I left Wisconsin full of energy. I had left my job and loaded my bike and all my gear in the back of the van and said my goodbyes...I had started my journey.
U.S. Route 90 is not the most extravagant road ever created, it passes through corn field after corn field with no elevation changes and no curves. It didn’t help that I was driving at a blistering 60mph to try and save gas (I have passed two people on my trip so far, and both were exhilarating), regardless the 11 hours was necessary but dull.
When I arrived in the Badlands I purchased the annual National Park pass for $80 bucks and rode the inner drive in the van, stopping at the lookouts, taking photos and doing some hiking to get away from the crowds.
There were wild rams and buffalo roaming the open plains, gorgeous views around every corner and about four billon baggers from Sturgis revving the living shit out of their “hogs”. The day ended with a massive hail storm that cracked my driver side mirror, but the aftermath was pretty priceless.
I camped out of the van on one of the less traveled gravel roads and watched the storms off in the distance before I climbed into the back to crash. It was an excellent day.
The next day greeted me with some low hanging storm clouds that I thought may ruin my plans to ride, but by 9 they had pushed east. I found a good place to unload the bandit and started to prep. I got all my gear ready: my Gopro mounted, my b-camera tucked under the seat and the Bandit started. There was some gas that had made its way into the carbs from being towed and shaken about in the van. I dried it out and took off.
It was a beautiful day to ride, 70 degrees with a nice morning chill still in the air. I started heading east on the inner drive, winding across some hairpins and down past the yellow mounds. There’s a road at the bottom of this section called Conata Basin that leads to some of the primitive campgrounds, but those who find it know what it’s really for...It’s empty and there’s a generous straight away before asphalt turns to gravel, the bandit flexed its muscles here and let’s just say there were some triple digits and neck strain involved.
Eventually you progress up the ridges as you ascend out of the twisties and into the flat grasslands, this was my favorite part of the ride. There are gentle twists and long sweeping straightaways with expansive views down the cliffs, I got to open the throttle, relax and enjoy some of the scenery. Highway speeds on this two lane road felt fast and comfortable and balanced...the Bandit was really shining!
A few trips back and forth left me feeling pretty proud and happy that some of my original visions of this trip were starting to unfold. I cooled down the bike and loaded it back into the van, tied it down and got out of there as the roads were starting to get congested and ruined once again by Sturgis riders.
Where to next? I have some sunshine in front of me and the Bandit patiently sits in back awaiting its next open road as I travel West towards Yellowstone.
Dan Feidt is the creator of Chase The Wild Air, he’s currently living out of his adventure-mobile with his motorcycle and traveling the U.S. – To see more visit ChaseTheWildAir.com or follow along on Instagram @chasethewildair