Day 7 – Wyoming

Monday, June 10th, 2013

After a restful nights sleep, I headed west on I90, crossed the Wyoming border and stopped at the Information Center before making a side trip to the ‘ Devil’s Tower ‘. This unique ‘ igneous intrusion ‘ ( or mountain, for lack of a better word ) was well worth the side trip. I walked around its circumference and took numerous pictures especially of the people climbing it.

Leaving the Devil’s Tower I had already made up my mind where I was going to stay. When I saw the name on the map I knew that there was only one place I could to stay, and that was Cody ( my family would understand why ), which is an hour east of the Yellowstone entrance.

The landscape in Wyoming is very interesting, as were all the states that I passed through. Whereas, the other states had vast farmlands, Wyoming has more rocky terrain that is less suitable for farming. Nevertheless, it has a lot of interesting sights. The mountain passes had winding roads through majestic forests and I saw eagles, deer, bison ( aka buffalo ) and prairie dogs.

I met several interesting people on the way. On Sunday, I met a fellow originally from North Carolina, now living in South Dakota, who had frequently gone to Tillsonburg, Ontario to pick Tobacco during his youth. On Monday, I met a couple who have a relative in Grimsby and a fellow who liked my bike because it was built in Germany, which he had left many years ago to come to America. I also met a couple of fellows from North Carolina who were riding the new BMW 1600 motorcycles. They had 16000 miles on there motorcycles compared to the 15000 I have on mine.

There are occasional thunderstorms forecast for the next 3 days in the Yellowstone area so I am planning to get a site for 3 days in the park and see what happens.

Can you spot the climbers on the tower?

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Day 6 – Mount Rushmore

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

It was cloudy and cool ( 14 deg C or 57 F for my metrically challenged friends ) when I left Chamberlain but after an hour it became sunny, windy and warm. There were severe wind gusts and although the bike handled them very well, I had to lean down to keep myself from being blown off of it.

I made good use of another time change an hour west of Chamberlain because I had a lot of sight-seeing planned.
By 12:30, I had reached the Badlands of South Dakota and I spent several hours riding through the Badlands and stopping to take pictures. The Badlands are aptly described in Wikipedia as ” sharply buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest undisturbed grass prairie in the United States “. They are very interesting.
Badlands South Dakota
Badlands South Dakota
After leaving the Badlands, I rode through Rapid City to Mount Rushmore. I hiked the trail in front of the mountain and I asked to see the Hidden Hall of Records built into the mountain but I was told that it was not open to the public. The detail in the carvings are very impressive and they depict 4 people. Without looking it up, who knows their American history and can tell me the names of the 4 men depicted on Mount Rushmore?
Mount Rushmore
I left Mount Rushmore and rode to the Crazy Horse Memorial. It isn’t finished but I was very impressed by the scope and dedication of the people to the memorial.
I then topped off my day by riding through the twisting mountain roads which included numerous hairpin and 270 degree turns that made for a challenging and interesting ride.
Bison
By this time it was very late, so I opted to call it a day and find a room in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Day 5 – Chamberlain, South Dakota

Saturday, June 8th

It was cool when I left La Crosse and rode over the Mississippi into Minnesota.   I had checked the weather before I left and found out that there was a storm front between Wisconsin and central South Dakota that was going to be in the area for 2 days and I wanted to try to get far enough to miss the worst part of it.
Two hours into my ride it started to drizzle and then it rained for the next  four hours until I got to the boundary of the storm and stopped for the night at Chamberlain on the shores of the Missouri River in South Dakota.  Although my suit and helmet kept me dry, the water on the outside of the suit made it feel cold at highway speeds ( because I hadn’t brought my insulated liners ) and  my leather gloves were soaked making my hands black ( from the leather dye ) and wrinkled.  Hopefully everything will have dried out by tomorrow.  The weather should be warm and dry for the next few days.

 

Day 4 – La Crosse, Wisconsin

Friday, June 7th, 2013

After breakfast on Friday morning I left Sturgis to continue my trip.   15 minutes later, I crossed the border into Indiana and I headed west to Chicago on I90.  There are a lot of tolls in Indiana and Illinois so I was glad that I had the EZ-Pass transponder on my motorcycle so that I didn’t have to pay cash.   I pulled over into the cash lanes to make sure that it would work but every time I got near the gate it would open and the attendant waved me through.

It was overcast and warm most of the day but the sun did escape through the clouds a few times.   I headed north-west after I got past Chicago and I stopped at the Wisconsin information center to find out where I might stay for the night.  When the agent suggested that I visit La Crosse I knew that it was going to be my destination for the night, since I used to play lacrosse and it is on the Mississippi river.  With the time change near Chicago, I arrived in La Crosse at 6:30 pm central time so I stopped for the night at a hotel on the Mississippi river and I had a chance to walk along the river after supper.

La Crosse Wisconsin

Day 3 – Amigo Centre and surrounding area

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

On Thursday I met some of the local residents during breakfast.  After breakfast, there was time to see some of the sights in the area and go canoeing for a few hours.   I was invited for a wonderful meal prepared by friends of Cheryl’s , Jim & Faith.   I had a wonderful time visiting with them.

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The restored Langley covered bridge originally built in 1887

 

Rawson's Mill
Rawson’s Mill – shut down in the mid 1900’s

 

Day 2 – Sturgis, Michigan

Wednesday, June 5th

When I reached the border on Wednesday morning, I used the Nexus lane to cross over to the US.   As I pulled up to talk to the border guard, he informed me that I had been randomly selected by the computer to have my vehicle and its contents inspected.  OK, ‘ who called him ?’  Fortunately, the whole incident only took 10 minutes.

The rest of the day was uneventful.  I arrived in Sturgis, Michigan at 6 pm at the Amigo Centre, http://www.amigocentre.org/, which is a retreat/recreation center.  I met Cheryl Mast, who is the outdoor education co-ordinator.  We had a nice chicken BBQ, followed by a tour of the facilities before she took me to the Amigo camp park to check into a cabin.  I considered tenting, but opted for cabin so that I could charge my helmet and phone.

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Cheryl Mast in front of the Nature Center.

Day 1 – Sarnia

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Sauro & Marianna DiGiacomi with Bert their grand-dog

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

After a comfortable 3.5 hr ride Sarnia, I arrived at Sauro & Marianna’s house in Sarnia at 8 pm on Tuesday night.   This gave us some time to catch up on the latest news before getting a good night’s sleep.

A hearty breakfast, a short walk with Bert, the dog-in-law ( aka Saura & Marianna’s ‘ grand-dog ‘ ), a nice lunch and I’m off again to Michigan.