On day 4, Val and I decide to run up to Montana for lunch. The route will take us to Sturgis via Nemo Road and Vanocker Canyon Road. A good portion on Nemo Road follows Boxelder Creek which is nothing special from the road. But if you get off the road (like at a picnic area along the way) you can find some really pleasant surprises. This is where I found these views of the creek that are a wash in color and light with the sounds of water lapping against some rocks. The smell of the watercress blooms are sweet and light. What a treasure just laying on the side of the road.
From Sturgis we take 34 to Belle Fourche, then on to Aladdin where 34 turns into 24. Why a high needs to change numbers when it crosses a state boarder is beyond me. Further west on 24 and seeing Devils Tower in the distance, we stop and take another picture. Every time we see the monument the more amazing it looks.
At Hulett, we head north on route 112 which will take us across the Montana boarder to Alzada where we plan to have lunch. Just before getting to the boarder, a couple of deer started running along the road like they were going to race us. Then a third joins in the chase. They run long enough on the side of the road, that there tongues actually start to hang out. At this point, they exit stage right and bound over a barbwire fence. Pretty incredible.
At the Montana Wyoming boarder we stop and take a few pictures for the record. While there, a couple on bicycles pull up to the same point. Each bike is pulling a trailer. One trailer has two guitars on it, the other has a tent and two sleeping bags. They seem to have all that they need, particularly since she is about 5 months pregnant. They have one of the most amazing routes; cross country and back on bicycle in 12 weeks. They travel 65-100 miles a day and started/return from/to Connecticut with a bounce back point someplace in Seattle. Wow! I thought riding a bike from Hell, MI to Paradise, MI was crazy a nice bike ride.
In spite of what the sign on the bench says, we really did make it to Alzada for lunch. The owner is a former California transplant. She is in her late 30s early 40s and loves this little spot of earth. She keeps the place open rain or shine, heat or cold, blizzard or dust storm. Out front she has a barrel bike complete with longhorn skull and horns. This is where Val pose for the shots on the intro page. The food is nothing fancy but fresh. An old guy in the corner booth (the resident maven with a bottomless beer belly) seems like the type who talks to anyone willing to listen. He talked of his infatuation with his antique car collection, driving truck in the good old days, and politics. He was also genuinely interested in where we had come from and how we got to his corner of the world. You rode your motorcycle from New Jersey? God help ya!
On the way back to Rapid City, we take one last pass through Spearfish Canyon. This time, the sun was out and the views were spectacular so we stopped several times to take a few pictures and to drink in the beautiful brew fermented by God for our eyes to drink in and quench our thirst). At one of our stops in the canyon (Bridal Veil Falls), I setup to take pictures of various bikes coming around the bend. The sequence below is of a couple cruising their ultra glide around a bend. In the same period of time I was only able to get two shots of a sport bike. Needless to say, they had a slightly different philosophy on riding Spearfish Canyon.
At the south end of the canyon we stopped for construction again for 15 minutes. Unlike the trip Monday, we did not have to slog through soft gravel. From the construction stop, we motored straight into Deadwood to get some pictures for my father in law (he is a big Deadwood fan). So I take some shots at Wild Bill's ghost, a few more of the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid ghosts, and call it a wrap on Deadwood.
So off to Rapid City (via 385 and Nemo Road one more time) where we need to get ready for the evening's final dinner celebration at the Fort Hayes Chuck Wagon.
This sunset measures more than the end to a glorious day. I also marks the end to our time with friends of Braveheart. Time to go back to the room and pack up for the Trip Home.