Day 2 (August 18, 2009)

2 07 2011

The second day of the trip. You know that feeling you get sometimes when you think something really bad might happen, but then doesn’t, that feeling of relief and clarity of thought, well I think I had a little of that this morning. I woke up early, with a predetermined plan to watch the sun rise, so I walked on down to the small lake that flanked one side of the campground. There I found a nice little bench on which to sit and witness the awakening of nature. If you have never seen a full sun rise, then the only way to describe it would be a “peaceful awakening”, when nature seems to be in a suspended animation and is then released by the power of the sun. But enough on the sun rise, back to the trip. We managed to get everything packed back into our saddle and duffel bags, then hit the road across SD with absolutely perfect riding weather, blue skies and cool air. As we made our way north-west away from the river, the land rolled by as familiar farm and prairie land, but that was all to change.

Half-way through the morning we crossed the mighty Missouri River, which when viewed from the surrounding hills looked like a giant ribbon of pure blue twisting its way over the prairie. As the day continued, the corn fields of the Midwest transitioned into the sunflower fields of South Dakota, and as we made our way through the Badlands the mercury rose as well, to an indicated 110 degrees. Needless to say we were very glad when we rode into Rapid City a little while later, where the temperature fell to a very comfortable 70. Riding through the Black Hills was a lot of fun, and such a difference already from Iowa. There is such an energy in those hills, especially for motorcyclists, even though we are far from the Sturgis crowd. The Black Hills take on a certain “island effect”, being that they are surrounded on all sides by seemingly endless open grassland, the Black Hills are an oasis for the weary soul, a cool haven to the road warrior, but most importantly, camp for tonight.

We snaked our way through the winding roads of the Black Hills, getting stuck behind the occasional motor-home along the way. Our destination was Deadwood, with a campground in mind and the hope of a hot shower and some grub. Before long the narrow canyons peeled back to reveal the town of Deadwood, quaint, historic, and pack to the brim with government revenue establishments. We pulled up to our stop for the night, a little privately owned camp nestled in a narrow valley on the edge of town, far enough away to be relatively quite while close enough to allow for a quick jaunt into town for a nice supper. After setting up our tents and securing our gear safely inside, we took the advice of our camp hosts and ventured into Deadwood for a good, satisfying burger. After several wrong turns a good burger was found, in a casino of course, and then it was back up the hill to camp. After a good refreshing shower and some time to write in my journal, it was time to hit the sack and dream of what the road would bring us the next day.

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