Motorcycle Road Trip from Beltsville MD to Sturgis SD

Buffalo versus Me and My Motorcycle

The last 2 days of riding in the Black Hills of South Dakota has been a lot of fun.  On Monday, we started out riding to Custer State Park and to see some Buffalo (Bison).  Just as we started to make the turn towards the park entrance, there was a huge Buffalo sitting next to the road way.  At that point, I knew it was going to be an awesome experience.  We made our way around the winding roads to the park entrance, paid our fee, and continued on the Wild Life Loop.  We road thru some great scenic areas of the park, saw some mountain goats, but no Buffalo.  We road further along and crossed into a small valley where we did encounter some  wild Donkeys (a bunch of asses).  It was a interesting place to stop for a few moments as we watched a few human asses feed the donkeys. But we were in search of Buffalo, which at the moment seemed more inclined to stay away from the main road.

Our next stop was at the Rangers Station, which proved to be the best place to stop to gather information on our quest for the Buffalo. The Ranger showed us on a map where 3 herds of Buffalo were on the last sighting, but it was no where near the main road. Michael and I are no strangers to taking our bikes down back dirt roads, and this was just another notch on our belts. This particular dirt road twisted around bends and up inclines between the trees, till we crested a hill to see a herd of Buffalo off to the far side of the small valley.

We road our bikes up as close as we dared and parked. All three of us dismounted our bikes and grabbed our cameras to take as many photographs as we could. You could hear the Buffalo grunting in the distance and a few were rolling in the dirt. Most seemed unfazed by our arrival, so of course, we walked further towards them across the open field. We got as close as we dared to the huge beasts, either from the lack of courage or lack of stupididty. The Park Ranger drove out to keep an eye on us, or on the Buffalo, and parked his car at the end of the road. We had shot plenty of photographs when the first few rain drops began to fall, so we knew it was time to move on.

Hoping that the rain wouldn’t last very long, we drove back aways when the rain became more intense, and we dug out the rain gear (again). We took another dirt road and followed it around till we literally drove up to a huge herd of Buffalo. They owned this road and we knew it.

We sat on our bikes and watched the Buffalo wander back and forth across the road and wondered if we would have to retrace our route and go back the way we came. As the Buffalo parted the roadway momentarily, Michael and Steve made their way in single file up the road and between the Buffalo. When it was my turn, the road closed with Buffalo. A few started wandering towards me, and I began to walk my bike backwards. Thinking the whole time, “oh, shit”.

Michael had stopped on the other side and captured photos of me still behind, and on the other side of the Buffalo. These are truly huge beasts and I certainly didn’t want to mess with them, and I hoped they didn’t want to mess with me. I saw my spot open on the road and I moved cautiously forward keeping my hand on the throttle, ready to accelerate the hell out of there! As soon as I road up to Michael, the first words were, “Holy Shit!”. It was scary and intense, and pure excitement that I will never forget.

We meandered our way out of the back trails and back onto hard pavement to continue our way around the Wild Life Loop and out of the park. It was a short slow ride on my motorcycle that I will never forget.

Coming out of the park, we headed along a twisty mountain road to Mt. Rushmore. The road twisted back on it’s self several times, and at one point, the road twisted through single lane tunnels and pigtailed (corkscrewed) down the mountain to a valley below. We did find a few spots to pull off the road and see Mt. Rushmore from a distance. It was still far away, but it was still an awesome site to see carved into the mountain.

I captured several images of Mt. Rushmore, the Buffalo, and of the Crazy Horse Memorial that you can see in the Gallery pages located at the top-right of this home page. Some better than others, but all good memories.

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