Going to Sturgis for the annual motorcycle rally has been on our to-do list ever since we went to Laconia’s motorcycle rally in the summer of 2007. There’s nothing quite like taking a proper, straight-laced gal from Maine and throwing her into an environment of public nudity, assless chaps and Harley motorcycles for days. But once you experience a motorcycle rally, you can’t help but want to go over and over and over again. So if you find your way to South Dakota in the 2nd week of August, here are some of the top scenic drives that can’t be beat from the seat of a motorcycle.
1. Devils Tower in Wyoming.
2. The Badlands.
One of the more popular rides to take while visiting the Black Hills is the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway. The Badlands, located near Wall, SD, offers an out of this world side of the Black Hills that is unlike anything else you can see while here. Take a trip east into the Badlands with their picture-worthy scenic overlooks and a view of the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.
3. Needles Highway.
Don’t be surprised to find yourself driving slower than your 85-year-old grandmother along Needles Highway – the surrounding scenery and wildlife have a tendency to capture the imagination and delight of everyone who comes through this area. But don’t worry about hurrying, either. The narrow, winding roads and tunnels primarily attract tourists and sight-seers looking to take their time among the pine and spruce forests and open meadows of the Black Hills.
4. Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse.
Mount Rushmore is a classic South Dakota road trip staple that everyone puts on their list of places to visit. But many people may not know that another monument graces the skyline of the Black Hills. Crazy Horse Memorial is a work in progress monument that looks down on Custer while fitting right into the Custer State Park skyline. The Crazy Horse Memorial is a tribute to the Lakota warrior of the same name who was known for standing up to the United States Federal government for encroachment on the Native American way of life and land.
5. Spearfish Canyon.
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is a must for motorcyclists and pleasure drivers alike. Thousand-foot-high limestone palisades in shades of brown, pink and gray tower to the right and left of Highway 14A as it twists through the 19-mile gorge. Spearfish Creek lines the canyon floor while canyon waterfalls make for popular roadside attractions. Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls are must-sees along the route. The speed limit is 35 miles per hour, but you’ll find so many drivers enthralled by the beauty, they drive even slower. Others simply pull over at one of the dozens of pull-offs along the way and get out to stretch their legs and capture the perfect Kodak moment.
So don’t let the world’s largest motorcycle rally intimidate you from going out and having an amazing experience. It doesn’t matter what you ride, just as long as when you do, you have fun. But really, it’s mostly old guys on baggers. No one really cares what you ride, what you do, how old you are or what you look like, as long as you are there for the experience.