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Archive for June 25th, 2009

Day 199 – 25th June 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on June 25, 2009

Thursday – Rapid City, South Dakota

Hi everyone, I need to clear up some confusion, so I will do it here and now.

Sorry for the long introduction, but this will stay here for at least a week, so if you have read it once, scroll down for the days update, which starts with the non bold text 🙂

I am receiving a lot of offers of help, chat, food, rides, beer etc and not in that particular order either 🙂 I appreciate all of the offers and I apologise to those who I have missed or gone past without dropping in to say G’day. I always acknowledge and answer all messages, whether they are emails, comments here, PMs from forums or whatever. The only issue seems to be, I sometimes get them after I have been and gone in certain areas. So, to make things a lot easier I will outline a few facts on where I am, where I could be heading and an explanation on what you see here.

For a start I am always going to be behind in the blog, usually two days, maybe more if I do not have net access. So what it says as the date, place etc at the top of the page is out of date, ignore it, it is correct for the time I was there, but I am not there now 🙂 For example, I am writing this in South Bend, Sunday the 21st June, the first day of summer in the US.

There are two ways to know where I am and which way I am going. Look to the left and down a bit, there is a small map, it tells you my current general location. Whenever I get internet access I update this, it takes 30 seconds and is as actual as it can be. If I do not do a blog update, I will always update this map anyway.

The second way and most accurate is to look to the right, there is a link called

Here I Am
SPOT tracks of Where I Am

Click on that link, it will open a new page in your web browser, if I am actually physically riding at the moment, it will be updated every 30 minutes or so, the higher the number flag is the latest position locator. I always turn this off about 5 minutes from where I intend staying, but I am in that general area.

I hope the confusion does not stop the offers of meeting fellow riders from coming in, but now I may get the messages before I actually blow through town. After Rapid City, I will be slowing down a lot more, so I will have more chances anyway.

I was a tad seedy in the morning, but nothing too dramatic, so after packing up I hit the slab to the west. And the countryside was quite boring as well.

I stopped at a small town called Badlands, here at the turnoff I fuelled up,(a small black circle on the map) I met a chap called Leonard, he was from Nova Scotia and had ridden all the way across Canada and was on his way home, the fast way. Safe travels m8!

At this place also was the visitor information place about the Minuteman Missile silos. This was a great little tour and was worth the entry fee of ‘free’ 🙂 As long as you get there before 12 midday, there are actual people who manned these sites giving talks on the systems etc.

Redundant antennas, if the pole gets knocked over, there are 5 more hatches in that concrete slab that can pop open and a new one raised.

Although the control centre, which this was one of, had hardened phone lines for all communications and control, if they went out they had a back up UHF antenna to remote launch.

The building upstairs was just a wood building with the support crew of police and a manager, but down below, this is where the launch control crew stayed for up to 24 hours, this went on for 20 odd years.

This is the 9 tonne blast door which sealed off the control room and could withstand a close detonation of a nuke. I dig the mural on it, quite appropriate. 🙂

This is the main part, the red box housed the launch keys, this box was locked until orders were received to unlock it. Two operators at all times were keeping a watch on each other and both had to unlock their unique padlock before it could be opened.

They had many fail safes. If the two on duty were doing their tests with the keys, then there was a 1 ½ hour delay before launch, but because each of the control centres were all interconnected, if two other launch keys were inserted and set for launch at another site, then all sites would launch immediately, as this meant it was for real.

Off down the road after this to the actual missile site itself, the control centre was in a circle of missiles about 10 miles across, and controlled 10 missiles each. More gravel road to get to the site, it is the only one still intact, all the rest were imploded after removal of all hardware.

This is the car purpose built for the cops to go chase false alarms up above, they would be inside these for 12 hours, no windows and the aircon was a failure from day one on all the cars.

More antenna arrays and the actual entry hatch to the missile used for maintenance.

And under the glass cover is a non active minuteman missile, pretty impressive stuff!

After this little talk, I headed west and grabbed a Sub for lunch and dinner, in the aircon it was great, outside it was becoming extremely hot and I was heading into the Badlands.

After lunch I took the small loop road into the Badlands park, basically heading east again. But of course I first had to get past the dragon at the gate, no actually she was kinda cute, women in uniform 🙂 My national pass got me through the gate with no worries!

These little birds are everywhere and very fast, this is the first one I have been able to photograph. I got told it is called an Oriel and is pure black except for an orange blotch on each wing, but this is not quite correct when I did a search for a better photo on the net, an Oriel came up with an orange breast, so I have no idea what they are, but they look cute and have a nice song!

The Badlands are full of weird rock formations and all the roads are tight and twisty. 🙂

The speed limit is 35 mph and this sucker was obviously going way too fast!

There was some nice country out here and apparently it was heavily populated with lots of small parcel farms, but they all failed, the country is too harsh, and very hot as I mentioned.

The roads and landscape were great though, even at slow pace, because you end up looking all around and not the road sometimes!

At the end of the loop road I headed back west to Rapid City, remember I said it was hot, well I was not kidding, this is while moving along.

The fields were full of grass and flowers and also prairie dogs, which are not good to get close to according to all the signs!

Of course I ran into road works, and this time it was a long wait, nearly 15 minutes and the temperature was not going down, but up!

I was glad to get moving, although a nice lady in the car behind offered me water, but I had heaps and was drinking it steadily.

More flat country before looking around for the motel. It had been arranged that I would share a room with a chap that Tombstone knows from Utah, but apparently he had not checked in yet.

In the end another chap called TomCat mentioned he was over the road and the rate was cheaper than expected. I had been quoted over $90+ up to $200, as it is summer time. I grabbed one of the last rooms available, as I wanted to catch up on some things prior to the immersion into all things Vstrom!

I posted a blog or two and then walked across to the inn where most others were staying, it was 5.30pm and drinkies were on.

That is Tombstone next to me and I think Mountain Air, one of the helpers.

That is Adam our barman.

And Tomcat and The Spine Guy, who’s room I was supposed to share, but this is near 10pm and too late for a change.

Of course we were kicked out at 11pm, so we adjourned to Cheers, across the road.

Here we chatted with some local talent, they were a bit of fun to mess with 🙂

They kicked us out just after 1am, so I was a bit shattered by then, despite the water I had drunk, I may have been slightly dehydrated, but it was only a short walk to my room 🙂

Day – 199 miles and 320 km
Trip – 21,490 miles and 34,585 km


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Posted in Around The World, USA Leg | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

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