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Across America North, page 3
Casper WY to Sioux Falls, SD
(Badlands Ride)

current date and time 2008-05-18 | 11:23:10
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Number of Journal Entries online: 9
Day 19�July 07, 2006�REST DAY, Casper, WY
We�ve come a total of 1,319 miles in the past 18 days (an average of 73 miles per day) and on this 9-day leg, we climbed 20,803 cumulative feet, just a hair short of 4 miles. Woohoo! Add that to the 4 miles already climbed and we�ve climbed 2 miles above the normal cruising altitude of a jet. Look up. Marvel.

All were glad to get to Casper for this rest day. Tomorrow most will start the ride with clean and well-tuned bicycles as the motel made available a hose and a big box of cleaning rags. On their day off, riders took in a Casper Rockies Pioneer League baseball game at the nearby stadium, browsed about downtown, enjoyed the nearby DQ, rode the bike trail along the Platte River (the hotel sits on the river), went to some of the interesting museums in the area or went to the planetarium. The Support Staff cleaned and gassed the support vehicles, bought SAG food, redistributed the food and material in the vehicles, welcomed new riders Dave Odell and Lisa Meister, both of whom are ABB returnees, and provided them with rider orientation, bike assembly, and helmet fit basics. At the end of the day, the staff enjoyed dinner together at Red Lobster where they analyzed the ride to date.

Tomorrow we�ll be on the road to Lusk, WY. Come back then and see how the day goes.

posted 2006-07-07 | 19:38:20 | article number: 1

Day 20�July 08, 2006�Casper, WY to Lusk, WY�106 miles�2860�climb
It dawned a perfect day for a 106-mile ride through shadeless plains . . . in the low 80s and overcast in the morning with a slight tailwind, picking up to a stronger tailwind by mid-day and eventually turning to light rain before ride�s end. Those who were wagging the tail of the dog rode through patches of heavy rain, but claimed it only served to keep them cool.

The terrain today was dry and rolling. Again we are in a vast area where you can see forever. . . you don�t see much, but you can see a long way. We�re starting to get into the grassland area that�s a little more interesting than the desert, but we still ride for miles without seeing a living soul outside of passing traffic. If souls are scarce, antelope and cottontails are not. Antelope grazed everywhere on both sides of the road and the rabbits were living up to their reputation as prolific breeders. They were abundant (understatement), both alive and roadkilled. We passed through one prairie dog colony and all the dogs shrilled out their alarm whistle: �Biiiiiii-cyclists! Biiiiiii-cyclists!� I was surprised to see an oil well or two on our route today, too.

Douglas was the only town with services, and many of the riders stopped there for lunch. Douglas is also the home of one of the largest jackalopes ever sighted. Actually, it�s just a statue to honor the mythical animal. It stands about 8 feet tall and overlooks Jackalope Park. A jackalope is a jackrabbit with antlers. I guess they have a lot of these elusive little critters around here. They are very wily, even the statues are wily because several riders missed seeing the statue even though it was 12 feet from the bike lane. Every once in a while, we�ll see little antlers sticking above the sagebrush as they spend the heat of the day in the shade. I�ve never seen one as roadkill though . . . they must be pretty fast, unlike the numerous roadkilled rabbits we saw today who seemed to be a �hare� too slow.

As they did on the day between Riverton and Casper, riders again passed through several tiny towns. In Shawnee, for instance, the post mistress, Amy � who�d been there for 36 years � told us that the town population was 3. We cycled through another town (Lost Springs) that had a population of only 1, at least that�s what the sign said (see photo above), but judging from the size of the bar in this town, I�d say they needed to update their population count. The local bar was a very large two-story building . . . for 1 person? This area adds new meaning to �small town America.�

SS#3 was at the top of a long shallow grade at two picnic tables that appeared out of nowhere. I booked it to get there before the front runners who were bent on getting to the motel to watch the World Cup. When I got there, a border collie ducked under a fence and ran up to the picnic table. Obviously this dog knew that when someone stopped at these two picnic tables, good things were at hand. We named the dog Hoover because it vacuumed up every piece of chip or cookie crumb that fell to the pavement, with the exception of a rotten grape tomato which it nosed about for a bit and then refused. I set out peanut butter and bread and several other new taste treats that won unanimous approval from all (see OOTRT below).

SS#3 was also at the top of a long, shallow, uphill grade and trains of coal cars passed regularly . . . super long trains over a mile long. They sped down the grade empty and labored up the grade laden with coal. Many riders arrived at the SAG winded after racing the slow-moving train up the grade. After Steve and Barb raced the train to the SS, they and Christine determined that the train was moving at 30 or 40 . . . maybe even 50 miles an hour!

After we got to town, we found it full of revelers . . . there was a frontier days celebration going on complete with parade and reenactment of the �Rawhide Legend.�

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �That sandwich was much better than the steak I had for dinner last night.� *** �OOOOooooh, peanut butter and jelly!� *** �This is the BEST SAG Stop evaah!� [Guess who?] *** �If we had that train in Switzerland, the back would be in one station and the front in the next.�

posted 2006-07-09 | 22:32:10 | article number: 2

Day 21�July 09, 2006�Lusk, WY to Hot Springs, SD,�92 miles�3330� climb

Despite the morning drizzle, riders cheerfully donned their rain gear and pushed off for another glorious day on the road. The day seemed to me to be divided into three distinct rides: First, we had rolling hills, rain, and variable wind for 46 miles; then we turned right (south) and had a headwind for 30 miles or so; and then, after the second SS, we began a 4-mile climb and picked up a mild tailwind. Riders had to work a bit today, but the rain, hills, and winds were nothing compared to the vast vistas, blowing grasses, rock outcrops, and general beauty of the route. Sleek black cattle grazed in numbers, horses watched us pass, their manes and tails blowing in the wind, and once again the shoulder and road was littered with roadkilled rabbits. It came to me that there were songbirds but no crows or vultures or other carrion eaters to clean the road of roadkill. Why I wonder? Was it because there were no trees, rock ledges or anything much of height for these birds to perch and nest on, just a sea of grasses? Speaking of birds, Kirk, a fellow birder, spotted a black-headed grosbeak at SS#2.

We bid Wyoming goodbye today at about the 55-mile point, and entered South Dakota, our 4th state � through which we�ll ride for 8 days. The road got narrower in places and we picked up a few more hills, but other than that, the scenery remained vast grasslands bisected by our undulating road until we reached a 4-mile climb at mile 71.5, followed by 2 miles of descent at 6%. At mile 87 riders climbed 1-mile climb to earn a beautiful 3.4 mile descent at 6%. On these climbs we began to see pines.

Again, those interested in following the World Cup (France/Italy) became world class racers. They wanted to and did cover the 92-mile, hilly route fast enough to get to the Hot Springs motel by noon. In contrast, the �scenic� riders, those who take it slow and easy, got to Hot Springs by 4.

Tomorrow we ride through Wind Cave National Park, past the Crazy Horse monument, stop at Mount Rushmore and bed down in Rapid City. It will be a wonderful day to sight see. Tune in tomorrow to learn how it goes.

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: . *** �OOOOooooh, peanut butter and jelly!� ***�I�ll take rain any day over heat.� �I second that.� *** �Boy, they weren�t thinking of cyclists when they laid down those rumble strips when we entered SD.� *** �Despite the rain this was a great day on the bike!�

SHOW & TELL: Don and Steven surprised all when at Route Rap, Steven rode up on an old bike with inverted handlebars and top tube brakes. The story as they told it was that they had gone to view the Mammoth Dig, and on the way home came upon a yard sale offering all in the yard FREE. They immediately requisitioned the old bicycle. Mike reported on the Rawhide Legend Reenactment that he had gone to last night. The story of a boy who shot an Indian maiden (the Chief�s daughter as it turned out) which brought down the wrath of the tribe on the settlers in their circled covered wagons. In order to save what was left of the settlers, the boy gave himself up and was skinned alive. Gruesome legend but one the town has reenacted each year for 70 years.

posted 2006-07-09 | 22:33:31 | article number: 3

Day 22�July 10, 2006�Hot Springs, SD to Rapid City, SD�72 miles�8000� climb
This is one of my favorite days of the ride. Today we left the rolling grasslands and began climbing up into areas of pine and prairie in the cool morning temperatures. Riders had great cloud cover in the form of rain clouds. About 9 am it started to sprinkle and sprinkled very lightly off and on all day long. This, of course, presented riders with a dilemma. �Should I stop and put on my rain jacket?/Should I stop and take off my rain jacket?� Generally while they were pondering this question the rain stopped or started again so it was a bootless question.

Before we got to the tree level, we rode through open range territory in beautiful Wind Cave National Park, a sanctuary for 350 bison � of which we saw. . . 1. This loner at some distance, but it ambled up and over a hill and then through a valley until it was close enough to the road for a fair photo. The other 349 must have remembered us from last year and decided to wait us out before grazing near the road,

We also passed many prairie dog colonies before exiting the park. There were thousands of these appealing rodents standing tall over their dens and yipping at us as we passed. Bison, prairie dogs, deer, elk, Black hills, trees, wide smooth shoulders, Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore memorials . . . sensory overload all day. All in all this day was high on the scale of tough riding day, but this has been one of the most pleasurable days we�ve had on the trip, simply because of all the wildlife and the scenery . . . right up there with the Tetons.

After the SS in Custer, riders came to the Crazy Horse Memorial, and quite a few stopped for the tour of this mountain carving which has been under construction since 1948 � when finished it will be the world�s largest sculpture carved in the round (563 feet high , 641 feet long). Crazy Horse (d. 1877) was war chief of the Oglala Sioux and a prominent leader in the Sioux resistance to white encroachment in the mineral-rich Black Hills. The Black Hills have long been thought sacred by the Sioux. The Treaty of 1868 gave the Black Hills and the rest of SD west of the Missouri River to the Sioux, but when gold was discovered in the 1870s the US government snatched back 6,000 square miles. The monuments of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse illustrate the clash of the two cultures that reside in South Dakota.

Riders had about six miles after CH before climbing to Mount Rushmore. After Rushmore, riders screamed down a 10% slope into Keystone, a tourist trap of the highest order. Mike and Dana rode to the top of a mountain on a ski lift and then boarded a luge and sledded down a chute to the bottom. I was there to take pix, but unfortunately my camera battery died after I snapped them going up in the lift so I got none of their war-whooping descent. Many stopped for buffalo burgers (taste just like chicken) either at the Big Buns Cafe by SS#2 at the foot of the descent in Keystone, or at one of numerous other eateries in Keystone. Some riders also lunched at Mount Rushmore.

The first rider got to the hotel shortly after noon and the last at about 6:15 pm � this because all stopped and took time to eat and sightsee today. Those who were already at the motel, were gathered in the lobby to watch the Tour de France stage that was on OLN.

Riders had a lot of climbing today so had to work hard, but everyone was in great spirits because the scenery was much too beautiful to speed through anyway. Tomorrow we have a short day . . . only 57 miles. We need this relaxing, short day to recover before our two long days into Pierre and Chamberlain, 115 and 95 respectively. Most of our tough climbing is behind us for now. The riders will be thankful. They need a break from the tough days.

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �What is that?� [referring to a multi-level many windowed building high on the cliffs behind SS#2. I found out that �that� is a private home and guesthouse. The home alone must be over 20,000 square feet. The woman who had the house built owns many Keystone properties and businesses, including the wine tasting room and restaurant and the cafe near the SS.] *** �Do we have any more climbing?� *** �What four faces would you choose for a Mount Rushmore of the best athletes in the US? Best musicians?�

posted 2006-07-10 | 23:09:01 | article number: 4

Day 23�July 11, 2006�Rapid City, SD to Wall, SD�57 miles�1300� climb
What a day this has been. Temps in the triple digits, a bridge out requiring a detour, and then 4 miles of fresh tar and oil on I-90. Riders and staff alike had to rise to the occasion and exercise good decision making skills and ingenuity.

The first glitch in the planned route came early in the morning when the lead riders found that the bridge over the I-90 to Hwy 1416 was out. They returned on the service road and met the following group, with whom I was riding. Sara led both groups back to the Interstate, which they used as their detour. In the meantime, I informed the staff and remained at the entrance to I-90 directing the rest of the riders to this detour. Some rode to the next exit and then found Hwy 1416, and others rode I-90 to New Underwood and SS#1, which was set up at Steve�s Superstore and biker bar (see photo above) at mile 24.

After those who were riding Hwy 1416/CR414 passed Ellsworth AFB, it was rock-and-roll all the way. Up and down the rollers they went on this highway that resembles a piece of ribbon candy. Many of the rollers were just too steep or too tall to allow riders to roll down one side and zip up the next, but there were also plenty that allowed for nearly effortless climbing

After SS#1, riders had about a dozen more miles of rock and roll before they got on I-90 (this time a planned part of the route) for 20 miles before exiting at Wall. It was on I-90 that the second route glitch occurred. The lead riders discovered that about 4 miles of I-90 were being freshly tarred and oiled. The shoulder and right lane were closed, and all eastbound traffic had been funneled to the left lane. The lead riders called the staff to inform them of the situation. Then the flag person stopped traffic while these riders rode the left lane. Those who were following were not so fortunate as to be able to ride the lane while traffic was stopped, however. They had to make a decision: 1) ride unsafely on the rumble strips to the left of the left-lane, I-90 traffic as directed by the flag person; 2) ride behind the cones on the new tar and oil; 3) walk their bikes along the shoulder to the right of the newly tarred and oiled lane; or 4) sag. Most made smart and safe decisions and should be commended.

The good news is that all made it to the hotel safely by 2, so had plenty of time to explore Wall Drug, with its rooms and rooms of tourist treasures. Peter even chatted up a saloon girl (see photo above). Note to Peter�s wife: Not to worry, Peter reported that the saloon girl was a bit stiff and standoffish and that she was a dreadful conversationalist.

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �I�ll walk. It isn�t much more than the distance covered on a round of golf.� *** Boy that heat beats me up.� *** �Wow! These rollers are great.� *** �I rode to Wall in the party van. How�d you get there?�

SHOW & TELL: A lone antelope ran alongside of me and then veered off to join about 10 others of its herd. . . they disappeared over a hill, their white rumps, comically visible; several riders hired a car and went south of Wall to see the Badlands soluth of Wall. They reported that the trip was well worth it. The jets thundering out of Ellsworth AFB were worth stopping to watch. Someone tried to count the number of Wall ?Drug signs but lost count in the gadzillions, I think.

posted 2006-07-11 | 23:18:40 | article number: 5

Day 24�July 12, 2006�Wall, SD to Pierre, SD�117 miles�3670� climb
We loaded at 5:15 this morning and scheduled breakfast at the Elkton House Restaurant for 5:30 in anticipation of a long hot day. Several riders had bought food for breakfast so left as soon as they had loaded their luggage. Others ate a quick breakfast at the Elkton House and then took to the road.

Because of the tar and oil yesterday, riders were waylaid with repeated flats this morning. By 9:30 am, I had 117 miles on the van and had made seven wayside stops for water or tire/tube replacement. The route today contained some big rollers and the views were 1000-mile, or so it seemed. The road was edged on both sides by vast hay and wheat fields and rolling tan hills. Very little else. It was over these tan hills that the road repeatedly climbed and descended.

Jim set up the first SAG outside a bowling alley in the small town of Philip. Riders did not tarry. They were off and rolling again in no time in an attempt to beat the heat.

Andy set up SS#2 in a little roadside park. It was beginning to heat up, and a couple of riders decided to sag in from SS#2. Shortly after this SS, riders picked up a pretty good tailwind and smiles began to appear. These smiles lasted only a brief 20 miles, however, before the group turned south and picked up a fierce headwind. They crawled the brief 6 miles to the SS, which had been moved this year to a beautiful, breezy, protected pavilion at a roadside rest area. I carved up three watermelons and every morsel disappeared. So did the ice and water on this triple-digit day�Michelle bought out all the ice and bottled water at two convenience stores, yet the three support vehicles still had to scramble toward the end of the day.

After SS#2, the support vehicles began to take on bikes and riders who wisely knew their limits and decided to call it a day. Many reached this decision at SS#3, so we scrambled the truck and one van to Pierre to offload luggage and riders and to take on water and ice and return to the road. The SAG van was unloaded and it went back to catch the tail. Riders who finished put in 117 miles. The support vehicles each probably doubled that as we ran the line of riders repeatedly doling out water and picking up riders and their bikes.

It was a long day for riders and staff alike. The first riders crossed the deliciously cool looking blue-green Missouri River and reached the motel between 1:30 and 2 while the last riders in reached the motel after 8 pm, having spend more than 14 hours on their bikes. Some sagged in the vans and truck, two went in with the police, and one hitchhiked with two Native American workers who decided to shut down when the heat reached 102-degrees Fahrenheit. But, no matter how they came in, all got in safely and enjoyed a good dinner at the nearby China Buffet, fueling for tomorrow�s 84-mile ride to Chamberlain . . . over terrain very similar to today�s.

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �If you don�t think you can make it in on your bike, you might want to try that international airport across the road [a tiny one-building, two-windsock airport touted as an �international airport and spray service.�] *** �Yeah. On windy days like this the crop dusting is probably international too.� *** �Do we change directions or are we going to have this strong headwind the rest of the way?� *** �We�re going to have it the rest of the way.� *** �If you can�t say anything good then don�t say anything.� ***�I love headwinds, Now I can practice my tuck.�

posted 2006-07-12 | 23:44:58 | article number: 6

Day 25�July 13, 2006�Pierre, SD to Chamberlain, SD�84 miles�3600� climb
This morning after a continental breakfast at the motel or breakfast at adjacent Chickadilly�s (or both), we said a sad farewell to Kathy and to Dan. Dan will return in Sioux Falls, but Kathy is gone for the remainder of the ride. We will miss her. The weather luck was with us again as riders rolled out of the motel under the great cloud cover of a storm that had passed through in the early hours. Most chose to �get out of town� and avoid the traffic by riding a paved trail that runs along the river for several miles and then parallels the original route. In fact much of today�s ride was along the Lewis & Clark Trail next to the wide, deep, blue-green Missouri. The terrainj today was flat to rolling with three sizeable climbs.

I was at the top of one of these climbs, taking photos, when I snapped . . . a stranger. Turned out to be Tom Armstrong, owner, bicycle tour director, and mechanic with Historical Trails Network. He carries riders� luggage in a trailer and all camp along the way. Last night, however, the heat drove them all to a motel in Pierre. Tom takes cyclists on only two routes The Oregon Trail and The Lewis & Clark Trail (backwards). He had 10 riders in this group, one of whom had ridden ABB�s Great Mississippi River Ride with Mike & Barbara Munk.

Our route today took us along the Missouri River all morning, and for the most part we spent a good portion of the day crossing the Crow-Creek Reservation. Throughout the day, we kept getting glimpses of the winding Missouri--which was blue green, studded with flooded tree trunks in places, and wind whipped into whitecaps. The only real change in the scenery over the last couple of days was the River on our right and greener vegetation than we'd been used to lately. Aside from that, I�d give South Dakota the award for having the most roads that seem to ribbon off into nowhere! On the plus side, there is very little traffic on these roads and few trucks. Also, a large section of today's route was smoothly paved and a joy to ride. Today marks the halfway point of the tour. We've been on the road for 25 of our 50 days and have covered approx 1,800 of our total 3610 miles.

I set up SS #2 near the parking lot of the Dakota Mart on the Crow/Creek Reservation. Just across the street was the Crow/Creek Lode-Star Casino. Nary a rider (including Tom�s riders who got mixed with ours for a bit) went in to check the place out�too much cigarette smoking in casinos they all agreed.

Shortly before reaching Chamberlain, riders had two good sized climbs. Later I heard several say they were glad when the day was over. I think yesterday�s heat made them anxious about riding today.

The rest of the ride was again along Hwy 50 above the great Missouri. All told, today was a good day for the riders who were feeling somewhat ragged and anxious after yesterday�s long day and searing heat. The morning cloud cover helped, and though it was humid, temps did not begin to rise until after SS#2 had closed, which meant that most riders got in early and �beat the heat� � which was 102-degrees Fahrenheit when I reached town.

Our motel is on the edge of town overlooking the River and several bridges over it. After Route Rap, we made room in the SAG vans and shuttled all to the Anchor Grill in the downtown area for dinner. Tomorrow we will eat breakfast there before beginning our ride to Mitchell, SD, home of the Corn Palace. Temps are predicted to rise all week, so we are hoping for cloud cover and tailwinds to speed us the 71 miles of the day.

Tomorrow is a short day with only 980 feet of elevation gain followed by another short (72-mile) day with a mere 747 feet of elevation gain�peanuts. If riders get out and in early, they should be able to use these next two days as �recovery� days before their day off in Sioux Falls.

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �My computer seems to be broken. It added 12 miles to the route when I stopped in that little store at the right turn. But, when I came out, I figured it out. While I was in the store, someone must have taken my bike for a spin. Their average speed read 84.5 mph when I checked the computer.� *** Andy: �Well, I guess it�s time to get in the vans and shuttle to dinner.� Abe: �Can we go in alphabetical order?�

SHOW & TELL: Several saw pheasants, and someone reported many road killed snakes on this route. Sarah found a glasses case containing several different lenses. Then at SS#2, one of the Historical Trails riders stopped to chat. The glasses were his! Similar things happened with a camera, a pair of eyeglasses, and one sock. Guess it pays to chat with others.

posted 2006-07-13 | 21:17:12 | article number: 7

Day 26�July 14, 2006�Chamberlain, SD to Mitchell, SD�70 miles�980� climb
We all rode to breakfast at the Anchor Grill in downtown Chamberlain (see photo above). After a hearty breakfast, we took to the road, circling the block to avoid riding up as one-way street the wrong way, and then climbing out of town for 2 miles. Basically that was the end of the climbing for the day.

As predicted, today was a �recovery� day�payback for the previous two tough days when riders faced the 3-Hs: Heat, Hills, & Headwinds. The route was undemanding, wiind was negligible, and we left Chamberlain early enough to take advantage of the cool early morning hours. For the first 36 miles we were on CR 34. I think that only six vehicles passed me (in either direction) for that entire period.

Christine set up the SS today at a little store and motel, ca. 1960, in White Lake at mile 36. Most riders, like me, did not hang around the SS too long. We�d been scorched the two previous days and our memories were still fresh.
Heat wienie that I am, I booked it to avoid being out in the heat of the day. The Wolfpack (Ben, Ron, Peter, Peter, & Ilka) hunted me down twice, catching me the first time at about mile 12 and the second time after the SS at about mile 50.

Today the roadside scenery was corn fields, sunflower fields, one with blooming sunflowers all facing the east sunrise, and fields of hay and wheat. Occasional farms and big interesting farmhouses, too. We�re finally into the crop-growing areas, though the state is in a terrible drought. Severe enough that farmers are selling their cattle because they can�t feed and water them. One farmer that Tim talked to said that they�d had little winter snowfall and only 2 inches of rain for the year.

When riders got to �a-maize-ing� Mitchell, SD, a little corn crazy prairie town (its radio call letters are KORN), they visited the world's one-and-only Corn Palace. The citizens of Mitchell built the first Corn Palace in 1892 when some of the early settlers decided to put some of their harvest on rather than in the concrete reinforced building with its dome and four turrets. Every spring following that, the exterior of the building is completely covered with thousands of bushels of native South Dakota corn, grain, and grasses arranged into large murals. Each color of corn (and they use 11 different color varieties) is grown in separate fields so it won�t cross-pollinate. The Corn Palace serves as a tourist draw, as a huge auditorium for touring celebrities, as a sports arena for the various Kernels teams, and as the locus of Corn Palace Week, the high water mark of Mitchell�s yearly social calendar. Corn Palace Week marks the end of the harvest�and the beginning of planning for next year�s Palace theme. Last year�s theme was �Life on the Farm,� this year�s is �Salute to Rodeo 2006.� (The big Corn Palace Week rodeo is tonight and several riders are going.)

This evening we said good-bye to eight riders whom we will really miss. Our Swiss father/son pair, Franz and Benedikt Roessler; our Maineiacs, Tim & Kathryn Tolford, who plan on being at Rye beach in four weeks for the wheel dipping ceremony; one of our two recumbent riders, Mike Warmbier; Joyce Marino who plans to rejoin the group for the last three days; Dale Crockatt, who plans on finishing his cross country route; and Dave O�Dell whose wife Jill will meet riders for the third year in a row at the Rochester SS with cheesecake.

Tune in again tomorrow and see how the day goes. I know that riders are a bit road weary and really looking forward to their day off.

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �I feel as though I�ve been roasting on a spit.� *** �I don�t have enough saliva to spit.� �Thank you for this great short day with no headwinds!�

SHOW & TELL: Sarah Reported seeing a flock of wild turkeys and their chicks; many of us saw pheasants flying across the road, walking in the fields, or as roadkill; Abe reported that the rumor that he doesn�t know butt butter from sunscreen is (almost) totally false.

posted 2006-07-14 | 22:22:03 | article number: 8

Day 27�July 15, 2006�Mitchell, SD to Sioux Falls, SD�72 miles�747� climb
We were all set to load at 6:45 this morning but someone heard that temps were supposed to reach 110 in Sioux Falls and winds were supposed to blast out of the south at 30 mph . . . so we decided to load half an hour earlier (6:15 am) to allow riders an earlier start. Some were so anxious to beat the heat that they left before breakfast, with me close on their wheels.

Having staffed this ride twice before, I knew exactly where riders traditionally missed turns. Sure enuff, at mile 11.6, despite a big bold DON�T MISS!! on the route sheet, arrows on the road, my van parked at the intersection with me out of it taking pictures and talking to another rider . . . two riders sailed past oblivious. We had to shout to get their attention and turn them around. I hustled to the next oft missed turn at mile 24.1. Had just enough time to grab a cup of coffee, mark the road in three places, and park the van at the intersection, before the first riders went by . . . and bye-bye right past the turn, durn! Wonder how some of these riders would do on a self-guided tour?

Because I�ve staffed the ride before, some of it seems like Groundhog Day . . . the SS in Canistota was one of these days. Again, people everywhere building their floats for the annual big Sports Day Parade, big wind and dust in the only place available for the SAG, high traffic at the little corner grocery behind which we set up, riders sailing past in all the confusion, not seeing the Little SAG Stop under the Big Grain Elevators (see photo above).

Cyclists rode through a couple of sunflower fields and many soy bean fields but mostly the order of the day was cornfield after cornfield (see photo above), the houses few and far between and sitting like small treed islands in a sea of corn. There were only a couple of very small towns along the route. The cornfields in this part of the country are filled with pheasants. We saw many today . . . and yesterday . . . and the day before.

Well, the temp never did reach 110 (thank heavens). It bottomed out at 99F and the south wind at 20 mph, but it was still a tough day for those bringing up the tail who ended up out in the sun and wind until 2 pm. All were very pleased to have a day off.

Tomorrow we will welcome three new riders who will ride the Northern Tier Tour�Sioux Falls to Niagara Falls: Larry Swartz, a veteran ABB-er who is riding a leg a year on his Bachetta recumbent; Catherine Cooley from Hamburtg, NY; and John Shea from Silver Spring, MD.

OVERHEARD ON THE ROAD TODAY: *** �Out here they have a name for wind . . . but I�m too polite to say it.� *** �The wind is so strong, I�m sure the SPCA issue a small dog warning today.� *** �This day beat me up. I think it�s the cumulative toll.� *** �Hoorah for rest days!�

SHOW & TELL: Stu, Abe, Lois, & Annie have named themselves in honor of their usual Lanterne Rouge position in the riding pecking order. This evening they revealed their team tees, the back of which proudly proclaims them �The Final Four� in 3-inch letters.

posted 2006-07-15 | 19:11:57 | article number: 9

Back to Page 1 Astoria, OR to Boise, ID (The Northwestern Tour)
Back to Page 2 Boise, ID to Casper, WY (The Northern Rockies Ride)
On to Page 4 Sioux Falls, SD to Niagara Falls, NY (Northern Tier Tour)
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America By Bicycle - Fully Supported Bicycle Tours. --bicycle bike touring cross-country adventure dream cycling--

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