I knew that just getting from NJ to AK was quite a ride — I'd ridden the Northern states before so the plan was to just rocket out to the Yukon and Alaska as directly as possible so I could maximize my time there. I rode from my place in NJ to Chicago in one day (800 miles) which is a personal best for me (my butt is not made of iron) — from there I just pointed the bike down route 90 west to pass through Wisconsin, Minnesota toward the Badlands of South Dakota.
I chose Blue Earth, Minnesota to end a riding day because I just really, really liked the name of the town. I spotted an "Aztec Quesadilla Burger" on the local menu and remembered chuckling to myself "haha ok the food just got weird out here"
TIP: You can camp for free at the Blue Earth Fairgrounds
Nothing like waiting 522 miles for a turn —Lego spaceman and I are really excited. Hope it's a good one!
Taking a small rest under a big, big sky. — Route 90 Middle of Minnesota
Finally rolled into the Cedar Pass Campground, Interior, SD right in the heart of the Badlands. This is a really nice place to camp. It can get booked out in peak season though. Great views of the badlands, sheltered tables, nice diner/restaurant just up the road.
However best of all it's just a stones throw from the Horseshoe Bar located in downtown Interior, Population 67. I've been to this bar twice in my life and one cannot adequately describe the experiences that lay within. Real cowboys and indians, boot spurs, a handwritten menu scrawled on a napkin and pickled turkey gizzard snacks for the brave. Greg the owner is a super cool guy who would attempt to make you anything you ask for as long as it involved alcohol and/or a deep fryer, preferably both. As the night wears on the place starts to bear more and more resemblance to a Tarantino movie. Just go there!
My dear friend heather was just on the return leg of her multi-month bike trip and just happened to be in the neighborhood so we ended up having a beer or ten with the local characters. One of the best nights of the trip!
Heather gaining immortality by sticking a dollar to the ceiling
Next day Heather wanted to place one of her pieces of artwork at the Minuteman missile site at (43.931613,-102.159442) as part of her ongoing art project (http://thefrighteningandbeautiful.blogspot.com
Afterwards instead of backtracking we took this dirt trail that looked like it was heading in the right direction — but really we had no clue as how it would turn out. It ended up being a satisfyingly rough narrow dirt trail with muddy "creek" crossings and steepish climbs up into areas of the formations that tourists never get to see. Humorously the trail is labeled "195th ave" on Google maps— Clearly they've quite a different definition of an "avenue" out there.
After battling 120 miles of bum puckering 55 mph cross winds on the SD plains I made it to Devil's Tower.
The canaries are still alive so the government is lying about the spilled nerve gas!
TIP: The Devils Tower View Campground on rt 24 is WAY cheaper than the overpriced KIA campground 3 miles closer in. It has a better view of the tower and the showers are super nice.