2012 South Dakota motorcycle trip

Day 7

June 20

I awoke early this morning and noticed a message on my phone. Monty & Stephanie were headed for Rapid City and they wanted to see if I could find a good hotel to stay in. Cool...I had a mission. I noticed John & Debby were already gone. Maybe today will be the day.

When I got up for good I loaded up the laptop and headed for the clubhouse...since the house doesn't have wifi like it was advertised to. Donna, an early riser, was already up and came with me.

These saddle seats are neat looking, but not worth a crap for sitting on. Donna is more comfortable.

A quick searching of the chain hotels revealed that most were booked or their prices were inflated. I found out there were a couple big music festivals this weekend in Sturgis and Rapid City. What I would have liked to have found was a good mom & pop motel. You see them all the time when you're riding around but you don't remember their names when you are searching on the internet. I found the Super 8 in Rapid City had rooms for $67. It said recently remodeled. Stephanie gave her approval so I reserved them.

My phone also downloaded a new operating system update. I hoped it would fix its rebooting problem but it was not to be.

By time I did the hotel research and piddled around the cabin we didn't head out until 10:40. The weather was sunny and a cool 57*. That's just the way I like it. I even wore a jacket.

The first order of business today is Mike's broken sunglasses. We're headed to the Spearfish Walmart to see if they have them.

Once you pass through Deadwood US85 turns north toward I-90 and Spearfish. It's 4-lane all the way. As we got within a few miles of I-90 this big dark monster became prevalent. You could feel the dampness coming off it. This is a good example of the Black Hills weather. You can see forever. Clouds over here. Blue skies over there. Then you get a big dark cloud floating around like a turd in the pool.

The big cloud was all bark and no bite until we were within 1/2 mile of Walmart. Then we started getting the big raindrops. It never really rained hard but it doesn't take too many big drops to make it seem wet. You can see in the picture the ground isn't that wet. It had that fresh 'rain smell'.

Donna bought some conditioner and...good news...they had clip-on sunglasses that fit Mike's glasses. Successful mission!

When we came out of Walmart the lot was dry and the sun was out but that dark cloud was still lurking.

Lunch would be the Subway across the parking lot.

While we were there it sprinkled some and there were also little pieces of hail.

The plan from here is to visit the Honda shop in Rapid City then go to the Reptile Gardens. The closer we got to Rapid City the darker the clouds became.

We were stopped at a stoplight within sight of the Honda shop when the skies opened up. By the time we parked we were soaked. The Honda shop was a nice place to dry out. They had a good selection of bikes and accessories to look at. Other people were taking shelter also. It rained for 10-15 minutes.

This past spring Donna said she'd like to find a scooter to ride, so we have been looking at them. When the rain subsided we went outside so she could test fit the ones they had. The Suzuki Burgman 650 was a little big and heavy. Next to it was a Yamaha Majesty 400 that fit her pretty good. They also had a Honda 600 Silverwing. It was just slightly a little big and top heavy for her. She fit nicely on a Honda Shadow 750 but she's not really interested in a motorcycle. A little intimidated I think. Given the scooters we have looked at I'd say she needs something in the 400 range. I'm leaning towards a Burgman 400, but we haven't found one to look at.

They also had one of the newer Kawasaki Nomads. If I thought I would ride one enough I'd love to have one of these as a second bike. The wheelbase is shorter than the one I used to have and it fits me much better. Factory cruise control, 1700cc, 6-speed transmission. It's a nice bike.

There was another couple here who had waited the storm out. They had a cool setup. He had a GL1800 pulling a camper trailer almost as big as the bike and she rode a GL1800 trike. Sometimes camping appeals to me. Sometimes not.

The storm was still close by and stretched to the east quite a ways. Apparently enough that Monty & Stephanie could see it coming where they were. She was texting Donna getting weather updates. They decided to kill some time and they drove through the Badlands and went to Wall Drug. They were in Wall Drug when the storm came through so they timed it right.

We were about a mile from the Reptile Gardens when we got into some heavy sprinkles. It didn't last long and we didn't get very wet.

I really enjoyed the Reptile Gardens. They had a reptile show soon after we got there quickly followed by an alligator/crocodile show. We visited the outdoor displays then went inside. There was garter snake near the turtle exhibit and the girls were scared. We spent three hours here. It is also $16/person and a much better deal than the Bear Country USA up the road. Donna got a kick from signing the guest registry like we were married. She's so precious.

From the Reptile Gardens we took US385 home as we had yesterday. Just outside of Lead we stopped and sprayed off the bikes at a carwash. 1730 miles and the rainstorms had made the bikes filthy. We stopped at our Exxon station again for fuel and supplies. The temperature never got higher than the mid-60s the entire day.

Nice clean bikes.

The girls had been monitoring baby proceedings all day. It appeared Ashton would hatch a kid this evening, and she did. 6 lb 8oz, 22 inch, Isiah was grandbaby number eight. Because of that John & Debby weren't home when we arrived. Mike & Jerri made chicken wrapped in bacon, fried potatos, and green beans. He had to ride into town to get a baking pan since there wasn't one at the cabin.

Monty and Stephanie made it to Rapid City. They checked out the Super 8 and I guess it was pretty nasty so they moved to the Hampton Inn.

134 miles.

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 Day 15 Day 16 Day 17 Day 18

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