The day started like normal at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Pierre, South Dakota. We got up and put some of the exercise equipment to good use. I couldn’t face another hotel breakfast so we opted for the Perkins that was a block away from our hotel. Real eggs and a nice waitress helped confirm the decision.
We hit the road and within a couple of hundred yards we changed time zones. Leaving at 9:30, we were stopping for gas a mile down the road at 8:30. I appreciated the extra hour we had to get to our next hotel. In this area it is quite normal to have unattended gas stations. Swipe your credit card, pump your gas, hang up the hose, and swipe the card again to get your receipt. It’s really not much different at home but it just seems odd.
The route today was pretty simple. We followed US-14 for a few miles then it merged into SD-34. I’ve mentioned that we have been in this area a number of times but we had always rode across South Dakota on I-90. This was all new territory for me. I was really concerned about the availability of gas going across such a desolate area. I worried for nothing.
The trike has gotten a consistent 35 MPG but the wind was really howling today. I heard on the radio that it was between 30and 40 MPH. It was out of the northwest so we were fighting it all day. The gas mileage was dropping and as usual I was nervous. Gas stations were out there at about 40 – 50 mile intervals but they are not the super gas station / convenience store type. We stopped at one station at a small town, Howe, South Dakota and the people inside the building had to turn the pumps on so we could get gas. From the sounds the pump made I wasn’t sure if we were going to get much gas. All they had was premium which is what the trike requires. The people inside were friendly and directed us to outhouse in case we needed to use the facilities. It was a little primitive but the gas seemed to work well in the trike.
We were approaching Sturgis from the East. My previous trips out here had always put us coming into the town from the south. Now if you ride a Harley it’s an absolute that you have to stop in Sturgis and buy a T-shirt even if you don’t need one. I was going to bypass the town but I wasn’t willing to violate the Harley law of T-shirts.
If you approach from the east you drive right past the Buffalo Chip campground. That place gets to be quite a circus during the Sturgis rally.
We grabbed lunch at the Side Hack restaurant (that’s motorcycle speak for a side-car). Food was good. Since we were the only ones in the place we sat and had a nice chat with our friends. While we were talking the subject of the rest of today’s route came up. The plan was to go see Devil’s Tower but since we had stayed a little too long in Sturgis the plan was quickly changed (you have to be flexible).
We did something I almost never do. We gave up the 2 lane roads and hit I-90 for the last 100 miles to our home for the night – Gillette, Wyoming. We crossed over into Wyoming and the wind was still blowing. The 80 MPH speed limit and the 40 MPH cross wind were hard to deal with. I backed off the throttle and slowed to a very leisurely 75.
We pulled into the hotel about 4:00 local time and were glad to be done with fighting the wind today. We spent the first hour or so walking down the street and finally scoring the card reader I needed to allow me to pull pictures from the camera. I will try real hard not to over-do it with the pictures.
We had a great dinner with our friends at Chicago Pizza and Taproom which was a lot nicer than I expected. Tomorrow we head to the cabins we’ve rented in Montana. I’ve got to close out today’s entry so I can finish up the route. I think we’re changing things up again but it is somewhat weather dependent. We’ve been fortunate to stay dry so far but tomorrow is another day.
Below are a few pictures I’ve been unable to include due to the missing card reader. I really like these pictures so I’m including them now.