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Temple riders take a trip to the Black Hills

Temple riders stop at Martin's Cove on their way to the Black Hills.

Guest Writer

On July 16, San Rafael Temple Riders kicked off the major trip of the summer to the Black Hills by meeting up with other Temple Riders gathered in Vernal, for a temple session. Riders from Wyoming, Colorado, Salt Lake, and Salem joined the San Rafael riders in Vernal. Next day they went their various ways and the group from the San Rafael Chapter, formed a couple of years ago, continued their eight day adventure.

Included in the San Rafael group were Ralph and Loretta Worthen from Ferron, along with their 17 year-old daughter McKayla, who rides her own bike. Cynthia and JJ Grant completed the group. They left Vernal and traveled through beautiful country stopping at Flaming Gorge dam. Within several hundred feet of leaving the dam they encountered a wreck where two passengers of a motorcycle going the opposite direction ran off the barpit on a sharp bend. Although the injured couple was riding with several other bikes, the TRA stopped to lend aid and make the sure the injured riders were taken care of before heading off again, painfully conscious of safety on the road.

The next historical stop was Martin's Cove in Wyoming, where the Worthen's renewed acquaintance with former Ferron residents, the Ridings, as well as visiting with other Temple Riders who were taking time off from their personal interests to serve at the Martin Cove Mission.

Next interest stop was the Devil's Tower, which was America's first national monument, created by President Theodore Roosevelt 1906. The massive monolith rises 1267 above the landscape. Avid rock climbers were spotted clinging to the sides of the igneous tower on their way to the top.

The bikers couldn't resist a quick stop in Sturgis, S. D., where thousands of motorcyclists will be gathering for several weeks in August for the 71st rally.

The next several days found the TRA members exploring the area around Rapid City, S.D. First stop was Deadwood, the historical remnant of the 1876 gold rush begun in the Black Hills. Deadwood included a tour around town and through the cemetery where Wild Bill Hickock was buried along with Calamity Jane, a walk along historic Main Street, the Adams Museum, and a visit with Calamity Jane, recounting the tale of her life in the Old West. The Riders then headed down to Crazy Horse Monument, a massive sculpture begun in 1947 honoring native Americans. The sculpture is continuing to be blasted and chistled out of the South Dakota granite. The motorcyclists went on to Mt. Rushmore where the TRA group enjoyed the evening program and lighting ceremony.

The next day found the TRA going over the narrow, windy road of Iron Mountain with several different views of Mt. Rushmore, then through the Needles, a 14 mile drive through granite outcroppings and the fantastic views of the Black Hills. Custer State Park was next with a ride around the wildlife loop. This included interesting contrasts between the tree-covered mountains and rolling grass land where hundreds of bison freely roam and tempt visitors to stop their cars for a photo shoot. Also spotted on the loop were antelope and a few deer and turkeys.

The final major attraction, as the group began their long journey home, was a tour of Wind Cave, the first cave designated as a National Park in 1903. This cave is noted for its boxwork and frostwork. The cave proved a cooling respite as the Riders continued through the near 100 degree temperatures of the trip. The route home took them over the Continental Divide and into some wonderful mountain scenery through Colorado with a stay in Craig and a walk-through of Steamboat Springs.

Road weary after more than 2,000 miles of hot days and no rain on the road, the San Rafael chapter diverged at Vernal where the Grants headed south and home, and the Worthens went north to visit children and get McKayla to Salt Lake in time to march with Emery High band in the Days of 47 Parade.

The San Rafael Chapter of the TRA invites interested motorcyclists in the area to join in on some shorter rides as the fall season approaches and enjoy the security of traveling with a group and enjoying the magical freedom of seeing the world from the back of a bike. Interested riders can contact Ralph Worthen 384-2317 or JJ Grant 748-2997 to find out the next scheduled rides or to join the TRA.

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