Mount Rushmore, Mount Crazy Horse


Originally posted on August 13, 2010

Day 8 (Wed)

I was a day late, but I finally managed to call Mom to wish her a Happy 96th Birthday, before riding into Sturgis for the pancake breakfast sponsored by one of the churches (still haven’t got the grocery shopping done). We returned to the RV to take care of a bit of business, and then we got on the bike and took off for the day.

We had to go to Rapid City to mail a package, but after that we put troubles behind us, riding up the twisty road towards Mount Rushmore. It was a beautiful ride.

We stopped at the Gas Light Bar & Grill in Rockerville for lunch. I had one of the best salads I’ve ever had – chicken, walnuts, cranberries, shredded cheese and lettuce with raspberry vinaigrette. It was huge. I felt badly when I couldn’t eat it all. Jim managed to finish off most of his seafood salad, which he thoroughly enjoyed as well.

The only modern convenience in the town

Rockerville is a ghost mining town containing partially-preserved old, wooden shops, a bank and a few homes, located in an area just off the main street. Other than a few occupied homes, the Gas Light is pretty much all that’s there, nestled in the valley between the north and south sides of Hwy 16. We wouldn’t have found it if it hadn’t been recommended to us by a fellow biker who’d shared our table at breakfast.

Next stop, still along Hwy 16, was Keystone, a wonderful town whose historical downtown has been preserved in the manner of the gold rush days. It too was packed with bikers. We spent an hour or more poking through the shops and taking pictures before carrying on to Mount Rushmore.

The climb through the mountains was amazing, the sheer rocks naturally carved into some interesting works of art. And then the famous faces of the four Presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, came into view. Awesome!

We spent another couple of hours touring the National Park Information Centre and taking pictures.

From there, we had to go see Crazy Horse, an on-going sculpting project commissioned by the Lakota Indian tribe back in 1948 as a monument to Chief Crazy Horse. The original sculptor is dead, but his wife and kids are carrying on the dream, all paid for by donations, draws and sales at the commercial outlets and museum. Government funding was turned down by the family. It will be many more decades before the project will reach fruition. The contributions made by the thousands of bikers who would visit this week, would make a big difference, as acknowledged by the “motorcycles only” designated parking.

It was after six when we left there. We opted to take Hwy 385, stopping in Hill City for dinner. Here the entire downtown business part of the main street was closed to all vehicles except bikes, and bikes there were! The sun was setting when we left and the reported 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature earlier in the day was quickly dropping.

Watching for long-horned mountain sheep, we saw some scaling the rocks to our left and stopped to take pictures. They seemed curious and began to descend towards the road. Just as curious were other bikers and people in cars who began to stop too. There was some concern then that the sheep would cause an accident when a couple of them scurried across the road in front of a car and a bike. As we drove off, we warned approaching vehicles to slow down.

It was dark by the time we reached Deadwood, so after a quick tour of the main street, which was busy with biker activities, we continued on our way, arriving back at the camp at 9:45 pm. It was a great day, but exhausting, especially after I stayed up late posting pictures to Facebook.

Before we left on this trip I’d just finished reading a book by Nora Roberts called Black Hills. It’s been interesting seeing The Black Hills that she writes about and the area towns, like Deadwood.

How Many Computer Geeks Does it Take?


Originally posted on August 13, 2010

Day 7 (Tues)

After discovering that the device for getting onto the internet, which we bought the night before, just wasn’t going to work, we headed back into Rapid City with computer packed into the saddle bag, expecting to get help quickly from the computer geeks at Best Buy. The first geek couldn’t do it so he called the sales associate from the mobile phone department. He could do it through the phone help line, if only he could get through to them.

He was on hold for twenty minutes, when another geek, the head of the department suggested that a different device would work better for our needs and could be installed very quickly by her. It was more money, but we decided it would be worth it if it was going to work. So, we made the exchange. That wasn’t a simple process. A monthly invoicing system had to be set up because, unlike the previous device, a one month prepaid card couldn’t be purchased. Our having a Canadian address made that process complicated. It took about an hour just to set up the account.

Then, it was back to the geek desk. A half hour later, the geek was still trying to get this device to work. In the meantime, the head of the mobile phone department came in (he’d sold us the original device) and he tried to help with first the account set-up and then the device set up.

We left for lunch. When we got back, the head geek had left for the day, leaving the problem with yet another geek. Another half hour passed before it was finally discovered, by the mobile phone fellow, that the battery hadn’t been installed in the device!

We thought that was the quick fix, but no, it still wouldn’t work on our computer, but it did work on theirs. So, after wasting four hours of our day, we left with computer and device once again stashed in the saddle bag.

Jim decided he’d like to take a back route home, and it was a lovely ride, until we ran out of gas! Fortunately a kind lady who lived nearby went home to get us enough to get us to Sturgis and a gas station.

Once we were finally back in the RV Jim went to work on the computers and internet device and he got them both working. At least the day ended better.

At Last, Sturgis!


Continuation of the Series Sturgis and Beyond

Originally posted on August 10, 2010

Days five and six

On Sunday morning, still in our campsite near Mitchell, South Dakota, we took our time getting ready to leave. I did some laundry; Jim repaired a window screen that had become loose, and I finished blog and Facebook postings. While I sat outside completing these tasks, I watched streams of motorcycles speeding past on the I-90. By 10:30 we had joined them, but the bikes ruled the road.

With a couple of stops along the way to refresh, we finally arrived at our campsite at Sturgis around 4:00 pm.

The day was another very hot one, reaching temperatures in the upper nineties. Our poor old motor home began to protest when we stopped to register. She didn’t want to start again. But we managed to slowly move her to our campsite and backed into place. We did our nesting; electric hooked up, table and chairs out, awnings pulled to provide some shade. We started a list of things we should purchase the next chance we got, like a sewer connector, a new door blind and stamps to mail cards. After a frustrating evening of trying to get and stay connected to WiFi, an internet stick was added to the list. Hence the reason no news got posted that day.

On Monday we took the bike into downtown Sturgis, list in hand. Lots of luck! There were many interesting sites and lots of pictures to take. Beer could be bought at nearly every corner; if you wanted a souvenir t-shirt or cap or any biking paraphernalia, you had hundreds of shops to choose from. But nowhere in sight was there a computer or mobile phone store, or a grocery store. Our list had to be discarded for the time being. We just parked the bike and enjoyed the show. The streets were lined with bikes of every shape, size and description that you could imagine. Granted the majority seemed to be Harleys. At least the loud pipes on our Virago blended right in.

There were bikes customized to look like cars; there was a bike that looked like our Venture, but it pulled a coffin for a trailer, painted to match the bike. The licence plate read “X-wife”.

The people riding the bikes and walking on the streets were just as varied. Jim especially enjoyed photographing the buxom women who equally enjoyed flaunting what they had. It seems that pasties are the only top covering required in this state. We saw people dressed in caveman/warrior garb, women in bikinis, old people, young people, an extremely tall woman, probably seven feet.

We stood in the crowd for the daily group photo. If you look really closely you can recognize Jim’s hat in the crowd. Well worth the $10 we paid for a copy. We poked through several of the shops, ate pulled pork for lunch and ice cream cones for dessert. We visited the Knuckle Saloon for a cold drink and a listen to some excellent guitar picking and songs by Rogan Brothers Band.

By 4:30 the sun and the walking had done us in so we found our bike and decided to look once more for the Post Office. By the time we found it, it had closed and there seemed to be nowhere else to buy those stamps. Some suggested we might try the grocery store and told us where to find it, but it would mean another slow ride through town; We came back to camp.

But the desire to get internet connection to complete some business and post our updates led us to get on the bike again and head sixty miles east to Rapid City. There we found the internet stick we were looking for and an IHOP where we finally had some dinner. It was nine o’clock by the time we finished eating, time to return to camp. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll get that list taken care of.

In the evening we were still struggling with internet while enjoying some live music coming from the beer tent.

Bikes, bikes and more bikes; and corn!


Originally posted August 2010

Day 4- Saturday

The bikes began to pass us first thing this morning, one or two bikes for every two or three cars. By one o’clock the ratio had changed. By then we’d crossed the border into South Dakota. There were bikes on the road, bikes in the back of pickup trucks, bikes in trailers and bikes in toy haulers. There were girls, guys, one-up and two up, some pulling trailers, others packed with gear. There was even a “headless” rider! Or at least that’s what it looked like. When he passed us his gear was stacked so high behind him, that he couldn’t be seen, but a helmet attached to the side of the load created a strange illusion. There were bald heads, scarved heads, hair flying, since riding without a helmet is legal in this state unless you are under eighteen. Often times, though, the women were wearing helmets as were some men.

After we crossed into South Dakota, we stopped at the visitors centre, and met up with many more bikers. We thought we were pulling a load until a huge motor home that must have been 42 feet long pulled into the parking lot. A lift on the back held a trike, and behind that was a twenty foot cargo trailer, presumably containing a few more bikes. Jim asked the fellow that was outside it if he found that the weight on the back made the front of the motor home lift. He was told, “It poses no problem. It’s much easier to pull with the motor home than with the hummer!

That’s a heavy load!

At the visitor centre we picked up several brochures and when we said we were on our way to Sturgis, we were given a Rally Package. Inside was more literature about things to do and see in the area. Looking through them stirred our excitement. We could spend a month here and never see all there is to see!

As the day wore on, however, the cool temperatures of the morning turned hotter and more humid. We stopped more, as did many other bikers. The vehicle a/c wasn’t working. Our last stop was at Mitchell where we filled up with gas, bought a Dairy Queen treat and then visited the Corn Palace.


The Corn Palace is an intriguing thing to see. The outside is adorned with pieces of art done entirely out of corn cobs of various colours, straw and other grains. Inside there are many more murals of the same medium. Amazing! And it was all free to see, even the parking. Purchases from the gift shop pay for the upkeep.

Jim made a new friend

When we left Mitchell it was already five o’clock and we’d still have a four and a half to five hour drive before we reached Sturgis. We decided we’d had enough for the day and looked for a campsite. We found a quiet RV park attached to a motel about thirty kilometres down the road. We plugged in, turned on the “house” a/c and barbecued outside under a tree. Sturgis can wait another day.

COVID-19 and a Much-needed Venting Post


I said yesterday that I was going to be posting updated versions of my posts about our trip to Sturgis and Beyond, and I still plan to do that. But today, I need to rant!

This morning I was reading some posts on one of  the FB pages from our “winter home” at Mesa Regal RV Resort. I was shocked, but not really surprised about what a saw. What used to be a friendly, all inclusive community has become greatly divided. I’ve seen it  progressing over the years while following some of the FB posts, but now it is out of control, and the cause is the same that has escalated the already ripe division throughout the US this past year – COVID-19.

The post that started a succession of name-calling and finger pointing was a simple question: “Is anyone else concerned about the big gathering of people at the west end (of the park) yesterday? There appeared to be no masks or social distancing and it went on for hours.”  (Paraphrased)

Some people confirmed their concerns and questioned why the management rules weren’t being enforced. There was mention of Covid cases already in the park.

Then, there was a barrage of angry residence who had been participants, with the usual excuses: It was a Memorial Service for a long-time resident; it was a gathering of mostly relatives, and some close friends from the park; you weren’t invited so it was none of your concern; you weren’t close enough to get infected so you don’t need to worry.

It quickly escalated to personal attacks: You weren’t invited so mind your own damn business; you’re just busybodies who tattle on their neighbours; if you don’t want to be involved, stay home, inside; this would be a good park if it weren’t for the busybodies. And on and on. One person even had the audacity to suggest that a commenter needed to “get a life!”

It takes a lot to get me riled up enough to speak out, but this time I responded:  “And this is why Covid is out of control! There seems to be no understanding of how it spreads, not because of a lack of scientific information, but because too many people choose not to believe it.”  

I know that I’m wasting my breath because “there are none so blind as those who will not see,” (a phrase that got its origins from the Bible In the book of Jeremiah, chapter five, verse twelve). But I need to at least try, because this reality crushes my hopes of ever getting out of this depressing situation any time soon.

How can these non-believers. How can we make them see that it is their selfish attitude, their determination that they will not be “told what to do”, their belief that their own personal “freedom” is the top priority, are destroying what their country stands for: Justice and Freedom for all!

Thanks for indulging me. My next post, I promise, will be back to our travels.

Stay safe; stay sane!

A different kind of “camping”


Original Post written August 5, 2010

Yesterday was a very long day. We crossed the border at Sarnia, into Michigan. It took nearly an hour to get across the bridge and through customs. Once across we stopped along the way at various rest stops, trying to find information about camping, but there was none. Jim thought he’d like to get as close to Chicago as we could before stopping. Finally, at nearly 9pm we found a campground near Michigan City, Indiana. We tried to call to book a site, but the number was out of service. That didn’t look good. We made our way down a tree-lined road, in the semi-darkness to find it. It did exist, just under a different name, but when we reached the gate there was a sign “Camp Site Full”. Now what? There were no others around that anyone knew of. We made our way back to the Blue Chip Casino. We’d heard that most casinos allowed overnight RV parking. So we “boon-docked” it once more. Of course having felt that we should patronize the casino for a little bit, at 10:15 pm we stood in line to get our membership cards and off we went with $20 each in hand to find the five cent slots.

Camping at Blue Chip Casino

Camping at Blue Chip Casino

It wasn’t long before the smoke accosted my eyes and nose. I’d forgotten that that’s the one thing I don’t like about travelling in the US, there are still no No Smoking laws. Oh well, I thought, if the usual scenario takes place, my self-allotted crazy money would be gone in fifteen minutes and we could leave. 🙂

Wouldn’t you know it, it lasted twice as long! Jim and I managed to lose our last nickel about the same time. We packed it in and headed to bed in the RV. I can say it definitely isn’t a camp site that I’d choose again, if given the chance. Not a lot of quiet; lots of lights. There was a nice breeze blowing through the windows and vents though, giving us some relief from the severe humidity of the previous night and day.

Jim insisted we should take advantage of the free gift offered to new members once they’ve garnered 200 points (by betting $40, including winnings re-bet), so we each came away with a case of coke! Oh well, it was a bit of fun and worked out alright.

Tonight we are in an actual campground for the first time since we left home. We put in over 500 kilometers, but we managed to arrive here, at a KOA near Austen Minnesota, before dark.

The I-90 is a good road in some states, a terrible one in others. We did a lot of bouncing at times. Making our way through Chicago with our 44 foot rig (32′ RV plus 12′ bike trailer) was interesting to say the least, as was weaving between pylons on the various sections of highways where road work was being done. I was finally inspired to take some pictures, although it was difficult to keep the steady hand needed to get quality shots. 🙂

Throughout the day we were overtaken by many many bikes, some being ridden, many more being towed behind trucks or motor homes. A quick glance around this camp ground indicated that there might be a few here as well.

Tomorrow we should reach Sturgis, where I expect to gather some much more exciting material for these posts.:)

Re-postings from our Sturgis and Beyond Adventure, 2010


Since there’s nothing new to write about, but I figure it’s way past time for another post, I looked through some of my previous posts and discovered that many of my early ones didn’t include many pictures, although I took a load! Probably I had no good Wi-Fi access. One amazing trip in particular was to Sturgis, South Dakota for the big bike rally. My next several posts will be repeats of that journey, with more pictures added. This is when we had our old 1972 Thor Pinnacle.

It began on August 3, 2010, but I’ll begin with my first post after we crossed the border from Canada to the USA.

Hope you enjoy.

Crossing Border Canada/US
Crossing Border Canada/US at Michigan

December 11, 2020 COVID-19 Journal


Time for an update.

Once the weather got too wet and cold to ride our bikes, and we decided, since cases are rising rapidly in Ontario, that we would play it safe and withdraw from our weekly outdoor pickleball games, we fell into a funk.

I had household chores I could have done, but I wasn’t inspired. I spent a lot of time reading, playing games on my iPad and watching TV, too much of the depressing  news. I often attempted to do some writing one day, but had no inclination to continue the next day. I was working on my Memoirs, but looking through old pictures and taking the sometimes painful walks down memory lane only made me feel worse. All of this resulted in great fatigue and anxiety, both of which exacerbated my chronic pain.

I ordered a new mattress for our bed, to replace the 20 year old one, and then I worried about how I was going to pay for it. I have some savings, but feared spending any of it. I might need it for a rainy day!

I thought doing some Christmas decorating would help lift my spirits; it did, briefly.

Finally, after the US election was officially over, even if the current President has still not accepted his defeat, I stopped spending so much time reading and watching the news. I decided I was going to get back to my writing!

Earlier this week, in the middle of a night that sleep was eluding me, I bit the bullet and shelled out the money needed to join an online writing group where I could share my stories and get reviews. I could review the writing of others and get to know fellow writers. I could also enter contests with the prospect of possibly winning back what it cost me to join.

The next day I began. Receiving positive reviews and encouragement lifted me out of my sadness and returned purpose to my life. I have a much better attitude; I have much less pain; I’ve let go of past resentments. My energy has returned and I’m excited to face each new day.

I’m looking forward to the day that the World is vaccinated against COVID, and happy that it will be coming sooner than expected, but in the meantime I will focus on what I really like to do – write!

A Ride through Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Ontario


Because our riding friends had visited family who work in the medical field, it was agreed that we shouldn’t risk exposure until they’d done a quarantine period, so we did a few short rides around our community on our own during the warm days. By the time their quarantine period was done, the weather had turned quite nasty – rainy and cold most days.

This week we were suffering from Cabin Fever! When we heard the weather forecast for Friday – sunny and hot! – we made plans to take our bikes to Brighton and tour Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Unfortunately our friends had already made other plans for the day, so we struck out on our own after an early lunch. It turned out to be a beautiful day!

By 1:00 pm we had our bikes unloaded at a little parking lot and were ready to ride. As often happens, we were questioned about our bikes by a man sitting in his car and he gave us some tips about what we should look for in the park.

As close as we have lived to Presqu’ile Park, the only time we’d ever been there was for a retirement party for a friend who had worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources, several years ago, so it was an entirely new adventure.

Presqu’ile Park is located at the southern side of Brighton, Ontario, along the shores of Lake Ontario. It is a popular place to camp, whether in an RV or a tent. Paved roads wind through it, connecting the many camping areas. We explored all of them and a few unpaved trails as well.

This rocky beach is a place where many people have built some amazing rock sculptures.

Many leaves now lay on the ground, but the colours were still brilliant with the sun reflecting off them.

We discovered a history we had no idea about before this tour.

There is a story posted near the lighthouse about the dangers of the lake in the fall and the number of ships that ended up wrecked near the shores.

The shipwrecks

The long-gone  dance pavilion and hotel: At the end of a side road leading to a spot called “Day Use Area” there is an inlet and a marshy area.

It’s a pretty spot looking over the lake, but we were surprised to find a billboard that described a hotel and dance pavilion once being in the area.

I wasn’t able to get a picture that could be seen close enough to read clearly here, so I’ve transcribed it:

“In the end of the 1800s pioneer society was changing. Increased  prosperity let to a growing interest in summer resorts and leisure activities and Presqu’ile was seen as an ideal location to pursue these activities. During the summer, tents started springing up on small lots along the bay shore between Salt Point and the lighthouse. As families returned year after year the tents were replaced by small wooden cabins.

In 1891, ferries and other boats began bringing vacationer to the point from Rochester and other cities along Lake Ontario.  In 1905 ,Peter Covell of Brighton opened a summer hotel and dance pavilion that was located at the base of the large dock you can see down the shoreline I front of you.  In 1913, Grant Quick opened a larger dance pavilion, the Presqu’le Pleasure Palace, across the road from the hotel.  This dance hall proved very popular and a year later Covell sold the hotel to Quick.

Over the years additions and upgrades were added to the hotel, with electricity reaching the peninsula in 1923. In 1937, a landing strip for small aircraft was opened on the field close to here to ferry paying guests to the  hotel. In 1939, the old wooden dock in front of the hotel was replaced by the current concrete dock.

Dances were held at the pavilion six nights a week from mid-June to mid-September. Men paid $1.00 per evening or $10 for an annual pass. Music was supplied by a six to eight member live-in band, many of them well-known in the era. In addition, annual regattas with swimming and boat races were highly anticipated by the cottagers.  On Sunday nights, large crowds gathered at the pavilion for a singsong.  At the last singsong of the year, Grant Quick had the audience stand, join hands and sing “Auld Lang Syne”.

After much research we determined that the location would have been behind the brush seen on the right had side of this picture.

It was nearly four o’clock when we had our bikes back on the carrier and ready to head home, feeling invigorated, and carrying a bit of new knowledge.

For more information about camping, walking or biking in the park visit the website.

Sadly, it looks like our biking season is coming to an end, but the purchase of these iGo e-bikes from Green Street Bike Shop in Peterborough was the best decision we’ve made in a long time. We read that the City of Peterborough has offered to pay for snow tires for a number of bikers who want to try riding the trails in the winter, but having spent the last seven winters in Arizona, we just can’t see ourselves adjusting that well to the cold weather!

 I fear we will become arm chair travelers this winter. Future blog posts will be re-runs, or Memoirs, until better ways of dealing with COVID are found and we are free to travel once more.

Hope you will come along for the ride.

Riding West Along the Trans Canada Trail out of Hastings


We got in another, shorter, ride on Wednesday, before the wind, rain and colder weather blew in. Our plan had been to drive to Omemee to unload the bikes and then ride to Lindsay for lunch, and back, but the forecast wasn’t looking good for later on in the day. The morning, however, was sunny and warming up nicely by the time we met with two of our riders in Hastings, to take the Trans Canada Trail west out of Hastings for an hour then return to Hastings where we’d meet the other couple for lunch.

There isn’t much to say, other than it’s a beautiful section of the trail. The many pictures that we took tell the story of the vibrant autumn colours we passed through. Enjoy!

The Trail took us mostly alongside Trent River/Trent Severn Waterway, then we veered off to the north to take this tunnel under County Road 2 and went a little further before turning back toward Hastings.

This could be our last ride of the season. But, then again, maybe we’ll get one more shot at warm sunny weather before winter reaches us. 🙂

Again, thanks to Jim and Julie for contributing to the pictures.