Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 22 - Hot Springs to Rapid City, SD

Today: 75 miles, 5749 feet of climb
Cumulative: 1636 miles, 66174 feet of climb

Entering Mt. Rushmore Memorial

Today was a day to sight see and take pictures. I rode with Jeff and we took our time, covering the mileage at a whopping 14.1 mph.

Speed was not a priority today

Our route was north on US385 through Wind Cave National Park and the Black Hills National Forest. We saw buffalo, pronghorn antelope, and prairie dogs in the park. We missed the elk that other riders saw.

At Wind Cave National Park

Next we went past the Crazy Horse Memorial. It doesn’t look like there has been much progress on Crazy Horse in many years, judging from pictures I’ve seen from a few years ago. But there were lines of cars at the entrance paying $10/head or $27/car to get into the memorial. Someone’s making a lot of money. It’s supposed to be finished in the “mid-21rst century”.

Crazy Horse

After turning east on SD244, we entered Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. About two miles from the park, George’s head popped out at a roadside turnout. Then, we went into the park for the traditional picture in front of all four presidents. I had some culture shock with all the cars and tourists. We haven’t seen much of either for a while.

From SD 244

The route was very hilly today and there were several significant climbs. Probably as impressive as Mt. Rushmore were the rocks in the Black Hills. They tower over you on each side of the road, tall spires and pinnacles of varying shades of gray.

Jeff, Mark K., Joe, with Mark W. in front

We had an early afternoon thunderstorm causing Jeff and I to stop 4 miles from town at a local business. We had to wait about an hour for the thunder, lightning, and rain to subside. Riders still to our west were stuck in a hail storm. Their pictures of the hail look similar to an inch of snow on the ground.

The waterproof camera and rain jacket finally paid off

I can understand why my phone carrier doesn’t have service in Lusk, WY. And I can understand why my carrier doesn’t have service in Hot Springs, SD. But why don’t they have service at Mount Rushmore? There were thousands of tourists there. I asked a local resident about my phone carrier and he said, “Oh, everyone knows their coverage stinks around here.”

Leave it to a Canadian to desecrate one of our National Memorials

It seems we've gone over a hundred cattle guards in the last three weeks

Tomorrow is an easy and flat 57 miles to the town of Wall and Wall Drug Store. We get to sleep in for an extra hour tomorrow. It should be an early finish too.

Some video Jeff shot:

Today’s route:

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