Ride Day #7- For The Long Haul on the #acaLewisClark Cycling Tour
We awoke to find accommodations sparse out here in the west. It seems that they take camping a bit more seriously than is done in the east and south. Just a bit more. Every campsite is booked because of the upcoming July 4th vacations. A state park ranger mentioned that because the holiday falls in the middle of the week that there would be fewer people using the parks. That would be like saying there would normally be 20,000 people but now there’s only 10,000.
South Dakota state parks are really great. Beyond GREAT. They always have a camping site with electricity, water (either well or tap) and showers! And as we found out today certain of them have youth group shelters and pricing. What do you think of staying the night at a 5 star campsite for $4?
Yesterday’s ride was mine and Suepinda’s longest EVER. It was a full on 85.53 miles and during the last 15 the sun came from behind the clouds which had been protecting us all day. I can’t tell you how draining it is to have the sun beating down on you while riding but it makes you want to go to sleep. Because I was busy preparing Jeimy to make calls throughout the day to various campsites and churches I got left by the cyclists. When I went to get my bike they were gone. Now normally, that would strike fear in a person but the van was still there. So, I helped reconnect the trailer and asked which direction they went. 50W.
The town of Chamberlain, SD is in the river basin so we had to climb out. Climbing hills is a thing I like to do in a group because there are people who would challenge you to be your best while you’re challenging others to do the same. Riding alone, I only had myself as the challenger and already carrying the stress of finding accommodations I wasn’t up for the ride. Not to mention the fact that because I was so busy I didn’t get breakfast. So, the first hill was a problem but I was determined to catch up with the group.
Once I realized how much I was carrying and how heavy it was I dropped it and began smiling. This seriously lightened the load and the ride became easier. I came upon one of the many road construction operations and this one had a pilot car which meant that it was a one way road and the pilot car was already turning around to take the single truck with boat in tow down thru the construction area. I’d better hurry. As I passed the Flagwoman (99% of the flagmen in SD are women) she kindly cautioned me to be careful of the trucks. Thinking that I may not make it behind the pilot car but hoping that I would.
I was using everything I could to my advantage to catch up with the team so downhills were my ally. But this downhill was not paved so I hit it as fast as I could at 28 mph. It was an exhilarating ride because of the gravel, the large trucks and the grade of the hill. Now I could see Bob’s blinking light in the distance. Still some 3 miles away climbing another hill. All said, I eventually caught them after I climbed out of the river basin and was above the valley. They were surprised to see me.
We had many hills after that two in particular where Bob and I rode together and gleefully hit the hill as fast as we could. 44 mph was our max. Later I bested that by 6 mph on a wonderfully long and steep downhill with Suepinda and Kate. Suepinda stopped at 40 and I hit 50.2. Sorry, Bob.
Passing thru the reservations and the town of Fort Thompson we encountered people for the first time. Many came to speak with us and offer well wishes. The first was an older gentleman by the name of Ron. He told me of his mixed heritage and how his father didn’t want him growing up on the reservation. How he wasn’t accepted in the white school and how on the reservation he was considered a half-breed. A former marine, he had tours in Korea and the pacific islands. He was in his 70’s by accounts. When he hears Suepinda’s name he dubbed her Sioux Pinda. She liked that. She is now an honorary Sioux. Mitakuye Oyasin.
Along the way we saw cows, bulls (Bob saw two bulls mating. What luck 😦 ). goats on a trapeze and lots of dead snakes and other critters on the road. Speaking of found on road dead (FORD) items, Itza and I have begun collecting them. Collecting the “not formally alive” kind. It started with my white bandana that I use as a weather vane. It tells me the direction of the crosswinds, when we’re riding perfectly with the wind (it goes limp) and an overall eye-catcher for motorists. Then Bob picked up a stuffed lion toy, I found a Shrek toy in the baby donkey dragon. Itza found a sleepy eyed something in a nightcap and lastly I picked up yesterday a Stanley level (in good condition) and a toy buffalo.
We finished the ride in Pierre, SD (pronounced Pier) and stayed the night at Farm Island Recreation Area on the Missouri River for $4. You can’t beat that.
I was whipped. The day was 6hrs 33mins and 57secs long. We ate then went to sleep. This morning was the first time we encountered dew on the tents. We must be moving north. Yea, north South Dakota. Much more different than the south of South Dakota.