Sackville-West Clan Wiki/ nlvt2007/ ablog/ long haul

The Long Haul

We're into the long haul part of the trip now. The first two days were a little long but weren't the sorts of days where we had to get mileage done. Today is different, we've got almost 8 hours of actual driving to get done, not counting stops, gas, eating etc. So that's a long day. no matter how you slice it.

You can read more or skip over to the photos.

Yesterday was a fun day. We left Livingston, MT a little later than we wanted but not too much. The drive through south-east Montana and north-east Wyoming is always awe inspiring to me. It is by far the most desolate part of this trip. I think the longest break without services is something like 40 miles. Now that doesn't seem like much until you're in the middle of it and you realise you're not sure when you last saw a building or a piece of road that was more than a jeep track off in the hills.

The terrain is beautiful -- a mix of rolling green hills, craggy distant mountains, and occaisional stretches of empty grassland -- a prelude to the Great Plains ahead. Throughout the day, we kept seeing more and more motorcycles. At some point we realised that we were heading right into the heart of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, SD. Now, I'm no fan of the Harley culture, nor most of the motorcycles, but it was an amazing sight. There were so many motorcycles that you could do nothing but gawk. Our hotel was about 20 miles past Sturgis, so we got to drive right through it. That stretch of freeway -- say 15 miles either side of Sturgis -- was nothing but motorcycles going every which way. It was pretty cool. I guess we were at the tail end of the festivities, so it probably wasn't as thick as it would have been had we come through just a couple days sooner.

The thing that I had trouble with was the number of unprotected riders. I just won't ride unprotected and to see all these people in cutoffs and no shirts and no helmets and their toes all bare in flip-flops; ugh, It gives me the willies. Now, they're free to ride how they want, and I don't begrudge them that, but it still makes me upset. There was a biker down on the freeway while we were driving through. We couldn't really see the victim, but based on the medical personel crowded around, it wasn't good. It was a good opportunity to explain some stuff to the girls. Both about the need for protection when riding, but also the need for freedom to ride how you want. I think seeing the scene onthe side of the road had an impact on them.

Meanwhile, the bikes were incredible. As I said, I'm no fan, but they really were gorgeous. I really like some of the less dressed out ones. Some of the more "naked" bikes that hearken back to a cafe racer style, or an old Vincent style, are pretty cool.

We stayed the night in Rapid City, SD after making the trek up to Mt. Rushmore. So, I have to say, that Mt. Rushmore isn't all that. I mean, its cool and I'm glad we did it, but there's not much to do there and you don't get close enough to really appreciate the scale of it all. So that was kind of disappointing, but I'm still glad we did it and we got a couple nice photos of the girls in front of some dead presidents. heh heh. Oh, and the chipmunks are way cool scampering around with their tails up in the air. Very cute and fun.

The girls held together pretty well (as they continue to do) and had a blast on the waterslide in the hotel pool.

That's all for now... next up... the long drive through nothing: South Dakota through Minnesota.