Laramie, WY to Deadwood, SD

My bike’s odometer hit 50,000 miles today, just south of Mt. Rushmore.

The continental breakfast at the Laramie Super 8 was lame. It was served in the walkway between the front door and the reception desk, so people walking in and out of the hotel were literally having to dodge the folks trying to grab a nasty, old pastry and burnt coffee. There wasn’t even anywhere to sit! I grabbed an apple, a small cup of coffee and a packaged cinnamon roll and took them back to my room for reluctant consumption.

Before leaving town, I stopped at the Chuckwagon Cafe and ate a real breakfast before heading north out of town, with no intention to ever return. Until I reached South Dakota, the road passed through nothing but prairie and I saw many pronghorn antelope and deer along the way. In contrast, the hills of southwestern South Dakota are beautiful and look like some kind of manicured park.

The skies were threatening rain so I stopped at the Dairy Queen in Custer for a quick lunch and to switch to wet weather gloves and to put the waterproof cover over my tank bag. The rest of my gear was already waterproof. A few brief showers fell while I was inside the busy DQ but did little to remove the growing patina of dead bugs on my fairing.

With food in my belly, I continued north to the exit for Mt. Rushmore, seeing the unfinished Crazy Horse monument in the distance. The unusual rock formations surrounding Mt. Rushmore reminded me of a grey version of those found within Garden of the Gods back in Colorado, albeit a different color. The Rushmore monument itself was underwhelming, mostly because it was much smaller than I anticipated. I didn’t want to pay the rather high fee just to park, so I rode past it, turned around and rode back toward the main highway. A few rain drops fell but I completely dodged the rather intense showers that were occurring all around me.

I eventually made it to Deadwood and checked into the Hickok House Best Western. After my usual routine of unpacking, taking a nap and then a shower, I was ready for dinner and a cold one at the restaurant next door. The service was good and the food was, too, including their green chicken chili.

The whole town of Deadwood is a national historic landmark and is well worth the visit. If you can, watch the HBO series of the same name as I hear it’s actually fairly close to the real historic events (although it is still Hollywood, so take it all with a grain of salt).