June 15, 2004 GMT
Still Going West

An on we go. Following my very positive experience with the Miller Family in Pierre, South Dakota, I move on towards the Black Hills, to see Mount Rushmore. On the way there, on a lonely gas station on one of these straight secondary highways, which don’t seem to end, I met with a group of bikers (I believe from Minneapolis) who were on their annual trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

We arranged to meet for dinner at the Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park. Unfortunately the weather changed from sunny-warm to rainy-cold during afternoon. What could have turned out to be a relaxed ride along a beautiful landscape on great country roads, turned into a slow, careful trip: the rain had turned the dust on the roads into a slippery film, which took the fund out of riding.

Dinner at the Blue Bell Lodge proved to be okay (Buffalo Meat Loaf). But the “homemade gravy” was not something to add to the speciality (no case for the “Food Feature”).

The next day was scheduled for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. I had always wanted to be there, after having seen the film “North by Northwest” with Cary Grant (and that was some time ago). The monument itself had always seemed bigger on film or on photos. I could not avoid feeling a little disappointed.


Click here for Mount Rushmore

Next on my agenda was “Sturgis, South Dakota”. - Well known, not only among motorcycle enthusiasts, this small town is the location of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, each year in August. Originally it was a meeting place of Harley Davidson riders, but – as was confirmed to me by locals – other motorbikes are being accepted in the meantime. I had a funny experience in the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum: I found out that there I qualify as a “senior” – I benefited from a $1 discount for people aged 50 plus. – This was indeed the first time I was officially considered a “senior citizen” – and I did not even have to show my ID card…. – well…..

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Click here for another view of Sturgis0

Next on my trip schedule was the area north of Sheridan, Wyoming. Actually the area is in Montana – the Custer Battlefields at the Little Bighorn. The location, Custer’s Last Stand, is where General Custer’s unit was massacred by the Blackfoot
Indian's Chief Sitting Bull. The site is impressive. It has largely been unchanged, and together with the presentation of the park rangers provides a very good impression of what happened in 1876.

Custer_view.jpg
Click for a partial view of the memorial dedicated to the Indians

From Custer’s Last Stand on to Yellowstone Park. I passed the city of Cody, the home town of western legend “Buffo Bill – William Cody”. It was in Cody that I found the subject of this reports “Food Feature” – see below

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Buffalo Bill – William Cody



Finally, Yellowstone Park. I had heard, read and seen so much about this National Park, that I had great expectations. While the sights and the natural phenomena are really impressive, I still could not help feeling a little like in “Disney Land”. The number of visitors – it was mid-week, pre-season - was phenomenal. – It may be the more appealing surrounding, the nicer setting, but somehow I liked the serene, sincere atmosphere of the Custer Battlefield better

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Yellowstone Park


Click here or a view of the crowd waiting for Old Faithful

After two days in Yellowstone Park, I continued to head north. The next stop was Bozeman, Montana, and after an enjoyable stay at the TLC Inn, I went to a small place just north of Missoula. The Glacier Park and Canada are waiting to be discovered.

People Met On The Road – I:

The words of old Gentleman who saw me and the BMW in a rest area on Interstate 90 struck a chord: “The only way to see the country – on a motorbike”. This is indeed true. Biker or not – the motorcycle seems to encourage people to stop and talk. It typically starts with just a couple or words, where one is coming from, going to. This became quite common and I thought that I should mention these in my report.

Here are the more memorable people whom I met:

“A nameless family of four in Yellowstone Park near the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone” – on 3-week trip through National Parks of the West – travelling in a SUV, guided by Garmin GPS and worrying about the two kids potentially getting bored by “too much red rock” (the dominant color or of rock in the parks to be visited).


Click for picture

“Mike and his two nephews – from Oregon on a hiking trip through Yellowstone”. Mike’s father was in the military, stationed in Germany, where Mike was actually born. He went to school if Frankfurt and now he is a fire fighter in Oregon:

Click for picture

“A nameless mother with daughter and son – from Dresden, Germany. The saw my BMW on a parking lot outside of Bozeman, Montana. The daughter is an exchange pupil in Seattle, and was taking her family on a tour through the north-western US.

Click for picture

“Alex - from the TLC Inn in Bozeman”. He owns a Harley and is dreaming, one day, to take her to Alaska. We talked “motorcycles” for a long time. Sorry, we missed each other for dinner - and hopefully you’ll find the time to go north some day.

Click for picture

I hope to turn this into another recurring feature of future trip reports.

Food Feature II:

On of my favourite places in Frankfurt it the Mexican restaurant “Rodeo” –
which arguably serves the best frozen Margaritas. When I walked along Sheridan Ave. in Cody, WY I saw this:


Click here for picture of what causes my attention

It was the time for a comparison.

In the end it turned out to be a very close match for the “Rodeo” Margarita: well balanced taste, sweet sour with a bias toward the sweet, the consistency of the the ice: perfect (slushy snow). The presentation: attractive.


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The Chilis Rellenos I had as a meal and the salsa for the chips were an equally close match for my “reference restaurant” in Frankfurt, Germany.

chili_rellen.jpg

I am putting in a resting day (writing this report, doing my washing, plain hanging around in an Indian “Tipi” before venturing into the Glacier Part and on to Canada. More about that in the next report.

Posted by Heiko Neumann at June 15, 2004 04:45 PM GMT
 


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