Black Hills Riding FUN

Awhile ago I threw out the idea of a long weekend ride to the girls - as they all have bdays in June. Then we all kind of forgot about the idea until it popped up on my calendar 2 weeks ago. Oh the decisions on where to ride... I had Friday-Monday off... so while the possibilities weren't endless, they were pretty wide!!! I love riding in the Black Hills of SD. The roads are twisty and scenic and if I cross my fingers and hope, the traffic will be light. I throw the idea out to the girls and its a GO! A couple days later my parents called to say they were bringing all three grandkids to the Black Hills for a week.. the same time that I would be out there!! It turned into a double duty trip - ride and play, then play and hang! I planned the meeting point based on where we were all coming from - we met in Eden Prairie at a gas station. Shelly was laughing and pointing at the truck gassing up - I laughed, but I was laughing at the driver - this little scrawny 'kid' driving a big ass truck and long trailer. Shelly was laughing at his passenger... which I saw awhile later and blew Diet Dew out of my nose!

 As I left my house in the NW burbs and started heading south, the skies got darker and darker. The roads were wet so all indications were that I was going to get wet. I don't mind riding in the rain, but starting out in the rain on a day with 12-13 hours of riding ahead, seemed like a poor start. I got to the gas station and pulled up the weather radar. The system was about to be directly above us shortly. Just to the north was the end of the storm system and potential sunshine. I detour us before we began. We gassed up and then re-routed to the north and then the west. Luck had our side - we missed the rain/storm on the way out of town!! YAY!  The re-routing seemed to take us ALL OVER in the same area - we were rolling through farm fields and stuck behind farm equipment and slow drivers for the first 3 hours of the trip. When we arrived in Willmar, it seemed as though we had been riding in circles. But then, we had a 4 lane road (FINALLY) and GAME on! Of course, once on the 4 lane, the winds kicked up to 25mph+ with higher gusts - we were riding at a solid left angle!

Our first stop was De Smet, SD. Years ago, we met some great people at our campground in Sturgis. It was just Shelly and I that year and we rode around and around and around looking for the 'perfect' camp spot. We settled on one with shade and a small creek behind it. It was a blast and we ended up making some lifelong Sturgis friends who we look forward to seeing every year. A couple of our Sturgis Besties and Co lives in De Smet and we have talked about going to visit for years and just never made it. Until now! We arrived in De Smet, the home of Laura Ingall Wilder, for lunch, where we pulled up to the main drag intently looking for Wheaties Bar. There, on the end of the main drag, all in white and kind of blended into the street, was Wheaties Bar. So excited!!!

We walked into the bar and were greatly immediately by Wheatie himself.  He assured us that the burger was his specialty and what he is known for. We ordered up a burger and tots, and had a beer while BS'ing and getting a grand tour by Wheatie. The bar is very deceiving, it looks so small and cozy on the outside, but on the inside, there is the bar area, tables for dining, a shuffleboard table, and some slot machines. Behind the main area are the restrooms, and back along the hallway, you enter another huge space that is set up for darts, bean bags, karaoke, more tables for events, and great natural lighting. Truly an impressive place!!!  While mid tour, I heard a bike pull up and was super excited as I 'assumed' it was our bestie, Salty Dog. Until this year, his bike has been Honda-quiet, but he has since gotten pipes - it was him!!!

 He is an amazing human - one of the funniest people I have ever met. He is an awesome camping buddy and takes good care of his ladies (us)! He gives us a personal wake up call each morning during Sturgis - blaring various rock songs from his bike and singing along. Now, he has the additional assistance of his pipes - should we be difficult to stir in the mornings! We had a great lunch at Wheaties Bar and a great chat with the boys. It was so good to finally make it out for a visit!!!

Since we had another 5 hours of ride time ahead, we hit the road west in the now blazing hot sunshine. We got the traffic/roadway/cops report from the boys and hit the road. They were right - its like riding to Neverland - all you can see for miles are fields and rolling hills. Repeat.

The speed limit is basically a recommendation. The signs say 65- we were going 80 and being passed like we were still in first gear. Next thing we know, 85-90 is norm. As we rolled west, we noted more and more cloud cover coming in.

We gear up and get ready for the worst - we could see the rain walls heading towards us, along with the winds picking up speed and the lightning getting eerily close.

The farther west we got, the darker the clouds got. Then, up ahead, we see lightning and green, eerie skies. We pull over to check the radar and sure enough, storm and hail warnings ahead.


We somehow managed to dodge the majority of this storm too. We hit hard rain for all of 10 minutes, then were greeted with our efforts by a beautiful sky!

Trying to dodge the storms, I forgot to pay attention to the gas gauge until we hit a super straight stretch where you can see for 100 miles... and being bored, I wanted to see just how fast my bike could go.. And just as I hit 110, the gas light came on - oops.

It had been on for what seemed like forever... (44 miles...).. when finally we were out of the storm completely and we found a little 'town' with a gas station in the middle of nowhere, Faith, SD.  I pulled up to the single pump and the gal outside said to hurry up as they were closing in 2 mins. We all pumped gas on the same fill to save time, went inside and paid our $40 (we were ALL really low!!) and thanked the lady for being there! She was very sweet - and said if we ever wind up there and she isn't open, to look up the station phone number, as that is her house phone, and she would come open up for us. SO NICE!!!

We continue on our way, with just under 2 hours left. The skies parted and the sunshine returned for a warm ending of our days ride!

We arrived in Deadwood, SD just before sunset -