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Hmmm, where to begin? Jen and I got home last night from our trip to the Black Hills, and what a trip we had :thumbup:!

To start things off, the weather was great throughout. Other than leaving home in a light drizzle which cleared by the time we reached Portage, the only other rain we rode in was a small 5 minute shower as we climbed Norbeck Overlook near Mt Rushmore. We were lucky, as several days we met up with riders coming from the opposite direction, and they were either soaked or wearing rain gear and complaining of how they had been getting poured on for the past hour or so. There was plenty of sunshine everyday, but for a quick cloudburst to form out of nowhere is not unusual in the Black Hills, and it seemed like we were always either just ahead of or just behind any showers that did pop up, but never beneath them. Temps were generally in the upper 70s and 80s, with a few days in the lower 90s.

The ride out was nice. We rode 33 all the way from West Bend to La Crosse, which took us through the Wildcat Mountain area. Jen is not a big fan of riding on the interstate, so we had planned to take I-90 only 50-60 miles into MN before dropping off onto 2 lane highways for the majority of the ride west. Funny thing was that because it was the 4th of July there were very few cars and semis on the road, so Jen felt better about being on I-90, and we stuck with that and made good time to Chamberlain SD, before taking 50 and 34 along the Missouri river, and stopping for the night in Pierre.

Sightseeing officially began the next day, with a ride down 83 through the Ft Pierre national grasslands, then a swing south and west on 44 and 240 through the Badlands, I-90 into Rapid City, then south again so that we could enter the Black Hills through Hot Springs.

Our original plan was to camp 3 nights just outside of Custer, then relocate to somewhere in the northern end of the Hills for the remainder of our stay. Well, plans have a way of changing LOL, and we ended up setting up "home base" in Custer for 7 nights. Our camping accommodations were just too top notch to leave, and Custer really is a great location from which to launch day rides to anyplace in the Black Hills area. We stayed at the Big Pine Campground http://www.bigpinecampground.com just outside of Custer City. For anyone who may be planning a trip to the Black Hills, Jen and I just can't say enough good things about this place. Unlike some of the open "parking lot" style campgrounds that you can find throughout the Hills, and where you will fry like ants in the sun, Big Pine's sites are all shaded under the ponderosa pines. The bathrooms/showers are in great condition and VERY clean (#1 most important thing for Jen). Owners Ron and Angie are great folks, and really went out of their way to make us feel welcomed and at home there. Little things like asking us if we needed to borrow any spare tarps or an electrical adaptor are big things when it comes to telling us how they run their business and take care of their guests. :thumbup::thumbup: for Big Pines!

We took in all of the major attractions, and rode too many fantastic roads to count them all. Spearfish Canyon (this was our favorite and we rode it several times), Vanocker Canyon, Sheridan Lake Road, Needles Highway, 16A, Devil's Tower, Prairie Berries Winery, and Sylvan Lake were among the many things we enjoyed. We took the obligatory ride to Sturgis and Deadwood and, while we really enjoyed those rides, I can tell that there is no way in heck that I would want to be there in a few weeks from now when the rally is going on. We met a lot of friendly bikers during our time in the Hills, but I don't think we would enjoy having so many more bikes on the roads.

OK, now for the important details....FOOD! The best dinner we had was at a place called the Alpine Inn in Hill City. For those who have a hard time deciding what to order off of a menu, the Alpine Inn makes it simple as their dinner menu has only one choice :shock:. A bacon wrapped fillet (large or small), baked potato, salad wedge, and toast. We were so disappointed that we ended up eating there 2 nights in a row LOL.

The ride home took us across SD on 18 and 44, then across Iowa on 9, crossing the Mississippi on the Lansing bridge, then along the river on 35 up to La Crosse. Another ride east on 33, capped off with a stop at Kelly's for ice cream, and we were home.

3,051 carefree (s)miles total, and we had a great time. Now to decide where we want to go next year....

Looking forward to seeing you all in a few weeks at Stone Barn - Ron & Jen

P.S. Best breakfast of the trip was right in our own backyard, at Holvy's in Hillsboro :thumbup:. Scheduled one last day off for today, the crying will start tomorrow!
 

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Many thanks for the pics and glad you enjoyed your trip. We lived in the Black Hills (Black Hawk) from 8/94 to 9/99 and loved every mile of it. After 20 years in the military and 24 years working for defense contractors; I've seen a lot of this beautiful country of ours. I used to always say that Yosemite Natl Park was the purdiest place I'd ever been ....... 'til I got to the Black Hills of SD.
 

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Very nice write up Ron...We were out there last year and I told Karmen I could easily spend a week out in the hills...Really glad you guys enjoyed your trip:thumbup:
 

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Awesome trip you 2 :thumbup:
 

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That is a neat area. Good to hear you two made it home and had fun.:thumbup:
 

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Sound like a great trip.... When can I buy the book?
 

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welcome home

Glad to hear you and Jen had a great time. it is great country out there. Did you see any bear? did you get caught up in bison? A group uf us were out there a few years ago there are some awesome views.

over 3000 smiles, you must be catching up to Rail:joke:
welcome back.
Jerry
 

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Glad to hear you and Jen had a great time. it is great country out there. Did you see any bear? did you get caught up in bison? A group uf us were out there a few years ago there are some awesome views.

over 3000 smiles, you must be catching up to Rail:joke:
welcome back.
Jerry
I heard he plans on riding circles around me when we go to Pa. in a couple of weeks.
Every mike I ride he will gain 1/2 mile with circles . I love a good plan, so I will not speed up to scare him on his laps around me .
 

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Thanks for taking us along Ron!! It is truly one of the finest riding areas one can do:yes1:

I would say the last two times we have been on Needles Hyw it has hailed how did you escape :shrug::lol:
 

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Glad to hear you two had an awesome ride and holiday. Sorry we weren't able to meet you down there but we'll try again some other time. Relax and enjoy the memories.. :thumbup:
 

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Great to hear you and Jen had another good trip ! :yes1: Black hills area is great but like you said much safer and more enjoyable riding when the rally ain't going on, the weather out there can throw quite a surprise sometimes, we just missed some softball sized hail one year :eek:4:
 

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Ron sounds like you and Jen had a fantastic trip............and no rain to speak of, can't beat that.
Thanks for posting up details and some pictures, a few more wouldn't hurt.
Glad you both are home safe and had a good time.
Any bison encounters on the wildlife loop in Custer?

Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ron sounds like you and Jen had a fantastic trip............and no rain to speak of, can't beat that.
Thanks for posting up details and some pictures, a few more wouldn't hurt.
Glad you both are home safe and had a good time.
Any bison encounters on the wildlife loop in Custer?

Lee
OK, a few more pics. The wildlife loop in Custer state park turned out to be pretty lifeless the day we rode it. Great scenery, but not much animal activity that day. A day or so later though, after taking a tour of Wind Cave, we came across a herd of bison. When they came up onto the road, I thought Jen was going to pee her pants :lol:.
Mammal Vertebrate Bovine Bison Terrestrial animal
Bovine Herd Grassland Pasture Grazing
Rock Formation Tree Monolith Outcrop
Vehicle Road Adventure game Mode of transport Tree
 
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