Kim & Mike's Most Excellent Planet Ramble

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ride2ADV, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Brent T

    Brent T 2014 R1200RT

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    Fantastic Ride Report! I'm really enjoying your writing, photos and adventure - thanks for taking the time to post it.
    #61
  2. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Great advice XRangerRides! Stay tuned for some pics from most of the places you mentioned. Thanks for coming along!
    #62
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  3. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Thanks BrentT. Glad you are enjoying the RR!
    #63
  4. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    So you may be asking yourself, what if I don't want to ride gravel? What could I see from the Badlands Loop Road? Don't despair, here you go...

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    Oh yeah, you can see this from the loop road as well.

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    In the not too distant future, you can probably see these two as well.

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    :crash :feelgood
    #64
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  5. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    We spent the next day traveling to Custer, SD to visit Custer State Park. Once again, it was similar to the Badlands in one respect. Pavement was good, but the gravel was awesome. The weather was once again hot and this time muggy. We started out in sun, but by the end of the day, were in rain that was very heavy at times with thunder and lightning.

    But at the start, it was bright and sunny as we motored along. At one point Kim asked if we could stop, drink a cool drink and take a rest. That sounded good to me and before long, I saw a sign outside the small town of Scenic, South Dakota (yes, that's really the name of the town). We pulled off the main road and tottered into town. Thoughts of Clint Eastwood and spaghetti westerns immediately entered my head. Why?

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    (Yes, they are real cattle skulls).

    Not to be outdone...

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    Oh and at the top of the building, in concert with the cattle skulls on the nearby building...

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    And finally...

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    And for those of you who just can't get along...

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    Oh and ahhhh.... Roger Brown, I see you hiding in the back of the cell on the right. I told you that drinking and carousing with the barkeep's daughter wasn't a good idea!!! :happay

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    While I was taking these pics, Kim was patiently waiting for me on the other side of the road.

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    How could an old west town ghost town get any more realistic?

    It even had its own lonely skinny dog walking the street. In fine old west fashion, Kim told him to get out of town. (actually, she gave him a cookie).

    Cooled down and rested, we got back on the bikes and headed towards Custer. As we did, the landscape started to change.

    There was less and less of this...

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    And more of this...

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    Along the way, we stopped for lunch at a pizza place and found that they had a small selection of beer on tap.

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    Yes, each of those are different individual microbrew beers on tap.

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    Unfortunately for me, we have a rule that we don't drink alcohol when we are on the bikes. Period. But when we are done for the day... :drink

    By the time we made it into Custer, it was raining pretty hard. We got our motel room and immediately covered up the bikes. Not more than 5 minutes later, we had this...

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    Could you hear the hail?

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    It was about dime sized.

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    Then the power went out.

    Until later!
    #65
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  6. Knobby Bob

    Knobby Bob Adventurer

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    Kim and Mike, so happy for you guys to be able to do this awesome adventure trip together taking your time and smelling the roses along the way .I'm enjoying your ride reports and pictures I hope you enjoy the Cassiar HWY as much as I did ! Safe travels ...Bob
    #66
  7. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

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    Heh, you're lovely lady rides my current bike and you're on my dream bike.

    Back on page one about the leak you found on your tire, my dog pisses on any and all tires he sees. First thing I thought of was a dog marking it.

    Anywho, nice RR. Keep up with the pics. I'm quite envious.
    #67
  8. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Thanks Knobby Bob, we just rode the Cassiar today. There will be more on that soon. Glad you are enjoying the RR.

    Schmokel, Thanks for the compliment! I thought of the same thing you said, but my big Katoom would have to be the most unlucky bike on the planet since this has happened TWICE! Still there haven't been any more "leeks" from the fork, so perhaps it was a "leak" of another kind.

    All the best,

    Mike & Kim
    #68
  9. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    After about an hour, the thunderstorm passed and the power came back on. There were signs of flooding everywhere, but we were safe and dry. The following morning, we decided to check out a couple of different places. First, we decided to take a curvy and twisty road that had some cool tunnels.

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    As we exited one tunnel...

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    Something special came into view.

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    We got a little closer and took some selfies with some friends of old.

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    Who are the friends of old?

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    My favorite guy is the one on the far right.

    When we went to visit the site, we found that admission was free, but parking was $11 per bike. WTF? A national monument and we have to pay a contractor $22 to park our frickkin' bikes. So the national park pass that we paid $80 each for wasn't going to get us in to see a national monument. No wait, I take that back, we didn't need the pass to visit the monument, but we'd have to walk in from a non existent parking location. Thanks government! Thanks for looking out for our interests and preserving our history as long as we pay $22 to park. (End of rant).

    So we decided our protest would be not to pay the $22 and head into Custer State Park instead. We did have to pay admission, but this was a state park that we knew would not be covered by the National Park Pass. Boy was it worth it.

    Until later!
    #69
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  10. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Just like XRangerRides suggested, we rolled into Custer State Park with high hopes and what we found exceeded our expectations. Kim was interested in seeing as many animals as possible, so we got onto the "Wildlife Loop" road and made our towards the park. We hit some construction and sat patiently in Park traffic waiting for the flag person to change that sign from stop to slow.

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    Ultimately, we were back in those rolling hills that the area is so famous for.

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    Kim wanted to see as many animals as possible, so we headed out onto the Wildlife Animal Loop with the hopes of seeing herds of different animals. We rode for a few miles and saw... Nothing; no animals. I was getting a bit impatient (imagine that) especially when we had already passed several gravel road just calling us to explore them. With nothing in sight, I suggested to Kim that we do a little exploring on the gravel roads and perhaps we might find some animals that the "general" public wasn't seeing.

    She agreed and we turned off the pavement onto the next gravel road we found.

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    Once again it was green rolling hills and plenty of them. Some were not so big...

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    While others were more substantial.

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    It was great fun riding the gravel all by ourselves. In fact, we didn't come across another car for over a half hour.

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    We spent a couple of hours wandering around on the gravel roads and although we did not see any animals, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. Ultimately we came back onto a paved road which intersected with a visitor center of sorts. We stopped for a lunch of Cliff Bars and water and got back on the pavement which was the opposite end of the "Wildlife Loop". After about 5 minutes we did come across our first wild animals of the day; a gathering of wild burros. Apparently these burros are the ancestors of prospectors and farmers that mined for gold and opened the land in the late 1800s. They were very friendly and obviously looking for handouts from the tourists.

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    Although this was fun to see, it was a bit less animal viewing than Kim had hoped for. But the time we spent on the gravel of Custer State Park made it very worthwhile. As we were finishing up, the weather started to build, so we decided to head back to the motel for the evening. Wicked it up a bit and passed a few areas that had been burned by wildfire. Somehow, it had its own stark beauty and it was nice to see that nature could still return the land to its initial condition.

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    Outside the park and with speeds raised somewhat, we didn't make it home before the skies opened.
    #70
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  11. motor_roy

    motor_roy Been here awhile

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    Mike and Kim,

    Great to meet you last week in Jade City. Can't wait to hear more about your trip and follow you guys. Safe Travels.

    Mark
    #71
  12. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Hi Mark!

    It was great meeting both you and Linnel! Glad to see you made it home safe. We're looking forward to following you as well. All the best, Mike & Kim
    #72
  13. Dudley

    Dudley Long timer

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    Have you guys stopped for a while in Alaska? I have no data on Spotwalla.
    Dudley
    #73
  14. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    The rain started very shortly after the above picture was taken. By the time we exited Custer State Park, it was heavy. By the time we got into the town of Custer, it was already flooding.



    The upside was that we made it before the weather turned very nasty. High wind, lightning and hail all started within 20 minutes of us getting to our motel.



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    Did you hear the hail hitting the windows? It looked like this a few minutes into the storm.

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    But we were inside, warm and dry(ish) having beaten the major storm back to the motel.

    The following day would be much brighter and would mark our entry into Wyoming. On the way out of Custer, we found the Dr. Flick cabin.

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    What's so special about this cabin? Well it happens to be the oldest standing structure in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It's builder, Dr. Flick was evicted from the uncompleted cabin when the US Army moved all non-native people out of the Black Hills. Why? Because a gold rush was on and the Government determined that this land was native American land. So Dr. Flick and the other inhabitants of Custer were forced to leave Custer and walk to Fort Laramie. Not long thereafter, Dr. Flick returned to his cabin and found that Army Captain Jack Crawford had completed the cabin and was now living there. A civil lawsuit followed and eventually, Dr. Flick was able to obtain custody of the cabin. If you'd like more info, you can click here.

    The weather was looking good for a change and as we exited South Dakota, we saw a couple of interesting things. The first was a runaway truck ramp. Not found in New England, they are still a curiosity to me. The theory being if a truck loses its brakes on a downhill, it turns off road and runs into a gravel trap that often goes uphill. If any of you haven't seen one, it looks something like this.

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    Closer...

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    Closer...

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    There you go. Turn right and head up the hill and hope the truck sinks into the gravel to a safe stop. Interesting.

    We also came across this sign...

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    We did see one, but he was not in the road and jumped into the roadside brush pretty quickly.

    Lastly, just before Rapid City, we came across a fire that was brewing.

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    We didn't know if it was under control, but it did seem to be getting bigger in the short time we were able to see it.

    It wasn't long until we made it to Wyoming...

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    Until later!
    #74
  15. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Hi Dudley. Yes, we stopped in AK and returned to VT. Kim got sick, (but is much better now), the weather in Denali (our next stop) was for six days of rain so we decided to continue our journey in the fall.
    #75
  16. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    A quarter mile after the Wyoming border we came upon the rules of riding in Wyoming...

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    With the rules out of the way, we headed deeper into Wyoming. Despite what everyone says, Wyoming is really crowded. It is also magical. Don't think so?

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    See we told you. We were in Aladdin, Wyoming which was named by a settler who was hoping to get rich like Aladdin during the gold rush era. It 2014, the town was for sale for a paltry $1.5M. Any land barons out there? As far as being crowded, we would find towns later in our journey that were half the population of Aladdin. So like we said, it is really crowded there.

    Since we would be in the general area, we decided to see the Devil's Tower. You know, that place where the Aliens landed in the movie Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. Ever since the film, I wanted to see what it looked like in person. We weren't even really close to it when we could see it was a pretty impressive structure.

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    The closer we got, the more impressive it became...

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    When we finally arrived at the monument, it was amazing!

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    You can get a little idea of the scale of it by comparing it to the vehicles in the parking lot. Yes, those are our bikes in the front row parking space. :D

    We took a walk around the monument and got some up close and personal pics...

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    Impressive, isn't it? We also stayed for a Park Ranger discussion on the history and naming of the Devil's tower. Long story short, this place is a sacred spot to at least four Native American tribes and July is a sacred month for monument and them. During this time, they leave prayer flags and build sweat lodges in observance of its sacred nature (in fact, during July, the National Park Service places a voluntary ban on climbing the monument. We did see some of the prayer flags left there). The current name comes from the nature of the intricacies of language. When white men came to the area, they asked a native American what they called the monument. The native American replied in his native language that it was called Bear's Lodge. The white men's interpreter, a native american from another tribe, using his own native language skills understood the first native American to say the monument was Devil's Tower. It seems that the sounds between the two native American languages was so close that they were easily mis-interpreted. The naming of Bear's Lodge comes from Native American lore regarding the monument's creation. There are at least 4 Native American versions on how the monument was created. You can learn a little bit about it by clicking HERE.

    BTW, for you geologists out there, the monument was not forced out of the ground by moving plates. The tower is the result of erosion of the earth from the monument. Cool eh?

    We stayed for a couple of hours and decided to get back on the bikes to our final destination; Gillette, Wyoming. We didn't know it at the time, but Gillette calls itself the Energy Capital of the Nation, with Wyoming providing nearly 35% of the nation's coal. On the way into Gillette, we followed railroad tracks for many miles. Then it became clear why there was so much rail around Gillette. They needed a way to get that coal out. So just outside of Gillette, we hit a fairly large rail yard. And in that rail yard were...

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    literally hundreds of locomotives. Really, hundreds of them. I have never seen that many locomotives in a single place. There were multiple rails of them and each parked line of locomotives was MILES long. It was unbelievable. I wish I had stopped to take better pictures, but the wind was really up and the weather was building. If you like locomotives, you need to check out Gillette.

    Until later!
    #76
  17. mclassing

    mclassing Adventurer

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    Word on Google is that there are /were about 150 Loco stored there because coal transport is down due to decreased demand.

    Great RR, Mike. Keep 'em coming.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    #77
  18. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Remember when we told you that Aladdin, Wyoming was crowded. Here's the case in point. Gaze upon Spotted Horse, Wyoming.

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    Population, just a little bit less than 80% of the population of Aladdin. What's the population in Spotted Horse? It's.... 2

    Below is the only the only business in town.

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    But it is a rather cool one.

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    Check out a closeup of the flag next to the real one...

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    All in all a pretty cool place in the middle of nowhere. Particularly since they had brats and beer. :beer :dukegirl Or is it beer and brats. Whatever...

    A few hours down the road, we saw the first of many grain elevators beside rail heads. I hadn't seen any like these and they are found throughout Wyoming. I thought the shape of the building was cool and to top it off they were often painted with advertisements of days past. Like this one...

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    And here's a glimpse of the lower area...

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    The next one we came upon was even better...

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    It was in the middle 90 degree range when I took these pictures, so while at the grain elevator, we took some time in the shade of some trees and hay bales to take in the views.

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    Just beyond the trees, there was scenery like this...

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    Nice!!!

    The day's final destination was Shell, Wyoming. Despite the sunny skies earlier in the day, it clouded up quickly and we hit rain and scattered thunderstorms. Because of this, I don't have much in the line of photos for you of one the the most beautiful mountain passes we would travel through on this trip. Between Dayton and Shell Wyoming, is the Big Horn Mountain Pass. If you are ever in the area, don't miss it. If you do you'll regret it. Trust us! Near the end of the Pass you enter a very cool canyon with mountain walls surrounding you on both sides. This is where I did get some pics, because the rain had stopped. Here you go...

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    I really wish we had good weather that day so I could show you what we saw. Check out my GPS on the left handlebar to get an idea of how twisty this pass is.

    Until later!
    #78
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  19. Ride2ADV

    Ride2ADV World Shrinkers Super Supporter

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    Thanks for the info Mike! Perhaps there are a few more now? It really seemed that there were hundreds of them. Regardless, thanks for giving us the inside story of why they are there.

    All the best,

    Mike
    #79
  20. mclassing

    mclassing Adventurer

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    No problem. There may have been hundreds. I'm not sure when this story was dated -- or even if it was 100% accurate.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    #80
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