In stark contrast to yesterday, today's temperature is a blessing. Donna even put on her coat. Today will be a long ride to our first capitol of the vacation...Pierre...a 415 mile round trip.
Sturgis, SD. 8:36, mileage 59,882 - We topped off the tanks as it is 178 miles to Pierre on desolate 2-lane highways and we don't know where the next gas station will be. I've noticed that Donna has become a gas stop pit crewmen. As soon as I removed the nozzle she puts the gas cap on, closes the door, and turns the key on so my mileage will be displayed when I write down the mileage. So precious!
The Yamaha dealership is across the road but doesn't open until 9am. Mike still hasn't had an opportunity to check on the correct bolt for his shifter. So far his interim bolt has been working fine. One of the dealership employees walked across the road and talked to us. He didn't have a key for the place so he was waiting.
We rode through Sturgis. Passed the Full Throttle Saloon and the Buffalo Chip into the vast plains of South Dakota. When you peaked one hill you could see the next hill in the distance and the miles of road laying ahead to reach it. Thank goodness for the cruise control. All the side roads are gravel and the rare vehicle leaves a long cloud of dust.
In spite of the vastness I can't say it is boring. Donna on the intercom and the occasional radio chatter breaks up the quiet. Speaking of the intercom...
I have Mic-Mutes installed on my intercom. They allow you to kill the microphones by toggling the CB PTT switch. Donna also has a switch she can use. This keeps the wind noise from muting the stereo and being an annoyance. This entire trip there have been times when the Mic-Mutes unmute themselves without explanation. I pondered there might be noise in the line or something that was triggering the unmute. Riding down the highway I happened to look in the mirror and found the culprit.
Donna's left armrest has a storage pouch on it. What I found was the wind was blowing the armrest back and the storage pouch was hitting her PTT switch and unmuting the Mic-Mutes. Ha! Problem solved. I'll switch the pouch to the inside of her armrest.
I wasn't sure when I was going to stop for a break. I just figured we'd ride until something appeared. As we approached the Hwy 73 intersection a gas station appeared and Donna requested a restroom break. We'd ridden over a hundred miles so it was time.
They do some serious hay hauling out here.
The temperature had worked its way into the upper 70s but the cloudiness kept the heat away. It was great riding weather. However, darker clouds to the east gave us some cause for concern. Our radars showed it moving off to the north but would it move off fast enough?
When we were at the gas station I noticed that I had about 15 more miles until my bike had 60,000 miles. I wanted to get a picture of it. I remembered it seven miles too late.
Rain sprinkled on us a couple times, but otherwise no rain to speak of. We lucked out.
Pierre, SD. 12:07, mileage 60,061 - Riding into Pierre was interesting. The city sits down in a depression and it kind of appears out of nowhere.
Gas...then lunch across the street.
The capitol was a short ride farther into town. There is an artesian spring-fed lake next to it. We parked by the lake about a block from the capitol building.
The crew at the capitol building.
By physical standards this capitol building is small, but it is elegant inside. Lots of marble and granite and gold.
Across the street is a war memorial that we also visited. They had several different versions of the Congressional Medal of Honor on display. One belonged to Joe Foss...WWII fighter pilot and former president of the National Rifle Association.
After our visitations we sat outside and enjoyed the nice weather. Is Donna break dancing?
We weren't ready to leave so we walked to the back of the lake to some other memorials.
At 14:34 the kickstands were up and we headed west. We had to negotiate a couple convoys of combines along the way. We turned south on US14 to take a different route home.
I had planned to stop at Wall. However, the clouds had disappeared and the sun had brought the temperature into the high 80s along with some heat. Near Midland I heard some static I thought was on the CB and then heard Mike talking. Apparently John had said something about a refreshment break but I couldn't understand him. The radio setups still have some bugs to work out. We ended up pulling over at Phillip.
I kept feeling bugs and grasshoppers hitting my feet. Here is proof. The highway followed railroad tracks most of the way to Wall. Sadly, no trains.
Once we passed Wall it was back on I-90. The girls had been experiencing helmet buffeting at speeds in the 70s so we ran about 68-69. Donna said this speed was fine. It also helps with gas mileage.
Rapid City, SD. 17:41, mileage 60,240 - It was still warm at this fuel stop so we sat around for a while. Donna was able to find the shirts she wanted to get for her dad, so her shopping list was complete.
From here we're gonna take a new route. Hwy 44 over to US385. It's one of the scenic roads we've yet to drive. It turned out to be a nice scenic, meandering road once you got out of town.
We found an unexpected surprise when we got back to the cabin. Air conditioning! There was also a new hottub cover installed. The new A/C felt good.
We had leftovers tonight. I flipped the storage pouch on Donna's armrest. It will no longer trigger the Mic-Mutes. We lazied around in the house watching TV and enjoying the new air conditioning.
Monty & Stephanie made it home today. They stopped at BoMacs in Shoals for one last vacation meal.
Tomorrow is our last day in South Dakota. We've got several things to do.
Click here for our next day's adventure.