Thursday, 30 May 2013

176 Black Hills of Dakota and Mount Rushmore

Wednesday 29th May 2013 Miles Today 91 Total 6162

A slow start today. The new screen arrived at Fedex so I went and picked it up. We managed to get the Union Jack sticker off the old one (they are hard to come by over here !) and transfer it over so I was not a grumpy boy today.

After fitting the screen I did some bike maintenance and then we set off for Mount Rushmore.

On the way there we came across some of these critters near the roadside.
This is a ground hog.

Mount Rushmore was very impressive. We opted not to pay $11 to park and see it a bit closer. A bike was the same cost as a motor home so we though they could shove it.

Then we popped into a town called Keystone, parked our proper bike next to a load of shiny Harleys and headed for the saloon.

We then set off on a short ride to Hill City. On the way there the weather started to resume normal service.

The town itself was another preserved wild west one.

As usual the scenery was incredible.

On the way back home we spotted this. I can just imagine a High Court Judge in the UK picking up roadside litter...  NOT.

As we arrived back in Rapid City, we headed for a reccommended bar and the heavens finally opened up. It was till raining heavily 5 hours later.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

175 Wall, return to the Badlands and Rapid City

Tuesday 28th May  2013     Miles Today  78  Total 6071

We apologize that we failed to mention that yesterday was Memorial Day in America, which sort of relates to our Armistice day.  The American flag was shown every where. This is a National Holiday over here.

This morning we awoke to fabulous sunshine coming through the blinds.  Poor Ray had woken at 4am and was unable to get back to sleep.  Worrying about sorting out a new screen probably didn't help.

This cabin was like a small palace inside. Not cheap but very pleasant.

We had breakfast and Ray was able to secure the type of windscreen he wanted to be delivered by Fed Ex to Rapid City, at their main office tomorrow.  We packed up and went into Wall, which is a famous little town with a grocery store that is known throughout America for being a watering hole for all travelers. There is a main street that still looks like something out of the wild west, except for all the modern S UV's and cars, but it was great fun.

We pulled up outside 'Wall Drug Store' and they had hitching posts. I decided it would be rude not to tie our trusty steed to it. It got a lot of strange looks.

If I find Karen chatting up any more cowboys, I'm gonna put her over my knee for a whuppin.

This really is an old West town. I stupidly did not expect it to be like this. I thought this kind of thing was further South.

We posted another package back to Britain and had a wander around.  As we were returning to our bike, we met another group of riders who were checking out Wallace.  It turned out that one of the guys, Darren, recognized the bike and us from a motor cycle blog that  Ray writes on, scarey huh?

Me, George, Darren, Oops (cant remember your name - sorry) and Karl, another rider who joined us later

Whilst chatting to them, they said that they had come up on a dirt road near the park gates to the Badlands and seen Bison/Buffalo, so we made the decision to return back to the park and see if we could see them.

Once in the park we saw these little guys, they are so cute, I have a big collection of pictures of these guys too, but here are just a couple. They are Prairie Dogs and have their own little city on the plains.

This gorgeous bird was hiding in the tall grass. 

Western meadowlark I think.

Then came the big guys. The group photo shows some of them, but they were a way off on the plains, but this next big guy was right by the side of the road and watched us for a while until the urge to scratch became to much for him and he lost interest, but he was massive and oozing power.

We left the park by this off road track which was about 10 miles long.  We arrived in Rapid City, got settled and are here for the next two nights.  Tomorrow we are going to travel around the Black Hills of Dakota and see Mount Rushmore, but most importantly, hopefully the new screen will arrive at the Fed Ex offices.

A bit late but I managed to get these out of the little GoPro waterproof camera. They are stills from a video.

This is the pheasant, God rest the stupid birds soul that a split second later, destroyed our screen.

Not a good picture but you can see the hail and street flooding.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

174 The Badlands of South Dakota

Monday 27th May 2013 Miles Today 345 Total  5993

Overnight we had a tornado warning flash up on the TV screen. Fantastic system.
I went to sleep only to be woken by a very exited Karen who told me to look out of the window. WOW. It was like looking out the car window whilst in the car wash whilst the paparazzi were testing their flash guns. This is a short video looking out of the window.

We set off early again to cover the last 345 miles to our target of Wall, South Dakota.
We got the boring bit out of the way and then the cattle ranches started and we spotted some real life cowboys. They even had stetsons and cowboy boots on when in McDonalds. We were now in the West.

Proper cowboys. Yahoooo

A patriotic house.

An old original railway lime. Now a national monument.
We passed through an Indian reservation.

Then we spotted another storm cell. About 50 miles away.

As we got closer the storm stayed directly in front of us.

The cloud formations were incredible.
But very menacing.

Then just as it started to rain, a pheasant flew across our path.

So close in fact the it smashed straight through our windscreen and demolished it.
Having driven 50 miles in a straight line we then ran straight into the storm. It started to rain cows and horses (cats and dogs are too small).
(Karen:- Oh and one very stupid pheasant, which I saw just prior to Ray, there was nothing we could have done, and at first I thought it must have missed us as Ray was so calm, however when I looked over his shoulder, I saw that half the windscreen was missing and Kitty had disappeared.  I jumped off and rescued a piece of the top screen and Ray rescued the kitty, and then stupidly).......
Karen then chirped in with "at least we don't have hail". Then the hail started. It was incredible and extremely painful. The stones were the size of king sized peas.
The rattle on our helmets was surreal and the stones hitting our thighs was agony but were both laughing out loud at Karen's last comment.
(Karen:- I normally stop Ray from saying anything that begins with "at least it's not" as I firmly believe in not tempting fate, but stupidly, I did not follow my own advice).

Once we had cleared the rain, we entered the Badlands.

Only an idiot could be happy with this. (The remains of the screen in hand)

Kit and Ted bore the full brunt of the collision with the pheasant so Karen comforted them.

Saw this on top of the badlands.

As we got to Wall, the weather threatened again and we dived for cover and food in a restaurant.
We have booked ourselves into a log cabin to keep up with the theme of cowboys and Indians.  It is totally hammed up, but great.  There were a couple of more thunder storms through the evening, but nothing compared to what we had already been through.