Saturday, April 12, 2008

Seeing Mt Rushmore and Riding Custer State Park

The thunderstorms that night were all around us, but we only got a light rain for less than 20 minutes all night. It made watching the show even more fun. The KOA offered a $1 pancake breakfast every morning. We went down to get our food on and while we were eating got into conversation with a nice retired couple. We'd been talking for awhile when the usual, "so where are you from?" question came up. It turned out this couple was from Palmer, AK about 45 miles from where we live in Anchorage!

After leaving the campground we drove to Mount Rushmore. The ride was through mountains and was cool as long as the trees hugging the road kept us in shade. When we hit sunny spots, eek! It was HOT!

I hate to admit being disappointed by a National Monument, but for me Mt. Rushmore was a let down. I don't know what I expected, or why the enormity of these carvings didn't excite me, but for whatever reason I walked away unimpressed.

Leaving Rushmore we drove through Custer State Park. If you are ever in the area, this park was more of an attraction for us than Mount Rushmore itself. I should start by saying we had discussed our procedure if we should come across wildlife. (We would slow and look, but not stop the bikes since we had no real protection) Good thing, because we saw more bison next to the road than we could count. The road through the park is SUPER twisty with all kinds of elevation changes, one lane bridges, one lane tunnels, and 270 degree switchbacks. What absolute fun!

We had totally forgotten what day of the week it was, much less that it was mother's day, so it was a pleasant surprise when we pulled into a little town near Custer for breakfast and found the little Songbird Cafe serving a mother's day brunch with live music. The food was good, and the music better.

We stopped for the night in Buffalo, Wyoming. We debated camping since the weather looked pretty nice, but decided that since the following day we'd be riding through Yellowstone, we wanted to get a good rest. Karma must have been with us. An hour or so after checking in, Bobby and I were sitting in the bar eating dinner when Bobby grabbed my arm and pointed out the window. I have never seen such blowing dirt. We later found out sustained winds were around 43 mph, with gusts up to 69mph!

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