Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 21 - Lusk, WY to Hot Springs, SD

Today: 92 miles, 2532 feet of climb
Cumulative: 1561 miles, 60425 feet of climb

South Dakota line

Hello from South Dakota. We entered our fourth state today at mile 56.

Morning scenery in Eastern Wyoming and Western South Dakota

The sagebrush and scrub we saw yesterday morning gave way to grassland prairie this morning. The migrants heading west in the 1840’s said it best: “Vast seas of grass as far as the eye can see”. Still true today, though there is only one fourth of the 500 million acres of grassland there was then.

Our route today was north on US 18/85 and then east on US18. We passed through Oglala National Grassland after entering South Dakota. 92 miles is a good ride in anyone’s book. But after the last two rides of 120 and 106 miles, it did seem like a “shorter” day.

Evergreen trees after our 4 miles climb. About mile 75
Then, about 20 miles from Hot Springs we had a 4 mile, one thousand foot climb. Once over the top, the grassland prairies gave way to a forest of evergreen trees. It was unusual to see so many trees after the last several days of vast open spaces.

Leftover pizza at SAG 1. Delicious.

We are starting to see afternoon thunderstorms as we get further east. We’re paying more attention to the weather forecast and it pays to finish early, though there were only a few sprinkles of rain this afternoon.
Day 21's peleton - Mark K., Joe, Mark W., Alex, Dave, Jeff

Alex rode with Team Gelding today. She’s a very good rider and took her share of pulls at the front of the pace line. Alex, you can ride with us anytime you want.

Alex and Jeff summit our last climb before the steep descent into Hot Springs

Tomorrow is a big day in terms of scenery and effort. It is supposed to be the second hardest day of riding. Though only about 75 miles, there is over 5000 feet of climbing. We’ll be passing through Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Crazy Horse Memorial. Hopefully, I’ll have some good picture opportunities tomorrow.

Today’s route:

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