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Old 03-17-2004, 09:56 PM   #31
Rogue 1 OP
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Joined: Mar 2004
Location: New York City
Oddometer: 659
Bluhduh Things start to get interesting...

To see all the pics from the Odyssy to date: http://rogue1.smugmug.com


"I'm lost. I've gone to find myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait." An anonymous helmet sticker, purchased in a bike shop in Las Vegas.


Hello all, it's me again. By now, a few of you are probably wishing you had not given me your email addresses... well... you know where the delete key is. To the rest of you, my attentive and loyal readers, welcome to Odyssey Update #4

Steve Z is out of danger and has a long and painful rehab ahead of him... keep saying those prayers.

Once again, thanks to all of you that sent and continue to send, letters and voice mails of encouragement and support. To quote one of the members of this list, Rob A. (quite a "supporter" in his own right, chuckle) "It does my heart good."

Rob, the hotel clerk that gave me the pop tart is a retired FBI agent, asked if I could get him one of those NYPD patches you gave me... let me know if you are able to help.


No fanfare... lets get right too it...

Thursday October 10th

I am up and at the hotel breakfast bar at 8am; biscuits and gravy (just a taste), a pop tart, coffee and I step outside to see what I could not see last night.

Damn! I still can't see anything.




8am and the fog is still as thick as the crowd on the downtown IRT #6 local during the morning rush.

It's surreal and beautiful beyond description. The sky above is obviously clear, as the sun, low on the horizon, is shining through the thick, low mist that stubbornly clings to the earth.


8:20 am



Everything outside a 25 yard radius is blurred, beyond 50 yards, invisible, cloaked in a white out. The moisture condenses on everything, including skin, yet it is not so cold that I am uncomfortable in my shorts and fleece jacket.

It's gonna be another beautiful day on the road.



Remember that eerie Dead End sign from last night? (scroll up to last report) some difference now...



Being hunched over a set of handle bars in the cold, wet and fog for 11 hours has taken a toll (as you all well know, can I get an Amen!)

Back inside, I take advantage of the hotels Jacuzzi for a an hour. Too bad BMW doesn't offer this as an accessory. The effect is only a temporary fix for my aching body, but it is a welcome one just the same.

For those that have interest in the GS knobbies by Continental: tire wear at just about 5000 miles.


If it wasn't for the bad, how could we appreciate the good? On this journey, the tough parts have given me a greater awareness and appreciation of the, well... not so tough parts... and if everything was always perfect, this accounting would be pretty boring (don't even think it!).

In addition, almost every seemingly wrong turn and bit of bad luck I've experienced has turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as you have previously read and to which this next bit will avow.

Silver is loaded and I'm checked out of the hotel. Outside, a local is relating his history and his tale of how he came to settle in this area, transplanted from the East Coast.

His last words to me are, "You just head west another mile or so and you will understand."


The view of the interstate at 8:23 am... White Out.



By 10am the fog has dissipated enough for me to head out... almost a mile to the tenth later on I90, I crest a hill that leads into the Missouri River Valley at Chamberlain, SD (check your maps).



The valley and the river are still covered by the white fog, dissipating even as I dismount to take it all in. The sun, still low and rising at my back, burns the mist away while I watch, revealing the wide, still, navy blue waters below. The local wasn't wrong, I understand why he stayed.

Do I believe in luck/fate/karma/divine guidance? Absolutely! One more exit bypassed in the fog, 3 more miles traveled, and I would have ridden right through this last night, without ever knowing what I had missed (in the mist).



See the fog burning off? It's like watching a giant cotton wrapper being peeled back.



Deeper into South Dakota, I am entertained by the never ending stream of roadside advertising (most of which are for a town named Wall Drug). These serve to relieve the monotony of the landscape, flat and bare, as after the 1st 50 miles, it loses its western adventure charm.

The weather is clear and crisp at speed, comfortable at rest and getting warmer. The forecast calls for mild and unseasonably high temperatures (unheard of to date on this ride)...this is going to be one of the good days!

A roadside stop featuring state and local attractions shows a picture of Badlands National Park and I am sold, damn completely forgot that that was on the list!

Mt Rushmore isn't going to happen today. I reach the park entrance, pay my $10 reduced motorcycle fee and head in with the video camera rolling. (mouted on the GS crash bars)





The first part of the reserve is severe alien landscape, twisty mountain roads through almost white giant stalagtite type peaks. I enter this and scrape some of the edge rubber off Silvers tires in the turns, torn between checking out the scenery and challenging the road. I can see why outlaws of the old west chose this area to hide, literally millions of crags and gullies for concealment.



I catch three big cruisers on the road and on tape; at a quick stop I meet Bob, Dave and Martin... "Distinguished" local riders that call themselves "The Geezer Gang" {or something like that... sorry guys, I am sure you will remind me upon receipt of this text}.

I dub them the "Badlands Bunch" and promise to forward them a copy of the tape. They tell me I have to check out "Needles Highway" in Custer State Park after I see Rushmore and we go our separate ways.




Out of the canyons onto the high plains, surrounded by ragged drops down sprawling cuts into the earth.

I am confused at one point to actually hit a small traffic jam. As I sit behind two cars on my side of the 2 lane road, and another blocks the opposite direction, it takes me a moment, but I can make out the cause of the delay. A rattle snake is sunning itself on the double yellow line, 20 feet from me!

Suddenly aware that I don't have a big steel cage around me, I shout too the woman manning the video camera that I would prefer not to sit here waiting to become a target.

The opposite side car moves on and I cross the line to pass the snake on the left, it turns away from the tasty video lady towards me, coiled, mouth open... JEEEZ! I shoot by unscathed but am later informed they can spring up to 15 feet!

Lets not do this again.



A long way home...



WOW Bob! You weren't kidding when you said it was a difficult Par 3!


This is one of my altime favorite shots
THE LITTLE OUTHOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE


The park road has a loop that heads back up towards I90 into Wall SD.

"Don't bother, tourist trap."the Park Ranger at the gate informs me in answer to my query) but my plan is too take the road less traveled.

An unpaved trail runs west and south from the St240 Park Loop. Known as "Sage Rim Road", it twists through 40 miles of back country, hills and mountainous land to a small dot on the map named Scenic.

Rarely traveled and promising another adventure, I hang the left as every one else turns right and north.

Signs give fair warning of the condition of the road and the lack of ANYTHING HUMAN! Sounds perfect.


I am not disappointed. No cars, no pickups, SUVs and NO Winnebagos! Not another vehicle is seen during the whole run.


The view is great no matter which way you look.






I find 100's of penned up buffalo. Mean bastards, they head butt the fence and growl at me as I slow to check them out.

I stop at a marked Prairie Dog Town and read the history. Apparently, someone tried to settle here 100 years or so ago and was driven out by the PD's. The sign says the population is greater than that of New York City...hmmm... no transit system but they apparently have quite a subway, burrowing miles and miles of intricate tunnels.



I imagine a lone horseman crossing here before the modern age, a thin horse trail, created by only a few previous riders. I am very aware of the pure isolation, pure solitude. The effect is liberating.

On the other hand... if I have a mishap out here, I don't think Triple A is going to be much help (and that adds to the feeling of freedom as well).




The road is rutted and loose, and even though my off road talents are improving, between stops for reflection, pics and simple navigation, it takes me almost 2 hours to reach the exit, tired and exhilarated.

I advise anyone that has a chance to make your way to this area. Rarely do you get to see this much unspoiled natural beauty.





As I pass the "Leaving Badlands National Park" sign, a sedan enters in the opposite direction. Driven by a woman, I see a young boy in the back seat, maybe 13/14 years old, focused intently on a handheld video game.


"Look up kid; you don't want to miss this."

Another hour and I am almost at Scenic, heading for Rapid City... waylaid by a giant hand painted sign atop a beat up old panel truck reading "BEER & GAS." An arrow points into Scenic. Okay... It's Miller Time.



If there is such a thing as a "One Horse Town" left in this world, Scenic is it. On my left, a beat up building houses a general store/gas station. Past that an abandoned one story building.

On my right, a bar right out of the Wild Ones and past that a line of closed, run down, unidentifiable businesses. The building all look circa 1910. (or older)


Notice the sign... "INDIANS ALLOWED"


A ratty looking Native American sits outside the Longhorn Bar, holding a case of Bud. He asks me to buy him some potato chips in the bar as the flies light on and off him. (I didn't get it either).


A cowboy on horseback crosses the street near me, a dog at the horses heels, as I mosey into the Longhorn.

Wow... It's right out of an old cowboy flick. Stools made from steel tractor saddles and milk cans. 5 inches of sawdust on the floor keep bottles from breaking when dropped and puke, blood, spills and other assorted fluids clean up easier.

Two pool tables in back and single dollar bills with the names of customers from around the country are stapled to the walls. This place is the ultimate prototype for the classic biker bar. Photographed by Iron Horse and Easyrider, this place is a zoo during Sturgis Bike Week.

This woman loves her work!


I meet Lee Anne the bartender and as I drink a much deserved ice cold Corona, I see the cowboy thrown from the horse!

We run outside and the panicked pony charges right at me up onto the porch, he rears up right in front of me, hooves flying 2 feet from my face! I'm thinking I'm gonna die like this??? (what a time not to have a helmet on)

He turns at the last minute (I've heard horses will do almost anything to avoid stepping on a man), and comes down on the defenseless metal oil drum next to me, crushing it! (and those oil drums are thinck)

He tries to bolt through a tree too my right (you can see the green on the left side of the Bar pic), fails and does a 180, running back out onto the street. He turns away from a hand and trots out of town... Damn!

The cowboy gets up, limping, holding his side and walks to the back of the building. Lee Anne tells me they are breaking in the new steed and he's a little jumpy... a little jumpy!

I finish my beer and exit Scenic... a lot of excitement for a little town.

I make Rapid City at sunset, stop and buy a bottle of champagne, and grab a room at the Days Inn. Cinda at the front desk has nothing left but suites with Jacuzzis. Man, lifes tuff on the road.

She gives me a great rate and I bed down for the night.

Great day! The temp was near 75 at one point, 300 some odd miles of adventure riding (and drinking). Awesome sights and roads and people... and perhaps, just a little of the magic I am searching for.


More to follow...


.
__________________
``~~~=o&o> Rogue1

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Frank Herbert , "Dune"

"I never drive faster than I can see... other than that it's all in the reflexes..." BTILC

"Remember the face of your father." Roland the Gunslinger


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Rogue 1 screwed with this post 08-11-2006 at 11:59 PM Reason: GD F***ing bugs...
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