Rolled out of The Raine Motel in Valentine, NE at about 10:15am CDT under cloudy skies and cool weather. As I neared the South Dakota State line, the clouds parted and the sky was deep blue. A fellow biker told me about the prairies of sage going into South Dakota. The scene was stunning and the fragrance through the fields was other worldly. It seemed like a once in a lifetime ride, and you could see at least 50 miles in each direction across the prairies. 

When I got to the Black Hills National Forest, I rode right through the middle, and saw several small herds of wild buffalo near the road (no pics; I kept moving). I went five miles down a dirt road, which I never thought I could do on this bike. Several bulls alongside the dirt road and once again, I was compelled to stay upright and keep moving! Also had to maneuver around some mountain sheep with horns. The Google said that Mt Rushmore was “very busy” so I decided to skip the traffic and keep heading west. Maybe next time. 

The speed limit in Wyoming was 80 so I sped toward the town of Gillette, which has the worlds largest coal mine… and it’s not underground. About 20 miles before I got there, I stopped for gas. While filling the tank, I accidentally sprayed some gas and some got on my helmet, which was sitting on the seat. I cleaned it off with window cleaner and went inside to get a drink. When I came outside, a couple plastic pieces of my helmet were lying on the seat and on the ground. It appears the gasoline had melted a couple of key pieces that held on the front visor. Fortunately, there is an awesome Harley Davidson dealer in Gillette, so I stopped in to pick up another helmet. Rats!

I’m going to try to leave early-ish tomorrow morning, because I have a long ride to get to Yellowstone.