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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 ;).

national park, motorcycle, ride

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.

national park, motorcycle, ride, travel

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…

national park, motorcycle, ride, travel

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.

national park, motorcycle, ride

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…

W.D. & Me On Our First Long Motorcycle Ride 36 Years Ago!

Dallas -Dumas 411 miles, motorcycle, route, ride

My route to/from Dallas, Texas/Dumas, Texas (411 miles)

Several weeks ago I met my cousin W. D. (aka Dub) in Lagrange, Texas (of “Chicken Ranch” fame). Dub recently bought a new camper for his retirement travels and was setup at “Colorado Landing” RV park. He and I lived close by growing up and have been like brothers since we were kids. Dub is 18 months older, so like any little brother I wanted to do everything Dub did. Cousins are your first and best friends. We have a long history so we spent the day visiting and talking about old times.

My KZ400

My KZ400 that I rode on the trip.

Dub and I rode our first long motorcycle ride together. He lived in Eastlake, Colorado just north of Denver, Colorado and I lived in Dallas, Texas. We were young and rode the trip “on a wing and a prayer”. The only thing we planned was the date of travel and our destinations.  We met each other in Dumas, Texas which was about midway for each of us. Back then there were no cell phones to communicate with each other as our trip progressed. Dub devised a crazy way for us to communicate on our trip without having expensive long distances charges. When we stopped for gas or to eat etc. we would call Dub’s wife Barb “person to person”. If everything was okay we would ask to speak to ourselves. Barb would reject the call if everything was okay. If either one of us had any problems we would call and ask to speak with Barb. Barb would accept the call and we could tell her what our problem was. This worked very well. As the day progressed we kept checking in and knew the other rider was having a good ride. Fortunately, we did not have any problems that needed to be relayed during the trip.

That first day the weather was great… not too hot or too cold. We both made good time and arrived in Dumas about 5 or 10 minutes apart. I was riding a 1974 Kawasaki KZ400 and Dub was riding a 1974 Yamaha 500. Seats on our bikes were not made for staying in the saddle for hours on end.  As the hours became longer and longer it seemed as though we were sitting on 2×4’s turned edge ways. When we met up, we both shared similar stories about how hard the seats were. I had passed many riders that day who were standing while riding. It wasn’t long before I understood why they were riding that way. I was soon doing the same. If I remember correctly I could only travel about 100 miles before stopping for gas. It was a welcome break from the saddle. I also had to stop occasionally to oil and make adjustments on the chain. Because of that trip I decided my next bike would not have a chain drive.

motorcycle, route, ride

Our route from Dumas to Clovis (182 miles)

We were a bit paranoid about parking our bikes outside the motel room, so we pushed them into our room for safekeeping. Nothing like the smell oil and gas as you sleep. The following day we got an early start and headed to Clovis, New Mexico. Dub’s brother John was stationed at the Air Force base in Clovis. It was a short ride relative to the day before. We stayed with John a couple of nights. John had a bike so we spent the following day riding around Clovis. Dub had a minor mishap the first day. Shortly after starting his ride he broke his windshield and had ridden with half a windshield. We checked with the local Yamaha dealer there in Clovis to get a replacement windshield. They had a windshield that was the same size and shape but the mounting holes did not match. We solved the problem by drilling a couple of holes to make it work. Later on the trip, Dub would find replacing the windshield to be a good decision.

Clovis - Eastlake 511 miles

Our route from Clovis to Eastlake (511 miles)

After a good visit and rest we rode to Eastlake the next day. It was a long ride of 511 miles. As we started out that day it began to warm up. We noticed there were hundreds of tarantulas sunning themselves on the road that day. We entertained ourselves by holding our boots just above the pavement and when our boot hit a tarantula; it would go flying down the road. Please remember this was 30 plus years ago and our youth was showing.

The weather was great when we started but then turned to light snow and eventually rain. When we started up Raton pass (7834 feet or 2388 meters elevation) the clouds started to roll in. As we reached the top of the pass snow started falling. To add to the situation both of our bikes were carbureted and ran really rough in the higher altitude. I think at one point I may have downshifted to second gear climbing the pass. On the other side of the pass it was all downhill to coin a phrase. A short while later, I thought I had a major engine problem. It was as though I turned off the key. No power… it was a dead engine. I watched as Dub’s tail light became smaller and smaller as he rode farther away. Dub had not realized I was falling behind. I was in a bit of a panic not knowing if he would realize I was not behind him any longer. About a mile down the road Dub turned around and came back to see what the problem was. I had taken my hand off the handlebar to wipe my nose and in the process I inadvertently hit the kill switch. Because of the gloves I was wearing I did not feel my hand hitting the switch. It took a few minutes to realize what had actually happened. What a relief to know there was no problem. After having a good laugh we continued on our way. The snow eventually stopped and we thought we were out of the worst of it but then it started to rain rather heavily. I was wearing a cheap rain suit. It worked well until the pants started to come apart from the knee down. I was getting soaking wet from the knee down. Being wet is one thing… being wet and cold is another… As we were riding through Pueblo Colorado we were passed by a car full of kids. They rolled down their window and were laughing and shouting at us riding in the rain. We had the last laugh. They ran off the road while trying to make fun of our situation. Dub and I smiled and rode on.

Later, we stopped at a rest stop to call Barb and let her know our ETA. While Dub was talking to Barb I decided to put on some dry socks. Sitting on the curb by my bike I thought the warm engine would feel good on my cold wet feet. I was right. I was lying on my back with my feet on the engine when Dub came looking for me. Because I was lying down he could not see me. He was walking around wondering where the heck I had gotten off to. We had another good laugh when he saw me laying on the ground. The engine heat did feel really good on my cold wet feet.

It was still raining when we got to Eastlake after sunset. Dub’s driveway was long and was two strips of concrete made just for a car. Because the concrete was narrow, wet and slick, we both slipped off the runners and dropped our bikes.  We just let them lay and went in the house to clean up and warm up. Later that night we got the bikes up to the house and cleaned them up the next day. We learned a lot that day…

I stayed several days visiting, site seeing and resting up before riding back to Dallas alone. I missed having my cousin riding along. For the most part the ride was uneventful. I had good weather, a bit cold and partly overcast the first day but not bad considering it was October. When riding that time of the year in Colorado the weather could have been really bad. I was lucky.

Eastlake - Dumas 401 miles

My route from Eastlake to Dumas (401 miles)

I stopped at Capulin Volcano to take a break and play tourist. On the way up to the top of Capulin one of the supports broke on my windshield. I was in a bit of a panic until I figured out a fix. It held together the rest of the trip.

I spent the night in Dumas again. I got an early start back to Dallas. Somewhere along the way I lost my Air Force fatigue shirt I had strapped to the luggage rack. I rode a ways back looking for it but had no luck finding it. I paid 4 years of my life for it and didn’t like losing it. Your fatigue shirt was like a “badge of honor” back in those days.

Until this ride, the longest ride I had been on was a 610 mile round trip. This ride of 1858 miles round trip ignited my love of motorcycle touring. It took me out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot from this trip. After this ride I knew I needed better gear and a bike better suited for long trips. I started a family shortly after that trip and I had to put my riding on hold for 23 years. Now I am trying to make up for lost time. My posts here will attest to that.

Dub & Me

Dub and me 30+ years later…

Dub still rides but has downsized to a Yamaha scooter. We hope to do some riding together again. We have tried to get together to ride but life has gotten in the way. I’m going to try to get him to ride with me in May. I plan to ride the “Texas Independence Trail Region”. Stay tuned for that post…

Days 8, 9, 10 – Harrison, AR Motorcycle Ride – Heading to Aunt Imogene’s and then home.

Days 8, 9, 10 – Harrison, AR Motorcycle Ride

We had a nice visit with Roy and Debbie catching up on all family news and we ate some good home cooking. We wished we could have stayed longer but a coconut pie was waiting at Aunt Imogene’s. She needed help eating it so we had to help her out…

It rained last night and was still raining this morning. We had planned to be on the road by 10:00 but waited until almost 11:00 to let the roads dry a bit.

It was a cool morning but warmed up quickly. It seemed that the closer we got to Texas the warmer it got. Today we rode more of scenic Hwy 7 to I-30. Again, there were lots of curves with great views all along the way. We rode through Hot Springs, my favorite city in Arkansas. We didn’t stop this time but if you do have a chance you need to spend time in Hot Springs.

Downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas

There is so much to see and do in Hot Springs. Hot Springs and Hot Springs National Park owe their existence to an array of springs that still supply naturally heated water for thermal bathers. The Fordyce Bathhouse, on famous Bathhouse Row, now serves as the park’s visitor center. From Bathhouse Row to the Gangster Era…  Hot Springs is rich in history.

Lake Hamilton, Hot Springs, AR

The city is also known for many annual events including the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, Hot Springs Jazz Festival, Hot Springs Blues Festival, the downtown Bathtub Races and the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

I wish we could have delayed our ride by a few weeks.  The fall foliage should have been good then. Fall is a beautiful time of the year to visit Arkansas.

Aunt Imogene lives on Cypress Springs Lake near Scroggins, Texas. It is a scenic area of north-east Texas. There are many scenic motorcycle roads in the area… We arrived at Aunt Imogene’s later that afternoon. We love visiting her for several reasons. We always have such a fun and relaxing time there, playing fun games, sharing memories and stories. Oh and did I mention coconut cream pie and she is just an all around great cook. We always eat too much while there. Another favorite pastime is sitting on Aunt Imogene’s deck enjoying the relaxing view of the lake while being surrounded by beautiful trees.

Aunt Imogene’s back yard on Cypress Springs Lake

We learned a new domino game Imogene called “Indian Railroad” Janet corrected her… The game is called “Mexican Train”… We had a good laugh about that one…

Janet and Aunt Imogene (84 years young)

We took a day off from riding and just enjoyed our time with Imogene and tried to finish off that coconut cream pie. Good time and great food.

Day 10

We were up early, had a good breakfast of biscuits and gravy and then we headed back home after saying our goodbyes. We promised Imogene we would get back sooner next time.

The ride home was through more of scenic East Texas. The down side of today was the temperature got into the mid 90’s. It was so hot that we removed our jackets. When we bought the Olympia Airglide 3 jackets, we hoped we could wear them when the temperature climbed into the upper 90’s.

It was nice to get home after riding 2035 miles over the past 10 days. We rode some beautiful scenic motorcycle roads with good friends, learned more history of the “Trail of Tears”, visited a couple of old forts rich in history, met some nice people along the way and took this opportunity  to visit family on our return ride home. All in all it was a fun ride. We will return to explore the area more in the future.

Ride safe y’all… Hope we meet somewhere down the road…

Ride Statistics
Ride Miles  2035
Gas Used 48.2 gallons @ $3.72 average per gallon = $101.86 total cost
Average Gas Mileage 42.2 mpg
Number of Curves Ridden  ~4000

If you want to follow us on the other days of our trip click the links below…

Ride introduction…
Day 1 – Georgetown, TX to Bowie, TX via scenic FM 4. (250 miles)
Day 2 – Bowie, TX to Wewoka, OK to Holden, OK (193 miles)
Day 3 – Holden, OK to Harrison, AR  (263 miles)
Day 4 – Ride 1 out of Harrison, AR 
Day 5 – Ride 2 out of Harrison, AR  (120 miles)
Day 6 – Ride 3 out of Harrison, AR  (207 miles)
Day 7 – Harrison, AR to Jessieville, AR (149 miles)

 

Mount Rushmore National Park Motorcycle Ride September 2008

Mount Rushmore National Park Motorcycle Ride -(Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma 2821 Miles)

I just got back from a motorcycle trip with 2 of my friends. Larry Cooper (my old Air Force buddy) from Alabama and Larry Talley (Larry Cooper’s friend from high school) from Georgia. I’ve known Larry Talley almost as long as I’ve known Larry Cooper because I met him when I first went to visit Larry Cooper in Alabama.

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go on this trip because of all that had happened during the 2 previous weeks. Two weeks before the trip we were going down to take my parents to Victoria to see my sister Edna who had just had a mastectomy. Just before we left we got a call from Ginny (sister-in-law) telling us that my dad was in the hospital due to chest pains. We never made it to Victoria. My dad was released from the hospital on Monday and Wednesday we brought them back to Georgetown because hurricane Ike was supposed to hit the coast there. We also brought my Aunt Bips too. Later Janet’s Aunt Pat and Uncle Perry and their 3 great grand kids came to stay with us until it was safe to return. We also had my brother Gary and Wife Ginny, Ginny’s mother, Ginny’s mother’s neighbor, their daughter Mandy and her 2 kids and a couple that was friends of Mandy’s staying in a motel near by. When the storm passed I drove down to Victoria and picked up a generator for my parents since their power was out. I stayed there until Thursday taking care of various situations. I thought I was going to stay longer because my dad was scheduled for a heart cath on Friday. Since it was cancelled I was able to go on the trip. I spent nearly all day Friday getting ready for this trip.

This was the longest MC trip I have ever been on in terms of miles. Actually it was too many miles for such few days. In spite of it all it was still fun. I think we all decided that next time we travel this many miles we will be taking 2 weeks instead of just 8 days. Besides getting older and our bodies needing more time we need more time to see the sights. We saw the sights in more of a blur. There was much more that we could have seen if we had more time.

September 20 Saturday

Map

487 miles: Georgetown, TX to Amarillo, TX

Amarillo Texas, Motorcycle Ride

Motel 6 in Amarillo

It was a long ride for me and it ended up getting pretty warm before I got to Amarillo. T. Bone Pickens wasn’t kidding about Sweetwater, TX; there are hundreds of those windmills that generate electricity there. I’ve seen them in many places around the country but there were hundreds of them around Sweetwater. (See www.pickensplan.org)

I met the 2 Larry’s in Amarillo. Because of all that was going on with me the Larry’s left a day later and we rode the trip backwards so that I would be able to go. They left on the19th and rode to Ft. Smith, AR (I think) and rode the remained on the 20th. I arrived before they did and I got us a room at a Motel-6 on I-40. They arrived not long afterward. We had originally planned to meet at the Big Texan Steak Ranch on I-40 but since I arrived much sooner I decided to go ahead and find us a room. We didn’t eat at Big Texan Steak Ranch because they were so busy. They had some kind if entertainment going on that had a lot of people attending. We ended up eating a steak across the street from our motel. The steak wasn’t bad but I’ve had better.

September 21 Sunday

Map, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

365 miles: Amarillo, TX to Colorado Springs, CO

We ate breakfast across the street where we ate the night before. Then we headed for Castle Rock, Colorado. In the past when I had driven that way I had traveled to Dumas, TX then took Hwy 87 to Raton, NM. This time we followed the route Gladys (My GPS’ name given to her by Janet & Kristy) mapped out for us. Gladys took us Hwy 1061 to Hwy 385. We then picked up Hwy 87 at Hartley. The wind picked up and blew pretty hard for most of this day’s trip. I think it blew the hardest traveling through New Mexico. We stopped to see Capulin Volcano.

New Mexico, motorcycle ride

Welcome center at Capulin Volcano

New Mexico, Motorcycle ride

View from atop Capulin Volcano

Approximately 60,000 years ago, the rain of cooling cinders formed Capulin Volcano, a nearly perfectly-shaped cinder cone, rising more than 1000 feet above the surrounding landscape. The ride to the top spirals around the volcano with quite a drop off on one side and a shear wall on the other. If height bothers you then … the view from the top was something to see. You could see for miles and other volcano were visible too.

From Capulin we rode over Raton pass and stopped in Trinidad for gas. We then rode through part of the town because Larry T. wanted to see what it looked like. From there we rode to Colorado Springs. We decided to spend the night there instead of riding on to Castle Rock. I knew Katie (my youngest daughter) was in Colorado taking a break from hurricane Ike. She was with out power in Kingwood and she didn’t have to be back to work until Wednesday so she took a quick hurrication (Katie’s word for this vacation) until Wednesday. I gave her a call to see where she was and guess what!!?? She was in Colorado Springs. It was late and we were all (Katie and her friends too) tired so we didn’t get together since they were about 12 miles away from where we were staying. Needless to say Katie and I were both surprised that we were that close. Janet told Katie she can run but she can’t hide from us…

September 22 Monday

map, Colorado, Wyoming, Colorado Springs, Central City,Cheyenne , motorcycle ride

251 miles: Colorado Springs to Cheyenne, WY via Blackhawk, Estes Park, and Loveland

We rode to Castle Rock, took Hwy 85 to Hwy 470 to I-70 to Hwy 72. Hwy 72 took us through the mountains to Blackhawk and Central City. Janet and I went there numerous times when we lived in Aurora (1978 – 1986). It was one of our favorite destinations… but what a difference 20+ years makes. It had completely changed… instead of being the quaint little old historic towns they were in the past they were now a casino Mecca.

Streets of the old Central City. 20 years ago it would have been full of people.

Court House Central City Colorado

Wyoming, motorcycle ride

Checking map…

The ride through the mountains to Estes Park was nice. The air was crisp and clean with the Aspens turning to bright yellow. Seeing the Aspens turn is one of the many things Janet and I miss about Colorado. I had forgotten much of that road but I did remember a few things. I had forgot coming into Estes Park from Hwy 72. You look down on Estes Park from atop the mountain. Estes Park is still a very pretty little tourist town. From Estes Park we rode through the Big Thompson Canyon. Big Thompson canyon was truly a pretty ride too with the road following the Big Thompson River through the canyon. Once we were back on I-25 it was a quick ride to Cheyenne. Just before we hit the Wyoming state line we suddenly hit a wall of cold air and the wind picked up too. The temperature drop felt like it was at least 20 degrees. Needless to say we were ready to find a room and get off the bikes for a while.

September 23 Tuesday

353 miles: Cheyenne to Spearfish, SD via Devils Tower

After a stop at Wal Mart for a few things and an attempted to stop at a motorcycle dealer (they were closed) we headed toward Devils Tower. The Larry’s had brought things for making sandwiches so we stopped at a picnic stop along the way for lunch. Most of that ride the scenery was mostly rolling plains but once we got near Devils Tower the scenery was hills covered with pine trees. This was the first time any of us had been to Devils Tower. We spent quite a while walking around the base of Devils Tower and taking pictures. It was an impressive sight.

Devils Tower rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. Once hidden, erosion has revealed Devils Tower. This 1347-acre park is covered with pine forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife are seen.

Also known as Bears Lodge, it is a sacred site for many American Indians.

From Devils Tower we rode to Spearfish, South Dakota and spent the night.

motorcycle ride Wyoming

Lunch on Hwy 85 in WY on our way to Devil’s Tower

wyoming, motorcycle ride, national park

Devil’s Tower

September 24 Wednesday

motorcycle ride

180 miles: Spearfish, SD to Chadron, NE via Spearfish Canyon, Deadwood, Sturgis, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mt.

We got an early start. The temperature was 39 degrees. Before I left on this trip an old high school friend (Butch Kay) told me about several places that we needed to ride while in the area. One was Spearfish Canyon. Like I said it was 39 degrees that morning but I know it was much colder in the canyon. I was wishing I had brought some warmer gloves. But in spite of the cold it was a great ride through the canyon.

Spearfish Canyon is one of the oldest and most miraculous canyons in the west. Located in the northern portion of the Black Hills National Forest, the canyon spans 20-miles along a scenic and unique State and National Scenic Byway. Less than a mile wide, the canyon is always ‘close and upward’ dwarfing the one-million annual visitors

After leaving the canyon we rode on to Deadwood (Where Wild Bill was shot) and on to Sturgis. Sturgis looked like any other small town. From there we back tracked through Deadwood, stopped at Pactola Reservoir for a short break and rode on to Mt. Rushmore. The Black Hills are really pretty and a great place to ride. We spent some time at Mt. Rushmore walking the trails and taking pictures. It’s been 30 years since I was there last and it had changed quite a bit. There was also a lot of people there which was a surprise to me since it was late September. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in July.

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Pactola Reservoir

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Spearfish Canyon

From Mt. Rushmore we rode on to Crazy Horse Memorial. I had been there 30 years ago. They have removed a lot of the mountain and Crazy Horse now has a head (face). They have been working on him for 60 years. Needless to say they have a long way to go and it will take another generation of the Ziolkowski family to finish the memorial.

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore

motorcycle ride, South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s  mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.

We had planned to ride the Needles Hwy this day but since we all had a long way to go to get home (me 1100 miles and about 1400 miles for the Larry’s) we rode to Chadron, Nebraska and got a room.

September 25 Thursday

motorcycle ride, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas

466 miles: Chadron, NE to Garden City, KS

motorcycle ride, Nebraska

Nowhere in North Platte, NE

I rode with the Larry’s to North Platte, NE and from there we said our goodbyes. They headed to Anamosa, Iowa to see a motorcycle museum. Anamosa was the original place we were to meet but due to all that happened the 2 weeks before we left we rode the trip backwards. I thought about going with them to Anamosa but I decided to make an easy ride home for my self.

At one gas stop I met a couple from Pennsylvania who had been riding for 5 weeks riding to the northwest and California etc. They weren’t ready to go home but had jobs they had to get back to. We had a good visit and then we went our separate ways after they took my picture to add to their travel log.

I rode to Garden City to spend the night.

September 26 Friday

motorcycle ride

423 miles: Garden City, KS to Abilene, TX

I got an early start and headed to Abilene. The scenery in Nebraska and Kansas was pretty much the same. A lot of farm and ranch land… and a lot of very smelly feedlots. It seemed that every town had a feedlot. In its own way it was still pretty and I’m sure a different way of life. Miles and miles between towns.

September 27 Saturday

motorcycle ride

205 miles: Abilene to Georgetown (Home)

The morning I left Abilene the sky was filled with hot air balloons. It was quite a site. The balloons could be seen miles way from Abilene.

The ride home was easy for the most part. I have ridden this stretch several times. I saw many familiar sites and a few I somehow missed. I was ready to get home. It seemed as though I hadn’t seen Janet in a month. To my surprise when I got home Janet had cooked me a coconut cream pie (my favorite). It’s nice to be missed.

All in all I must say it was a good trip. For the most part we had really good weather and saw some really pretty country. The only thing I would change is taking more days to travel that distance.

If you liked this post you may like this of another ride here.

Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Trip September 2010

Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Trip (TX, AR, OK, NM, AZ, UT, CO  3346 Miles)

For the last few years I have taken a motorcycle trip in September. In the past, the trips have started with me meeting my friends LC (Larry Cooper my Air Force buddy) who lives in Bryant Alabama and LT (Larry Talley) who lives in Tunnel Hill, Georgia. We would meet in Hot Springs, AR. LC & LT would ride the “Trail of Tears” motorcycle ride which starts in Chattanooga, TN and it would end somewhere in Oklahoma. I would then ride the last leg of the “Trail of Tears” with them and the other 250 or so riders. This year the “Trail of Tears” ride ended in Tahlequah, OK. This year LC & LT rode ahead of the official ride to Hot Springs because of the heat. When riding in that large of a group it moves slower and is hotter.

I’ve known LT almost as long as LC. While LC and I were buddies in the Air Force LC always talked about LT. Our first motorcycle trip together was 32 years ago in July when I rode my Kawasaki KZ400 out to visit LC. LC (Kawasaki KZ900) & LT (Yamaha 750 I think) rode and met me half way and then we rode back to LC’s together. Below is a picture from that trip of LC & LT, at the motel, as we are getting ready to ride back to LC’s. My how things have changed but our enthusiasm for riding hasn’t.

Janet didn’t make this trip since the other wives were not able to make it and she didn’t want to be the only girl. I did miss my riding buddy.

Below are the posts from each day of our ride. Come follow along as we ride to enjoy the fun and beautiful scenery…

Day 1 & 2 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 3 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 4 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 5 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 6 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 7 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 8 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 9 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 10 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010

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