Arizona I Am In You

Today was one of the highlights of my trip. I love traveling through the Mid West, especially through Navajo Nation. Never got a chance to meet their President Jonathan Nez but sent him a tweet to see if he is around as I pass through his area later today.

Thought I’d blog about choice of riding clothing in extremely hot weather. Its easy to get complacent and not realize the sun will fucking wreck your shit if given the chance. Here are two things you’ll need to protect yourself.

First, protect your arms. Sure you can wear a flannel shirt. Looks cool but it flaps all the time and your arms don’t get the feeling of the wind that makes motorcycling so awesome.

I always pack a pair of white Pearl Isumi Sun Sleeves. You’ll feel the air without catching all those dangerous rays (50 SPF), and your arms will feel cool even though its 100+ degrees. They take up almost no space, are easy to put on and take odd, so it’s a no brainer. Oh, they come in different colors, but if considering why we use these, I go with white.

Second, well, it only really applies to half and open face helmets (although full face would leave the back of your neck exposed). Get yourself a tube style bandana to keep the sun, bugs, and dirt off your face and neck. I’ve used Mato & Hash over the years but there are lots of options.

Some pictures from today’s ride:

Today’s route:

Threading the Needle, Take Two

Yesterday I did Needles Highway (SD-87) from North to South. I went to sleep frustrated because I took my GoPro HERO 7 Black with me but I wasn’t prepared for this last minute route.

So after a good night’s sleep, I decided to thread that needle again. This time I went from South to North, since I wanted to swing through Sturgis Harley-Davidson. Since my right highway peg disappeared, pretty sure someone swiped it. So things sort of fell into place.

This time I took some time to prepare. Now that the RAM Offset Reservoir Cover Ball Base is gone (see a previous post where it caused leaks), and I never bought the RAM Ball Adapter for GoPro Base (didn’t seem secure enough), I had to come up with a way to mount the GoPro.

I had to swap my iPhone for the GoPro, since both use RAM Mounts stuff. I had to move the GoPro Rail Base that I used to mount the iPhone (to the bottom of the ape hanger) to near the top of the ape hanger. I used my favorite RAM Composite Double Socket Swivel & Ratchet Arm, to position the GoPro.

I took a few minutes to level the GoPro, and to tweak the settings to get a decent 1080p by 60fps by 16:9 video resolution, enable SuperView, and enable HyperSmooth. I am powering the GoPro off of a Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger (buddy recommended) using a X~PWR-H5 48″ All-Weather External Power Kit to make the kit weather proof.

The five videos total around 8gb, but for this blog I trimmed it down to three clips, one clip per tunnel.

Iron Creek Tunnel:

Needle’s Eye Tunnel:

Hood Tunnel:

To give you an idea how incredibly narrow these tunnels are, take a look at this video that showcases the talent of these bus drivers.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bBcsQcOyuIo

Today’s route:

Threading the needle

I was going to go to Sturgis today but figured I’d just be watching a bunch of bikers drinking. Myea. Nope. Didn’t come here for that.

Went to grab a bite and got pinged by someone following my blog. He recommended Needles Highway, or SD-87. Wow am I glad I checked it out.

Didn’t get much of a chance to take pictures of the three *really* tight tunnels we had to go through. One was barely 8 feet wide, and two of three were single lane. All three were awesome. Here is Wikipedia shot:

On the first tunnel a mountain goat held up traffic. The nerve of the bastard, drinking water flowing across the road. The most exciting part of that was watching it jump 10′ or more up the rocks after he interrupted us.

A small group asked me if I knew how far the nearest gas station was. He was out of gas. I let him have the 30oz out of my fuel bottle since I had over 1/2 tank left, plenty to get through the ride.

After the climbing and threading the needle, stayed on 87 towards Hot Springs. I planned on camping but today ran late so cheap hope it is!

In the last few miles I ran into two Bison (figuratively speaking), ran over a chipmunk (like literally…*crunch*), and nearly hit a deer (scared it off with my pipes!).

My favorite part of Needles Highway were all the rocks. These things stood up as if something nasty happened millions of years ago. I hope when the next nasty event happens, it ends human life on earth quickly.

The route included what I think might be the first 240 degree turn I ever saw.

Todays route:

Sturgis Trifecta and Close Encounters of the Third Kind

I have mixed feelings about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I decided to get there for the second half, since the first half is crazier than the second, even if more is happening. Sturgis Rally isn’t my goal though. As historic and significant it’s been for motorcycling.

Even if I plan to spend a couple hours there. The ride is what I’m after. The scenery, giving and receiving peace signs from tens of thousands along the road, and the ungawdly number of bikes in the area (500,000 latest estimate).

My plan was to complete the Sturgis Trifecta. What’s that? I dunno, just some shit I made up as an excuse to see three sights I’ve dreamed of for years. Sounds cool, and catchy.

Mount Rushmore is awesome. I got as close as the visitors center, but was able to see it from a mile away.

Crazy Horse Memorial was an incredible sight. Even if it’s not finished yet. It might never get finished. IMHO this is something Native Americans deserve. Wouldn’t it be great to see it I’m finished? Maybe not in our lifetime.

Devils Tower was my favorite. Even if it looks a lot bigger in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Not even sure if the top is flat.

Thanks to a buddy at work, I’m now a member of KOA, and am camping for the first time since I left the US Army. Unlike back then, I didn’t have to schlep 40 pounds of gear and pitch a tent in -20 degree weather.

On a side note I’m glad I picked this tent. Took 8 minutes to set up (timed it), and was easy to take down and pack. I watched other motorcyclists struggling with larger tents, even though they’re traveling alone.

This KOA is a mile or two from Devils Tower. And they have a nightly movie showing…

Route (excludes ride to first sight).

Soooo close…

Today was supposed to be a 550 mile day. I was supposed to get an early start, take calculated rest/water/food stops, and be at Sturgis before dark. Sounded like a reasonable plan, didn’t think there would be any issues.

Where did things go wrong? To rent a small piece of land to pitch a tent requires a reservation. That’s right. Not sure how our forefathers handled it, but fast forward to the 21st Century…

So nice spin Don, but why aren’t you in a tent right now? Well, since I was *going* to get to Sturgis after dark, I needed to call KOA *before* 1800MT. Myea. Nope. I’ll get it right tomorrow.

So what’s this 87 octane shit here in South Dakota? Is this the best gas they have here? I rode 10-15 miles looking for 93 octane gas. Nada. Zilch. WTF is going on here?! Are they out? Harleys need 93 octane.

Ok so at lunch I asked Google and it told me due to elevation, 87 is the same as 91. So if you are lucky to find 91, it’s the same as 93. Wait, I have 93 in my new 30 oz MSR fuel bottle…oh, that’s the same as 97 (um, I probably shouldn’t use it). With all that said, pinging doesn’t give a rat’s ass that you’re running 87. #pingPingPingPing

Water is a thing. So is hydration, as well as dehydration. Today I learned its better to have to pee all the time (from drinking too much water), than to not have to pee and end up dehydrated. I came close today, but I caught it early. Drank like a mule the rest of today’s trip.

So what did I see today? To be quite honest? A lot of long stretches with 80 mph speed limit.

During lunch I found a very old Ford that amazingly had no parking tickets.

I also saw what appeared to be a teepee. Although it must suck when it rains.

Today’s route was a little boring, and again it was 400+, forgot again to un-pause Relive a few times. 🙂

PS, so after posting this video, it looks like those long straight lines that don’t seem to follow a road are those times when I forgot to un-pause Relive. Lesson Learned.