June 28 Hot Springs to Mt. Rushmore, SD – 60 Miles

June 28 Hot Springs to Mt. Rushmore, SD – 60 Miles

When I left the KOA Campsite this morning, I putted through Hot Springs and continued north on RT 385 up through Custer City. The scenery was really nice and I got to see a number of bison, antelope and even a deer caught the corner of my eye, as he jumped up and dove into some thick bushes. He did not like the sound of Johnabilt. I hit the oooag horn thinking he might come charging out of the other side.

I went past where Crazy Horse is being carved out of a mountain. It is very impressive.

I stopped along the way to take pictures of the rig, and had fun with the prairie dogs. I would hit the oooga horn and they all would run for their holes. I snapped a picture of a bed and breakfast but decided not to stay. I wanted to get to MT Rushmore.

RT 385 was nice and had a shoulder. As I was crawling up this mountain, I noticed Johnabilt missing. I started thinking that I am in higher elevation, so I called Steve Koser from the Southeastern two Cylinder Club asked him to check and sure enough he came back and said you are up over 5,000 feet. We need to adjust the carburetor so I pulled off and we adjusted the carburetor leaner.  Now  I need to replace my spark plugs which fowled up. I figured I will do that back at the camp site.

I wasn’t there long before a truck pulled in wondering if I needed help. It was a local retired farmer and a collector of IH tractors. I had just past his place and he had five of them lined up. I thought about stopping in but it did not look like a very good place to turn around, yes I wanted to get a picture. It might have made my John Deere friends talk but it would have been a good conversation piece.

I continued on RT 385 and turned east on RT 244 which will take me to MT Rushmore. I started up a 10% grade and Johnabilt was not running right. I had to shift down to 3rd gear and had traffic behind me. I putted up through that hill. It was all up and down and as I got closer to Mt Rushmore there was a steep down grade a narrow road. It had guard rails on one side and a rock wall on the other side. I had a long line of campers and cars behind me. I saw how steep it dropped off, I thought I am stopping and putting it in 3rd going down over. I was sweating and my knuckles were white and everyone else couldn’t get around. The road had sharp switch backs and as I came around the next curve, there was a pull off. If only I would have known.

Everybody was pleasant as they went around me.

I made it up to MT Rushmore and pulled in. It was hot and hazy and there was only one spot to get a good picture with Johnabilt , so I took a few. A Park Ranger came by and said if you come up early in the morning you will have a better chance of getting better pictures, so I decided to get up early in the morning and putt up the 2 mile 10% grade mountain.

I came down the mountain in 3rd gear and the engine held the rig back pretty good.  I had a shoulder where I could have about two thirds of the rig off the road. I came down  putting and back firing at times. I found my campsite at the bottom of the mountain at the town called Keystone. I wash the rig so it will be clean when I drive back up the mountain for a photo op.

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