A false start leaving Torrington WY this morning. I pulled into a very old fashioned gas station and it had no credit card facility on the pump, rather a notice to serve myself and then go inside. No worries. I take the nozzle and flip the lever to reset and start pumping . No response. I try a couple of times, hang up the nozzle and march to the office. What a waste of time. They were closed. Sunday morning in Torrington! But no problem, on the main road east we found another. I also pumped my rear tire, having to pay fifty cents for the privilege. In terms of the time I took, they owe me 45 cents change.
OK. Tank is full, tyre pressures are exact and we are riding east. The scenery around here, eastern Wyoming, is not riveting. Few villages, some large acreage of corn and the odd factory or two. What is much in evidence are rail lines - and trains on them. Mainly coal, and very, very long. We like trains and enjoy seeing them.
Crossing the border into Nebraska the couple of small towns through which we pass are not wealthy. A business that trades in used farm equipment looks to me that they could very easily become scrap metal dealers. I am not paying close enough attention to the GPS and I miss my turn to the north. Rather than turn around, I keep going towards Scott's Bluff, named for a prominent rock outcrop that rises out of the plain. The next turn I do not miss and northwards we go. Now John had suggested this route would be straight and boring. I can confirm that there are not that many bends, and they are not at all challenging; but I was fascinated by the vista of open space. This is farming country. The distances are large and the traffic minimal. The towns are seriously miles apart and there are NO facilities for travelers: no gas, no coffee, toilets or turnouts. You just keep going. So we did!
We took a small detour to Fort Robinson Nebraska, of which I will not attempt to add to the history captured in the photo above. BUT what must be mentioned was our (very) brief experience in the restaurant. We sat down, hoping for coffee. Our server arrived and introduced himself and said that they were serving lunch. I looked at my watched and glanced around the empty establishment.. It is 10.30 am. Must we have lunch in order to have coffee? The answer was in the affirmative so we picked up our jackets and walked out. They should not be in the hospitality business.
So we walked across the lawn to the museum and Randy, the volunteer manning the front desk, delivered a short history of Crazy Horse. Fascinating. He had our full attention. We then looked at the many exhibits which tell the history of Fort Robinson and it was really interesting. Indian artefacts showed artistry and flair. The beadwork was so delicate; and we now know what real moccasins look like.. We walked around a little more and then rode into the close-by town of Crawford, looking for that coffee. I did mention earlier no coffee? Check! Let's try the next town. About eighty miles down the road we come to Ardmore., which is just across the border into South Dakota. I slow down to the speed limit of 45 mph and look for some evidence of commerce, especially the kind pertaining to hospitality. No joy, but wait! Every house and every building in Ardmore stands abandoned! The whole town was devoid of human habitation or occupation. A real ghost town. And ghost coffee is not worth the cup it is served in.
Down the road we go. Our bums are giving us messages by now. Eventually we get to Hot Springs South Dakota and find our way to the rather quaint main street. We had a reasonable lunch, but because we were by then rather warm we opted for sodas!
Harley riders returning from Sturgis were much in evidence and while we get the odd salute from them while on the road, they tend to ignore us when the bikes are parked.
Thirty miles to Custer and just before we leave the bakery an SMS from John and Anne in Lusk WY saying that Custer was their plan for the night. As we would get there some hours before them we undertook to organise accommodation. On arriving in Custer we went down the main street. It had been cordoned off in the center so bikes could be parked there. What a racket! Anyhow, we pull up in front of the Days Inn and I switch off, which is the signal for Liz to dismount. As she swings her leg over she says "look at the blinds". I look at the blinds and respond "don't get off". I then called Best Western and here we are.
A short while ago, we heard a loud siren sounding. Liz received a severe storm warning on her cell phone. Minutes later it started raining and then hailing! We were fortunate to have the main storm pass us by, as the hail stones were the size of tennis balls. Again fortunately, John and Anne were filling up as the hail started and so were spared the possibility of injury. Canopies are good. Any readers from Ouray CO please note!
Tomorrow is Mount Rushmore and anything else that takes our fancy. We may well stay a second night.