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

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