Friday, 13 August 2010

Riding In The Black Hills, Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore

One of the things I have been looking forward to on this tour is riding in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I have now done that.

There are a few videos in this post. Make sure you watch them, especially the third one!

A few days ago I met up with Wayne who I had spent an evening with in Chadron. He and a few friends had planned to ride through the Black Hills and I joined them. We rode through Spearfish Canyon which was a good road, full of nice flowing sweeping bends....



It was soon after riding through Spearfish that we saw the aftermath of the fatal crash that I wrote about a few days ago. The riding group split up at this point with some choosing to return to their hotel. One other couple, Gary and Pam, along with myself decided to go see the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Gary and Pam....




















The Crazy Horse Memorial. It will be many years before it is finished. You can see his head and the long nearly flat piece on front of his face is the top of his arm.... click on the picture to enlarge it, you will better see what I mean....




















Here are Gary and Pam in front of a model of what the massive statue will eventually look like....


























And one of me....


























It was afternoon and we agreed to ride the Needles Highway. It was a good ride, but as it was now about 3pm, the road was very busy. I liked the ride so much I went back the next day early in the morning to ride it again without the large amount of traffic. A video of the next day’s ride is included in this post, but here is a short clip of the same section of road on both days so you can see the difference in traffic levels. My advice would be that is you are going to ride this road, do it early in the morning....



Gary and Pam were great riding companions. I enjoyed their company!

Here is the video of me riding the Needles Highway the next day. If you get the chance and are in Sturgis for the rally, you MUST ride this road....



The scenery along the Needles Highway is stunning. The highway is named after the high granite needles it winds among....









































































































































































































































There are a few tunnels that have been blasted through the granite, so the road can pass.... The second picture is of the Needles Eye tunnel....



















































There is also a beautiful lake....


























I then went to see Mt Rushmore. No matter how you look at it, carving faces in a mountain is an impressive thing to do....

Mt Rushmore from a distance.... if you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, you can see the carved faces better....




















And from within the National Park....













































There was one other road I had heard about that i wanted to ride. This is the Iron Mountain Road which is not as spectacular as the Needles Highway, but still worthwhile doing, if only for the incredible bridges. Some of the turns are so steep and sharp that the road builders constructed wooden bridges that loop back on themselves. To understand, see this video....



Overall, these roads are fantastic to ride upon. Don’t miss them if you are in South Dakota!

However, if you do ride them I am sure that the readers of my blog wouldn’t do what I saw many doing. Riding two-up and going very slowly that the person on the back could take photos are they rode along without needing to stop. Please don’t do this because..

a) The photos will be bad anyway
b) Riding at 15 – 20 mph on some of the best twisty biking roads in the US will really piss off the long line of bikers behind you.

I lost count of the number of times I stopped on the road and waited a few minutes for a gap to develop between me and the bikes in front, so that I could have fun riding these great roads the way they should be!

8 comments:

IHG said...

Beautiful photos...Needles Highway is breathtaking.

Eve said...

Wow Gary the videos are fantastic! The photos beautiful...makes me want to pack up right now and "HEAD FOR THE HILLS!!!!"

Chuck Pefley said...

Tourists are often, unfortunately, the same whether on a bike or pushing a stroller ... clueless about how their actions impact those around them.

Glad you took the opportunity to go back and make a second ride on this wonderful scenic road!

bluekat said...

Stunning scenery. I've never been to South Dakota. It would be hard to keep eyes on the road instead of on the landscape.

Charlie6 said...

nice pics and videos Gary!

I've been to Mt Rushmore, it was my first long distance trip, don't remember the Needles though....must go back I guess.




Redleg's Rides

Gary France said...

IHG – Thanks and it sure is.

Eve – Thanks, riding hills is my favourite type of riding.

Chuck – Sadly I think you are right. When in Sturgis, I waited patiently with about 6 or 8 others for a woman to stop chatting to the rider of the “Buffalo Bike”. We waited for about 5 minutes and I could see the rider and his pillion were wanting to leave, so I asked the woman if she would mind just stepping back for a minute so the large group of people waiting could get their photo. “Hell No!” was her answer. She manage to piss off everybody there!

bluekat – That could get to be very dangerous on those roads!

Charlie6 – I am afraid you must go back....

motoroz said...

All of those roads are great. They can get really crowded.

Gary France said...

Oz - Busy, yes! That is why I went back the next morning to film it when there were less people about.