08-24-26

DAY 43: BISMARCK, ND TO CUSTER, SD

On our forty-third day, We continued the tour in North Dakota. We saw three semi-trucks stacked along each other. The scenery has become more green with many large prairies. There were lots of horses, cows, and other farm animals we saw along our route. Black cows were becoming more prevalent in this region. Also, because it is so windy here, wind energy is being harnessed with the windmills in specific areas. All year round, there is farming for the green grass and wheat has replaced the growing of corn that was previously so common in other areas. With the mountains behind us, we travelled down long roads that stretch to the horizon. We then advanced into South Dakota. There was a wheat farm with silos, trucks, and all the machinery included. When we arrived in Harding, SD, there was a church standing in all loneliness. Peace Valley Evangelical Church and Cemetery is a historic church in Harding County, South Dakota. It was built in it’s Gothic style in 1903 and still stands. We then drove along another long road stretched through the prairie. These roads and their surroundings are so graceful that they make for many magnificent photos. We came across an old rest stop gas station and general store. Originally built in 1902, the old Hoover Store is the only still-running business in town and the only one for 33 miles. Owned and managed by a couple who bought a nearby ranch in the 1970s and acquired the deserted building in the process. Next we saw a gorge, which in this area has not been uncommon. There were some cows that lined up in a neat row. The bars on the ground prevent them from going past, so they line up near the edge. We continued and came down a very windy road. The view of the mountains was incredible. Next, we made it to Sturgis, SD. The town only has a population of over 6,000 residents, but during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally there are, on average, over 400,000 people in the town. Motorcycle culture is very prominent in Sturgis and the rally has been held every year since 1938. We met a gentleman, who was a Sturgis resident. He was very nice and showed us his motorcycles and garage. The first permanent statue on Main Street in Sturgis is of famous motorcycle racer “Smokin’ Joe” Petrali. sculpted by Jeff Decker. Continuing on from Sturgis, we hit the road and saw a large semi-truck hauling many bales of hay. A beautiful T-1 VW van has followed us through the state. In the U.S. we have seen these old-school vans more often. Some dogs offer us friendly faces from the car window. Liberty VW in Rapid City, SD gave us a warm welcome with the whole crew outside. Their shop is being renovated at the moment, so we met entirely outside. We give a big thank you to Liberty VW. On our route to Mt. Rushmore we spotted a red helicopter and the owner Andy was kind enough to let us take some photos with the I.D. 4 next to it. We appreciate Black Hills Helicopter out of Keystone, SD for this. We travelled on more windy roads on the way to Mt. Rushmore. We checked out the town of Keystone. Finally, we arrived at Mt. Rushmore just before the light show. We were able to see the humongous stone carvings of the four former presidents. The granite sculpture features the 60-foot Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The 56 flags lined in front represent the 50 states, one district, three territories, and two commonwealths of the United States of America. There was a very impressive light and stage show we got to see. The day came to an end and we rested at an old 50’s style motel for the evening.

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