Day 3 is planned as a light travel day on account that Val and I want to do a little shopping and ride the train from Hill City to Keystone and back. The thought is to do a little shopping in Hill City, ride the train with Fuzzy and Linda to Keystone to do a little more shopping, then return to Hill City. Given that we were not due to ride the train until the afternoon, a ride down Nemo Road to 385 with Peg and Kathy in the early AM seems in order. The original plan for the morning was to ride to Sturgis, then to Spearfish and the Canyon, then south on 385 to Hill City. However, when Peg said he and Kath were headed to Deadwood, I thought that riding with them would be even better. I was right.
Nemo Road is an awesome ride through the hills and valleys between Rapid City (starting at the very western end of Main Street) and the Boondocks. The boondocks is a 50's style drive in with the old cars and ambiance of the original eat-outside restaurant. Peg and Kathy pose for us to mark the occasion. From the Boondocks, Peg and Kathy were headed up to the devil's tower. I would have to continue with Peg and Kathy, but we had told Fuzzy we would meet them in Hill City for the train ride. There just isn't enough time in a day to do everything.
On the way to Hill City we stop at the Bluewing Recreational Area on Sheridan Lake just off 385. It was really tranquil there in the shade next to the Lake. We just sat there for a bit talking about about the trip and enjoying the moment.
Once we got into Hill City, we parked in the train station parking lot and buy our ride tickets to Keystone. We then look for Fuzzy and Linda but do not find them nor their bikes. We wonder what happened and go into town to do the first bit of shopping. We needed to pick up a few items for our girls for taking care of the yard work and chores while we were away, something for my Sister for watching the girls for a 11 days, and something for my mother in law for watching the girls for two days. Who knows, maybe we'll find something for us too. Black Hills gold and other sparkly trinkets are always acceptable gifts for our targeted loved ones.
In boarding the train, we get onto the oldest card on the train. It was beautifully restored with stained glass and walnut trim. It is warm, but once the train starts to lumber down the train, a steady breeze passes over us and we cool down to a reasonable comfort.
The railroad crosses the Old Hill City Road and feeder roads 19 times between Hill City and Keystone. Gauging by the breakneck speed we were being hurled down the tracks (at least 10 MPH), taking the Old Hill City Road by scooter would have been a whole lot faster. However, it would not been as nearly as enchanting. We saw great views of Mt. Kearney, Battle Creek and various animals (deer, turkey, dogs, cows, horses, chickens, etc...). At one point we came to a very sudden stop (all breaks locked). It appears as though the local steer herd wondered onto the tracks. Fortunately, no beef patties were made on this trip.
When we get into Keystone, we discover that we can only get off the train for 10 minutes. In order to stay in Keystone, we would have has to buy two separate tickets with the return time specified on the second ticket. It would have been nice if we were told this we we bought the tickets.
When we got back to Hill City, we found Fuzzy and Linda's bikes in the parking lot, then found them boarding the next train. Fuzzy and Linda had a rough day with bikes and the dealership which caused them to get delayed and miss our train. But at least we now new where they were and where they would be in two hours. We decide to stay in Hill City and wait for them to return. What does this mean? One thing: more shopping :-) We also hit the road for a pie of no sugar added rhubarb pie ala mode at the Purple Pie Palace in Custer and also visit Jewel Cave National Monument before they make it back from Keystone.
We arrive back in town just as the train arrives to the station. We talk Fuzzy into checking out some things in town, then ride back to Rapid City to have dinner at Minerva's (where Val and I enjoyed a splendid evening the night before). The food was good, but the service in no way compared to our previous experience. The night before, Val and I were treated like royalty. This evening the waitress was clearly out of her depth. The only positives were the food and the extra time we were able to spend with the Fuzz and Linda. Toward the close of the evening, everyone was wishing we lived closer together so that we could enjoy each others company more often.
Now this was a day to remember Val says. Beautiful alpine lakes , train rides, jewelry purchased, pie ala mode, jewels in cave, dinner with two of the most interesting people on earth, and good company with each other all day long. Day 4 will have a lot to live up to.