Monthly Archives: September 2013

Day 15 & 16 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Heading Home

Day 15 OshKosh, Nebraska to Pampa, Texas (479 Miles)

Day 15 Ride map ...Oshkosh to Pampa

Day 15 Ride map …Oshkosh to Pampa

Today is day  15 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we rode some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Checkout the previous days as we rode one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

We were up early (5:30) as usual getting the bikes and ourselves ready for today’s  ride. We were expecting a big storm to blow in over night but it didn’t happen… But it was over cast and looked like rain. Our luck with the weather has run out. Today is the beginning of the end of the best motorcycle ride I have ever been on… to date. I am leaving with mixed emotions. Larry and I will be splitting up at Oakley, Kansas. He will take I-70 toward home to Georgia. I will continue riding on US-83 to Texas. I can’t believe it is over except for riding home… The good part is I will be getting home to my sweety, Janet ;).

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Packing up and getting ready to leave Oshkosh, NE

At North Platte we stopped at the same convenience store we stopped at 5 years earlier. What I remembered about the store was the sign above the door that read “You Are Nowhere”. This was where we split up 5 years go but today Larry will be riding a bit further south to Oakley.

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We are nowhere… Actually North Platte, NE

The rain… We were riding in intermittent misty rain until North Platte, Nebraska. Not enough to put the rain suits on. As we headed south from North Platte the rain increased and the visibility decreased to 100 yards (meters) or less. Out came the rain suits. When we arrived at Oakley it was raining a lot. I’ve ridden in worse…

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YES, it’s RAINING… Really raining for the first time in 15 days…

At Oakley we stopped at another convenience store for gas and a bit of lunch. A tour bus had also stopped for lunch so it was a bit crowded and food selection was minimal.

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This is where we split up. Leaving in the rain…

This was our splitting up point. We said our good-byes. Larry headed east down I-40 and I continued south on US-83. Larry had 1057 miles ahead of him and I had 789 miles… a bit less.

Back in Texas... Yes, that is an oil drilling rig...

Back in Texas… Yes, that is an oil drilling rig…

It wasn’t too long before I rode out of the rain. The roads dried up and it was clear sailing. The rain slowed me down a bit. By days end I was back in Texas. Pampa was where I ended my day.  530 miles and I will be home to Janet 😉

Day 16 Pampa, Texas to Georgetown, Texas (530 Miles)

Day 16 Ride map... Pampa to Georgetown

Day 16 Ride map… Pampa to Georgetown

I was up at 5:30 and on the road before 7:00. I wanted to cover as many miles as possible before I would hit the triple-digit temperature forecast for this afternoon.  Today was just riding and enjoying the scenery of the “Panhandle Plains” along the  way home.

Donley County

This is by far the fanciest rest stop I have ever seen… Even for Texas…

It didn’t get very warm until the afternoon and even then the temperature was 97 degrees. Today was the hottest temperature over the last 16 days of our trip. The weather over the 16 days has been amazingly good. There were only a few days that reached 90 degrees and the lows were in the 50’s most mornings. Just one low in the upper 40’s. We only wore the rain suits once. We did encounter light misty rain several days with heavier rain in the area that we somehow always managed to avoid. Having good weather on the ride made for very enjoyable riding and allowed us to enjoy all the amazing scenery the way it was meant to be seen.

We grow a lot of cotton here in Texas

We grow a lot of cotton here in Texas

I made good time and was home before 4:00. I can’t believe it is over. I am glad to be home. It was nice to be sleeping in my own bed again and I finally am able to share some of my wonderful ride with Janet. Hopefully she can make the next one.

Almost home... :)

Almost home… 🙂

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom left column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time to leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Sharing My World With My Hometown

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Loaded up and ready to hit the road

Sharing My World With My Hometown of Georgetown

This month I got to share a bit of my world with my hometown of Georgetown, when the local magazine the “Georgetown View” did an article on me and this blog. It was fun working with the staff. Rudy Ximenez the photographer is a biker so we had a lot to talk about during the shoot. Carol Hutchinson another photographer who worker on the article rides with her husband. Carol and her husband’s riding history in many ways parallels Janet’s and mine. Christine Switzer did a great job writing the article and was fun to work with.

Have a look… Here is the link to the article… http://gtownview.com/texas-on-two-wheels/

If you would like to read more about our little town and what’s happening in Georgetown, this is the link to the “Georgetown View”… http://gtownview.com/

Ride safe…

 

Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore

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Day 14 ride map

Today is day  14 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

Everyday, except one or two, we have been up at 5:30 getting the bikes and us ready to ride. We are usually on the road around sevenish. This has been an amazing ride, not only because of all the wonderful scenic country and great people we have met all along the way, but also because we have felt good both physically and mentally. We are not getting any younger and this is always on the back of our minds. All of this makes for some enjoyable riding…

Five years ago we rode up this way for the first time. It is good to be back and to be able to ride some of the places we didn’t have time to ride on that last ride.

The front desk clerk at the motel gave us some good information and a map about riding today. Due to some confusion on my part we rode the route backwards from what he suggested. I may have just misunderstood his directions. It ended up being a good mistake. We rode the loop counter-clockwise instead clockwise. I think this is the best route (counter-clockwise)  because when you ride Iron Mountain Road, Mount Rushmore is framed in the tunnels. A picture perfect view of Mount Rushmore. If we had ridden in the clockwise direction Mount Rushmore would have been behind us when riding through the tunnels. I was also given some misinformation by a friend, who said Needles Highway was the road where you could view Mount Rushmore through the tunnels. Needles Highway does have 3 tunnels just like Iron Mountain but there are no views of Mount Rushmore. That caused us some confusion since we rode Needles Highway first. Larry asked a park ranger to help us. He got us straightened out about Iron Mountain and showed us how to get there. We got some good pictures riding Iron Mountain to prove it.

If you would like to ride the loop we rode, these are the directions.

  1. From Rapid City take US-16 south to US-16A
  2. Left on US-16A to SD-244
  3. SD-244 follow the signs to Mt. Rushmore
  4. From Mt. Rushmore continue on SD-244 west to US-385
  5. Left on US-385 for 0.2 of a mile to SD-87 (Needles Highway with 3 tunnels)
  6. Follow SD-87 for about 16 miles to Highway 753 (Playhouse Road)
  7. Follow Hwy 753  for about 4 miles to US-16A (Iron Mountain Road with 3 tunnels)
  8. Left on US-16A for a little over 9 miles to SD-244 (Take the pullouts and take pictures of Mt. Rushmore through the tunnels)
  9. When you reach SD-244 you have completed the 41 mile loop.

Below is a map of the ride around the loop.

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41 Mile loop with views of Mt. Rushmore

If you like narrow twisty roads you will like the Needles Highway. It is a must ride if you are in the area. The best part of the loop was riding Iron Mountain Road with views of Mt. Rushmore through the tunnels. Because of the speed limits and stopping to take pictures it takes about 1 hour and a half to 2 hours to ride. It is well worth the time.

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View of Mt. Rushmore from highway

After finishing the loop we doubled back on part of the loop to stop at the Crazy Horse Monument. I was interested to see how much progress they had made carving Crazy Horse into the mountain over the last 5 years.

The Needle rock formation the Needles Hwy is named for...

The Needle rock formation the Needles Hwy is named for…

Mount Rushmore viewed tunnel on Iron Mountain Hwy

Mount Rushmore viewed tunnel on Iron Mountain Hwy

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The project continues to this day. 63 years and they have a lot more to do before they finish. Korczak died October 20, 1982. The work continues today under the guidance of his wife Ruth and their children, together with the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation board of directors. It was and is a monumental undertaking.  The most amazing part of the project has been accomplished without any public funds.This is a must stop if you are in the area.

Crazy Horse Monument a 63 year work in progress

Crazy Horse Monument a 63 year work in progress

It was lunch time when we got to Crazy Horse.  We had lunch here at the Laughing Water Restaurant  on the Crazy Horse Monument campus. I had Buffalo Stew the last time I was here and since it was so good I had Buffalo Stew again. They have other Native American specialities you may want to try. The dinning room has a large picture window with  a good view of the Crazy Horse carving. The waiter staff was good and as pleasant as last time. They take the time to answer any questions you may have about the campus.

Heading South to Nebraska

Heading South to Nebraska

After a good meal at the Laughing Water Restaurant we headed south to Alliance, Nebraska, our destination for the day. We thought this was going to be just another leisurely ride. When we reached Alliance it was still early so we decided to ride another 37 miles to Bridgeport for the night. We stopped at the first motel to get a room but they were full. We asked where we might get a room in Bridgeport and was told all the motels were full. I asked why… The son (who plays football for the University of Nebraska) of one of the wealthy families in Bridgeport was getting married and anyone who was someone was there for the wedding… Hence no rooms… They said the nearest town on our route that would probably have a room was 80 miles away… No big deal except… we were also told there was a big storm headed this way… We did notice dark clouds as we rode into town. We jumped on the bikes and rode like the wind to try to beat the storm. Forty mile down the road we came to Oshkosh, Nebraska. What luck there was 2 motels and we were able to get a room for the night. Not a chain motel and nothing fancy but a room to get us out of the weather… which never came… We have been so lucky with the weather…

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom left column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time to leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Tomorrow we will be heading home… Larry back to Georgia and me back to Texas. I can’t believe this ride is almost over… but it will be nice to finally get back home to Janet…

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument

Day 13 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Devils Tower National Monument

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Devils Tower & Spearfish Canyon ride map

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Day 13 Leaving Gillette, WY early morning…

Today is day  13 of our national park motorcycle ride. Over the course of 16 days we will ride some of the best national parks, historic sites and national monuments in the U.S. and Canada (Pikes Peak National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Banff National Park, Little Bighorn National Historic Site, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial). Come follow along as we ride one of our dream rides on our bucket list.

We were up early and on the road. Another short day of just 200 miles. Our first stop is Devils Tower National Monument. We were here on a ride in 2008 and it’s nice to be back. It seems like it was last month… I was here with Larry T. and Larry C. Today it is just Larry T and me. Larry C. is missing a great ride… 🙁 I love riding this part Wyoming.

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Day 13 Almost to Devils Tower

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Devils Tower National Monument entrance

Situated in the rolling prairie of the Black Hills, Devils Tower towers over the surrounding area. Devils Tower is sacred to the Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 when Col. Richard Irving Dodge’s interpreter misinterpreted the Indian name to mean Bad God’s Tower. Maybe the tower should be called God’s Tower instead… It sounds good to me. Stupid white men…

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In the shadow of Devils Tower National Monument

We arrived at Devils Tower early morning. The air was still cool and made for a nice hike around the base. Even without climbing the tower you have good views of the scenic surrounding area as you walk the perimeter. It is an impressive sight, with unique geologic history and Indian ties. We watch more adventurous visitors climbing the tower. You need a permit to do any climbing. In my younger days I would love to climb the tower. Today we will just be observers. There are many interesting stories of former climbers. The fastest climb was just over 18 minutes… An amazing feat because he didn’t use climbing equipment! Then there was the a guy who parachuted onto the top of Devils Tower and he was stuck there for four days until he was rescued! There was one big flaw in the plan.

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Climber on Devils Tower National Monument

From Devils Tower we rode on to the town of Spearfish and rode through Spearfish Canyon. Butch Kay, an old school friend, suggest the canyon to be a must ride 5 years ago. It was a bit warmer this time, 80’s vs. 30’s.

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Riding through Spearfish Canyon

The last ride we just rode through Deadwood, but this time we stopped to have a closer look. The street was blocked when we got to Deadwood. There was a parade… For what… We had no clue… We turned down a side street and parked so we could check it out. It was the ’76 Days parade.

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’76 Days Parade in Deadwood, South Dakota

The official reason given for ’76 Days is…  “The Days of ’76 began as a way to honor Deadwood’s first pioneers – the prospectors, miners, muleskinners and madams who poured into the Black Hills in 1876 to settle the gold-filled gulches of Dakota Territory. Since the first celebration in 1924, the Days of ‘76 has grown into a legendary annual event with a  historic parade and an award-winning PRCA rodeo.”

The unofficial reason is… Wild Bill Hickok was killed in Deadwood on August 2, 1876…

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’76 Days in Deadwood South Dakota

The parade ended just as we walked up the street to it. The streets were filled with people who were there for the parade and the ’76 Days events. We leisurely strolled up and down “Upper and Lower” Main street taking in all the sights of the day’s festivities.

Afterward we back tracked to Lead, SD. We rode Hwy 385 five years ago but this trip we are riding Nemo Road to Rapid City, our destination for today. I saw several posts on the web about Nemo Road being a good motorcycle road. They were right, it is a great ride with nice scenery.

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Riding Nemo Road in South Dakota

Everything on our ride has gone as planned… until today… Because we have been riding during the peak tourist season I had made reservations at all the popular tourist areas. No problems until today… Wyndham Rewards lost our reservation at the Ramada… The Ramada was full and we could not get a room! We were not happy campers… And we weren’t prepared to be campers. After a hour or so of trying to resolve the issue with Wyndham to no avail, Ramada did help us find another motel near by. Apparently, the Wyndham reservation system did not send the information to the Ramada reservation system. Note to self: Call motels to verify the reservation well in advance of your arrival…

Today was another great riding day with more beautiful weather… 13 great days and counting. We are not wanting this ride to end… It is almost over… 🙁

For more pictures of our ride click here and don’t forget to like “The Texas Rambler” Facebook page. Look for the “Subscribe to Texas Rambler via Email” at the bottom right column to receive notifications of new posts by email. Also please take some time to leave us a comment. We always love hearing from y’all…

Tomorrow we will be riding to Mount Rushmore and riding  Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.

Ride safe and I hope we see you somewhere down the road.

This has been one amazing ride for Larry and me. Check out the other post from this ride using the links below…

National Park Motorcycle Ride – 5542 Miles in 16 Days 2013
Day 1 & 2 National Park Ride -Getting There
Day 3 National Park Ride – Dalhart, TX to Georgetown, CO
Day 4 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Georgetown, CO to Pinedale, WY
Day 5 National Park Motorcycle Ride: Grand Teton & Yellowstone
Day 6 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Yellowstone National Park
Day 7 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Gardiner to Kalispell
Day 8 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Glacier National Park
Day 9 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Troy, MT to Golden, AB Canada
Day 10 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Banff National Park Canada
Day 11 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Lethridge, AB to Billings, MT
Day 12 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Little Bighorn Battleground
Day 14 National Park Motorcycle Ride – Mount Rushmore