I left the shop on 7-9-10 with a ten o’clock flip of the stand. The course was hwy 412 all the way out from my shop which is located on the same and hit the regular traffic, construction getting through Tulsa . It gave way once out on the panhandle towards Guyman and on to Boise city where we got a great little circa 60 roadside motel room called the Longhorn and ate across the road at la-mesa with the local folks and road workers staying at the motel. A lot like my hometown, there was just a couple of small stores clinging to the flaked blacktop main of their hometown.
Up early In Boise city where I turned of 412 and onto 71 to Brush and cross into the Colorado grasslands to 287 to Lamar and on to Limon and then to Ft. Morgan, Greeley onto 85.Antelope herds and lone bucks in Southern Colorado, even a family of turkeys waiting on a dusty dirt side-road in Brush. Soon we came across the smell and then the beef feedlots near Greely. Now grass turns green and the rockies appear out of no where a hour or so from Cheyenne Wyoming, the 1800’s architecture in Cheyenne is diss-arming and familiar to an okie, the rodeo’s coming in another week, so it’s quiet now. Time for some great Mexican food at Hacienda outside Cheyenne.
Wyoming to Wickiup in Spearfish Canyon South Dakota was an easy day run, even the huge clouds and a freezing wind on a warm day, as my right shoulder froze, i decided to get into the rain skin and prepare for the dash through the mountain pass into South Dakota. I stopped at a no where goin’ black top turnout and cuss a bit that someone had left their empty six pack on the side of the road and kick a full one. Big ups to Jah and load my tankbag with a welcoming Wyoming beer. One of the tangibly historic stops was registry cliff where wagon trains and railroad workers carved their name and dates of passage.
I think i read in the new Farmers Almanac for the Lead Deadwood are was sunset on sept 28th is 5:15, sunrise is June. Hippies are abundant but still don’t outnumber the cowboys, Eureka Springs type houses clinging to rock faces and stairs teetering up between, circle drives are replaced with a flat spot to turn the mule, but thats about it. Of course we stopped in a local dive with more 4 wheelers than cars in the parking spots for bison burgers and onion rings, next on the agenda was being cajoled into taking a locals place at the 5 spot jaegermeister shot-ski.
The next morning came with the sun in the sixpanes, calm and quiet, listening to the stream and wondering if i can get NPR on my laptop for my geekfix of news, got the news and off by nine for the ride to Rushmore. The crisp, dry blacktop roads were clear and fast with more open rolling valleys of green interrupted by huge and violent upheavals or rock. This isn’t the eroded mountains of the plains where you can see years to shape the features, this is a sudden and anrgy displacement of earth and skyRode on to Crazy horse mountain, the face is really cool and huge, it comes into view from even further away than Rushmore. The Kokzyak family is generous with the local tribes and folks in the are, There is a first rate museum and several art markets and displays around the grounds. Even if it is never completed, it is a great stop and gives support and respect to one of my heroes and his nation. My land is where my dead are buried, of all the promises the white man made they kept only one, to take my land, Crazy HorseNext stop down from Custer, no big rock with him carved on it, Keystone, looks like a Branson roadstop, good lunch and cold beer with an international wait-staff. Now it’s off to Rapid City to get Joe a tie and hit a grocery store for a pork loin and broccoli, potato to cook on our grill at the cabin. Damnit!! I lost a glove, cussed on the ride back only to find it stuck to the inside of my jacket.
54 degrees when i pull on my riding suit for a morning romp through Spearfish Canyon, reggae and morning sun, few words can cover the feelings of peace and warmth breaking into patches of sun, feeling the Junebugs tires catch hard on the stickier warm spots and waiting longer and longer to get on the bulletproof integrated binders. I was surprised by the groups of people, more cyclist than autos, on the side of the road. Only mom and I walked down to the falls from the cluster of cell phone photographers and folks going through their luggage in the their bikes trailer. We even almost made it there and back dry, note to self, I gotta get a pair of shoes, these have so many holes in the soles I have to squeeze them like a coin-purse to let the rocks fall out of the cracks. Seeing more bikes than before today, even made conversation with a group of wings w/trailers heading on to Sturgis, looking amazed I’d ridden the Junebug from OKlahoma.
Next stop out of the canyon was a store / town called Alladin, population 15, they had a post office there and lotsa old stuff. It was for sale, if it wasn’t for the endless deep snow winter here, I’d entertain the dream of owning it. Change the name to Duketopia and offer my own city renewal plan. I made friends with a couple of couples heading around on the same loop as I and suggested where we’re staying for food. The fact a guy from MN knew this spot, thats a great endorsement, I took a shot of them for the site. Rode on to devils tower, ground turned red in Wyoming and the roads got a bit rougher and quite a few squiggly repairs that were raised, a couple of puckers ensued mid corner. Hit Dr. Dre’s Chronic and turned in harder on each coming apex down the mountain into Wyoming. Devils Tower was huge of course, but had a peace and a strength you could feel from a distance. It is marked on the paths to let people know it a sacred place. There are prayer cloths dotting the trees all around the base. The parking lot was very busy with plates from all states. A few climbers were making their way up to their waiting friends, quite the spectacle, balls like Dick Tracy. A quick run back into the canyon area for an hours snooze to recoup some of the spent energy today and back out to the next mountain over to Andy’s trail-rides on Mystic Mountain. The 6pm ride was the perfect end to a great adventurous day. The sweetest gals were our guide, full of info and conversation. They saw that we were horse people and took us on a ride slightly off of the worn trail The view from the top was deep into south Dakota. We saw big buck
deer and busy wood chucks, equally surprised at us riding through. The pine bark beetle is doing a lot of damage to the dense pines that cover these mountains, the clearing effect is dramatic. The gals there to show us around were cutest guides ever, one from Minnesota and her cousin from Sweeden turned out to be the coolest accents of the trip, bright smiles and can sit a horse like a pro, yep it was a great couple of hours.
It’s late, the temp is in the 50’s and the stream hasn’t stopped purring it’s soothing song of life, i remind myself to be silent, that it’s moving, if i’d be present in it and will to. Sunshine will be filling the six pane shutter windows soon, time to find some sleep and make the turn home. Going through Kansas and Nebraska for the return trip, high speeds and higher temps are the theme of the next two days. By the time i get to Dodge CIty it is deliriously hot, and kind scents from spearfish canyons kind 75 degree air cooled curves are vanquished. Roll in my right hand and head to the shop, time to get back to my shared spot of ground.