Another incredibly windy day. Today we would visit the Badlands, a place we will likely return to again and again. This is one attraction that never gets old, and we can never get enough of. I was also anxious to see if the new owners of the town of Scenic, had reopened any businesses, located just off 44 as you enter the Badlands. Sadly, the town was still deserted, and the Longhorn Saloon sat boarded up along with the rest of the buildings, an old bench pulled across its plywood door. Scenic now truly looked like a ghost town.
I have several photos of the Longhorn from years past, our bikes parked out front and our friends on the creaky wooden porch. Inside, the floor is coated with about three inches of sawdust and woodchips, old rusty metal tractor seats atop wooden barrels for barstools. My favorite memory of one visit, in 2004 or 2006, was of a local Lakota man floating around the pool table area in the back. The bartender, with beautiful long black hair, apparently thought he was bothering the customers, because she hopped over the bar, all five feet and one hundred pounds, and quite literally hoisted him out the back door by his belt loops.
The Tatanka Trading Post is still there, a very old building that I’m sure was a church decades ago. We browsed the gifts and artwork made by local residents, from paintings and drawings to candles and jewelry. Several more bikes rolled in, as we were leaving, back out into the sun and wind.
Today would be quite possibly the windiest conditions I’ve ever been in, let alone ridden in. At each stop in the Badlands, Bill and I would have to shout at each other to communicate, though we were standing right next to eachother. I didn’t dare use my tripod as I had nothing to bolt it down with. I was able to get some decent shots, though photos could never begin to capture what was before us.
At our next stop, Bill turned in a made a sweeping left turn, where I thought we’d be parking. We continued back from where we came though, and made a sharp right turn to park his bike. Following him turned out to be an extremely bad idea. Sharp right turns are not my best friend to begin with, my handlebars are wide and my left hand comes close to slipping off the clutch. Coupled with that, I was turning into the same direction this 100mph wind was blowing. I tried to hold on as long as I could, but down I went. Thank God for crash bars, just a small nick.
After stopping in Wall for dinner and a stop at Badlands Harley Davidson, we made our way back via I-90, fighting the wind all the way.. It was kind of wind that blasts up your nostrils, drying your brain and making your eyes water. And there’s not much you can do since taking your hands off the handlebars isn’t the best idea in these conditions.
Expecting 40s for a low, we stopped at Kmart for another blanket. The campfire we returned to was heaven, and the night ended as the moon rose and cast shadows on the dry, dead grass.
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