Wednesday, August 4 we started the day in Spearfish with a hardy complimentary breakfast having 68ish miles to ride to Moorcroft. The sky was blue, unlike yesterday, and not even a breeze. We had 13 miles to the Wyoming border and another 20 to Sundance, our halfway point for the day. We had to take I-90, which actually has better shoulders than any of the few available frontage roads. Those 33 miles were all uphill. Even when it appears we're riding down we're riding up. After Sundance, the grade became more gentle and our pace picked up considerably. Approaching Moorcroft, our overnight, I suggested we ride on to Gillette, another 28 miles, but Rosie's parts demanded otherwise.
Shortly after entering Wyoming we found a flyswatter on the road. Yes, we retrieved it. Let's just say it would have been handy starting in Wisconsin where the deer flies were out for blood, in Minnesota where the flies were relentless and in South Dakota where the grasshoppers thought we were on the road for their amusement. So picture this, Rosie has the flyswatter strapped on her bike. We had just arrived at the Cozy Motel in Moorcroft and encountered a guy with similar intent. He saw the flyswatter and said to Rosie, "You're not riding fast enough if you need one of those." We're still laughing.
Our rest stop in Sundance started with a visit to US Forest Service Ranger Station. Thought we'd obtain information on the State and its wildlife. We heard about a bear attack in Yellowstone and I might of mentioned to Rosie that she should keep an eye out for rattle snakes when seeking privacy along the road. I told her to stomp her feet and wave a white towel; that it would scare off the critters. I don't know about the critters, but I'm enjoying it. The ranger wasn't a wealth of information, but she did assure Rosie that we were not in bear country and the rattle snakes shouldn't be a problem. She also told us we would be able to see Devil's Tower from I-90, which we did. Looking for a snack, we stopped at Hey Joe Espresso To Go, a trolley converted into a joe hut. We had a nice chat with Charlie, the owner. Nice lady.
We arrived in Moorcroft and found the Cozy Motel, Deer Haven Bar and Donna's Diner next to each other. A note on the motel's office door instructed seekers of lodging that they'd be back at 5:00 PM. We had time to eat dinner at Donna's and met Don Mercer, a cattle rancher and ex-truck driver. Said as a young man he drove two million miles in five years. He told us about the Powder River Basin, mining and ranching in he area and possible alternate routes. He warned us about the hail storms, that we should purchase a tarp in case we're on the road without cover. He said baseball size hail is not uncommon in these parts. The day we were in Sturgis and it rained Deadwood received 8 inches of hail. Thousands of bikers and their bikes were in harms way.
After cleaning up I suggested to Rosie we go bar hopping. We learned there were four bars in town. We hopped once to the Deer Haven. Elizabeth, the bartendress, soon became our friend. Rosie did her best to drink all the wine in the bar. I might have had a six pack. A unique thing about this bar is it has a drive-up window. We had plenty of fun talking to patrons waiting for their purchase. Liz told us that two riders came through town four years ago and slept in the city park. They used hammocks. Apparently they asked a local authority for permission, but that person failed to tell them the sprinklers came on around midnight. The biggest laugh of the evening came when an old coal miner said he was surprised we were bikers. He said all the bikers he met were skinny.
Thursday, August 5 we had a easy 30 mile ride to Gillette. Had to shorten the day because the next town is Buffalo, which is 68 miles from Gillette. A 98 mile day is not part of our agenda. So here we are in our $160.00 room obtained using our Marriott points. En route we passed by a coal burning power plant. The coal is mined from adjacent hills and conveyed under I-90 to the plant. We considered this a day off with a few miles included.