Big Bike Solo in the Black Hills

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, May 18, 2009.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    A little more thing about Travel Information Maps and the National Forests since not everyone may understand this concept. You are responsible to know whether your motorized travel is allowed on a particular road or not. The USFS does not post this information on many roads.

    Some roads will be closed during certain periods of the year but will be open the rest of the time. Sometimes the Travel Information Map will indicate a road segment being seasonally closed and then list the closure dates in a table on the map. Sometimes the legend on the map will refer you to check the sign on that portion of road (usually gated) to find out the closed periods.

    The important thing about this is that it is our responsibility as users to make sure we have the current information as far as allowable travel.

    While I was in the Hills I read a notice in the paper announcing a hearing on proposed changes to the Travel Management Plan that will take effect in 2010. That means there will be a new map next year (this one expires in September this year).

    These maps are on the web but if you are an old guy like me you will find them awkward and hard to read. You can write for a hard copy or many visitor centers in area towns will have them available. I think I saw about a case of them in Newcastle and I have picked one up in Custer before as well.

    I still use my waterproof 2001 forest map for knocking around, but when I have a question about something, I dig out the current Travel Information Map. For most visitors, this won't be a problem since open roads are usually obvious. Explorers will need to take a closer look though. :D
    #81
  2. windburn

    windburn Long timer

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    Outstanding report that includes detail of historical and geographic history.

    The Saddle depicted looks like a McClellan Saddle in the design issued to the US Cavalry of the 1880's but a more detailed pic would show if the cavalry anchor points are in place. someone with more knowledge of saddles may be able to be more specific.

    Thanks for such an intelligent presentation

    :norton
    #82
  3. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    Wow, looks like no way my group could have made it to the Grand Canyon area either :eek1 Have to save that for another adventure.

    I think I'll haul my KLX250S up in the truck next time though. That 600 miles from Omaha on the KLR really wore me out, and then I was stuck riding the overweight pig on the rough stuff.

    In a "normal" year mid-late May would probably still be a good time to go up there.
    #83
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I agree with you Mike, I would go back in mid-May again. I don't mind the weather, even if it sleets or snows a bit at elevation. The part I liked was that the tourist stuff doesn't really seem to get cranked up until mid-May or later. It was great to have minimal traffic and pressure on resources. I could score a campsite without a reservation and motel rooms were cheap (most around $33 for me). This just happened to be a year of record snowfall and late season storms.

    More to come.
    #84
  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I thought about you Klay when I was taking in some of the aviation and railroad stuff. I know I've enjoyed some of your stuff on that. :thumb
    #85
  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks Meef, I hope your jurisdiction isn't as "rowdy" as some of these. :lol3
    #86
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks, and don't hesitate to ask for tracks or documents. I'd be happy to share.
    #87
  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks. I would bet that with your interests and knowledge you would be pretty entertained in some of these local historical museums. Some of small town or county museums have some real treasures that you can examine close up.
    #88
  9. edgy

    edgy Been here awhile

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    Thank you,very interesting for a South African to read!
    Well written!
    #89
  10. MeefZah

    MeefZah Curmudgeonly Supporter

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    Not even close. I'm in awe of how hard and rugged a man had to be to survive out there, even just 100 years ago. I don't think I'm that hard and rugged (actually I'm fleshy, and soft!) :lol3
    #90
  11. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Took a ride over to Spearfish Canyon and on to Spearfish.
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    It is a long and scenic downhill run to get into the canyon from where I was at.
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    Looking at the bright side of things, I think the snow improved the scenery for mid-May anyway. :lol3
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    My new friend spreading sand.
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    Elmore is the location of an old railroad town squeezed into Spearfish Canyon that dealt with the narrow gauge train that ran up to the Annie Creek mine.
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    Elmore is cottages and homes now.
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    Right across the highway from Elmore is Annie Creek Road. It is the grade of the old narrow gauge that used to run to the Annie Creek mine. It washed out in the 1930s and that was that.
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    Some of the old ties are still in place.
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    Some of these Black Hills railroad tracks were steep and rugged grades.
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    The old Annie Creek mine was a deep one. Like Wind Cave, air blows in and out of the shaft with changes in the barometric pressure. Well, it used to anyway . . . more on that later.
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    The run up this valley is very scenic. For reasons that will become clear in tomorrow's installment, there won't be a visit to the mine. This run is suitable for a big bike and is worth the up and back trip if you are running Spearfish Canyon. (I have a switch to turn off one of my headlamps to save watts when I want to.)
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    Anyway, I wasn't going too far up this grade today.
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    #91
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  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks! Sometimes I wonder what people from other countries think about our early history. It reads kind of rough and lawless at times. :lol3
    #92
  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Spearfish Canyon was formed 40-60 million years ago. It is six times older than the famous Grand Canyon in the SW US. It is full of Pondersa Pines and Spruce trees. 19 miles of paved and winding road.
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    A side trip up a canyon formed by Little Spearfish Creek takes us to Roughlock Falls.
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    I was going to grab a set for my DL but they weren't ripe yet.
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    Back down into Spearfish Canyon.
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    #93
  14. Dusty

    Dusty Long timer

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    Love that little canyon up Roughlock Falls, used to camp up there and ride our dirt bikes (and MTB's) up there...

    Great ride report!!! I give it...:thumb :thumb ... I would give it more but i only have 2 hands...

    My brother and i are heading down there on Tuesday, cant wait...

    I would love any tracks that you would like to share from the Hills, i need to find more of the old ghost towns ...

    Scott
    #94
  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I took a few side trips on roads down in the canyon just to look around. Of course, they don't really go anywhere.
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    The creek is nice and usually very scenic.
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    The nice thing about running the canyon during the week in mid-May is the traffic is way down. A few logging trucks, motor homes, and deer to deal with though.
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    The Homestake Mine put in some hydro generators in Spearfish Canyon.

    Going way back, Homestake used telegraph and telephone (limited use) in 1879 between offices and timber camps. In 1888 they introduced their first electric lighting with sixteen 3.6 watt lights hanging above amalgam plates at a mill. Yes . . . 3.6 watts.

    In 1904 Homestake built their first hydro plant at the mouth of Spearfish Canyon. It never did supply juice to the mine but it did light up Spearfish.

    There is another plant over in Englewood that still may be in use. It used a pressure pipeline from the Lead Country Club area to Englewood.

    In 1911 they finished up a third hydro plant (Hydro 1). This one is located about a mile from Spearfish and the old plant. The source of water is 6-7 miles up the canyon (just below the pictured hyrdo plant #2) and is diverted through a 7' X 7' concrete tunnel. To do maintenance on the tunnel, Homestake workers would float a boat through this five mile long tunnel. Not me. Well, maybe if I worked up to 8,000 feet underground in the mine, floating a boat five miles down a tunnel wouldn't be such a big deal.

    The pictured plant (Hydro #2) was put into service in 1917. Water sources come from above Savoy on Little Spearfish and Spearfish Creeks. There is (or maybe was) five miles of redwood pipe delivering water to the plant. The pipe is clearly listed on my Topo GPS maps.
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    #95
  16. judjonzz

    judjonzz Beastly

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    The Grand Canyon (Sand Creek Canyon) ride is always on the menu during Rally Week. No music of Harleys up there.

    And speaking of Harleys, what do you call a hundred Harleys in Spearfish Canyon?



























    A slalom course.
    #96
  17. ThumperDRZ

    ThumperDRZ Bouncing off Rocks!

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    Another Great report Cannon - :thumb

    Keep it coming!
    #97
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    :lol3

    I got caught behind one of those convoys for a while over on Pete Norbeck's road on Saturday. I'm really not one to poke at another brand, but sometimes I couldn't hear my own bike. Of course, that might not say much though since my own bike usually sounds like a sewing machine. :lol3
    #98
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks Gary, still a lot more to cover in the Hills.
    #99
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I thought there might be a way to the Cleopatra Mine out of Spearfish Canyon. No access. More on the mines that are up on top tomorrow.
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    I read something about how the habitat is there in the Hills for trout but that for some reason the trout fishery is pretty much put and take.
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    Continuing down the canyon toward Spearfish.
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    Bridal Veil Falls
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    Black Hills State University in Spearfish. 4000 students on 123 acres.
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    Spearfish has a great city campground. With the wintry weather, I opted to score a hot meal and a motel room.
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    End of day 3. I left Newscatle, explored Cambria, took a historic loop ride on the west side of the Hills in WY, got snowed out of the NW hills, and got a nice tour of Spearfish Canyon.

    More to come of Spearfish and then on to some mines (and more) on day 4.