On our full day in Spearfish, we planned on riding the Spearfish Canyon road up to Savoy and back down. We had figured out how to get to the start the day before, and Barry had actually "cheated" and ridden it once that afternoon. It's about 13 miles each way so not a hugely long ride by our normal standards, but there is a long, continuous climb up. Fortunately the grade is not too steep, but it's still challenging.
Spearfish Canyon is a popular drive and is much beloved by motorcyclists as well. We rode on a weekday morning, when we expected light motor vehicle traffic. I am sure it would have been much busier on a summer weekend.
We were lucky enough to have a beautiful day for the ride. It started off a bit overcast, but clouds soon burned off, and we were left with bright blue skies.
Up up up up we go! The scenery is gorgeous, as I am sure you'll agree.
A movie you might have seen was filmed near Savoy...cool!
There are a couple of resorts in Savoy. This one is a real stunner. What a perfect western setting, no?
After looking around briefly in Savoy (there's not much to see!) we turned around and started riding the thirteen miles back down to Spearfish. What a hoot! There were quite a few cyclists climbing up the canyon now. We'd only seen one on the way up, an older gent whom we passed, but now as we enjoyed the descent, it seemed that more of our kindred spirits had rolled out of bed and started up the road. Most were friendly, waving and calling out greetings. We were glad to be going in the downward direction as they climbed!
Of course the descent was fun and easy, but even better, bold Spearfish Creek was now tumbling and rushing over rocks down on our side of the road and playing its beautiful music for us most of the way down. The water was perfectly clear. Ahhhhhh...this is truly Mother Earth at her finest!
Returning to the bottom of the canyon, the creek was much more gentle. Note the difference in the image below versus the whitewater a couple of photos up.
After riding Spearfish Canyon, Barry and I split up. I continued riding around the flat town streets and the pretty Spearfish bike path, stopping frequently to take photos of flowers and scenery. Barry, the machine, rode up the canyon again! I had briefly thought I might attempt it a second time, but one 13-mile climb ended up being enough for me.
Here are a few photos he snapped on that second ride up of the day. The angle of the sun made the geological formations and the creek look a bit different than the first ride up and down.
The sun was now illuminating Bridal Veil Falls, which had been in shadow in the morning.
Stay tuned for one final post on Spearfish, showing some of the pretty flowers and other scenes around town.
After our quick one-night stop in Mitchell, South Dakota, we traveled west to Spearfish for the next three nights. And we found it to be the prettiest spot we'd visited so far on our westward journey.
We had spent nine days in Hill City, not too far south in the Black Hills, back in the fall. At that time we visited Mt. Rushmore, hiked to the summit of Harney Peak, and rode the Michelson Trail, so we didn't need to repeat any of that this time. Instead, we wanted to ride our bikes up Spearfish Canyon, which by reputation is beautiful. And it really is!
On our first afternoon in town, we did a shorter reconnaissance ride preparing for the following day's longer, more challenging ride up the canyon. There's a paved bike path winding through town town, through city parks and a very nice public campground, and the ride was so pretty. Spearfish Creek rushing through town, clean and bold, was a special treat. Beautiful views greeted us in all directions.
They've had plenty of rain here this spring, so everything was very green and lush. And the pines showed almost no evidence of the mountain pine beetle infestation that has been devastating the Black Hills farther south, like we saw last fall. This was good to see.
We rode just a little way into the canyon before I insisted on turning around. I wanted to save the full canyon ride until the next morning.
Before heading back to the hotel, we rode through the small downtown area.
After delivering me safely back to the Days Inn, Barry headed back out and rode up the canyon road after all -- cheater! :-) He got some lovely shots as the sun grew low in the sky. The canyon looks completely different at different times of days based on the position of the sun, so I was glad to see these photos as I knew we'd be riding with morning sun the next day.
After he was safely back, the setting sun illuminated the gorgeous view out our hotel window with an warm golden hue.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where we ride up (and down!) Spearfish Canyon.
We only had one night in Mitchell, South Dakota, en route from Alexandria, MN to Spearfish, in the western part of South Dakota. Still, we managed to make the most of our short visit and packed a lot in in just a few hours. This was our second visit to South Dakota in less than a year as we'd taken a trip to the Black Hills last fall.
No trip to the Corn Palace would be complete without the obligatory photo beside the smiling ear of corn!
And check it out, just for the occasion I am wearing the "South Dakota" t-shirt I bought at Wall Drug last fall. Corny, eh?
Here are some of the old-timey images on the exterior of the Palace made with 18 different colors of corn. I particularly like the outhouse!
In addition to being a tourist venue, the Corn Palace is an entertainment complex and hosts concerts and sports events inside. When these are not occurring, there are shopping opportunities indoors where visitors can buy t-shirts, caps, and other memorabilia, and of course, popcorn! We didn't buy anything, just had a look around. There are more corn "paintings" inside as well.
The rest of downtown Mitchell was very quiet on this weekday afternoon, so after seeing the Palace, we just turned around and walked back to the Days Inn where we were staying the night.
There, we discovered the indoor water slide, and these two old farts had a blast! We had it all to ourselves as well (probably the only way we would have done it). The pictures aren't the greatest, but at least prove that we were not too chicken to give it a whirl!
After our walk to town and all the playing in the pool, we were starving, and Tripadvisor reviews led us to a great Mexican place a quick walk from our hotel, Corona Village. We've been really lucky in our travels to find so many good Mexican restaurants since it's our favorite!
They even brought out this little sweet bite of dessert after our meal for free. We were stuffed!
We hit the road west the next morning, but we think we made the most of our short stay in Mitchell, wouldn't you agree?
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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