We finally made it to our new home! Although we are not yet here to stay if feels exciting and invigorating to be back in Boulder after a three year absence. What a journey it has been. Parker and I agree that today was the single greatest day of riding that either of us has ever had. We reluctantly left our picturesque campsite near Rushmore this morning and started out onto the much talked about (amongst motorcyclists) Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway rt. 16a, a road that was thought to be unbuildable due to its many hairpin curves, spiral “pigtail” bridges, and numerous tunnels. The road did not disappoint and delivered an incredible and utterly satiating morning of riding. The byway provided more than thrilling asphalt by revealing breathtaking views of the Black Hills and a bonus look at a distant Mt. Rushmore. Along the road we also came across a variety of wildlife ranging from the ever charming prairie dog to deer and antelope and culminating in the unforgettable experience of having to stop riding to allow a herd of buffalo to wallow across the road. It was an otherworldly experience and was further enhanced by the fact that we sat completely exposed on our motorcycles merely feet from one of the last wild buffalo herds in the nation, so close that we could hear their snorts, see their eyes, and smell their hides. The sight truly makes one fantasize about what the west must have been some years ago in a time where adventure and true exploration were endlessly over the next ridge. After rejoining dad in Hot Springs SD we headed south through wide expanses of Wyoming, passing Cheyenne WY and Fort Collins CO and ultimately arriving in Boulder. It was cool to observe Parker as he took in the majesty and expanse of the west and its Rocky Mountains having never been exposed to their beauty before. Once in Boulder we broke down and booked a hotel room for the first time this trip which I guess is reasonable and should allow for us to be clean and presentable for job and house searches in the next few days. We ate a hearty Mexican dinner and are all tired and ready to sleep in a real bed.
We emerged from the adventure trailer this morning to yet another picture perfect day. I began the day with a few fruitless but relaxing casts into the wide waters of the Missouri River before showering up and hitting the road. Parker and I cruised a great section of I 90 on the bikes while dad listened to his book on tape in the truck. We spoke to my brother Nate on the phone who put together a great itinerary of stops to fill our day (complete with a labels map and exit numbers). He directed us to a really cool stop at a minuteman Cold War missile silo in a utterly desolate section of South Dakota grassland. It was real diamond in the rough and included a free phone based tour of the site complete with a goofy accented voice tour guide that Parker and I will certainly not be done quoting anytime soon. From there we stopped at the famous Wall Drug tourist trap and took the required photos. That is when the day really took off. We headed north to the iconic town of Sturgis SD, home of the worlds largest motorcycle rally where we bought t- shirts and visited the motorcycle museum. It was cool to see the town preparing for the rally which is held annually in the first week of August. From Sturgis we rode rt 385 through the black hills to Mt Rushmore where we tried to sneak a quick picture without paying the exorbitant entry fees. This maneuver was not well received by the older gentleman driving a golf cart who followed and shoed us out of the area. The good news is that we now know the Mt. Rushmore national monument is quite secure. We set up camp at a beautiful site in the national forest nearby after riding about 500 perfect miles to conclude an awesome day.
Today we made a good long push in the truck from our camp site near Elgin until we hit the South Dakota border. We took turns watching Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies in the back seat as we crossed endless seas of cornfields and burned more than three tanks of gas. We unloaded the bikes for the last two hours and enjoyed a beautiful westward sunset cruise on perfect roads with a fitting 75mph speed limit. We hope to visit Mt. Rushmore and the infamous Sturgis SD tomorrow. It should be an interesting experience as none of us have visited either and we are arriving In Sturgis just over a week before half a million fellow motorcycle enthusiasts will be descending on the town for the worlds largest bike week.
Today we dove into the serious leg of our westward journey covering over 500 miles. Parker and I decided to start our supposed “motorcycle” trip on the bikes and enjoyed the cool morning ride for about the first three hundred miles. We then pulled over and waited for dad and the truck at a service plaza where we made lunch and loaded up the bikes for the day. We traveled a surprisingly expensive series of total roads on I 80 and I 90 through congested Chicago and made camp near Elgin Il at the Paul Wolff campground where we enjoyed a sumptuous meal of steaks and a delicious home grown salad courtesy of dad and his garden. Time for a good night sleep!
Well, I am not sure how consistent I will be with this whole blogging thing as it is only day two and I nearly lost motivation and skipped tonight… but, here I am. So, this morning we awoke after our first night of camping reluctantly parting ways with Danny and the Coal Mine Cruiser guys , heading west on 80 and arriving at my fathers home in Oil City PA. We had a nice dinner and did some last minute shopping, organizing and tinkering with our trailer setup. Tomorrow we are planning on starting off the trip on the motorcycles (of course) and putting in some serious miles while my dad drives the truck and trailer. We hope to put in around 8 hours and make it to near Oglesby Illinois.
On the first day of our adventure we left Scranton Pa at 6:30am. Parker Valliant, Danny Himowitz and I (Evan DeShong) loaded up our trucks and motorcycle trailer in order to kick off our journey with a day of intense wheeling at Rausch Creek Off-road Park. We took part in the Coal Mine Cruiser Classic, a multi day off road event dedicated to beating the hell out of toyota four wheel drive vehicles of all years and models. We had a ball on the trails and my old 1996 land Cruiser with nearly 250k miles hung with the best of them. During the evening hours we met a ton of great people, and tested out our newly customized adventure trailer.Danny and I went for a swim at the campground while Parker slept in his hammock. I had a blast drooling over jacked up toyota trucks and we all had an awesome day! Great success!