2009 South Dakota motorcycle trip
Day 3

June 8

I woke from a good night's sleep. The little fan I had brought from home was humming a pleasant tune. I stepped out onto the deck. Brrrr! It was cold...but sunny. I got dressed and went downstairs. Everyone else was milling around. Ashton was at her familiar position on the couch watching TV and texting her boyfriend. The others were milling around the kitchen and smoking in the garage. I walked around and took some pictures of the cabin/house. Yes, that is thick frost on my trailer.

Today is a planned non-bike day. We knew after riding 1200+ miles we'd like to have someone else do the driving. We will be doing the Fort Hays Chuckwagon Tour. John & Debby took this tour last year and they loved it, so Debby made reservations with the same tour bus driver...Matt Pates. The premise of the bus tour is you get breakfast, go on a 9-hour bus tour of local sights with various stops and lunch (not included in the tour price), and at the end of the day you return to have supper and a country music show.

We left the cabin around 6:30 am so we could look around before the scheduled 7:30 breakfast. Ashton's car has seating for four and a cargo area so two people sat in the back facing rearward. When we got there we milled around for awhile waiting for breakfast...which was good. Pancakes, meat, eggs. Afterwards we checked out the stores and shops. There was a nice view from the back of the stores.

While we stood outside this couple saw we were from Indiana and introduced themselves as being from nearby Bloomfield. Keep them in mind. They will be part of an interesting story later.

Fort Hays pictures

Bus 804...our tour bus.

At 8:50 am we met at the bus, and we entered by roll call. We all sat together. The bus driver, Matt, was dressed in a western style outfit. Before the bus started moving he was already telling jokes. Along the route he would also fill us in on local facts and tales.

The first stop was Mount Rushmore. We had an hour or so to enjoy the sights and the shops. It was a milestone to see this national monument in person that I had heard/seen/read about all my life.

The clouds in the area were kind of shelfy but the view of the monument was clear. Throughout the trip we met lots of people who came to visit Mount Rushmore and all they got to see were clouds. That would be disappointing.

Leaving Mount Rushmore we headed southeast on Iron Mountain Road. It is part of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. There are three over/under bridges, several switchbacks, some tunnels, and lots of curves. I was already thinking about this road on the bikes. Matt whipped the big tour bus around the curves and joked about the reactions of oncoming traffic.

Along the way we stopped to feed the wild burros. Not sure how wild they are, but they know where to get a free meal. Matt had brought frozen pancakes to feed them with.

Our driver Matt with fellow Hoosiers

After an enjoyable drive we stopped at The State Game Lodge for lunch. They had a great buffet. We even tried some buffalo soup. I liked the presidential history of the lodge and the surrounding area.

We continued through Custer State Park and the Peter Norbeck Byway, this time on the Needles Highway.

We stopped at a scenic overlook where we climbed a rock outcropping for some nice views of the surrounding hills. There were a couple narrow tunnels that required the bus to creep through. It was funny to watch the reaction of bystanders as the huge bus emerged from the small tunnels.

Our next stop was at Sylvan Lake. If this place looks familiar maybe it's because part of the second 'National Treaure' movie was filmed here. We walked along the lake for awhile and visited the store for stickers and pins.

The last stop for the day was the Crazy Horse Memorial. There is a large visitor center and several shops and studios. On the way to the memorial we drove through Custer and passed the Bella Day Spa where the girls will be spending their 'girl day' on Friday.

After finishing at Crazy Horse we headed back to Fort Hays. We drove up US16 through our base city of Hill City. Leaving the bus we spent some more time visiting the shops until it was time for supper. Mike even spun his own plate. I'd highly recommend the bus tour, and request Matt Pates.

Everyone has assigned seats in the supper hall. One row at a time everyone goes through the 'chuckwagon line' for their food. When most have finished their supper the music show begins. It was entertaining. Mostly country music. A little rock, and some comedy.

The other couple from Indiana were sitting in our row next to Mike. I overheard a familiar name mentioned in their conversation. Come to find out they are the dad and stepmom of a girl I work with...Julie Speaker. It's a small world.

When we got home we found a hose and washed our bikes, then finished the night lounging at our cabin.

Pictures from the day.

Click here for our next day's adventure.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14

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