Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 23 - Rapid City to Wall, SD

Today: 57 miles, 1933 feet of climb
Cumulative: 1693 miles, 68107 feet of climb

These pictures, courtesy of Mike Munk and the official ABB site, were taken 90 minutes after the hail storm yesterday

Our ride to Wall was a fairly easy 57 miles today. The route was due east on roads paralleling Interstate 90 for 36 miles before entering the freeway for another 20 miles to town. We covered the distance in 3 hours ten minutes of riding time for an 18.1mph average.

An early morning roller coaster ride

The roads roller coastered up and down all morning until we got on the interstate. These were the kind of rollers where you cannot use your momentum to get to the top of the next rise. So we were playing all day coasting the downhills while getting out of the saddle to power up the uphills. A bit of tailwind helped us along the way.

More rollers later in the morning

The 20 miles on I-90 were a lot of fun too. There was a downhill of about 4 miles at 3% that only required us to get in the tuck position and coast. Next was a long uphill at just the right grade to be able to cruise up, though we had to stay to the extreme right side of the shoulder to avoid an area where workers had tarred the expansion joints in the road. We are fairly comfortable with interstate riding by now, since there is less traffic out here than to the eastern part of the country. Also there is generally a wide shoulder to the right of the rumble strip. Team Gelding, five strong, rode together again on Day 23.

A view to our left before getting to the interstate highway

For some reason the grasshoppers were out today in force. They were all over the road and hopped when you rode by. A couple of them landed on my legs and wanted to stay, but I wasn’t having any free passengers on my bike.

Bruno and Daniel (from Switzerland) exit the freeway

We got into town very early, before noon, despite a leisurely breakfast and a late 8AM luggage load. So this afternoon it was time for a bit of laundry, lunch at Subway, and a trip to Wall Drug Store.

The ABB staff (Karen and Mike) go to great lengths to keep us happy

Wall Drug is an institution out here, similar to South of The Border on the east coast. There are billboards for Wall’s hundreds of miles away. A guy named Ted Hustead bought the original drugstore in 1929 and business was bad. In 1936 his wife came up with the idea of placing Burma Shave style signs on the highway offering free ice water. Of course in those days there was neither air conditioning nor the convenience stores we have today. Business was immediate and by the next summer the Hustead’s had to hire eight people to staff the store. Now on a good summer day, the store draws twenty thousand people. It’s got a lot of touristy souvenirs and other kitschy stuff, but is fun to go to and they still offer free ice water, five cent coffee, and free coffee and donuts to veterans and newlyweds.

Wall Drug Store in downtown Wall, SD

It’s been a good day in Wall made all the better by our Econolodge hotel. Clean rooms, hot water, one of the faster Internet connections we’ve had, rooms ready at noon, a Laundromat only one block away, and one of the largest TV remotes I’ve ever seen. And I even have cell phone coverage.

I've never seen a remote this big

Time to head out for rap, get the chain on my bike cleaned and lubed, have dinner, and rest up for tomorrow. It looks to be a tough day at 117 miles with warm temperatures and a possible headwind. It may be a late post tomorrow.

Jeff, Joe and Dave at SAG1

Today’s route:

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