WanderlustBy Sam Lepore
(Click map for full size)
Broadus to Interior
Subject: Wanderlust 23 - Interior, South Dakota
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 20:49:59 -0700

        Repeating once more for those not on the LDR list, "Mr. Idaho" Michael Hunt comes through again ... "Just reverse the letters. GUBERIF becomes FIREBUG." Along with him is champion explainer Bob Hole, "Read Guberif backward and you'll see why it's important to not be one." And new to the answer pack is Jon Diaz, with "Firebug.  Took five trips across the country in the last seven years to figure it out. :)".
        Obvious (but rhetorical) question, guys ... why? did the highway worker put the stencil upside down? Is this supposed to be read in a mirror (on the ground?)? Do Idahoans like things, uh, delleps sdrawkcab?

        Beyond Broadus the terrain rapidly dropped to the rolling grasslands of the endless treeless prairie. Here the rivers were relaxed, but very muddy. Here the antelope and the cows shared fields, seemingly standing guard for each other. I stopped on a rise to watch a buck antelope resting in the grass. They have become inured to the thundering trucks that roar past making their own wind, but as the bike coasted to a stop with the engine already silent, he became alert. Thirty seconds later he pranced away, perhaps to see if I would follow. We each returned to our routine.
        Skipping here and there to avoid the Interstate, I ended up going through Deadwood which I intended to avoid. I am pleased to report that Deadwood is not Deadspirit as it had become. When gambling was voted in, Deadwood instantly went from being a quaint, true to its history, old west town to plastic and neon. On my last visit I lamented the change from how it really looked to how it "should" look. It isn't quite back to real, but it has softened somewhat. Now it looks merely slick instead of plastic.
        The best route through the Black Hills for a motorcycle is not the marked tourist roads ... unless you are going to the tourist destinations, of course. Been there, done that. The best route is the unmarked (no route number) Nemo Road from just south of Deadwood into Rapid City. If you have play time in this area, ride this road. It is full of reducing radius turns, off camber curves, blind intersections, and all the things you learn to fear (and then learn to control) in an Experienced Rider Course. It is fun at the signed speed limit ... whatever that was - because I was paying *all* my attention to the road. This is one of those roads that if you ride it well you can look straight down during a curve and see the *side* of your bike. You won't find a better 35 miles in all of the Black Hills (because the tourists don't take it).
        Had my first self induced stupidity gas shortage today. I guess it is a 'male thing', but some of us have a tendency to push the limits of physics even when we know physics always wins. I should gas up in Rapid City ... 79 miles remaining in tank. I should gas up at the edge of town ... 62 miles remain. Well, maybe there is a station at the Regional Airport ... 54 miles remain. How about that small town ahead. Fuel light on, no gas in 'town' that consists of a barn and two houses. TURN AROUND STUPID. I know that towns near Indian reservations actually list the population for the surrounding miles and there is rarely a business center ... but I push. At least I didn't have to push the bike. The FuelPlus was showing single digits when I got back to 'the edge of town'. Stupid as it sounds, sometimes a rider just doesn't want to stop.

        In a previous segment I wrote about roadside accident markers. South Dakota has official markers. Dorky, but official. It is a black and white sign with a large red bent X (not a cross ... that's 'religious') and the large block lettered question WHY DIE drive safely. It has all the charm of a memorial designed by the guy that dreamt up guberif. Why die, indeed.

Before I end with a little philosophy, I want to contrast tonight's dinner with last night. The Budget Host Motel in Interior is a combination motel/campground. They have a dining area serving campers meals - tonight was all you can eat beef stew made with chuck roast and fresh vegetables - $3. Breakfast is AYCE buckwheat pancakes with fruit - $2. Simple food, decently made, but another good find!

        Have you noticed how curvy, involved roads, like Nemo call for all your awareness and at the end you haven't really thought about anything in your fore-conscious, but somehow you can reach a decision about personal matters. It works for me. In general, it seems there is a demonstrable 'terrain thought effect' in riding. City traffic with lots of intersections, does not let the mind go in a single direction. Curvy roads allow the mind to meander back and forth across its centerline seeing both sides of the question and reaching the endpoint with no side roads. When you get to the open rolling prairie, the thoughts roll on and on and on and can't seem to get away. The horizon never gets closer. The decision is never made because it is always in front of you. For me, this is mental torture. What if I had married this one instead of that one. What if I had stayed there instead of moving. What if I had ... it is not so much dissatisfaction with the results as it is comparing what might have been. And seeking the meaning of life.

        "So they take off after each other straight into an endless black prairie. The sun is just comin' down and they can feel night on their backs. And the one who's chasin' doesn't know where the other is taking him. And the one who's being chased doesn't know where he's going."
        - Sam Shepard (b. 1943) American playwright

But it is I who am chasing myself.

FuelPlus 270 miles, 4:56 hours, 55 mph
Broadus US212 US85 SD34 St. Onge Road US85 US385 Nemo Road SD44 Interior
Plans (subject to change) Aberdeen, southern Minnesota, Great River Road?

Sam Lepore, San Francisco
Wanderlust Rider

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