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Saturday, July 31, 2010

South Dakota - updated

Monday, July 26 we left our Becker Resort digs after finishing left over pizza. I drank the remaining two beers. Before you think me crazy, just consider it an "E-Fuel".  It was eight miles to the SD border and 28 to Brookings, the first town.

There was a mile long climb leaving Lake Benton. The road was bordered by windmills. It was early in the morning and we were close enough to the windmills to hear them whooshing. As I took pictures Rosie rode ahead eventually reaching the top of a hill looking over the border of MN and SD. It was downhill to the border.

Arriving in Brookings, we had breakfast at Perkins. Perkins is high on our list because we've found the staff friendly and helpful. They also have fast WI-FI and more importantly pie.

Our goal for the day was Lake Preston where we found the Lake Preston Motel and Bait Shop. The price was right and they had beer in the Bait Shop. Toni (Boss), Brent (Boss Too), Mark (Three Sheets), Paul (Bad Back), Brian (AllState), Kevin (Suds), and Luke (The Kid) avoided the hot sun sitting in a car port. They made our stay a joy and provided a wealth of information helping me decide what route to take across SD and beyond. The people we meet on this ride mean more than anything else. It was a pleasure meeting the LPM Crew.

Tuesday, July 27 we left the LPM with the intent to ride to Woonsocket. En route we stopped at the Blue Country Foods Diner in Iroquois to fill the void.  About 1430 we arrived in Huron, our last stop before our over night town. A quick stop at Walmart, one of few out this way, resulted in a change of plans. I called the two motels in Woonsocket without responses. Not having confirmation and hearing thunder storms were imminent we opted for the local comforts at Comfort Inn.  The digs were great, a free breakfast, and a great steak dinner at the Prime Time. We avoided potential tornadoes. There was a report of a nine pound 18.5" round hunk of hail south of us, the direction we were eventually heading. It was in a town called Vivian. Just think if the town was called Mary?

Wednesday, July 28 we literally flew down the road to Plankington. We were averaging 20 mph. The day was 25 degrees cooler and we had a tail wind.  About the only time we stopped was at Rosie's urging. The 59 mile trip ended at the Plank Inn, had a nice lunch and found Gordy's Campground for the evening. Ending our day early made for a long day in camp. Gordy's was spartan and Rosie preferred to use the men's showers. Something about the she-side didn't meet her standards. For dinner I forged, returning with beans, mac salad, a two bean salad, chocolate milk and beer. Rosie rolled her eyes enough to make room for her spoon to reach her mouth.  All was consumed accept for one beer.

Thursday, July 29 we learned that just beyond a dense tree line was another more modern campground and a restaurant. I've got to train Rosie to be a better scout. Rosie's night was restless given the bugs and her thoughts of bowling ball size hail. So, I promised her a good breakfast, hoping our first town out had a diner. Fifteen miles later we found Jacki's in White Lake. The pancakes were at least 10 inches wide. I had the standard and eggs and et al. We learned thunder storms were on the way and as we were leaving town they had arrived. We rode in the rain for the next 45 miles. We spent most of the day on secondary roads, but had to ride on I-90 after Chamberlain, down a steep 2 mile hill and up a 3 mile hill and exited after 15 miles at Reliance where we had clear sailing to Kennebec. I had booked a KOA in Kennebec, but upon arrival Rosie pointed at the King's Inn and said she was staying there. The KING must make an executive decision. Mama told me there would be days like this.  Bob and Vicki, the owner's, treated us royally and the digs were top notch. We even had a King bed. We were able to dry out our gear, wash our clothes, update the blog and I worked on the bikes in the morning. We had a great dinner at the Hot Rod Steakhouse. It was a 76 mile day.

Friday, July 30 I first worked on the bikes and found things had loosened up a bit. After snugging parts we made our way ten miles down the road to Hutch's for breakfast.  We had a short day to Murdo, only 44 miles so we had a late start. This put us in the heat of the day. Not like the day before, the temp was 90+ before considering the index. We rode on probably the worst roads since we started the trip and on top of that there were thousands of grasshoppers bouncing of bike and body. Rosie, she doesn't like them. When the gritters jumped through our spokes it was as if they were plucking them. I called it a Hops-A-Cord. We first had milkshakes at the GTO Cafe for $8.00. No, they were not anything special. I called around for lodging and we ended up at a Super 8 next to the cafe. Never thought I'd say Super 8 was a bit of heaven.  The elevation is 2,280 ft. We climbed all day.

Saturday, July 31 we had the Super 8 complimentary vittles and got on the road early thinking we had a 71 mile day ahead of us. We rode the old road parallel to I-90 until Cactus Flats where it ended. We rode the last 22 on I-90. The old road was rolling and left mostly to us. We had pie and a beverage in Kadoka after 42 miles. The day started cool, but quickly changed to 100+. We learned our maps lied to us by a gas station attendant in Belvadere. That was for the democrats following this blog. We ended up having to ride 83 miles, the last mile uphill to Wall. You could say we hit the wall.  Rosie is drinking heavily right now. Did I mention, she started drinking beer on this ride and is now less bashful when having to find a bush.  There are no bushes in the grasslands of South Dakota. BTW, imagine hundreds of grasshoppers jumping about while in the tall grass.

Sunday, August 1 we left Wall after fueling up at the hotel. We met a couple during breakfast. They were touring the west on their handicap bike, that's a bike with a motor. They were from MN. The husband had a bruise under his left eye. As we were commenting on the grasshoppers, he pointed to his eye.  Said he took one head on at 80 mph. Taking a hit at 20 mph isn't the same to say the least. 

There are no frontage roads from Wall to New Underwood so we were on I-90 for 33 miles. Had a great shoulder until after Wasta. After that the rumbles were several more feet further into the shoulder giving us about two feet to ride on. We only had a 52 mile day, but considering the head winds and shrinking shoulder we elected to take the Old 14/16/frontage road from New Underwood.  The road closely followed the interstate, at times we felt we were still on it accept I was riding in the middle of the road. Now we had rolling hills instead of the gentle grades of I-90. We took a break in New Underwood, visiting Steve's Biker Bar touted as the smallest biker bar in the world. It was a gimmick to get people to stop at his real big store next door. Nonetheless, we got our picture. From there we had 20 miles left for the day, if our map didn't lie to us again. As we got closer to Rapid City the Black Hills came into view. Rosie was none to happy with the thought of riding over those. We could cut the angle off and ride up to Spearfish on secondary roads, which would be very pretty and hilly, plus not many services for cyclists. Therefore, I'm thinking of the round about way. The day ended at 54 miles. There is an Outback nearby. I think Rosie is already there.

Here is an interesting aspect to I-90 in South Dakota, the rest areas are always next to the exit ramps to towns.  Give it some thought and tell me why you think they do this. Send your response to

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