2012 South Dakota motorcycle trip

Day 11

June 24

While we have been enjoying the beautiful weather here in South Dakota our family and friends back in Indiana have been suffering through miserable heat. The jet stream has moved northward and temperatures today are supposed to be in the 90's and noticeably hotter. Tomorrow cooler, then very hot Tuesday.

Today will be the day Mike cooks his famous ribs. He prepared the ribs this morning. It's a treat to watch.

One problem that will need to be dealt with is the grille. The gas tank is empty. The guys will run into town and get some gas and a few more supplies that are needed. Mike decided to carry the gas tank on his trailer where the cooler normally goes. When he hitched the trailer he had a hard time getting the trailer to accept the ball. He and John messed with it and got it attached. When he strapped down the gas tank he found another problem. The front bolt on his cooler rack was broken. Apparently the deer carcass had did some tweaking to Mike's trailer. As we started out Mike said his bike was steering funny which John attributed to his trailer ball binding.

We went to the Lead Dakotamart. When Mike went in to exchange the gas tanks John fiddled with the ball adjustment on the trailer and got it to work better. He and I then went inside and looked for a bolt for Mike's cooler rack. There were none to be found. The checkout girl said there was a hardware store in Pluma. Where? Information for the future.

We returned home with the filled gas cylinder and tested the grille. All systems go.

Because of the heat we planned our festivities around places that would be cool. It was already getting hot by the time we left at 12:33. Because of that and the short riding distances we went helmetless. Since I wasn't familiar with where we were going I got to follow.

Our first stop was the Black Hills Roundhouse. It is a restaurant and antique shop based inside in old railroad roundhouse. Being train-related it already had my attention. Outside sat a nice Roadglide Ultra. Inside they had a model of the old roundhouse and a large map of the former railroads. Sadly, here, as in most places, only pictures remain of the railroads.

I watched a short film on the railroads while the others perused the antiques. I looked for pins but didn't find any. We meandered upstairs to look at more antiques. Debby found a couple old lamps she was interested in. John went downstairs to haggle with the owner and came back with lower prices for the lamps and a surprise for all of us. The owner was going to give us a tour of the normally-closed third floor. There were more antiques upstairs as well as a model railroad being set up. Sweet!

Our next stop was the Broken Boot Gold Mine just west of Deadwood. It would be cool inside the mine (literally and figuratively). The tour was interesting. You saw how difficult it was to do mining back then. Everything was accomplished with handtools and by candlelight. The cooler temperatures felt good. Some parts of the mine hadn't been touched in almost a hundred years.

After the mine tour we were hot the moment we stepped back outside. We rode back to Lead and stopped at a convenience store for drinks and a light lunch. We sat inside for awhile watching traffic and people. Some Amish/Mennonite people drive up in a new Ford King Ranch diesel truck. It seemed funny that people who lived a simple life drove a fancy $50K+ truck. Afterwards we stood outside and talked to a guy with an XR250 and some people in Jeeps.

Our last stop was back to Lead to the Homestake Gold Mine for another tour. I wasn't sure what kind of tour this was. Walking? Driving? They gave us blue hats to wear so I thought we might be going inside something. Walking would suck in the heat.

It turned out to be a driving tour in these buses. Nice. This tour was super interesting. We even found some pins. We drove around town and were shown houses and buildings that related to the mine. Then we went into the mine facility itself for more tours on and off the bus.

Next to the visitor center is the old open pit mine. This thing is huge! Each terrace is 150 feet deep and it is a half mile between the ridges in the background.

This map floored me. It is a scale drawing of the entire underground mine. The little 'ditch' under "You are here" is the open pit mine in the picture above. You come to realize that the entire city of Lead is setting on the Homestake underground mine. The mine ceased operations in 2001 and is now an underground laboratory.

I have to highly recommend this tour. It gives you a whole different perspective of the Lead area.

After finishing the tour we headed back to the cabin. Mike made his famous ribs and we all gorged ourselves. By supper time the temps were down and there was a nice breeze. We sat on the back deck for a long time just hanging out with full bellies enjoying vacation.

Today Monty & Stephanie left South Dakota. They rode Iron Mountain Road and the Custer Park nature loop before heading south to Colorado. Stephanie said the heat was bad, but they saw lots of trains. They took the same route to Colorado that we did in 2009. The reason they went to Colorado was Monty wanted to go Gunsmoke Guns, the gun shop on Discovery Channel's "American Guns".

17 miles.

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