Monday, March 4, 2019

The Black Hills, South Dakota, September 2018

Visiting the Black Hills required a stop in Mitchell to check out the famed Corn Palace.
This has to be one of our best campsites, right on the edge of the Bad Lands, the view was spectacular.

Early morning....Big Horn Sheep in front of our RV. 

One of our hikes... a steep shear drop off ends the trail at this point. 

We were so fortunate to be in Sturgis the day the Cannonball Run came to town. A 2 week ride from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon. Approximately 100 motorcycles built before 1930 set out on the journey. The ride takes place every other year with a different route. We'd love to meet their route again in 2020. 

So impressive to see these old motorcycles in such good condition.

The day in Sturgis was their only rest day...the riders used the time to wrench on their bikes and relax a bit. A perfect day for us to walk around and look at the bikes and talk with the riders and crew. This man is the proud owner of his great grandfather's old Harley. If the riders weren't busy fixing something, they were happy to answer questions and talk of their adventure. 

Patience and mechanical skill keep these motorcycles running. 
BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE. Lining up before the chilly early morning start. 
We got up early and drove an hour from Custer to Sturgis just to see their 7am start. 
And they're off. 

The Buffalo Roundup. 

The roundup takes place every Sept. in Custer State Park. Here buffalo are nearing corrals at the end of the roundup. (Approximately 1,000 buffalo). We had a good view from a hill above. 

The roundup attracts many photographers, news reporters and spectators. The trucks in the roundup area are a safety provision for cowboys, if charged by a buffalo the truck can be used as a diversion or block. 
This guy looks so sweet. 
They don't look like it but a buffalo can run as fast as 35 mph (comparable to a horse), they can turn quickly and even jump a fence, very agile.  

The roundup is part of Custer Park's management plan to maintain a healthy balance between number of bison and available grassland for grazing. The park can only sustain a certain number based on current conditions. Once in the corrals the buffalo are sorted out, some sent to a pasture for sale, cows are checked for pregnancy, vaccinations administered and new calves branded. A very interesting process to watch. It takes about 4 days to complete the herd. 

Cowboys after the roundup. 
Such a beautiful sight with the mountains and fall colors in the background.  
Volunteer cowboys (experienced riders only) are selected each year through an application process, several park rangers also ride. 

Black Hills fog moving in.

The end of September, we woke up to a covering of snow. Time to move further south. 

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