The George S. Mickelson Trail is a rails to trails from Deadwood, SD to Edgemont, SD. The entire trail is 109 miles but we only plan to cover a section of the trail. For one thing, we need to make a round trip so we can get back to the truck but also we don't think we want to ride a bike for too many hours.
The plan is to travel out from Hill City and up to the first two tunnels on the trail.
After riding through part of town, we turn to the country side. The trail is wide and a fine gravel most of the way.
Best of all, Shawna did NOT fall this time. She has learned how to use the gear shift and hand brakes better.
Long ago the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) worked in the area making roads and other construction.
We stopped at "Redfern" for lunch. This was a stop for the train where logs were loaded from the harvest of trees in this area. For us it was a pit toilet, water source (we did not need), and a covered picnic table.
Tunnels! The two we passed through were amazing. They have been here for a long time and many areas look almost new. There is a strong smell of creosote.
We also passed lots of flowers and there were raspberry bushes. We picked a few for a snack. We saw cows, deer, and red squirrels. Had chipmunks running across the bike path right in front of us.
On the return trip, another stop at Redfern was needed.
After returning to the truck and loading the bikes, we stopped at the Firehouse Winery and Brewery for an early supper. Our total mileage was 24 miles during the 4 hours on the trail. We did use the electric assist on the hills. Some hills had 4% grades. If it were not for that, the ride would have been dramatically shorter. We both agree that someday we want to ride most if not all of the rest of the trail.
Time to catch a train.
Today, we took a train ride. Not just any train but a old steam train. The train travels between Hill City, SD and Keystone, SD through the mountains. It does not pass through any tunnels but does cross several bridges and 15 road crossings. The 1880 train is a bit of creative naming as the track and trains were not from that time but closer to 1950's.
Here comes our train.
The original plan was to ride with our friends, Bill and Kelly, but they had an air conditioner problem and could not go.
We boarded in Hill City for a round trip ride to Keystone. "All Aboard!"
The train pulled out of the station and headed for Keystone. We had some very nice views along the way.
Time to let off some steam. Yes, that is where the saying comes from.
We continued to Keystone. At every road crossing the whistle would blow two long a short and a long blast. This is Q in Morris Code. The origin was from the Queen of England. That code would blow on boat or train to say the Queen was on board and should have the right of way. Trains have the right of way over other modes of transportation. So now you know.
When we arrived in Keystone many of the passengers left and new ones came on board Two police officers from Las Vegas joined us for the return trip to Hill City.
We had a fun time and decided to stop by the Firehouse Brewery and Winery for something to drink and eat.
"Let's visit a cave."
After talking about what to do, the most unusual comment was "Let's visit a cave". So we did.
The Black Hills Caverns is more cave than cavern but was very interesting. This is definitely the tightest cave we have ever been in for a tour. The sides are close much of the way and many times the ceiling is only at 6 feet or less.
We selected the longer "Adventure Tour" which takes us to the lowest points in the cave. There were a lot of stairs.
Rapid City with friends.
We finally got to Rapid City, South Dakota to visit with friends and see the sights.
Our first stop was to have lunch together. We knew just where to go.
Firehouse Brewery and Winery was just as expected.
We had a great meal, local beer, a wine tasting and purchased a few bottles. It was then time to go back to the RV and play cards.
Lake Scott State Park
Lake Scott is the closest park to Scott City, Kansas. It looked like a great place to ride our new bikes and maybe hike a bit.
The small canyon now has a dam to maintain a lake but long ago this was a popular place for native tribes to visit. One of the tribes was the Taos Indians. That is a long walk from New Mexico.
Time to walk back to the truck and get out the bikes. Our plan is to ride to the dam and back.
I don't think we have posted any pictures of our new bikes. They are electric assist and fold up. When folded they will fit in the back seat area of the truck.
Our ride was great and the lowest level of assist helped make hills no problem at all. The bikes will reach 20 mph on the highest assist level. They have wide tires that help with dirt paths.
We did make it to the dam but not without an accident.
Shawna took a spill and scraped up her elbow. She insisted that she get back on to ride back. One of those "Get back on the horse" events.
Time to bandage up and head back to the RV.
Some towns are just different.
We stopped in Boise City to camp and realized we had been through here just over a year ago. Calling your town a city seems a bit much with a population of 1,200 and no traffic lights. Just saying.
The campground is nice and even has a small put-put golf course. Near the RV are two charging stations for electric cars.
Right next to the campground are some interesting items in town. There is a big slab of Sequoia tree, a metal tin man with our 5th wheel and truck in the background, and a "life size" steal Cimarronasaurus.
Heading back north.
We left Logan and started our move north. The path will take us up through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. We should be in South Dakota next week.
Logan is very green. Grass is growing, fields are green, and flowers bloom on plants around the park.
Shawna and Betty worked on the front porch of the lake house. It needed some sanding and restraining. I spent the days they were working on the porch on a ladder and lift working on cameras.
We have our new bikes and hope to use them as much as we can.
At the end of the day, we saw a really pretty sunset.
We're not in Kansas anymore.
Ok I could not help myself.
Soon we will be in Logan helping Mom with what she has on the "To Do" list. We will also get our new bikes and other things we ordered. It will be like Christmas in July.
We retired 5 years ago today!
Five years ago, this was my first day of retirement. It was the best promotion EVER!
It has been a great start to retirement. We hope that we have many, many, many years to come.
We had some time in Liberal, Kansas and thought it would be nice to visit a couple of museums. First, we toured the Mid-America Air Museum. When we started touring the huge hanger where the planes and other items were on display, we were the only people in the building.
With over 100 airplanes to see, we knew it would take a while to tour. Most of the planes are Army but quite a few were Cessnas. They also had some helicopters and experimental aircraft.
Dwaine Wallace was from Liberal. He and his brother revived the Cessna Airplane company from bankruptcy. He also designed several of the early Cessna planes. There are a lot of planes from his personal collection that were donated by his wife after his death.
The primary activity at the airfield was training bomber pilots and crew for WWII. In its day, the air field was filled will B-24 and B-25 planes.
There were several more planes to look and and some that were outside.
Time for lunch. I only mention this because the ribs we had were GREAT!
Now that we are well fed, it is time to go to Dorothy's House and the Land of Oz. Around the house is a very nice statue and a Yellow Brick path. The bricks are sponsored and several were a surprise like the one from Liza Minnelli, many of the Munchkins, and other famous people.
We started in her house which is furnished to represent the time frame of the movie. They used as much information from the movie to be accurate.
After touring the house, we entered OZ. That building was divided into areas representing the primary scenes of the movie. It was dark in many areas but there were several automated characters with sounds and dialog from the story.
The tour ends with memorabilia from the movie and all of the Oz books. One thing they did have was the actual model house that was spinning in the tornado scene and a Glenda the good witch dress.
Finally, we toured the town museum. It also happens to be where you buy tickets for the Oz tour and the gift shop.
The Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado passed through this area in his search for the City of Gold. Several confirmed items were found from his exploration.
We love small town museums and this one did not disappoint.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...