Boondocking the Nation: 17 Days, 8300mi, 1 Motel
Beartooth Pass > Rest Stop somewhere on I-90 in South Dakota
I’m happy I made Beartooth Pass last night. This morning I woke to a dry tent and watched the fog rolling over the mountains to the west. I packed the gear and set off for the east. By Red Lodge, the fog had really set in. I fueled up then set forth into the dense 30 foot visibility dawn and was surprised yet relieved when I came across the red taillights of a Subaru with a bicycle affixed to the roof rack. I followed him through speed zone small towns with parents guarding their children beside the wet highway waiting for the school bug. Kids with trombones, oversize jackets and pink book bags stood beside the roadway struggling to see the flashing school bus in the fog. Eventually reaching I-90, I get coffee and pie at a convenient McDonalds then set off into the cold drizzle with a slight shiver.
After maybe an hour of riding in the cold wet conditions, I pull off for gas shivering uncontrollably as the north wind cuts right through me. I drag out my heated gear and strip to my base layers to put it on. Down the road, I am much more comfortable and happily smile as my core temperature rises. I turn off I-90 and stop at the Little Big Horn Museum and ride up the hill to the site of Custer’s Last Stand.
This shots for all you firearm buffs
I chatted with this guy outside the visitor center who was having trouble with a fouling plug.
Upon that hill he lays, a black grave marker stands out amongst his men’s many white markers dotting the grasses.
Back into the chilling mists, temps are around 38F and the mean north wind attacks me for hundreds of miles across tribal lands. The speed limit is high and I stop only for gas.
My eyes reflect the determination...
To stave off the bone chilling weather and boredom, I turn on some episodes of my favorite radio program: “The Story” and listen to complex tales and dramas of distant cities and cultures.
The clouds seem to be breaking south of me but are still cool and dreary where I ride.
Yes...this pipe line was the most exciting thing I saw for this stretch of road.
Shoot! I even took two pictures:huh
This guy makes his bike look REALLY small. I think he was just HUGE!
I reach I-90 and speedily make my way to Deadwood for a snap shot of the town.
ZZ Top soptting in Deadwood :rofl
Then I ride over to Sturgis where I procure a $.49 sticker and make a cup of beans beside my bike.
Bunch of Jap bike parts:
Back on I-90, I only travel 5 miles when my cell-phone suction mount falls off at 75mph. I reattach it and resume but it soon falls off again and I angrily stuff it away in my tank bag. Rolling into Rapid City, I follow signs for Mt. Rushmore and am dismayed when I enter the city traffic then spy the “Mt. Rushmore 27 Miles” on a sign ahead. Damn! I keep on anyway not knowing if I will ever be here again and make short work of the distance there.
More like "City of Tourism"
I take a snapshot or two while rolling by, stop for a sticker, then head back to I-90 where I slab my way into the Badlands evening.
Out into the Badlands...
I begin to pass numerous burma-shave style signs for “Wall Drug” and am sucked into its vortex by the allure of 5 cent coffee and a donut.
I pull in and stop for my evening snack, take a free sticker then continue on my push east.
My beard is getting a little scraggly but nothing like this rough guy!
It was really only $.05!
Our buddy RatFink helps me finish the second cup.
I didn't make it to see the dinosaur :cry
Heavy 30mph side winds continue to hinder my progress and foreboding dark clouds blossom to the north.
75mph kills the mpg so I keep it around 70mph.
A glimpse of the distant national park.
The sun sets behind me and I watch the changing colors of the horizon in the vibration of my rearview mirror.
I pass a rest stop in the dark but see the sign “Next Rest Stop 54mi” When I reach it, I welcome the break from my slabbing slant into the wind and quickly pull over the curb and around back behind the main facility building. Shielded from the wind and under the overhang of the roofline, I inflate the air mattress, roll out my sleeping bag and walk inside to brush my teeth. I cover the bike and myself with two ponchos then slide deep into my sleeping bag.
Shielded from the wind, the back side of this rest stop is rather comfortable and I take advantage of the electrical socket to charge my Chatterbox unit. I am awaken around 1AM by the clap of thunder and flash of lightning signaling the approaching storm. I slip closer to the building under the awning akin to the insects hiding beside me in the shelter of the roofline. I fall back asleep