Day 7
Keystone to Deadwood, SD
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Sorry about the time it takes to load this page. Today was a long day and I took lots of pictures. There are two pages, so click on the PAGE 2 link when you're done.

eWll this is what I’ve been waiting for. All the drudgery and discomfort of riding across the Midwest and Plains was for this. The rest of the way will be great riding. The Black Hills are named because the thick growth of trees that covers the hills (the altitude is not so high that the forestry thins out).

Mt. Rushmore
I got to Mt Rushmore at 5:45AM because the guides say it is best viewed at dawn. Unfortunately the sky was overcast so the pictures aren’t great, but the sight was pretty incredible. Since I was the only one there I didn’t have to pay for admission. The Park Rangers hadn’t gotten there yet.
Washington, Jefferson,

Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln

I got pretty close because there was no one there to tell me not to. I'm going to see North By Northwest again when I get back.
Leaving Mt. Rushmore I then started an amazing ride through the Black Hills and the Custer State Park. The beauty of this place is hard to describe and the pictures don’t do any justice. You will have to see it for yourself some day if you haven’t already.

The roads are perfect for motorcycles; well angled and maintained. The hills and curves make it great fun and it's part of the reason all these bikers converge for the Sturgis Rally every year.

Above is a nice view of the Black Hills from the monument. It was starting to look like a beautiful day.

The Sturgis Rally
It would not be appropriate to discuss the trip without mentioning the Sturgis Rally, the annual convergance of motorcyclists from throughout the world. The bikers come in all shapes and sizes and I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures of them. (something about not wanting to get my butt kicked) Many bring their bikes to the area in trucks and RVs and then start the actual riding. The bikes arrive in all shapes and sizes as well. I even saw one towing a boat!

I got a copy of the Rally schedule. Events included motorcycle drag racing, Belt Sander Racing?, the All-Nitro Fuel Harley Shoot-Out, the Miss Sturgis Contest, and the music of Kansas, America, and Pork Chop & the Knockers.

I was cool though because I was on two wheels, even though it was a German bike.

Custer State Park
Custer State Park is a wonderful place!! There is a wildlife loop that I was able to ride without seeing many other people. During the ride I saw an assortment of critters. Some real excitement occurred when one of the critters (a bumblebee) flew inside my shirt and stung me twice before I was able to get him out. Not easy to do when you're trying to stop the bike at the same time. Oh well! Here are some pictures of less hostile wildlife.
At one point I had to stop because a large herd of buffalo was crossing the road. This picture is of just a few of them. Occasionally small groups with in the herd would be spooked and start to run for no reason. There are many signs advising people to be careful around them. I watched them for quite awhile because they were blocking the road. Since I needed to prove that I had been here, I asked one of them to snap a picture for me. He had a little problem with the shutter, but managed to get the picture below.
Saw this fellow by the roadside a little later. He seems to have been expelled from the herd. Don't know what his transgression was, but it must have been pretty serious.
Prairie Dogs are funny creatures, much like seals. They will allow you to get very close to them before diving back into their holes, and as soon as one disappears another will pop up in a hole nearby. They make a funny chirping sound. This area was popular and it was interesting watching some of the Harley dudes (in full leather) on their hands and knees attempting to communicate with them.
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