My son and resumed our westward limping trek to the Ural shop following the "obligatory" ride down Sturgis' Main Street where we encountered a group of HD riders on rental bikes doing the same. We finally arrived at Outdoors Motorsports where we we greeted like long time customers and my bike was taken right in to be diagnosed while my son and I were offered free cold drinks and the use of a comfortable customer lounge complete with WiFi and of course air conditioning. I had mentioned earlier that my Garmin 550 was acting up back approaching Ohio and somewhere along the line it just gave up the ghost on me. Anyone who has ridden across the mid and far west, can appreciate having a working satellite radio system piggybacked on their GPS. The shop offers a 10% Military Discount on service and accessories which farther induced me to purchase a new Garmin 660 system which was already reduced in price, a purchase which eased the stress of my recent slow ride across South Dakota. Following new plugs, carbs being serviced, and my new GPS/XM Radio being installed a very reasonable about of plastic money was handed over and we took to the road! Again folks PLEASE stop in to see these fine folks should you ever be in the area. My son was charged by his mother to make me behave on the trip which included what I ate, she doesn't approve of my choices of road food from the snack sections of truck stops and gas stations. With this mandate my son steered me to a Subway Sandwich shop for a "healthy" meal where I managed to program my new XM Radio and we discussed our next destination. In looking at the map my desire to get off of the slab and my son never having ridden this area the obvious choice must be, a close encounter of the first kind......yes Devil's Tower! Heading out on US 14 late in the afternoon climbing into the mountains resulted in our stopping to don wind shirts and close the vents on our Aerostich gear as we climbed up some of the steeper grades the loss of power in 4th gear returned, without and backfiring or engine running rough. The slower speed was prefect for taking in the vistas along the ride and the good number of deer we encountered along the roadside some upright and running others dead obvious victims of vehicles.We approached Devil's Tower at twilight with temperatures falling a slight fog forming more deer appeared seemingly taunting us with the prospect of them committing suicide by motorcycle. We arrived as the gift shop / restaurant was closing and my bladder was bursting requiring the use of an outhouse across the road. Between the fog and twilight pictures of questionable clarity were taken and we decided to call our long day by finding a place for the night reinforced by suicidal deer.
The nearby town of Hulett became or target destination for the night. Upon arrival in town we had two choices of lodging , an extravagant appearing chain hotel or a nice local Hunting /Family motor court. Our choice was the Hulett Motel which as I stated before a place, I will name names worthy of your dollars should you ever be in the area. We awakened to a chilly morning with clear skies,we loaded the machines put on warm riding gear to include for the first time heated gear and set out for Broadus Montana. Why Broadus you ask , two reasons my son was fascinated with the signs proclaiming Broadus to be the "Waving est town in Montana" and years earlier my wife and I had stopped there for one of the best milkshakes that I ever had. Our ride to Broadus was to be along Rt 112 northward to connect with US 212....except someone passed the turnoff and continued on Highway 24 which resulted in our making a 180 degree ride almost back to Spearfish,SD an error which became apparent when we noticed signs for Belle Fourche SD! A quick mental kick in my butt and redirection into Belle Fourche placed us onto US 212 for our ride to Broadus, MT. This day the bike was running like a top and actually got up to 65 mph on flat straight sections of US 212 as we motored along , I took note of a sign announcing the upcoming turnoff to Devil's Tower and........Highway 112! So, we really weren't lost just taking the long way to the junction we sought on our way to the town with great milk shakes. Upon arrivial I took pictures of Broadus'
We were disappointed because the ice cream shop had closed and the bike began to act up with the loss of top end power in 4th gear. While ruminating over the course of events we decided on our next destination after looking at the map and our enjoyment of non-slab riding and the answer was.............Miles City , Montana!
Any true American Man grew up wanting to be a cowboy and having read and enjoyed watching Lonesome Dove I knew that the Gus in me had to go there! So saddling up we we struck out for the junction of MT59 north for the promised land of Miles City. Intermittently the bike would stumble for a while but would resume running well in the now increasing afternoon heat on the well paved good scenic highway that is MT 59. My son was expressing reservations about the health of his GS' rear tire and as we approached Miles City I spied a multi brand bike shop on the left and pulled in to seek a replacement tire. The people in the shop we very nice but they didn't stock the required tire. It was after 4 PM and we needed gas and food so a quick hop down the road to the city center was in order, followed by multiple calls to bike shops along various routes across Montana towards the Canadian Border. Our efforts were successful when the Helena Cycle Center informed us the required tire was in stock and they would hold it for our arrival the next day. While riding the interstate would get us to Helena in about 6 hours we didn't want to travel that way as the state and federal highways were so enjoyable at Ural speed and one could actually look at the sights along the way. On the far side of town we picked up Sheffield Road which was a nice surprise since the road was dirt and gravel for more than 40 miles paralleling the Yellowstone River, eventually becoming State Highway 446 leading to Forsyth , MT and the junction of US-12 The Lewis and Clark Highway. This part of the ride was a tribute to the dual sport bloodlines of my son's GS and the Gear Up and should be ridden if the chance arises you will enjoy the scenery and the elk with other wildlife seen from the saddle.
We continued up US 12 towards the town of Roundup, MT a wide spot in the road that has a gas station,some motels, a couple of local watering holes one of which serves the standard bar food bill of fare without any flare. The chosen eating place was populated by Friday night inebriates who insisted on talking to me about things they knew nothing about,like my bike in particular along with what I didn't care about, their lives. Our 100 mile ride from Foursyth was punctuated by efforts to avoid the large four legged critters who don't respect vehicles. The best thing about the town was the very clean bathroom of the local hospital that my ongoing residual battle with the Wall Mexican combo dinner forced me to visit. The effort of quickly doffing a one piece riding suit and my clothing in a stall while fighting mother nature's call to dooty.......was a testament to my gymnastic skills . Our departure from the bland meal and sad town was capped of by another group of deer, walking in front of my bike as we navigated out of town. Pushing on through the darkness to the the town of Harlowton,MT, we stopped for gas and where my son's fatigue and higher intelligence called the days ride to a halt about 2 AM.
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