Monday, July 4, 2011

Keystone, SD to Rapid City, SD - 22 miles

'Today is a 'quasi rest day' to quote 'da big guy'. It is 10 miles up and 10 miles down. Riders have a chance to go back to Mount Rushmore or enjoy the town of Keystone before they head to Rapid City.

I took this opportunity to go back up the hill.
Then I rode over to the Big Thunder Gold Mine.
Big Thunder Gold Mine, originally named the Gold Hill Lode, was discovered in 1892. Current exploration shows positive potential for future gold mining in Keystone. Exploration companies have been working in the area and have leased mineral rights on the Big Thunder property.

The tour was very interesting and the panning was an experience. I was able to tour a real gold mine and learned of the history and geology of Black Hills gold. here was a large display of original gold mining equipment. There was a stamp mill, crushers, winches, Assay Office, Copper and Wilfrey tables and many artifacts.
Placer mining is the retrieval of free-gold from the sand and gravel of the creeeks. This is how the first gold was discovered in the Black Hills. The panning lessons were next to Battle Creek, where gold was originally discovered on historic Reed's Placer Claim during the 1880's.

The Mining Museum is a replica of the Tykcoon Gold Mill built in 1895 on the Big Thunder property.
After that I was on my way to Rapid City, South Dakota. I finally got a phot of the tunnel through the rock. It is pretty awesome!
The road to Rapid City is up even if the picture doesn't look like it!
The scenery is still amazing!
Almost to the top of the climb before the downhill begins. Wheeeeeee!

I stopped in Rockerville, which is an old gold mining town that is no more.

Then it was back into the Black Hills National Forest where there were informational signs that informed me about our forsests and the effects of forest fires.

Then I stopped at Fort Hays...and the set of Kevin Costner's "Dancing With Wolves" and took a few photos.
The scenery is still out of this world!
 It is amazing to realize that 'Hollywood' built this ....
 These sillouttes are cool!
Then I finally got to Rapid City, South Dakota and found out that there are bronze statutes on each corner of downtown of all of our presidents and some native americans.

 Jimmy Carter
 George Washington

 This is a beautiful sculpture.

After seeing a few of the sights in town it was time to stop at the Brew Pub, Firehouse Brewing Company, a restaurant that is said to have the best food, brew and service in the Black Hills!
Tomorrow we are off to the Badlands of South Dakota. We are staying right inside Badlands National Park.

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