South Dakota is one of my new favorite places! Today I was solo because I wanted to go see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument, and it was in the opposite direction of our final destination. So the Windsisters took off without me and I took it easy in the morning before my adventure through the Black Hills.
Holy Mt. Rushmore! The twisting mountain roads were enough to make me the happiest girl in the world. The amazing view of the famous and massive carving gave me goosebumps as it appeared just over the tree line. It is a truly breathtaking sight. I couldn’t help myself as I started to cheer out loud. If you ever have the chance to go, I urge you, do not hesitate. I am so glad I made the decision to ride solo in order to carve my own path through the Black Hills that morning.
After Mt. Rushmore, it’s just a short 14 mile ride to the Crazy Horse Monument. I ripped up the black hills on the VStar and left my mark (a few pink feathers) on the way toward Custer. What a great place to visit with an open mind and a happy heart. The welcome center is full of wonderful information on the history and heritage of the true “first settlers” of this great country. Seeing the carving in progress is quite a sight. You’d have to be crazy to pass up Crazy Horse. I was so moved by everything I had just witnessed and experienced that I turned around and did the entire loop again… yes, it’s that cool.
From Crazy Horse (the second time) I headed to Moorcroft, Wyoming through the Black Hills. I celebrated as I crossed the border for my first time in Wyoming, and it looked exactly as I had imagined. It’s quite beautiful out that way with the gently sloping grasslands and you can see a hundred miles into the distance, sometimes even further. I hit Interstate 90 in Moorcroft and headed toward Gillette, then Buffalo, and finally Sheridan before fueling up. If I had to choose to ride ANY interstate in the country, it would be 90 without hesitation. In the distance I could see the Bighorn Mountains and they were screaming my name! In Sheridan, I hooked up with 14 West and headed through Ranchester and Dayton before I started to slowly climb through the foothills. Little did I know exactly how beautiful of a ride I was about to take.
I’ve been many places on this planet… Japan, Korea, Taiwan, many islands in the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and 40 of the states in the US. I’ve ridden the world-famous Tail of the Dragon, Sandia Crest, the Jemez mountains, Natural Bridge, Ohio 555, Cherohala Skyway, and many other great roads. Nothing, and I truly mean nothing, compares to 14 West from Ranchester to Greybull. If I could plan the perfect day, it would include that ride. Absolutely amazing are the only words I have to describe it.
As I rode through the Canyon just before reaching Shell, that’s when it really hit me – I could do anything, and I could do it without anyone showing me the way. I was carving my own path across the United States. I had just traveled over 1800 miles with the wind at my front and a huge network of supporters at my back. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, where you can have anything you want if you are willing to reach for it and never stop until you have it. People keep telling me that I am crazy for going across the country by myself. What I experienced today taught me otherwise. I am not crazy… I am free.
Day 4 STATS:
Hours Traveled: 10
States Visited: 2
Timezones Crossed: 0
Miles Traveled: 442