Day 17 & 18: Crazy Horse Memorial & The Badlands

I’m sure Devil’s Tower is cool to check out, but it would have added 82 miles to my ride and I was more interested in checking out the Crazy Horse Memorial and camping in the Badlands, so I skipped it. My ride this day was only 222 miles, avoiding all but 11 miles of wind on I-90.

Why the hell aren’t there windmills harvesting this energy?! Because I’m in coal country. The majority of folks in this region fear progress which deviates from what their parents knew. They want to ride their unreliable Harleys without helmets and keep coal king. It makes no sense to continue to make money for/spend money on industries and products which aren’t creating better rider experiences or quality environments. Fucking Fox News watching Walmartians. Questioning nothing. Images from Idiocracy flash through my mind.

Anyway..

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I  made it to Crazy Horse on one of the extremely few non-Harleys in the parking lot, took the school bus tour up to the monument, snapped some pics, snagged some small rocks which had been blasted off the hill for my nieces and nephew, and returned to my bike to find a new group of folks parking their bikes near mine. I quickly befriended the Triumph Tiger rider. He helped me snap a pic of my rig and I continued toward Mount Rushmore. The line of vehicles was huge. The parking lot was bustling. I lost interest and continued to the Badlands KOA.

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After setting up my tent, I chowed down on some chips and guac, and a feral feline made himself cozy on my lap. I called him Coyote Snack. We enjoyed each other’s company for a half hour before another camper came up and stated that if the cat is around tomorrow, he would take him home to Rapid City, SD. I was stoked for the cat! A forever home! Neutering! Then that camper scooped up Snack and took him away. Sad face.

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The KOA had solid WiFi, so I planned the next night’s stay in Sioux Falls. The ride would go through the Badlands National Park to Wall then 286 miles of wind gusts and fast driving cagers down I-90. I Pricelined myself a hotel with a hot tub and hit the hay.

I was woken up by a thunderstorm before dawn and another after dawn. They kept rolling in and clearing out until 11am. I packed as much as I could inside my Mountain Hardware tent and during a break, shoved the footprint, shelter and rainfly in a waterproof sack so they wouldn’t drench anything else in the pannier. Nothing like trying to put away a soggy tent!
Now, I could have taken the quick 8 mile drive going in the eastern direction which I was already heading, but the fella at the information station made the 30 mile drive west sound much more appealing. It also tacked on another 45 miles of the dreaded I-90, but I’m glad I did it.

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I got stung or bitten in the neck by something. I took an M&M break in the grass. I was wind-blown.
When I finally made it to the hotel, I pulled my tent out of it’s bag to let it air out, put on my swimmy suit, and got my ass to the indoor hot tub. There wasn’t a soul in the room, so I cranked out the Carmina Burana and swam laps in the heated pool. Feeling triumphant, I purchased a glass of white zinfandel from the bar, brought it up to my room, posted a previous blog entry and went to sleep on one of the two comfy beds.

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