First long ride to SD/Badlands
Just got back yesterday and have uploaded all my pics to the computer so thought I would share a few. While the weather, other then windy as heck, was about as nice as I could expect. The wife and I left KC on Thursday morning about 8 am after dropping the dogs off at the kennel. A nice 47 degrees kept me awake for sure lol, heading north up I-29 out of KC was a great ride, stretching all the way thru Iowa, Nebraska and into South Dakota. First real chance to set the cruise and enjoy the comforts of my LT. We arrive in Sioux Falls, SD about 3 pm that afternoon to very windy conditions, gusts up to 34 mph. We decided to stop and grab some lunch, knock off some dust and prepare for an interesting 2nd half of the day. Having never been out on the road for any real distance, let alone in heavy cross winds the next 5 hours was a long day. I decided against I-90 West across SD and found (thanks to my new GPS, Garmin Quest 2) the old state route 38. We picked it up just outside of Sioux Falls and made our way West. The wind was relentless and of course this south wind made it a learning experience I won't soon forget. We made about 550 miles and was just getting dark, so we pulled off the road at Mardo if I recalled. Found a motel and settled in.
As we were unpacking the LT a few other bikes pull in, one being a 01 GT a firefighter out of Ontario was heading cross the US to BC Canada for some training. We chatted a bit about that dang wind and the fact he was looking for a BMW dealer. Lucky as it was I had brought my dealer guide and offered it for some locations, phone #'s etc. The next morning the wife and I slept in till 8am and decided with only 150 miles to Rapid City we would do some sight seeing prior to landing in town. We found the Badlands loop, Hwy 240 and took off to see what it was all about. It was a perfect sunny day, mid 60's and the park was a great ride with some landscapes I had never seen before, it was well worth the previous days fight (wind). After a nice ride thru the park the loop brought us back to I-90 about 50 miles outside of Rapid City where the wind was picking up but luckily blowing at our backs and much lighter then the Thursday. Since we changed over to MTN time we made Rapid City about 11am and found a place to stay. We hadn't made any reservations and had no trouble this time of year finding a room, the Holiday Inn Express off Exit 59 was very understanding and got us in a 1st floor room that had a window facing the spot I could park the LT and keep tabs on it.
After unloading and a bit of lunch we headed up to see some sights! Mt. Rushmore was our first stop and what a day, I was impressed with the setup, talk about a tourist stop, the visitor center, cafe, gift shop etc. ALOT different then some of the pictures I had seen when my parents had gone 15 years ago. We walked around the paths and checked out the sights, took some pics and decided to make our way to the Crazyhorse monument. While after 50 years of work this was still about 10% done, with only his face completed it was something to see, the visitor center was huge, the plans they have is impressive, but I'm not sure if it will ever be finished at it's current pace. All in all a great day of riding thru the Black Hills, getting to enjoy some of the first "twisties" my LT has seen.
The next few days were spent on the LT riding thru the hills, enjoying the various attractions and really getting to know how this awsome machine handles the road. I was amazed at how comfortable I was on day 3 and 4 riding nearly all day, although since most of the roads in the parks were 35 or 45 MPH only covering on avg about 300 miles a day. We visited Deadwood and checked out the history of the town, rode up to Sturgis (sp?), mainly because I hadn't been lol, and wanted to at least know where it was! After Saturday the wind was back and Sunday was cut short in by some serious gusts that I was tired of fighting. We took in the Reptile Gardens, watched this crazy guy wrestle with some gators and walked thru the park. After that we stopped at Bear Country USA, in which we weren't allowed to ride the LT thru, but they were kind enough to let us use a "loaner" car. I was amazed there was no charge.... until I saw the choices lol. (pics below) Then I wasn't sure if the car was safe to make the 3 mile trip either haha. Anyhow was some great up close and personal to some wildlife I'll likely never see in the wild. Great time and worth the time and money to check it out.
After 4 days of fun, it was time to head south and cross the western part of the state and go stop in Monday nite to my parents house in Central KS. From sunrise at 6:45am MTN time till nearly 2pm it was a great ride, great roads, scenery and fun time. Then once again the winds picked up and again from the south they blew 20+ MPH gusting near 30. The next 5 hours pushing East was a workout keeping the LT headed down the path, avoiding idiot semi's running way to fast and being blown all over the road. I was happy to have this day end and knowing I was only 170+ miles from home. Once again Tuesday morning was a windy day but after the 1000+ miles driving in crosswinds I was relaxed enough to make the best of it. Home without any troubles from the LT or the weather, execpt of course that wonderful wind trying to push me off the road. Either way it didn't spoil the trip and I would have done it all again if I could take another 6 days off work to do so !!. Pics below.