View Full Version : Day 1 / Roadtrip to NatSTOC V / Spearfish, SD

07-14-2010, 05:42 PM
I've never had an opportunity to attend a NatSTOC (http://www.st-owners.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68423) event, so I decided this would be my year to go. My original plan was to just take the interstate and major secondary roads all the way up to Spearfish, South Dakota and rendezvous with 50+ of my fellow ST-OWNERS.COM (http://www.st-owners.com/) members for a weekend rally. Two days before my departure Kim decided she would like to go with me, so we made an impromptu 5 day road trip out of it via some of the best back roads along the way and avoided as much interstate highway as possible.

Day 1 / July 7, 2010 / McKinney, TX to Prairie Dog State Park (http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/State-Parks/Locations/Prairie-Dog), KS / 622 Miles

With the bike all gassed up and packed for 5 days of camping, we set off at 6:45 AM hoping to beat the heat of Texas and Oklahoma. Our goal was to make it to Kansas and then decide which of two preplanned stopping points we could reach by nightfall. The first stop was 493 miles and the second was 622 miles. Our goal was to make it to Prairie Dog State Park at 622 miles that way would have less distance to travel to the rally location in South Dakota the next day. We did not know what to expect of this park. After viewing some photos on the web, it looked wind swept and it had a railroad line running right near it. However this was an optimum location for us to stop because it got us pretty north into Kansas.

We had a very uneventful ride through Denton, TX and then up I-35 past Oklahoma City and the Kansas state line. From here we dropped off onto US 81 in Kansas and this began a very pleasant and surprising ride through some wonderful Kansas farmland.

While taking a rest in Oklahoma, we met this BMW K1200 rider from Nebraska. He was on his way to Alaska via Frisco, Texas. Talk about the Long Way Round!

If you ever need a truck fixed in Oklahoma, these guys can do it for you!

From US 81 we eventually made our way to Hwy 14. One of the things Kim and I immediately started to notice was this part of Kansas was nothing like what we expected it to look like. What we found was lush green rolling farmland and roads that were scenic in their own way. We were even surprised Kansas has lots of trees. Our preconceived stereotypes of this state were quickly fading away. Farming is king in the part of the country and everywhere you looked you could tell life was simple here.



We stopped for lunch at the Fence Post in Harper, Kansas. I have to admit, we were not sure what this place would be like inside. The sign on the outside of the building said "Supper Club and Lounge". Not having a lot of choices in Harper, we decided to go for it. The inside looked more like a bar than a restaurant. If we had shown up on a Friday night we could have enjoyed a game of Texas hold'em and a cold beverage. The lunch crowd was all locals and Kim and I looked out of place in our space age riding suits. Everyone had friendly smiles on their faces though and our burgers were pretty good and hit the spot.


Food was good, but they really need to invest in some new upholstery.

Kim said the ladies restroom was the nicest part of the building.

After lunch we wound our way through the countryside past Wilson Lake State Park just off of I-70. This was our alternate stop for the day. This looked like a really great place to camp on a future trip, but today we wanted to get as far north as possible.



Wind farm off I-70


Wilson Lake State Park

From Wilson Lake State Park, we made our way to Hwy 18 and then north onto Hwy 9 which turned out to be a great scenic road with lots of sweeping turns. We were making good time and up to this point the weather was perfect. We had not seen any rain and the temps were in the low 80's all day.

Since we were camping, we decided to eat before we got into the state park and we stoped for some sandwiches at The Chubby Pickle. I really should have known this place was not going to be great just by the name. Iím pretty picky about how my sandwiches are made and this place just did not cut the mustard. As a matter of fact. I asked for mustard on my sandwich, but I got mayonnaise instead. I really hate mayonnaise!


With both of us fed, we set off to find the campground off of US Hwy 36. We arrived after the ranger station was closed and deposited our twelve dollars into the night drop. The park has two separate camping locations, so we drove around first to find the best spot to settle down for the night. We chose a nice quiet location down near the lake with no other campers around us. As a matter of fact, I think we might have been the only tent campers in the whole park. I set up our tent and Kim started to get the campfire going. For those that don't know, Kim can start a campfire in any weather, so she is the official fire starter during any camp out.

Earlier I had mentioned we did not know what to expect with this park. What we found was a very quiet park with great facilities, trees and meadows. What we did not find were prairie dog's as the name suggests. However, we did see quite a few rabbits, so we think they should rename the park to Rabbit State Park.

With camp setup, we had a cup of coffee and a snack by the fire and enjoyed a nice quiet evening after a great day of riding. Kim had never ridden 622 miles in one day before and I have to say she did great. Little did she know a longer day was still yet to come!




All day one photos can be found HERE (http://pkac.smugmug.com/NatSTOC-V/Day-1-July-7-2010/12905614_5MoH4#932338922_kxu2s).

To be continued.

07-14-2010, 11:08 PM
Thanks for sharing. Looks like a very nice campground. Keep it safe.

07-16-2010, 05:47 PM
Hope you got the same great overnight rate at Wilson Lake that Mellow and I got...:rolleyes: