2009 South Dakota motorcycle trip
Day 2

June 7

I woke up in the middle of the night. The air conditioning felt good and the bed was comfortable. I glanced at the window. Crap! There were raindrops on it. I checked the radar on my laptop. There was a small storm in the area. Hopefully it'll be gone when we leave later at our scheduled 7am departure time.

I woke up a few minutes before 6am and looked out the window. Good. The rain had moved off. The parking lot was damp, but that was okay. I got ready, packed up my stuff, and headed to the bike. Mike was already outside wiping off his bike. We got the bikes in order...wipe off the seats, clean the windshields, and fire them up. My GPS showed rain south of us.

The first order of the day is breakfast. In particular, IHOP. I had the GPS search and it found two. One south and one west. The rain was south so we chose west. As we headed off at 7:08 we caught a sprinkle here and there.

I'm always a little pessimistic about relying on a GPS to get me somewhere, but we found the IHOP with no problems...other than the sprinkles have become steadier. We got a table, ordered, studied the map, and generally just enjoyed being on vacation. I ordered steak, eggs, and hashbrowns...which came with the traditional IHOP pancakes. It was good, but the pancakes went to John. Look at him smile. He knows he's getting my pancakes.

After a fine breakfast we were forced to deal with the rain. We dashed to the bikes, grabbed the rain gear, and hurried back under the IHOP awning. The other diners got to watch silly motorcycle people getting ready to ride in the rain. Suited up, we headed north several blocks to a gas station where we topped off our tanks. Now that the bikes were full, too, we continued north where we picked up I-680 eastward back into Iowa, across the Missouri river bridge where a stalled car had slowed traffic, then I-29 north. By now the rain had dissipated with the occasional sprinkle.

Near Onawa the CB requested a restroom break when possible so we pulled into a rest area. While we were there I fiddled with my helmet visor. I have a visor shield I use in rain, but the aggravating thing likes to come unsnapped, then starts flopping around in the wind. The rain had stopped so going down the road I took it off and tucked it inside my rain coat. While we stood there an Ultra Classic pulled in and parked by us. The guy had ridden from Nags Head, NC, and was also headed to the same area in South Dakota, and then to points westward. Sounded like a great trip. He left before us. We headed north into mild rain.

North Souix City, IA. 10:50, mileage 29,075 - Besides refueling we had another minor issue to deal with. The left mirror on the Nomad had came loose and we weren't able to spin it tight enough to stay. I dug through my tools only to find I had no wrenches. The gas station we were at had no tools so I walked across the street to a larger station. The best they had were pliers. I also bought a pair of work gloves as my motorcycle gloves were soaked. The pliers didn't work too well but they seemed to do the job. The work gloves were nice as the temperature was in the mid-50's.

Hartford, SD. 12:41, mileage 29,168 - We had been rain-free since the last stop so our rain gear found a home in the Dumpster.

Our next stop was a few blocks away at the Pizza Ranch for lunch. John & Debby had eaten here on their trip last year. It was just dumb luck that I stopped here for gas. The restaurant is a buffet and it was good. I went back for seconds.

Kimble, SD. 15:18, mileage 29,275 - John had spoken of interchanges where the exiting road turned into gravel. Now I've seen it. The road was paved to the gas station and then turned to gravel even before reaching the Super 8 motel. While I was in the gas station I noticed an adjustable wrench hanging on the wall. I'll tighten the Nomad mirror properly. When I got outside I found Mike had the same idea. He had also bought a wrench and was giving the mirror a good tightening. Great minds think alike. Hey...we have the same birthday. Still rain-free. Still cold...temps in the low 50s.

Kennebec, SD. 15:30 - The skies are getting darker and the occasional large raindrop in the face have required us to pull off the interstate for redeployment of the rain gear.

Belvidere, SD. 16:02 (Mountain time), mileage 29,399 - Our last intermediate gas stop of the day. We've just ridden for 72 miles in rain and temperatures in the mid 40s. We are truly motorcyclists. Cold and wet ones.

We get some warm drinks and hang out under an awning. When we pulled in there was a covey of other bikes fueling up, including a Venture and a Goldwing. Always nice to see bikes like our's. When they left they headed east...the same direction as the rain. That would suck. We're headed west and you can see the end of the storm.

During the rain my GPS gave me "XM Antenna not connected" messages. I have a USB extension cable running from the GPS to the dash, then the XM antenna plugs into it. I suspected one of the connections might have gotten wet or something. When we stopped I unplugged both connections and blew them out. It didn't help. There wasn't much I could do now so I put it back together. The casualty was no weather radar.

We did about 16 more miles of rain before old man weather took pity on us. Most of the land here is flat but there are the occasional valley areas which make for a nice distraction. During this time my XM antenna started working again...briefly.

Rapid City, SD. 18:12, mileage 29,505 - Our destination city, but not our destination. We got into rain again several miles out of town. It stopped while we were getting gas. John called Senior Airman Ashton to let her know we would be there soon. The rain held off until we were south of the city but we rode most of the way to Hill City in rain and fog.

Hill City, SD. 19:10, mileage 29,536 - Our cabin. We're here! 1277 miles. Ashton's Aztec, aka 'the pumpkin', is parked in front of my Goldwing. It'll come in handy the next few days. Ashton had already opened the house and was preparing beef stroganoff. We spent the rest of the night lounging and resting...and warming up and drying out! The bikes stayed cozy in the garage.

I took the XM antenna and GPS off the bike and sat them in my bedroom window. Everything thing seemed to work fine. I either had a wet connection or there's something wrong with the USB extension cable. Time will tell. At least it seems the antenna electronics themselves are okay.

Tomorrow is a planned non-bike day...

Pictures from the day.

575 miles.

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