Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Glacier Experience - Day 11

Day 11 – Tuesday, July 3 – Alliance NE to Kansas City MO  
No roosters to wake us up, we had to resort to cell phone alarm clocks.  On the road by 6:00 AM local (7:00 AM CST), we headed east through the Nebraska Sandhills on Hwy 2.  The sun was in our face, but the weather was pleasant.  We enjoyed the cool start, knowing that the heat of the day would meet us soon enough. 

There wasn’t much to this portion of the trip, knowing that the start and the end of the journey would take us through a somewhat boring stretch in Kansas as well as Nebraska.  That is life as a Kansas Citian, so we deal with it.

We stopped for breakfast in Broken Bow Nebraska at the City Café and Donut Shop.  It was more like brunch, since it took us around 3 hours to get there from Alliance, but all was well.  Little did we know, there was a McDonalds in town.  I’m sure that would have been the stop if Theresa had known… :)

We got back on the bikes and motored through Grand Island via Hwy 2 and on to I-80 in to Lincoln.  We stopped for more fuel and water at a gas station in Lincoln before heading towards the very familiar I-29.

Jumping on I-29 felt very familiar. Almost like home.  We arrived back home around 5:15 PM CST, which meant we were on the road for 10 hours straight; including stops for gas, water, and eats.  The plan was to go home and shower, then meet at the local sports bar called Gators Eight for taco Tuesday.

Overall the trip was a success. No big events that challenged us to much.  The heat was a bit much on the first and last days, but we kind of knew that going in to it.  The cooler temperatures in the mountains made it all worth it.  We discussed our entire trip over dinner, a bit in haste, but all decided we tried to pack to much in a short amount of time.  I asked Ronnie, Theresa and Kathy if there was anything they would do different and for the most part, the feeling was no.

Another successful road trip and glacier experience!

Other highlights:
·      National/State Parks: Nebraska National Forest; Nebraska Sandhills
·      560 mile day
·      Route: http://tinyurl.com/0703-Day11

 And some extra shots....

Kathy Relaxing
At Medine Bow Curve

Elk at Estes
Elk at Estes

Elk at Estes

Glacier National Park Tunnel
On The Road Again

Ronnie Reading

Rob Updating

Glacier Waterfall
Beartooth River

Theresa Posin
Ronnie Shootin

Cody Wyoming

Wildlife at Yellowstone
More Wildlife at Yellowstone

Lake Jackson - Tetons

Bear Tooth Highway / Pass
Glacier National Park

A Tour Bus at Glacier National Park
Rob and Kathy at Glacier

Kathy and Theresa - Yellowstone

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Glacier Experience - Day 10

Day 10 – Monday, July 2 – Hill City SD to Alliance NE
Today started with a stop in town at the local café called Hill City Café.  It was a great breakfast stop, which reminded me of a hometown location that served home made breakfast.  A trip to the Hill City ‘Black Hills’ HD shop was in order.  Not necessarily for a shot glass, but for a new pair of riding sunglasses.  I seemed to break the pair by merely just putting them on my face.  There was a brief moment of silence, as had that pair of sunglasses well over a couple of years.  Gees, they were just getting broke in…  Oh yeah, I did end up getting another shot glass for the collection as well. :) 

Threading The Needle
Tunnel Shot

We headed out a little later and got to Custer State Park entrance, which took us down Needles Highway.  Another great rode for bikes to cruise on.  It takes a path through tunnels, around blind corners, and to the granite ‘needles’ amongst the trees and landscapes. After traveling south and east through Needles, we jumped over to Iron Mountain road, which took us north and west towards Mount Rushmore.  The reason why I like going north on this route is due to the ability to see Mount Rushmore through two of the three tunnels and trees.  Absolutely. Breathtaking. Iron Mountain road not only takes you through the tunnels, it goes over spiral, or also called pigtailed bridges, that remind me of how roller coasters are set up.  I felt right at home while riding through this area, since I have technically been here twice – once in 2005 with Kathy and another couple and once in 2006 with 5 other guys.

Tunnel Shot of Mt Rushmore
Yeah, That Bus Fits!

After getting out of Custer, we had the option to go left to Mount Rushmore or right in to Keystone.  We cruised through Keystone looking for a watering hole, but didn’t end up stopping due to all the traffic and lack of parking spots.  We headed back up the hill and went to view Mount Rushmore.  It was there where we saw some other friends from Kansas City, Dave and Linda.  How ironic that they were touring the same area as us at the same time.  Ronnie and Theresa, Dave and Linda, and Kathy and I all chatted on the side of the road for a bit, exchanged hugs and hand shakes, and parted ways.  We found another establishment a short time later near Hill City called Silver Dollar Saloon, not to be confused with the one we stopped at in Cody Wyoming.

Mount Rushmore
Silver Dollar Saloon - Hill City SD

Spiral Pigtail Bridge
One Way!

Nice Shot of Woods
Mountain Goats

We left SDS and headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial.  Since we hadn’t covered much ground, we didn’t stay long.  It has changed only slightly since the last time I saw it.  Nice area, but we had to get south and get some lunch in Custer.  We landed at the Buglin’ Bull, where we opted for the buffalo burgers.  Yes, Theresa even shared Ronnies burger, which she enjoyed (I think).  After lunch, we headed out of South Dakota in to Nebraska.  We stopped in Alliance to get some water and fuel then went up to Carhenge to check out the #2 wackiest attraction in the United States.  I would tend to agree with them, though Ronnie and I were pretty jazzed about the cars and trucks upended and buried.



We discussed an exit strategy from Alliance, since it appeared we had only traveled around 225 miles.  I suggested we go down the road a bit and land a hotel at the next town via highway 2.  We got around 15 miles down the road and encountered quite a storm front coming from the south.  We opted to turn around and get a motel room at the Sunset Motel, just on the edge of town.  It wasn’t the best motel we stayed in, but it was less expensive than the local Holiday Inn Express at $150 a night for the same room.  I could live with the caved in beds and save around $80. :)  Kathy, on the other hand, likely wanted to go to the other hotel…  We ordered a local pizza from Sam and Louis New York Pizzaria, which was pretty good, and ate it in our room while having a brew that Ronnie went and got a little earlier.  The plan was to wake up early, since it was going to be hot the next day with a 550+ mile trip to KC. 

Other highlights:
·      National/State Parks: Nebraska National Forest; Carhenge (it counts, right?); Nebraska Sandhills
·      Miles: ~ 250

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Glacier Experience - Day 9

Day 9 – Sunday, July 1 – Sheridan WY to Hill City SD
This day met us with a hefty amount of interstate travel.  We heard 14 hwy was quite smoky, and we wanted to get to Devils Tower in the morning and Sturgis by lunch, so that is why we rode I-90.

We rode for around 3 hours from Sheridan to Devils Tower National Monument.  Stopping once for gas and water, we arrived at our first destination and took it all in.  If you have never been to Devils Tower, I highly suggest it.  It was my second time there and I enjoyed it as much as the first time.  This time, I opted to go in to the park, since we had our super duper America the Beautiful park pass.  :)  Not much to see, if you don’t feel like getting off a bike and hiking up to the monument, so we went back down and had some fun with the prairie dogs.

Theresa and Ronnie at Devils Tower
Devils Tower
      Rob Shooting Praiarie Dog
Praiarie Dog Eating

Once leaving Devils Tower, we headed for Hulett, which is a popular gathering spot and destination for bikers that enjoy Sturgis bike week.  We stopped at The Ponderosa Café for a couple cold ones before moving on to Sturgis.  Not much to mention about the bar and café, other than it was pretty dead, but greatly expanded since the last time I was there in 2005.

Praiarie Dog Playing
   Praiarie Dog Eating
Once in Sturgis, we found a spot to eat called Loud American Roadhouse for lunch.  Each of us would typically split a meal between with our spouse, which we planned on doing this time as well.  When ordering, Ronnie asked the server if we could split the $16 all you could eat beef tips, which was the special of the day.  She said sure.  We asked too, she said sure.  We. Got. Stuffed.

We moved from Loud American Roadhouse through town to the Buffalo Chip, which was where Kathy and I stayed in 2005 in our toy hauler with another couple.  Once we explained how the location was set up, we went down the road to Full Throttle Saloon to show to Ronnie and Theresa.  We met the 100% pure bread Jack Ass named Emmit, who didn’t give us much face time.  Emmit was hanging out by the air conditioner fan and went over to eat his cheerios that were laying on the floor and drink out of his water bowl.

We took out of Sturgis about as quick as we got there and headed towards Hill City, through Deadwood, down 385 Hwy.  What a wonderful road.  Once we got in to town, we located a gas station and got some fuel and water.  It was also our option for looking for a hotel or motel. After a couple of calls, we found The Lantern Inn Motel, which was close to full and about the right price ($150) after splitting a double queen room.  This was our coziest landing spot, but worth it, since it had a small kidney shaped pool to dip in after a hot day on the road.  Ronnie and I wondered across the road to the supermarket/liquor store to score some beer and “tea” as Ronnie calls it.  Then, we enjoyed the pool for a while, meeting more nice people from all over the states.  It was a good location to say the least.
Since tonight was laundry night, we had to locate an eating spot near the laundry mat, which happened to be located within the gas station we had stopped at earlier.  We settled on the Mangy Moose Saloon for some beers and burritos, which was a nice place and had good food.  Once dinner was done and laundry was folded, we headed back to the motel to get some shuteye.

Other highlights:
·      Miles: ~ 325