Hard to believe, but the Needles Highway was even more impressive than the Iron Mountain road!
Time to fire up the GoPro (though it's going to take me a while to edit videos)
Like the Iron Mountain road the Needles Highway is very narrow, has lots of sharp hairpin turns, low tunnels and the road has very little traffic. The first of many tunnels that were blasted through solid granite back in the 1920's-
Over the shoulder shot of the tunnel we just rode through-
14 miles long, the Needles Highway winds through pine and spruce covered mountains and the amazing granite "needles" for which the area is famous. In this pic you can see the Cathedral Spires off in the distance, a massive collection of rock towers pointed to the heavens.
We stopped here for some water and snacks and to take in the amazing views-
My son took some pictures of me- once again I'm quite impressed by his steady hand-
I regret not bringing more batteries and/or a charging cable for the GoPro. It's getting pretty old and the battery doesn't seem to last much more than an hour. It ran out of juice about this time so from here on I was snapping pics with the Canon while riding. Perhaps not the safest way to ride, but that Beemer pretty much drives itself ;)
Interesting history about the Needles Highway- I'd assumed it was built by the Civilian Conservation Core in the 19030's as part of Franklin D Roosevelt's "New Deal", but I was wrong.
South Dakota Governor Peter Norbeck wanted to simultaneously preserve and provide access to some of the most beautiful regions of the Black Hills. In 1919, he designed the route for the Needles Highway, a road that many engineers deemed impossible to build. Two years and 150,000 pounds of dynamite later, the road was opened to automobiles.
I wonder what the purpose of this little "cave" is?
Some steep grades, lots of hairpin turns and blind corners- brilliant!
Approaching another tunnel with blind entrance. One has to remember that this is a two-way road!
You have to be pretty careful and sound your horn before entering a tunnel lest you meet someone else coming the other way-
More twists and turns-
Eventually we arrive at Sylvan Lake- it's early afternoon, pretty hot, Kristhawee decides that it's time for a swim!!