Posted by: mckenzie68 | September 11, 2010

Spearfish Canyon to Devils Tower…September 10 or Day 145

I did not sleep at all last night, despite that, I am excited to check out Spearfish Canyon and then head off to Devils Tower, Wyoming!  Rae was kind enough to bring me some breakfast which was such a nice treat, and the bonus was a nice cup of java to keep me awake.

We loaded up the motorcycles and headed to Deadwood’s Boot Hill, the Mount Moriah Cemetery, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried.   Although it was only a short ride away, it was up a 17% grade which was challenging riding slowly behind another tourist.  Fortunately, we both have super duper Jedi riding skills and avoided a tumble down the hill!

We parked the motorcycles and donated a dollar each to enter the cemetery.  I got to chat with a very nice clerk at the gate who had to be in her 70s.  She was very charming and helpful as well.

We walked the steep grade into the cemetery and immediately located Wild Bill’s and Calamity Jane’s grave sites.   They were both interred in concrete to prevent their remains from sliding down the steep hill of the cemetery.  Wild Bill’s grave had a bust of his head on top of a tall stone with his epitaph scribed on the front.  I don’t know where Wild Bill’s original tombstone is, but this one was put up long after his burial.  We took a few pictures and then walked the entire cemetery, making note of the inordinate number of children represented by headstones.  It revealed that Deadwood was struck by smallpox and scarlet fever, and the poor little people suffered the most.  It was sad seeing the small grave sites, and headstones…  =(

I set course for Devils Tower on my trusty GPS and it again took me on a round about route taking us on a 160 MILE route to get to someplace that was only about 44 miles away.  I pulled into a parking lot and had to manually set each point to get us to Devils Tower by the most effective route.  I double checked all of the settings and everything was as it should be, so I am sure I have a gremlin or goblin hiding in the GPS…laughing hysterically at times, at me.  Yeah, I am funny, just ask Rae! LOL

We set off for Devils Tower via Spearfish Canyon, along with a long line of traffic, which had both Rae and I a bit apprehensive considering yesterdays incident near Mount Rushmore.  We were extremely pleased when all of the traffic took alternate routes, and we turned north into Spearfish Canyon with no one in front of us…awesome!   The road and the scenery in this canyon were incredible, with rocky spires, high cliffs, and a nice river following the route the entire way.  We stopped for some pictures, and although I was chomping at the bit to enjoy the curves, I was too sore and tired to ride well in such a challenging environment.  Still, I enjoyed the ride thoroughly, and having Rae with me made me feel so good.  It is nice riding with your best friend!

We continued to Devils Tower, which I will call a ride to hell, no offence.  The wind increased to the point that riding was extremely difficult, and then it began to rain, not hard, but enough to get us wet.  We stopped to put on gear that would keep us dry and warm and then continued to Devils Tower.  We stopped at the gate to the park, and the elderly female ranger was so cute, she chatted us up and then let us through (we had a national parks pass) waving goodbye as we entered the park!  You cannot beat that for amazing service.

We rode to the visitors center and found rock star parking, which was nice as there were lots of tourists around, despite the weather.  We locked everything up and walked up to the tower of granite, thinking about ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’.  I quietly laughed a little thinking about when the alien mother-ship was going to appear out of the rain clouds!  We did our typical self-portrait and then headed to the visitors center and checked out all that it had to offer, including restrooms.

The rain clouds were getting worse, so we decided to head northeast to highway 85 in South Dakota as the town of Belle Fouche, which had facilities along our route north.  We rode in the rain the entire way, and surprisingly the rain subsided when we got to the town limits, which was good as we were both very, very tired and wet.

We eventually found a place to stay for the night and the lovely clerk took pity upon us, offering a jacuzzi suite for an outstanding rate, which we were so happy to take advantage of…we needed that little outpouring of kindness right at that moment.  I was happy to be off the road!

Rae and I unloaded the motorcycles and retired to the room, warming up in the jacuzzi…aaaaaahhhhhh!  Tomorrow we head north, north, north!!!




  1. First memory that comes to mind of our trip to the Tower back in 03 was the 2 clowns dropping the dime into the mechanical horse in front of the store. Thinking Deano and Easy….
    Larry striking the pose in front of the rock in the black leather…got a lot of shit for that looking all GQ and such.

  2. It was our pleasure to have the both of you here. Your blog is wonderful! What amazing adventures you’ve had. Living vicariously through others ……:)

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