Friday, August 11, 2006

Day 9: Last Day in South Dakota






Both of us slept in this morning (me until 545 am!). I went across to get my morning coffee and newspapers. Brought the computer outside and plugged it in and started uploading photos. It's a lot of work this vacation thing. Taking pictures, uploading pictures, captioning pictures, rotating pictures, blogging. Got dressed and out the door, deciding to have breakfast in Deadwood and ride through Sturgis one more time. Definitely a lot of people have headed out of town already or were leaving today. Deadwood was half as busy as last time. Same for Sturgis. Stopped in the Broken Spoke to check it out. They have a bunch of motorcycles on display so we took some pictures of the Triumphs for Steve Anderson (we know he likes Triumphs). Saw the maps that have pins of all of the people who stopped by and where they are from. They have one of the world and one of the United States. Dallas was well represented. They have celebrity bike builder bartenders during Sturgis. Rick Fairless/Strokers was there on Thursday night. Guy at the bar said that he loved Texas Hard Tails, the show on Speed Channel that Tony's been in about four episodes of. Guy was sad that Debbie, Rick's wife, didn't make it to Sturgis this year.

Decided to take a ride to the Strokers set up across from the Whiskey Throttle. Got inside and found out we had to pay to get in. Since we see Rick up at Strokers and don't have to pay for the privilege, we decided not to go in and head up Spearfish Canyon Highway. Picked up some sandwiches and water for a picnic on the highway next to one of the babbling brooks. That was fun. The water was chilly but felt good on our feet!

Stopped at Roughlock Falls. According to the sign, they filmed a scene of Dances with Wolves at Roughlock Falls. Tony and I can't remember the scene. Guess we need to watch the movie again. The falls are picturesque and again, a new history lesson about how they were formed: Roghlock Falls was created over time as a result of the solid bedrock which did not erode as quickly as the soils downstream. Roughlock Falls got its name from the way wagons had to travel down very steep slopes like this during the gold rush days. The drivers would "roughlock" the wheels of their wagons with logs or chains to prevent them from turning, hitch the horses to the rear, and slowly skid down the slope.

Back at the hotel/inn to pack up and get the bike on the trailer. Our vacation is almost over. Have had an awesome time, but will be happy to get back to see Maggie and Kat and get back to work. Decided our route back to Dallas -- through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and finally, Dallas. It looks like it'll still be hot when we get back.

Day 8: Evening at the Blue Cactus

After a long day playing tourists, we stopped by the Blue Cactus (I think in an earlier blog I called it the Iron Cactus) for a few cocktails. It's a block from the hotel/inn, so perfect place to end our day. We feel like regulars even though this is only our second time there. And, the drinks are only $2! We sit down at the bar and Janelle (we called her Seattle until we asked her name) served us.

After about 30 minutes, a big guy ordered the bar a whole round of drinks. A little bit later, we reciprocated and ordered him a Gypsy Hooker and Tony a Red-headed Slut. Janelle switched the order, remembering what went into the drinks, but didn't know which was which. The big guy came on over and thanked us. His name is Wayne. Big guy with hair longer than Tony's wearing a cowboy hat and dark sunglasses. He's about 6'5, and a "local." He called me ma'am and Tony sir until we introduced ourselves. Owns a printer in town that prints the Buffalo Chip newspaper (380,000 copies this year), among other pubs. Also owns a ranch out in Montana. Ended up giving us a bunch of info that I wrote down, that now I don't really know what to do with it. Tony and I had a great time talking to him and hearing his stories and opinions (Wayne definitely had opinions about Lead and Sturgis and the current state of the US government and Deadwood and Montana and). Would be the kind of guy you'd want as a friend -- one for life who would help (even defend) you if you needed his help.

Met a couple of guys from New York (one of them kept encroaching on my space at the bar) who liked coming to Lead to avoid the crowds and madness and cops in and around Sturgis. Big talkers and you could tell that Wayne didn't particularly care for them. Wayne invited us to stay at his ranch in Montana next time we came back. That'd be cool -- if I can figure out how to locate him.

A couple more drinks later and we headed back to the Gold Town Inn.

Day 8: Mount Rushmore, Custer National Park, Crazy Horse














Yesterday morning we headed out to Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and Crazy Horse Memorial. With our trusty, well-used map, we headed through Lead and over to 385. Weather is nice and chilly, but the sun's rising and we'll be warm soon enough. Stop for breakfast at Trout Haven. Longest wait for them to bring our food out yet. Figured that they went and caught the trout that Tony ordered for breakfast, or had to let the bread rise for my french toast. But, we're on vacation! Back on the road, heading towards Mount Rushmore. Stopped at Pactola Dam and Reservoir, a really, really blue lake. Water looks cold.

Stopped in Hill City on the way to buy a Mt. Rushmore Harley shirt for Tony. Found one with a big buffalo on it. Back on the bike and onto 244 highway a curvy little road with switchbacks and got off the bike at a stop and looked over and you could see George Washington's profile. Pretty cool to see just a part of Mt. Rushmore. We were told that you can see Mt. Rushmore just was well outside of the park as inside, so we pulled over just past the fee booth and took some pictures. Doesn't look as big as you see in the pictures, but impressive nonetheless. Took Iron Mountain Road towards Custer State Park, another windy road with lots of switchbacks and tunnels -- time to see some buffalo and wildlife.

We enter the park and start looking. Turn onto Wildlife Loop Road. They have to have wildlife if that's what the road is called, right? Wrong. All of the buffalo and antelope must be napping because we see nothing. Decide to get adventurous and head on a little gravel road. Maybe the wildlife is hiding from all of the bikes.

This was the right choice because about a mile down the road, there is a herd of buffalo, really close to the road on both sides of the streets. Lots of buffalo (around a hundred) with lots of cute little baby buffalo and lots of buffalo poop. We head down the road towards the buffalo. There were lots of signs when we entered the park saying to be careful and not approach the buffalo because they are dangerous. Looked pretty calm when we passed them, but we didn't stop the bike and rode on through. One of the momma's with her baby by her side snorted at us.

So, we rode on, looking for more wildlife. A little ways down we stopped and saw a herd of antelope (or a family -- I don't know what constitutes a herd. There were about 10 antelope). Just to the left of the antelope was another herd of buffalo, staying cool in the shade. Good napping place. Run into a couple on horses and they tell us about the herd of 300-400 head of buffalo a couple of days ago. Gave us directions that we tried to remember, but didn't really know about. We turn around to head back towards the buffalo since the road turned from gravel to dirt.

We're riding past the big herd of buffalo, feeling pretty comfortable being right next to them. But not stupid enough to get off the bike! Smart move. I'm taking pictures left and right, hoping that they come out, wishing I had a zoom lens that zoomed better. All of a sudden, one of the momma's charged us. Never had a mad buffalo that close to us. Tony sped up really fast and up the hill we went. Didn't know how fast a buffalo could run, but we were getting out of the way! Two guys on their bikes were at the top of the hill and saw it happen. We got off at the top and caught our breath. We decided that she wasn't happy that we were so close to her baby on the other side of the street. One of the two guys gets off his bike and heads our way. Big talker. Talks about all of his experience with buffalo. "They like the sound of my Yamaha." They kill people every year. Stupid woman was trying to lure a baby buffalo to her. Blah blah blah. Some more people came up in their cars and motorcycles, deciding if they wanted to go down or not. First they waited for the two guys to head down. When they saw a buffalo charge them, they decided not to venture down.

Off we went in search of more buffalo and antelope. Saw a donkey (or pony or mule -- I'm not an expert on that). Went looking and looking for the 300-400 head of buffalo, but no luck. Saw lots and lots of buffalo poop though. Guess it's time to take Needles Highway and get lunch and go to Crazy Horse Memorial. Needles Highway wasn't all that exciting until we started seeing the spirs and what they call the needles -- tall pieces of rock that are vertical. We're surrounded by them.

Stop in Custer for lunch. We're pretty burgered out so we have steak and ribs. Yum. I stop at a little jewelry stand and buy a necklace/charm for me. I don't need to have everything say Harley or Sturgis on my trip, but I always like a memento. The charm is made of Drusy (a stone found in the area). I'll have to go online and read more about it. Jewelry was made by Linda Thelin, a local resident of Custer.

Off to Crazy Horse Memorial. Didn't really know the "big deal" about it until we saw most of the movie (before the fire alarm went off). They've been blasting since 1948 and have blasted millions of tons of stone, but there is so much left to blast for its completion. The sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski (1908-1982) and his family have taken on this project. With 10 children, his family is definitely following in his footsteps. When it's done, it'll be taller than Washington Monument and 641 ft. long. The fire alarm sounded, so we didn't get to watch the rest of the movie. We'll probably never see it completed in our lifetimes.

Off towards Lead. It's getting chillier and the sun is setting. We stop at Pactola Dam and Reservoir again to see it with the sun setting. And then head back to Lead. Long day, but another great day!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Random history/trivia

Thought I'd go online and check out some of the sights we've seen. Tony thinks I've substituted work for blogging. I can sit at the computer and work without calling it "work." He's probably right.

The Church in the Rocky Mountains from an earlier blog: Camp Saint Malo

For over eighty years, the land at the eastern base of Mount Meeker in the Rocky Mountains has been special to the Catholic people of Colorado. One can say that there is even a sense of the holy attached to the place – and the huge rocks on which the statue of Christ now stands.
It was an August night in 1916 when Msgr. Joseph J. Bosetti saw a fiery meteor fall from the sky. An avid mountaineer and, at the time, a young assistant pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Msgr. Bosetti later related that the meteor seemed to fall into the aspen and pine-covered forests at the foot of Mount Meeker.

He never found the meteor, but at dawn, did discover an impressive lichen-covered rock formation. Bosetti regarded this as a message from heaven and vowed to build a chapel on the site.

In 1993, Pope John Paul II stayed at Saint Malo during his World Youth Day visit to Denver. Photographs of his visit appear throughout Saint Malo and his prayer-filled walk through the Rocky Mountains was commemorated with a plaque on the Saint Malo grounds.

Msgr. Bosetti said it all when he reflected on the significance of Saint Malo: "The religious atmosphere of the camp cannot fail to make an everlasting impression." (source: http://www.saintmalo.org)

Bentonite
We passed a bentonite plant in Wyoming and didn't know what it was. So, here you go if you don't know: Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate generally impure clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite, (Na,Ca)0.33(Al,Mg)2Si4O10(OH)2·(H2O)n.

Bentonite can be used in cement, adhesives, ceramic bodies, cosmetics and cat litter. Fuller's earth, an ancient dry cleaning substance, is finely ground bentonite. Bentonite, in small percentages, is used as an ingredient in commercially designed clay bodies and ceramic glazes. Bentonite clay is also used in pyrotechnics to make end plugs and rocket nozzles.

The absorbent clay was given the name bentonite by an American geologist sometime after its discovery in about 1890 - after the Benton Formation (a geological stratum, at one time Fort Benton) in eastern Wyoming's Rock Creek area.

Most high grade commercial sodium bentonite mined in the United States comes from the area between the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Basin of Montana.

(source: Wikipedia)

That's enough education for the day. Time to get dressed and ready for Mt. Rushmore.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day 7: Devils Tower





















As usual, I woke up at 530 am. Put my jeans and new Sturgis sweatshirt on and went across the street to Common Cents for coffee and newspapers (Rapid City Journal, Lawrence County Journal and The Black Hills Pioneer). It's becoming my ritual to sit out front of the hotel and read my newspapers and drink coffee while Tony's sleeping. The news is all about Sturgis. 5 people were shot yesterday in Custer (they think a Hells Angels and Outlaw gang related incident), the hail/snow that hit on Monday, the traffic in Deadwood and Sturgis, the concerts in Sturgis, and even an article about Cheyenne Crossing, the little stop we had yesterday for breakfast. Finished up my paper and went back to the room. Tony was up, showered and getting ready for our ride.

Got back on the bike. Destination: Spearfish Canyon to North 85 to 34 to Devils Tower. About 80 miles to Devils Tower. Stopped at Cheyenne Crossing for breakfast and so Tony could zip up his jacket (it's a bit chilly and he has his chaps on, vest on, ski cap on, but didn't zip his jacket). Nice breakfast to start out the day.

As soon as we turned on 34, you could tell there were lots of bikes going to our destination. There was a guy with a Danbury, Connecticut shirt in front of us most of the ride. A pretty ride, with rolling hills and grasslands. Going through downtown Hulett, they had a mini Sturgis going on with hundreds of bikes and bikers. Tents set up, vendors, food, beer. We kept riding through Hulett. We had a destination in mind.

Finally, saw Devils Tower in the distance. We knew we were close. Now for a little history lesson, in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Devils Tower as the nation's first national monument. It's actually the core of a volcano exposed after millions of years of erosion brough on by the Belle Fourche River and the weather. For a local legend story: "One day, an Indian tribe was camped beside the river and seven small girls were playing at a distance. The region had a large bear population and a bear began to chase the girls. They ran back toward their village, but the bea was about to catch them. The girls jumped upon a rock about three fee high and began to pray to the rock, "Rock, take pity on us; Rock save us." The rock heard the pleas of the young girls and began to elongate itself upwards, pushing them higher and higher out of reach of the bear. The bear clawed and jumped at the sides of the rock, and broke its claws and fell to the ground. The bear continued to jump at the rock until the girls were pushed up into the sky, where they are to this day in a group of seven little stars (the Pleiades). The marks of the bear claws are there yet." (souce: pamphlet).

Enough history and folklore: We paid our way into the park and rode up to Devils Tower, passing a prairie dog town on the way. Devils Tower is pretty cool. We even saw some rock climbers going up the walls of the monument. According to the park ranger, they had been there since 4 am and still had a long way to go (the record to get to the top was 18 minutes -- don't know how he did it!). We saw what we needed to see, got some pictures and off we rode. Decided that we were going to head 39 miles up to Montana. Have to get another state on the bike!

The ride to Montana was pretty, but open, wide open. Grasslands on either side of us and lots and lots of blue sky. Why they call Montana the Big Sky State. At the border, we got off and took a couple of pictures and then stopped in Alzada for lunch before heading on our ride back to Lead. I had another burger and Tony had meat on a stick. Plenty of bikers there doing the same thing we were doing -- riding to Montana. At 100 degrees (or thereabouts), we couldn't wait to get out of the open country and back into Spearfish Canyon. Passed a bentonite facility (need to figure out what that is) run by Halliburton. Stopped at Dairy Queen for a slushie. And a little bit later, made it back through the canyon and back to Gold Town Hotel to shower and unwind. Dinner: don't know yet. Tomorrow: Mt Rushmore and Custer Park.

Tuesday Evening






After relaxing and unwinding from our day, we headed to Lewie's on 85 for burgers. We'd passed it a number of times already and heard they had good burgers. They did. We're becoming hamburgers having eaten them everyday! Some people at the next table recommended going to Boars Nest and having a couple more beverages (no liquor) and going out to the creek behind the bar. We did. Very relaxing sitting out there with a Coors Light (Tony had a Mike's Hard Apple Lemonade -- no bacardi). Sun coming down.

Before it got dark, we headed back to Lead and decided to check out Main Street to see if there were any other bars. There were two. Went into one -- can't remember it's name. Pretty dead in there, with a bunch of locals. We decided to have a couple of drinks. It was only $4.75 -- total for a bacardi and coke and a jim beam on the rocks! Only $4.75! We liked this place. Stayed for a couple of drinks and decided to check out the Iron Cactus, a bar two doors down. This place was cheaper. Only $4 for both of our drinks! We liked this place. They had a band playing blues who were really pretty good.

Just having conversation, Tony and I were wondering what teams people in South Dakota followed. Tony thought Denver. I thought maybe Chicago or Green Bay. So, we decided to ask. One person said Denver. One said Green Bay. One said Washington Redskins (for no reason). One said Seattle (she was from there). So, guess we need to poll more people than the ones that we asked (in the paper on Wednesday morning, they did have a big article on Denver, so that must be what the local paper covers the most).

Met a guy at the bar who flips and rehabs houses in foreclosure in California and in South Dakota. He has four houses he's working on in Lead right now. He came into town a week ago on business, not realizing that it was Sturgis week. Got "kicked out" of his hotel because it was booked and was staying (really camping) at one of his properties. We bought him a shot (A Gypsy Hooker -- Tony had to tell the bartender how to make that -- Tequila and pickle juice), Tony had a shot (A Red-headed slut -- Tony had to tell the bartender how to make that -- Jaiger (sp), Peach Schnapps and Cranberry), and I had a shot (Jim Beam -- the bartender knew how to make that). Have a good time, at a really reasonable bar!

Couple more drinks and headed back a block to the Gold Town Hotel for a good nights sleep before Devils Tower.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Spearfish, Deadwood and Sturgis










On the road again this morning. It was chilly. Hard to believe last week we were complaining (polite term for what we really were saying) about the heat in Dallas. Decided to go through Spearfish Canyon, then on through Deadwood and then to Sturgis. On the way to Spearfish Canyon, stopped for breakfast and filled our bellies with cinnamon rolls and bisquits and gravy (no, this isn't a low-carb vacation). On we rode through the canyon. Most of the bikes seemed to be going the other direction. Lots and lots of bikes. Surprised at how many women have their own bikes. We rode through a canyon surrounded by evergreens with a creek running along side of us. Stopped at a waterfall, along with everyone else on the road. Don't know which of the waterfalls we stopped at.

Passed the Spearfish Canyon Golf Course on our way out of the canyon. A pretty little course. Didn't look too difficult, but was funny to see guys with their Harley shirts teeing it up. Onwards towards Deadwood, where we stopped, went into one of the casinos (not quite like Vegas), and into a couple of Harley shops before heading through the downtown. Again, lots and lots of bikes. Had to take a picture of the Indian Taco stand sign and then go over and ask them what an Indian Taco is -- it's a sweet bread with meat and chees and sour cream and tomatos and lettuce.

Our next mission: Sturgis. On the way, we passed a "little person" on a bike -- pretty amazing to see a small Harley built to fit him. I knew it would be crowded in Sturgis, but nothing quite explains it until you see if for yourself. Tents and tents and bikes and bikes and bikes -- and we hadn't even hit the Main St. where most of the bikes were. We turned and hit that street and it was amazing. Thousands of bikes down the center and the sides of the street, with bikes down the center and the sides of the streets on the side roads. I'm not much on crowds and it was crowded. But, you can't not stop and experience it, even for a little bit. So, we got off, after finally finding a space to park the bike, and went shopping. Tony found chaps and a vest. He's excited about that since he's been looking for over a year and they even cut them to fit while we waited.

Asked someone where the Full Throttle is and found out it's a couple miles down the road (away from the cops). That's also where Strokers has a set up. Figured we'd ride out there, check it out. Decided against visiting Strokers because it was tent city and the parking lots were loaded with bikes. Went over to the Full Throttle and immediately ran into the three guys we met next door at the bar last night (small world). Had a drink and an Indian Taco (couldn't not try one) and wandered around. Inside Full Throttle is a little "town" filled with vendors and a band and little bars and the inside is all dirt (in some cases: mud). The weather had really heated up and Tony's feet were killing him (blisters), so we headed out. Took forever to ride through Sturgis with the crowds, so when we finally exited, we went up 90 back to Spearfish Canyon.

Of course it looked like it would rain the entire way back. But, luck was with us and we only had a few minutes of drizzle. Again, pretty day with great scenary and new adventures. And, didn't get into any trouble. But, it's only 4 pm and we're back at the hotel/inn (I think Inn is a better descriptor of where we are staying) to rest a little bit and then head out to dinner and see what's in store for us.

Day 5: Driving to Lead, South Dakota











Morning came and we got our stuff packed up and had to load the bike back on the trailer. Tony and I did it this time without any help. I don't know how helpful I was... About 9 am, we were on the road, heading north to Lead, South Dakota. Supposedly about a 6 hour drive.

Stopped at a Harley dealership so that Tony could have a Colorado tshirt (I got mine free at the Rocky Flats Lounge, so I'm set). Checked to make sure the bike was still secured (it was). Off we drove. As soon as we reached Wyoming, the scenary changed to big grasslands with rolling hills. Not much there. We keep seeing these fence things that aren't fences because they don't enclose anything. Driving us batty to figure out what they are for. I've decided that they are wind/snow barriers to hold drifts. Don't know if that's right, but better than not having a clue.

In Chugwater, we stopped for gas and lunch at the Chugwater Diner, advertised having the best chili in Chugwater. From the taste of it, the only chili in Chugwater. Tony had a buffalo burger, since we were afterall in Wyoming. Haven't seen a buffalo yet. Exited onto 20 to head towards Lusk (remembering that we would have to go the speed limit 10 miles before and 10 miles after so we didn't give any revenue to their local sherriff department. In Lusk, turned north onto 85 and knew we were in the right direction with all of the bikes in the town gassing up. We gassed up too. From what we had seen in Wyoming so far, better to gas up too many times than run out in the middle of nowhere.

Just outside Newcastle, we only had 50 miles to go to Lead. Yea! Tony's feet hurt and we're anxious to get there. The Explorer isn't particularly liking the hills while towing the trailer. Poor baby. And we kept getting behind stupid riders who made us lose momentum.

Just outside Lead, we call the hotel to ask for directions. With the trailer, not too easy to turnaround if we make the wrong turn. But we did because the guy didn't know north from south and we turned left at his directions when we should have turned right. But, when we called again, we did find out where the gravel parking lot entrance was.

An adventure in getting the trailer into the lot. Tony started working at getting the bike off, while I went and checked in. The Gold Town Hotel is a little place with the reception area in a music store above the Howling Wolf Pub. We're in Room 4. Not quite the Hampton Inn. We're going to be sleeping in tight quarters. No phone, no AC, signs that say we'll be charged if we damage the two little towels we have, shower the size of the one at the lake, queen size bed. But, there is cable and there is WIFI, so we're happy.

Bikes parked out front from block to block. We get the bike off and unload the car and I blogged for a little while. Then went next door to the Aerie for a $15 steak dinner (shrimp cocktail, salad, steak, baked potato, cake) and cold beverages. For $38, we had one of our best -- and cheapest -- dinners since getting out on the road!

There were a lot of people rolling in who were stuck in the hail/rain storm that afternoon. Note to self: get rain gear. One couple was from California -- rode all of the way; heading back through Montana and Washington and Oregon. They recommended $10 rain gear you can buy at the hardware store (Tony says we'd sweat a lot with those). Met a few other guys -- one from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania who does work in Penn State; one from Buffalo and one from Cleveland. They were talking about riding 800-900 miles in a day. That's just crazy! We're happy we trailered. Let's us have better rides.

Went to bed relatively early so we can get off early this morning. I'm now sitting out on a park bench out front, with my coffee and having read three newspapers (Rapid City and two local ones). A big thunderstorm rolled through last night, so it's chilly and the bikes are starting to dry off. Didn't sleep worth much -- hard with a queen size bed that isn't very comfortable and Tony and I are used to the king. But, we have a place to stay and we're not camping.

Well, off to wake up Sleeping Beauty and get ready for the ride today. I think we may head through Deadwood and Sturgis and maybe do Mount Rushmore and Cody Park.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Day 4: Rocky Flats Lounge






We pulled into Rocky Flats Lounge, a little building across from a TXI cement plant. They have a Friday Fish Fry. It's Sunday, but they also say that lunch is served, so hopefully we're in luck. Nice dark bar. Ordered drinks and burgers and I went out and sat out on the patio, waiting for Tony to bring out our drinks.

About 5 minutes later he comes out and tells me that there's a guy in there who was eating breakfast behind us this morning at the Wondervu Cafe. He came out and then so did our burgers. Filled our tummies again with nice cold beverages.

What a great little spot we happened upon -- thank you Mr. BMW. We met Kevin (the guy at the Wondervu) and Garry (the singing bartender, as his business card said), Paul (don't know what he does) and Button Chuck (a POW who takes pictures and then makes buttons out of them).

Another guy who was still getting over the night before, was waiting for Michelle (or Michele) to show up. Got to hearing their local stories about mountain lions and bears and elk and deer and now MOOSE. All in their backyards. Don't think I'd want to head out the front door in the morning to get my paper without looking around for any wildlife waiting to pounce on me for dinner.

Tony pulled his bike around back for some button pictures. In a field with the Flat Irons in the backdrop. Chuck took some pics, as did Paul. Out in a field, with the bike, for some buttons. With a hawk sitting on a powerline eating something he had left up there for a snack later. We never seem to have pictures of the two of us, but now we do. Some with Tony on the back and me as the driver. If only I had my golf clubs -- we could have hit golf balls in the field out back towards the mountains. Kevin would have participated.

Garry was getting ready to go on his own bike trip to Steamboat and Medicine Bow (I thought it was Medicine Bowl until I looked on the map). Sounds like a great trip. One that when we head back to Golden, we'll have to take a couple of days and do the same.

This is the kind of place you hope to happen upon. Great people, great stories, cold beverages. We stayed there until they were closing the road down and we had a trooper escort out from Rocky Flats towards Golden. And, with a baggie full of buttons and Chuck saying that he was going to send me a CD with the rest of the photos, and some new friends for our next trip to Golden, Colorado, Tony and I could have stayed in the area the entire week. Going on nice rides during the day and stopping by Rocky Flats on the way home. I say "home" because it felt like home.

Our plans to trailer the bike that night didn't happen and we came back to the Hampton Inn and I uploaded the days adventure onto snapfish.com and went to bed. Tomorrow: trailer it up and head to Lead, South Dakota. According to Kevin and Garry it's about six hours away. Don't go over the speed limit in Lusk, Wyoming. That's how they make their revenue.

Day 4: Rocky Mountain National Park













We paid our fees and off we rode into Rocky Mountain National Park. First stop was a place that they have Big Horn Sheep. Last siting: July 22. No sheep. So, we took a pit stop and off we rode into the park. I feel like a broken record (for those of you who don't remember records: it's like a bad skipping CD), but it's absolutely beautiful straight ahead, to the left and to the right. I'm getting better at taking pictures on the Harley, but never sure exactly what I'll get. We stop at Many Parks Curve and take some pictures and look at the scenery off of the bike. Smells so clean and so fresh. Oxygen!

Hit Trail Ridge Road and the weather in front of us is looking ominous. Don't know if we'll make it through the park. Pass some alpine glacier "things." We weren't sure if it was snow or ice until we saw the sign. Pulled over and asked a Park Ranger who pulled up if we should continue or turn around. She looked west and said "I'd go back east." So, believing Ms. Park Ranger, we turned back east. Rode back and hit a traffic jam. What is it? It's an elk. We're not sure if that's a bull if it's a male. It was a male. Tony made a Uturn and I got a picture. He was right next to the road. Photo op.

Down through the park and into Estes Park where we encountered a herd of elk in the middle of downtown intersection. A couple of them in the median, not looking concerned about anything. Some babies. They were headed towards the golf course (wish I had my clubs on the bike!).

We decided to take 36 back to 93 towards Boulder and Golden. A completely different kind of ride and the gloves I bought weren't needed since it really heated up. In Boulder, all they had were chain restaurants, so we drove on through. At a light, there was a BMW motorcycle who we asked where 93 was. He said "follow me." We then asked about any biker bars and he said there was one about 15 miles up the road on 93 on the right. Rocky something.

Off we rode. To Rocky Flats Lounge. Next blog: Rocky Flats Lounge.