Tuesday, August 08, 2006
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.