2009 South Dakota motorcycle trip
Day 4

June 9

I woke up around 5 am to see that it was raining. I poked my head out onto the deck. Even better...it's cold, too. I crawled back in bed and texted my girlfriend for awhile. She's a paramedic and would be headed to work back in Indiana.

I dozed for awhile longer then around 7 am I got out of bed, dressed, and went downstairs. Everyone had their laptops out so I joined in. Hmmmmmm...everyone can get wireless access except me. I guess my older laptop isn't as sensitive. I found if I took my laptop to the garage I could get wireless access from a hotel over the hill in town.

People were wandering in and out of the garage to smoke or cast a pitiful glance at the weather. After a while we sadly declared this a 'car day'. Ashton needed to go on base to do some paperwork for travel she had been on. We decided the girls would go on base with Ashton and buy groceries at the PX, while us manly men would hang out at Ellsworth's air museum.

Around 8:30'ish we headed out into the cold, dreary day. The girls dropped us off at the museum. We checked out the outside displays and even watched a couple B-1's take off from Ellsworth. There's nothing like the sound of an unmuffled military jet taking off and watching it disappear into the overcast. The outside airplanes also doubled as shelter to keep the drizzle off us.

Next we went inside where we found a plethora of pins and stickers. Gold mine! I hit the pop machine. We killed quite a bit of time looking at the models for sale and prints available. We went into the hanger to see the planes, displays, and simulators. John and Mike sat in a simulator.

We'd pretty much seen everything so John decided to call Debby and see what they were doing. Hmmmmm. His phone was gone. We backtracked and looked in the simulator. Nothing. I called his phone to see if we could hear it ring and Debby answered. He had left it in the car. Whew.

Around 11 we wandered outside and stood under the B-1 they have on display. Even though it was cold and rainy and we were riding in a car it was still nice to be on vacation. Shortly the girls arrived with a car full of groceries. We squeezed in and headed back to the cabin, unpacked the groceries, and had lunch.

After lunch we hopped in the Ashton-mobile and drove the 1/2 mile to Hill City to explore. There are several blocks of stores and shops to walk through. They even have a Harley dealer...but it's all apparel...not a bike or bike part to be found. Most importantly we found some pins and stickers. The rain had stopped by now but it was still a little on the chilly side.

Hill City pictures

One of the main things we plan to do today is ride the train from Hill City to Keystone. We went across the street to check on the times. We had some time before the next departure so we walked back to Hill City. I noticed I could get wireless reception on my phone from the Alpine Inn, so I checked my email while Debby downloaded some music on her Ipod.

It started to sprinkle so we walked back to the train station and browsed their shop. Yes...you guessed it...pins and stickers were had. We went next door to a lunch area based out of some old railroad passenger cars. I had a pretzel. Ashton napped. We walked around exploring the old railcars and railroad-related items laying about.

Eventually the departure time approached so we went back to the station and prepared to board the train. There were lots of people riding the train and the cars filled quickly. John and I went to a more forward car. We hadn't been there long before an unpleasant lady came around announcing that this was a reserved 'wine and cheese' car, so anyone not in that group needed to leave. John and I went back a few cars to an open air car. It was less crowded anyways.

The train is pulled by a steam locomotive which adds to the enjoyment of the ride. There's nothing like the sound of the steam whistle. As the train pulls out of Hill City it goes up a steep grade and over a mountain on the way to Keystone. The ride is narrated, so it's easy to see things that normally would be missed. I love trains so I thought the ride was great. When we got to Keystone the passengers disembarked while the engine did a runaround of the train. We got off and the others smoked, then we got back on the train and rode back to Hill City. It was nice and relaxing. The conductor was cute.

Train ride pictures

After the train ride we went to a convenience store for drinks for the evening, then went back to the cabin where we had steak and baked potatoes. We cleaned the bikes a little and looked at Mike's trailer light problem. We determined/suspected his taillight was bad.

Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be better. We have several items on the agenda.

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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