Even after nearly 45,000 miles of riding all over two continents, one of my favorite places to ride in all the world is the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’m sure I’m a little bit biased, but I’m not alone in my opinion. Hundreds of thousands of riders come here each year to ride the Black Hills and attend the granddaddy of ’em all, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
And one of the best ways to see your own home town is through the eyes of a visitor. Madeleine Miss Rider, a Facebook friend I was introduced to by another rider, is coming through the Black Hills on her way to Alaska this summer. And it’s the perfect chance to get to meet her in person. Jen, the incredible friend who is hosting Brian and I since we got home and who is also a rider, suggests I invite her to stay for a day or two.
Madeleine arrives after a 5-day blast across the USA from Massachusetts, a long haul for a solo rider. And although she has been here and ridden in the Black Hills before, I want to show her my favorite roads just in case she hasn’t seen them. As it turns out she hasn’t.
Off we go, Madeleine, Brian and I, for a full-day tour of the southern Black Hills. Up Highway 16 to Keystone, a brief stop at Mount Rushmore, and then off to ride the Needles Highway after the Pigtail Bridges of Iron Mountain Road.
I always love being reminded of the ingenuity of the road builders, and their ability to frame Mount Rushmore with the tunnels on Iron Mountain Road. Stunning….
Iron Mountain Road splits into two narrow single lane paths which make for quiet and peaceful riding, making you feel like you are the only person on the road.
Brian and Madeleine pose for a photo on a prairie overlook in Custer State Park with Mount Rushmore way off in the distance behind them (and between them).
We carry on through Custer State Park….but don’t see any bison today.
And here we are at the threshold of my favorite road…Needles Highway.
This is a climbers paradise.
We stop frequently for photos and to enjoy the view of the Black Hills National Forest surrounding us.
And now for the cherry on top….the Needles Eye Tunnel.
And a stop to see the Needles Eye tower.
We stop at Sylvan Lake for a break and photo, and maybe even a souvenir for Madeleine. And then we carry on to Highway 385 and stop to see Crazy Horse Memorial before carrying on through Hill City and back home to Rapid City.
What a spectacular day of riding with our new friend. Safe travels, Madeleine! Can’t wait to see you again.