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.