On Thursday of this past week we made a trip up to Custer Park to get together with a host couple there and all of us then drove into Hill City to have lunch at the best restaurant in the Black Hills, the Alpine House. Should you ever visit and spend time in the area this is a place not to be missed with wonderful German food, steaks, and spectacular deserts. We have learned that we get one desert and share it, or eat desert first!
After lunch we made a visit to the museum of the Black Hills Institute. They have an amazing collection of fossils from the dinosaur period. It seems that the Black Hills has been the source of some of the most unique finds anywhere. It is very easy to spend a couple of hours looking around even though the space isn’t large but there is a great deal packed into it.
With the start of the big motorcycle rally in Sturgis nearing, both Custer and Hill City, as well as most other towns in the central to northern black hills are now crawling with motorcycles. While most are pretty good folks, it is very common for the tourists in automobiles to feel uncomfortable with some of the riding done by the more aggressive ones in the groups. The area is mostly made up of scenic but crooked roads and most have pretty restrictive speed limits. It isn’t unusual for the riders to become unhappy with being held up by the drivers of cars and some of them go to lengths to display that displeasure and even harass drivers, particularly if a little slow. If you are not comfortable with them very close to you, riding close behind and passing in bad places, the end of July and early August is not a good time to visit the hills.
Earlier I posted a few pictures from our first visit to the Needles Highway and our experiences there but we now have some new pictures that are truly unique. I believe that I mentioned that tour busses do occasionally squeeze through the tunnels but I now have some pictures of one in the process of this. You need to keep in mind that the tunnel in this picture is only 8 feet, 4 inches wide at the tightest point and about 9 feet at its widest point. This bus did scrape both mirrors at the tightest point and it seems to be what the driver used to tell that he was in the center of the tunnel.
Even though this wasn't one of the largest of luxury busses, it must take nerves of steel to make the transit, and especially so the first time or two. The entry and exit are the easy part as near the center of the trip it squeeses down for a distance of perhaps 30 to 50 feet.
I do believe that if you have any experience driving large vehicles, they are hiring drivers! If you are looking for some seasonal work in the black hills for the summer this just might be what you are looking for.