These states just keep on getting bigger...and BIGGER
Started off on Sunday morning into the Black Hills from Rapid City. Hot as hell already as I gassed-up. Had to navigate the back roads of downtown before escaping into the hills out oif town on Rte 45 heading north.
Next stop: Deadwood, some 30 miles north.
Deadwood was cool, figuratively... wandered around the center of town for a while, and went into a local, official museum where they had small but very intersting diusplays relating to Calamnity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock. Calamnit Jane was a serious drunk and an active prostitute (whenever she could get the business), who essentially died drunk in a ditch but was given the biggest funeral Deadwood had seen to date.
Bill Hickok's gun, belt, lucky stone and boot-razor were all on display. I took a fast look around and to the clerk-lady's dismay, left within twenty minutes. Who the hell wants to stand around in air-conditioning looking at old dead history rather than jump on a 150 horespower snorter and go out and MAKE some..?
After Deadwood I headed north towards Spearfish and the state line. Sturgis was only a dozen miles to the east, but I had no interest in going there. I'd been there ten years before (co-incidentally the week after the big rally... exactly the same as this trip)..... but I had better buffalo burgers to fry.
Once you leave Interstate 90 things get more rudimentary; I took state Route 212 out northwest towards the corner of Wyoming, into Montana. It was goddamm hot. BAD hot. The fierce wind buffeting you costantly had to have been about 110 degrees coming off the roadway... and it just didn't STOP. I had to pull over at any gas station go water myself as deeply as possible, inside and out.. Still, it was brutal and frightening... distances between towns were now up to 50 miles, and God help you if you were to have a problem in between. YES, there ARE buzzards flating above. PS... I also saw numerous antelope... a first for me.
Eventually I got into Montana ... after an hour through the corner of Wyoming.. and it was massively hot. The pictures can't give yoiu any idea. I stopped at a tiny place called Azuma with a simple store (the gas pumps had GAS and DIESEL options... and of course you paid cash)... and two other bikers came in in serious straits. Dehydration and sugar imbalances are serious matters out here. Could KILL you no shit, and the nearest "hsospital" would be many hours away.
Eventually I made my way into the Indian nations... Cheyenne and Crow. Beautiful, beautiful country, but immense western clouds threatened. I met a couple of Cheyenne dudes at a general storte on the edge of the reservation and asked if I would get hgit by the rain, heading for Billings.
"Nawww," said the one young dude, in a sort of California/Latino accent. "That storm is heading north.. you will be fine!"
He was very interested in my bike and we chatted for a few about the trip I was on. He was totally imporessed and shook my hand on the way out. I suppose life on the reservation is pretty limited, in terms of meeting unusual people. I worked my way across the nations, taking out my rainsuit and putting it away again repeatedly.
Eventually...(remember that disances are huge out here) I came across the Little Big Horn battlefield, and pulled over as rain clouds were gathering. I'd seen chain-lightning across the sky on the way... the skies are huge and changeable. I pulled in to the national site and as it was after 6PM I got in for free... the site was numbing. I couldn;t get my brain around what had happened on that spot... but the one thing that chilled me was how FAR AWAY from any kind of european settlement those young soldiers had been, surrounded by combat-veteran Cheyenne, Sioux, and others. all armed with rifles. When they began to realize how truly cut-off and doomed they were,... to be scapled or worse.. must have been a real Kodak Moment.
Once again, the photos can;t give you a scope of the vast plainj that surrounds here; visibility for fifty miles... and truly desolate, deep in her heart of the Indian nations.
Made it into Billings in the rain... got an (expensive! $64!!) Motel 6... a few draft beers and a buffalo burger before retiring back here. I'm BUSHED and I hope to Christ some one out there likes reading this becaus its about 1:30 AM and it's a chore..