card only so we got that going and Mike went inside and came back laughing his butt off and only said, "hmm, gas station of the future you have to go look." So in I go, and man was it interesting, restrooms and vending machines, no attendant. Wow, not too sure I like that a whole bunch. Vending machine coffee sucks.
That is another thing, I haven't had a latte in a week, scarce commodity around here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

On the way home, Day 1

Well, not a lot to report since all we did was leave Sun Prairie and get to Mitchell, South Dakota, 480 miles. Minnesota without fog was not a lot more exciting than with the fog, pretty but monotonous, corn fields and wind farms. I won't bother with pictures until tomorrow night, a few from Wisconsin and Minnesota and a cool place called Cowboy Town. We had a long day of pretty much all travel, tomorrow it is more time to play in Deadwood so should have some cool pics from there.
The road was filled with home going riders, everywhere we stopped there were bikers headed home, trailers, solos, groups, every variation. Sharing memories and hightlights over our bottles of water. Hot has been the word for the last several days. Will try to pull some more together and try to have a more interesting post tomorrow, the KOA in Mitchell, SD is very nice and has great guys, they even turned on the air conditioner in our cabin, good thing, 9pm and it was still over 80, muggy, and windy. They even let us use a trailer spot for the truck so we wouldn't have to park it by the office. Great guys, and the pizza place in Mitchell delivers to the KOA.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Parade Day

Ok, we came, we saw, and we persisted till we got it done. Parade day, we were up at 4 and headed to town by 5. Stopped and washed the bike so she would be pretty in the parade. Realized it is almost a 2 hour drive into town, ouch, got Mike's bike dropped off and loaded him up on the trike (see picture in the gallery). The shocks were bottomed out so he did a lot of complaining, oh well. We got to the staging area like 5 minutes late thanks to getting lost on the way (bad directions due to construction) so we ended up in the Enthusiast section, longgggg wait for our turn to go. Sunny near 80 degrees, no clouds, hot, hot, hot and the parade of course took forever to get to us, we left the lot at 11:30 after waiting 3 hours. Ride took like 20 some minutes. The town obviously loves Harley, there were thousands of folks on the streets to greet and cheer on the riders.
After the parade was when it got real interesting, they parked us in an out of the way dirt lot to be retrieved after the parade was over. So, we went and got something to eat and drink and waited for awhile, then I went for the bike. Mike took a shuttle downtown to his bike, he took Minnie with him.
I hiked back to my bike and a few blocks in realized it had not yet cooled off from the parade and I discovered the roads were totally messed up, I'm trying to get to Mike's bike's location (in a nice shady parking garage) and I keep getting shunted to the right, so I circle round and try the next block where i could have turned right and went right to the lot, no joy, now I was sent to the left with no outlet, so near to the far end I park the trike on the street and begin the long walk back to the parking garage. Well, it took me so long Mike had left for the far end from me to look for me and the bike, I couldn't catch him so had to backtrack and cross the street, then he was gone. So I am working my way up the street asking all the officual looking sorts if they have seen him, finally a bus driver says waayyy up the road, so off I go. I think I walked like 3 miles today in biker boots, sucked.
Well, we finally reconnect and take a shuttle down to Veterans Park to check out the stuff down there, mostly music but a large display aobut HD, and what should I find, the new trike, I got to sit on it!!!! Very comfy and cool, but complicated. Fella I talked to said watch the DVD they give you with the bike. Good, it will take me that to learn how to use all the features.
Miss Minnie was very popular both in and out of the parade. In the parade Mike said he couldn't figure out if they were more entertained by Minnie or a guy riding bitch. Both were very popular.
End of a long hot day we finally got the bikes reunited, all our gear on and headed off to the room, (a 2 hour ride away). Got back around 9:30pm, very long day. Night now, more later, off to Mitchell, SD and the corn Palace tomorrow.

Friday, August 29, 2008

105th First Day

Off we went in the morning after a sound sleep to find an alternate route into town instead of 94 which is a deadly pain, we will be using it to get into town tomorrow for the parade. We got to town and found the waterfront, I was amazed by the water, the lake is so big you feel like you are looking at the ocean. There is a beach and of course you will find a picture in the gallery.
The Discovery World display was all about the work that goes into customizing the different styles of motorcycles HD makes, very interesting, the early indoor photos in the gallery are from there. We wandered around a bit and found the shuttle to the museum, Mike of course found the info desk and went after tickets to the museum, he even asked if Jim was around, but no dice, he was busy. He wasn't really thinking there was a chance of getting them but a lovely young lady named Amanda clued him into the fact that a few had been turned in and were being redistributed and then she offered to babysit Minnie so we could go through together. Nice young lady and an amazing museum. There are a lot of pictures from there but i wish I had a whole day to do the museum. Guess we'll have to come back someday, of course it will be different by then. We rode a shuttle over and back, oh my, long trip, what should have taken 15 or so minutes took more like an hour.
Minnie is a huge hit, everyone seems to want to pet her. It is hot and she gets a bit warm.
Oh, back to the museum, when you get to the gallery pictures, check out the Rhinestone Harley. I think it has more bling than McDave's bike.
We are heading in very early for the parade tomorrow,they are saying around 4 hours for this shin dig, ouch, half a day. So off to bed and more tomorrow. Now, go check out the pics, 149 in all.

Day 4 and HOG 25th

We got up as I said and on the road by 4:30am, off we go in the dark, and straight into solid fog. Sioux Falls feels like it really is on the edge of the state. If you wanted to stay at the KOA in Sioux Falls and in a cabin, keep in mind they only have two cabins tucked in the back of campground. Nice little cabins but off the beaten path. All we took in the cabin was bedding and clothes so it took us like 10 minutes to load. Off we go into the darkness, gas up and I took over and almost immediately hit fog, pea soup fog. We crossed into Minnesota and were almost across the state before we escaped it, it was very wearing on the eyeballs. Getting to see the Mississippi River was way cool. Minnesota rest areas are very interesting, hard to find the pet area and some are old and some are new, The new ones are pretty but not as cool as Wyoming or South Dakota where you got a history lesson with each stop. I-90 in Minnesota didn't have as much construction but was in terrible condition in places.
Once we crossed into Wisconsin we were back to construction city but then add in some bad roads and heavy traffic and it was "interesting". We got to Sun Prairie to drop off our stuff at the Amerihost Inn and check in, nice place, nice folks. Then off to the big city. OMG, going in was not too bad until we got close to town, all of a sudden we were sitting in traffic. Hundreds of bikes the closer we got and all sitting in traffic, bikes were overheating and folks were pulling over to let them cool down. No helmet law so a lot of folks didn't have helmets on, hot day bet they were pretty happy about that, temp was 85 and 50% humidity. It took almost an hour to cover the last 6 miles, finally we got to the parking lot, way out but there was a shuttle, the pictures are in the gallery. Once she got us to the main area we were on our own. Seemed like nobody knew where to pick up the parade stuff so we went ahead and wandered around and saw the sights. The free part of the party turned out to the be the entertainment, beer and food were pay as you go. There was a lot of entertainment, all on the HD website, but there were so many people we opted out of trying to go squeeze into the music area. They were televising them to a big screen in the beer garden. If we were hard partiers we would likely have stayed but we were both tired from the trip and as a lady on the bus put it, it was 4lbs of poo in a 2 lb bag. Yep, venue was way too small. She said the one for the 105th is much larger and spread out so more to see. I kind of wondered when we saw hundreds of bikers headed out of town on 94, I suspect many did the same thing we did, come, see, get your pin, and go, hot and crowded, lots of folks aren't sold on that.
We did have one blow to our plans, the Summerfest grounds, where much of the music is (not our highest priority) is off limits to most everything including Minnie. They didn't advertise that on the website but I suspect it is being required by the promoter that is handling that part. I have a suspicion a lot of folks will not be patronizing that part, no cameras, strollers, packs, etc, etc, etc. We will be going to the museum (outside) to try to find Billie's rivet, and off to Discovery World to see about HD building customs. Lots of other stuff to look at too. So later folks, off to the shower, and out the door.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 3

Hey, it was another long 500 miles and another suck internet connection, we are staying in a KOA that has only two cabins and we got one of them. We did see a couple of cool HD dealerships and discovered a town called Wall, South Dakota, home of Wall Drug, amazing place but we could have used a whole day not a half hour to see it all. South Dakota strongly resembles parts of Washington, LOL. I'll post pictures from today tomorrow evening, we'll be in the hotel and I should have some good shots from Milwaukee also. We did decide to add a day to our trip home as this 500 miles a day does not leave much time for sightseeing. So, more on that later. We gained another hour today so we were late to the campground, pulled in at 10pm instead of 9, next time I will plan for things like that. Laters, off to bed and up at 4am so we can get to Sun Prairie, check in and run into Milwaukee to enjoy at least part of the day and pick up our parade registration.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

500 miles later

Interesting day, I discovered that Wyoming doesn't look all that different from Eastern Washington. Dryland farming abounds and lots of cows. Some fun stuff today though, we passed a billboard advertising the "Testicle Festival" with a dancing pig, well, I missed getting a picture of that but will try to get one on the way home. Billboards, that was an odd thing I noticed, once we crossed into Idaho, and through Montana and Wyoming, lots and lots of huge billboards advertising all sorts of things.
We found lots of historic places today, often with a rest stop included, how convenient :). I'll upload the pictures to the gallery hopefully many of the informational signs will be readable. Went to the Little Bighorn battleground and cemetary, a little creepy, you feel like the ghosts are still walking around.
Wyoming is nothing but a series of small mountain ranges, felt like all we did was go up and down all day. Well we pass into South Dakota tomorrow so we will see if it changes. Windy too, had the fight the trailer most of the day, rain yesterday, wind today, can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.
This trip is turning out to be a bit intense, 500 miles a day is crazy, I don't know how folks do it on a bike, 300 sure, 500 omg.
The HD dealerships are interesting and some are very different, we went to one in Bozeman, not the friendly sort. Then we got to Billings and they were amazing, helpful, and friendly, they wanted to keep Minnie though.
The KOA in Buffalo is kind of small, a bit pricier than the Kabin in Missoula but it does have air conditioning, Mike is a happy camper. Don't think they really like bikers much but the guys going round and round the campground may have contributed to their attitude.
Later guys and gals, it's late and I still need to get the pictures downloaded and uploaded.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What a first day!!!!

Rain, rain, go away. It rained today for the first 500 miles, I am so glad we are trailering the bikes. Can't upload pictures until tomorrow as the wireless signal is very slow. Will upload in the morning. The folks in the KOA are very nice and even let us park on the grass so we could keep the bikes by the cabin. Later guys, I drive first and should get some sleep. 12 hour days suck.

Gettin' out of Town

Off we go in the dark, seems it wasn't that long ago it was light at 5am. Still drippy but not too cold. I'll post at the end of the day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wow, crazy beginning to our trip, rained all day today while we packed and loaded the bikes on the trailer. Trying to save money the inside of the trucks canopy is a little full with camping gear, groceries, and things like our riding gear and more. Yikes, 2 weeks is a lot of work when you are trying to do it as cheaply as possible.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Time is running out and there is so much more to do. We need to finish it all up tomorrow as we leave early Monday. Monday's entry will include our first nearly 600 miles and pictures from that part of the trip.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Going Camping

Spent awhile this morning getting our itinerary and camping spots booked and figured out. We are staying at KOA campgrounds the trip out and back and in a hotel for the three days we will be at the celebration. Met a lot of nice folks on the phone today and discovered the KOA website is an awesome tool for planning a trip ( if you want to check it out. We will be staying in a mix of cabins and tent depending on what they had available.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Milwaukee Bound

Ok, I'm starting this blog to let folks go along for the ride as we travel to and return from the 105th anniversary of Harley Davidson and the 25th anniversary of the H.O.G. . Follow along as we prepare, travel, party and return.