The motorcycles passed by as I was stopped for yet another photo session on the Needles Highway in Custer State Park. Both bikes were, let’s call them, sizable. The rust-colored bike was even towing a trailer. When I looped around the hairpin turn at Cathedral Spires and pulled into one of the spaces near the trailhead, the bikes were there. There were a few other cars so I started to play one of my new favorite games: match the people in the area with the vehicles in the lot. After going a short way down the trail to snap a few photos, I hurried back to see the vehicles and their owners match up.
I had pegged the two middle-aged white guys with huge cameras as the bikers. They were not. Even when you make a game up, doesn’t mean you’ll be very good at it. They were driving the little pischer blue car that my little pischer black faux-SUV could crush. Instead, the couple with the tiny dog was suiting back up by the bikes. I asked where the dog rides. “Right behind me,” the woman told me. She lifted a jacket to reveal a dog carrier that was hooked, very securely, to the seat.
The Dayes rode their bikes to South Dakota from Miami. Their dog, Taz–”as in the Tasmanian Devil,” Kirsten Daye said–had been along for the ride the whole way. No need to worry about Taz’s welfare: Charlie is a retired Miami Police Sergeant who worked in the Animal Services Unit–and he’s also the former star of Animal Planet’s Miami Animal Police. And once Charlie carefully slipped Taz’s goggles past his ears and gently guided them into place over his eyes, the dog was ready to ride. No bones about it.