July 25, 2011
25.07.2011 - 25.07.2011 36 °C
I had a good night's sleep at the Best Western in Mitchell, but through the night I thought I heard torrential rain falling. When I got up in the morning, I looked out the front door and there was no rain but what I heard overnight was thousands of insects. They were resting alive on my bike and dead on the ground all around. They looked like catapillers with wings. I'm glad I had the cover on the bike. There was also one large green mantis under my cover resting on my left mirror. There sure are a lot of bugs out here on the prairie.
I left Mitchell at 7 a.m. and headed west on I-90. There was very little traffic on the highway. The speed limit was 75 and I cruised at just over 70. What traffic there was just flew by me. I did not see one police car on the whole trip 400 miles across South Dakota. I-90 in South Dakota is excellent for most of the state. There are a few rough spots and there is a lot of construction underway.
About an hour west of Mitchell, there was quite a vista of the Missouri River. It must have been at least 300 meters across. I stopped for a coffee at the Sinclair gas station. The lady who was managing it said the Missouri had an incredible flow this year. She mentioned the severe flooding at Sioux Falls that I rode past yesterday.
The country for the first 2 hours was quite pretty. There is a lot of hay fields but still a fair amount of corn. Where in Iowa, there were no billboards within 200 yards of the highway, in South Dakota there are billboards placed quite close to the highway. The biggest advertiser for sure is Wall Drugs. There is a billboard every minute or two advertising food, pottery, jackalopes, furniture, 5-cent coffee, free ice-water, clothes and almost anything else you can imagine. Wall Drugs occupies 3 square blocks of Wall, South Dakota. Most of the other billboards are advertising hotels along the highway or tourist attractions along the way or in the Black Hills. I thought it to be kind of cheesy. I didn't stop in Wall because I've visited it before. There is an interesting history about Wall Drugs. Check out www.walldrug.com for the story.
We visited South Dakota in 2009 and we rode out from Rapid City and visited Wall as well as the Badlands about 20 miles east of there. It was a very interesting place. The U.S. Park Service has a very good exhibit on how the Badlands were formed and what they are like. It's a very dry, hot place with lots of prairie dogs and rattlesnakes.
I got into Rapid City at noon. I dropped into Rice Honda to look at what they had for sale. Prices for bike sure are cheaper in the U.S. They had a new 2010 Goldwing Trike for $34,000. That's a good price. Most of the other bikes didn't have price tags on them. I thought their prices for windshield cleaners was very expensive.
I continued west on I-90, stopping for gas on the west side of town. I motored on to Spearfish and grabbed a bit of lunch. The temperature was into the 30's so I put on my wet cooling vest and it made it a lot more comfortable. As I rode past Sturgis, I thought there were a lot fewer motorcycles on the road than 3 years ago.
The rest of the day was uneventful. Some impressive thunderheads developed as I crossed into Wyoming. About half-way between Sundance and Gillette, the wind came up and I hit a brief spell of rain. The wind was more bothersome than the rain. I saw a couple of cars pulled over by police cars.
I pulled into Gillette and got a decent rate at the Comfort Inn, which appears to be fairly new. It is certainly the best hotel I've had in the past 8 nights in the U.S. There is a big overhang at the front door and they let me park the bike under it. It looks likely that there will be some rain tonight. There were 4 riders from Minnesota checking in just after me. I tried to strike up a conversation but they weren't interested. They didn't look like they were having any fun.
Tomorrow will be my 35th day on the road and I'm beginning to feel I'll be travelling fairly straight home from now on. Probably 3 more days on the road.
Distance today = 704 kms
Distance to-date = 14,895 kms