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Old 09-04-2012, 02:29 PM   #16
Oldone
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Awesome!

This is such an amazing story with great photos. That boy looks like a little model. What a great looking little guy. I can tell that most of your efforts are with him in mind. It looks like it's paying off with great rewards too since he looks like one happy kid. The memories that he'll have will last a lifetime. Thanks for taking the time to do this for all of us. It's great and really something to look forward to.

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Old 09-04-2012, 07:23 PM   #17
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Good on ya



You're doing it right, brother! No second chances with bringing up offspring. Weekend camping trip planning with my 8 year old now in high gear....
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:27 PM   #18
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Day Three- Badlands National Park to the Black Hills via Wall Drug

Good morning Kristhawee! Nice bed head you've got going there!


I hear they serve pretty decent grub at Wall Drug- let's ride there for breakfast. Plenty of billboards to make sure we don't miss it ;)






5 cent coffee... Hmmm, will have to check that out...


Welcome to Wall Drug!!


I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and it's still just as weird and wonderful as I remember it. I'm not sure my son knows what to make of it- He wasn't too keen to pose with the creepy cowboy in the pink shirt and kept his distance ;)


He warmed up to the old grandpa prospector though ;)


My little guy waiting in line to place his order-


Breakfast is served!! Pancakes, bacon, eggs, and of course a famous Wall Drug Donut


This kid can EAT!!!


Kristhawee is trying to copy the expression of the gunslinger with the shot glass


Posing with the rare and elusive North American Jackalope- he looked everywhere this summer but never saw a real one...


At least he got to ride one at Wall Drug ;)


Then we hear a loud roar coming from the very back of the place... What could it be?!


A seriously creepy T-Rex!! Do you think it's real Kristhawee??


He was pretty convinced that it was NOT real, yet wouldn't get close to it. It's got sensors or something so that if you do get close to it, its eyes and head follow you... Like I said, pretty creepy


Plus, every 15 minutes or so it "wakes up" to feed and makes like it's going to jump over the wall and get you. A must see for every dinosaur loving kid! (Video to come)


We must have spent another hour or more wandering around Wall Drug- there's just so much to see! Finally escaped without buying any of the tourist crap (benefit or touring on a bike- you just tell you kid "sorry, no room").

Did get the complimentary Wall Drug bumper sticker though for the bike


Time to saddle up and hit the road-


Don't worry, the helmet goes on last. ATGATT for my son!!


Next stop- Black Hills and Mount Rushmore!!!


What a beautiful day for a ride!!! Mount Rushmore exit coming up-






The first of many cool tunnels in the Black Hills- this one was just south of Keystone I think-


Welcome to Keystone, SD! Lots and lots of bikes in the Black Hills. (Can you spot our LT parked in between the Harleys and Goldwing?)


To be continued!
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:11 PM   #19
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Cool journey!
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:18 PM   #20
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Thoughts for my (one day) grandchildren

Thank you very much for sharing your trip with the rest of us. It's pretty amazing really. You have a good plan riding short days and spending a lot of time playing, hiking and visiting the sites. I'm signed up for the rest of your trip.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:37 AM   #21
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Keystone was pretty touristy, but also a fun place for people watching.

Spotted our first "real" cowboys

This freakishly tall fellow was walking down the street cracking his bullwhip and there was another "cowboy" a little out of camera range who was shooting his pistols into the air. Of course my son didn't know, and I felt no need to tell him that they are actors promoting a show. He was pretty impressed by them

It was getting pretty close to lunch time so after wandering around the town for a bit we hit up a deli on the main strip and enjoyed a small meal and a huge ice cream cone as we took in the sights-


Cotton Candy ice cream, and guess what, it really tastes like Cotton Candy, though I'm not quite sure if that's a good thing or not


Great spot to relax and watch life go by-


Some amazing roads and so much to see and do in the Black Hills that we ended up staying there longer than planned. After the good experience at the White River KOA near Badlands National Park I was game to try another KOA so we rolled in to the Hill City KOA which is just around the corner from Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Our spot-


I always had a notion in my head that KOA's are pretty much exclusively aimed at the RV crowd. Turns out some of them are, but some are really tent-friendly too.

Always feels good to get the boots off, and Kristhawee was eager to hit one of the pools we saw on the way in-


The other nice thing about KOA's is that they are always full of kids, and my son, who is normally a bit shy, became very adept at making new friends everywhere we went. He'd just walk up to the first kid he saw and say "Hi, can I play with you?". Good on ya Kristhawee! Here he is hanging out with one of his new friends-


Funny story about the pic above- this huge rock was directly across the road from where we were camping. After we pulled in and while I was setting up camp Kristhawee asks me, "Daddy, what kind of tree is that?". I look around and see a lot of pine trees, so I tell him "Pine Trees". He says, "no, the BIG one?". We went back and forth like that for a while and he was getting frustrated until I realized that he thought the rock was a tree! Guess he'd never seen a rock so big before? That had me rolling and I took him over there to show him that it was a rock and not a tree and we had a good time scrambling around his big "tree". 5 year olds sure do come up with some funny stuff sometimes!

Hanging out with another friend at the KOA Love their expressions


What an amazing place- they put us in a really beautiful "tent only" spot at the end of a dirt road in a nice forest with big trees-


Bit of a hike to the pool- but there's nothing wrong with that. Hey! Wait for me!!


We were far away from the RV's and all the noise they produce and this place had EVERYTHING. Two pools, hot tubs, water slide, trout pond, paddle boats, horseback riding, a splash park, mini golf, and a lot more. The nice lady who checked us in said it's one of the largest KOA's in the US. Yet they've done a really good job of making it "feel" small.

Pool-


Waterslide-


"Jump Pillow" (I guess it's safer than a trampoline, but just barely)


Kristhawee loved the horses and stables and REALLY wanted to ride, but the minimum age is 7... He's never ridden and I didn't want to risk him falling off and getting hurt so I had to tell him no.




Near the stables was a decent little food shack serving your typical fare and we ordered ourselves a pizza for dinner- yum!


You might think that would be enough for one day and that we'd call it a night? You'd be wrong!

They were showing "The Tigger Movie" that evening and Kristhawee was keen to go check it out. The "movie theater" was attached to the campground store so Kristhawee enjoyed checking out the toys before the movie started-

Sorry buddy, that will never fit on the motorcycle

Man the sun stays up late! After the movie there was a live band playing so we stopped and checked them out- The Hill City Slickers was there name, and they were damn funny and pretty good too!




Finally we made it back to our site, got ready for bed, and I think I wasn't more than 2 pages into the Jungle Book before my little guy was sound asleep.


I wasn't far behind him! (-_-)Zzzzzz
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:56 AM   #22
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Tony, you are the man! What you do with you son really rocks, as other mentioned I am pretty sure Kristhawee will not forget about this trip for a lifetime.

Hope to meet up with you again in the future and have a ride together.

We met near Ramkhamhaeng in the off road field on a Sunday morning...

Cheers buddy
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:34 PM   #23
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Good morning! Day 4 begins!


I have discovered that my son is not much of a morning person




First stop- all you can eat pancake breakfast!!


Little guy wanted milk so I gave him some money and told him to go buy it. He wanted me to get it for him- you can tell he's not too happy about that-

Still making friends everywhere he goes


After breakfast we went on an impromptu hike around the grounds of the campground-




Another beautiful day!


Looking over the campground- Mt Rushmore is just on the other side of those mountains-






Then Kristhawee went to check out the "Splash Park" which he most definitely enjoyed-







He could have spent all day playing at the campground!

Found a bug!


And a snake (anyone know what kind of snake that is??)


Finally we managed to get back to our site, jumped on the bike, and headed to Hill City where we would catch the 1880 steam train to Keystone!
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:24 PM   #24
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Short ride to Hill City-


My son LOVES trains! Model trains, toy trains, real trains, movies about trains you name it, he digs it, so I thought he might enjoy a ride on the Black Hills Central Central Railroad 1880 Steam Train.


LOL!


C'mon PUSH!!!




The 1880 Steam Train is the real deal- a restored coal fired (converted to oil) locomotive with 37,500 lbs. of tractive power! It takes around 3 hours to make the round trip on the standard gauge Burlington track from Hill City to Keystone and back-


Got our tickets-


While we were waiting we could hear the train whistle off in the distance. Kristhawee was so excited!!


All aboard!!


Let's go!!


Father and Son on the Black Hills Central Railroad 1880 Train
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:03 PM   #25
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amigo, I can not take my 4 year old to kindergarten because it is too dangerous !!!! and you took your boy from east to west in one of the biggest countries in the world!!!!!!! you rock!!!

As a father i can see what it means to you and yeah it will be something you 2 will always have!

Keep writing!!

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Old 09-05-2012, 10:08 PM   #26
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And we're off! Leaving Hill City bound for Keystone on the Black Hills Central Railroad 1880 Steam Train-

We were in the car directly behind the locomotive and it made an insane racket and the whistle was deafening

I liked the "No Smoking" announcement- something about, if you need a smoke, just stick your head out the window and inhale deeply

There was a big mining and timber boom here in the late 1800's and early 1900's and you can see a lot of old buildings, mines and abandoned rail spurs along the way-


Entrance to an old mine?


Lots of wildlife too!


The train has to climb a couple of steep 4-6% grades and it was awesome to listen to it puffing and chugging up the incline-


Turkeys!


Interesting old buildings along the way, some occupied, some abandoned-






We pas a lot of old abandoned spurs- would be really fun to hike these to the mines they used to serve-






The "Lazy 2 Crazy 2 ranch"


Chugging up another incline-


Guess the pancakes, hike, splash park and rocking of the train took their toll on my little guy


I kept snapping pictures so he could see what he missed while in dreamland ;)




We crossed the "Old Hill City Highway" several times- a nice looking road that we'll ride later-


More deer-


Oh yes, we will definitely have to hit this road!


Approaching the Keystone depot-


Kristhawee is still passed out, so we just stay on the train waiting for the ride back to Hill City-


Getting ready for the return trip to Hill City-


At Keystone they uncouple the locomotive and move it to the other end of the train. Means we get a lot less noise, and a lot more smoke for the return trip ;)


Gotta love the staff!


Headed back to Hill City-


Random pics from the train-




Another abandoned mine-


Another abandoned home-


Almost back to Hill City-


Arriving at the Hill City depot-


He hang around to watch them uncouple and move the locomotive-


Wow, that looks like hot and dirty work!


Bye bye 1880 Train!
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #27
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Day 5! Today we're going to ride the Iron Mountain Road, the Wildlife Loop and the Needles Highway!!


Another beautiful day- early start, nice and cool and not a cloud in the sky!


We take the 244 from Hill City, past Mount Rushmore to Keystone where the Iron Mountain Road (16A) begins.

The 244 is a beautiful road in its own right, taking us through the spectacular rock formations that make up



Riding past Mt Rushmore-


The Iron Mountain road (US 16A) is famous for its scenic, one-lane tunnels aligned to frame Mount Rushmore, its "pigtail bridges", and sections where the highway has been divided into single (and narrow) lanes on each roadway.

Pigtail bridge (not my pic):

Such care was taken not to disturb the landscape that some sections of the road actually divide into one-lane one-way ribbons that swoop and bound through mixed pine and deciduous forest. I've never seen a road like this in the US before- quite unique!


The Iron Mountain road, along several other scenic roads in the Black Hills, was originally laid out by Governor Peter Norbeck to create a very scenic, slow-speed road for tourists. The section of US 16A from SD244 to SD89 that we are riding today is known as the Peter Norbeck Memorial Byway in honor of the governor.

The numerous small tunnels insure that there are no large trucks or RV's on these roads. Lots of bikes though!

I have tons of video I need to go through- hopefully I got a good video of this amazing road which I'll add here later.

We hadn't had breakfast yet to after we entered Custer State Park we stopped at the State Game Lodge, a beautiful old building built in 1920 that served as the "Summer White House" for President Calvin Coolidge and was visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.


They had a pretty good looking breakfast buffet and we were both pretty hungry-


Father and son at the State Game Lodge, Custer State Park, Black Hills, SD-


The stuffed animals in the dining room was a nice touch


My son at the Custer State Park Game Lodge, Black Hills, South Dakota


Next we ride the Wildlife Loop Road through Custer State Park and play chicken with some 2000 pound Bison!
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:02 PM   #28
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Wow, they don't call it the Wildlife Loop for nothing- my son and I were keen to see some animals and we were not disappointed!



Bison everywhere!


There are some 1300 Bison in Custer State Park and suddenly we found ourselves surrounded! They look pretty docile but I know they can be unpredictable and honestly, sitting on a bike, these were a bit too close for comfort.

I gave the camera to my son and he took the following pictures- not bad for a 5 year old, eh??


We were kind of stuck in a traffic jam of sorts- cars stopped to take pictures of the bison and I kept my eyes open and hand on the throttle thinking that IF a bison charged at us I'd try to keep the car in front of us between us and the bison...


Fortunately some obnoxiously loud Harleys came by and I figured if the bison were going to attack anything it would probably be one of them before us


Well, we made it out un-gored and with some great pictures. Kristhawee sure was excited to have seen his first Bison- some of them were so close we almost could have touched them!


Kristhawee took these pictures too- I think these are Pronghorns?


Yeah, pretty sure that's a Pronghorn (interesting animals- we learned a lot more about them when we were in Wyoming).


More Bison!


Now what is this incredibly cute critter?!
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:56 PM   #29
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Custer State Park's "Begging Burros"! (Aka Feral Donkeys)


These affable creatures are superficially similar to donkeys, but are more closely related to the African wild ass, which survives in semi-arid scrub and grasslands of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. This makes them well-suited to survival in the water-stressed Black Hills.


Despite all the warnings about not approaching "wild" animals, it was pretty apparent that these burros aren't terribly "wild".


Kristhawee and one of the Black Hills Begging Burros


Very cute animals-


Even though Kristhawee didn't have any food for them, they didn't seem to mind his company-


Two kids checking each other out-


Wanna be my friend??


This one, with nostrils flared and eyes wide, looks like he's thinking about taking my hand off


We survived the burros, continued on and enjoyed the rest of the Wildlife Loop-


Next up- the Needles Highway!!
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:15 PM   #30
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Wonderful ride report and I especially like your positive attitude.

Looking forward to more.

Terry
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