Big Ride Update: Days 19-20
Yesterday we rode 81 miles from Newcastle, Wyoming to Rapid City, South Dakota and for most of the ride it seemed that, after three very challenging days, we had finally been granted a reprieve. We biked smoothly out of Wyoming, past the Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail and into the Black Hills of South Dakota. There was some climbing but the wind did not impede us and after stopping for lunch in Custer we had a beautiful ride through Custer State Park, including an exhilarating 15+mile descent. All remained good until about 62 miles in when we made a left onto Route 79 and suddenly a vicious headwind rose up and would not abate until we reached Rapid City. It was like wrestling an alligator all the way into camp.
We are staying at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City and today Saturday was a much-needed day off. We rented a van and drove in two shifts to Mount Rushmore and otherwise just recovered. Tomorrow we ride 102 miles from Rapid City to Kadoka, South Dakota.
Leaving Newcastle, Wyoming. We slept 400 yards from this oil refinery.
The Cheyenne to Deadwood Trail. After news of gold in the Black Hills spread following Custer’s 1874 military expedition, people rushed to the Hills from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Deadwood, South Dakota. It was 300 miles and the journey could take from 30 hours to 72 hours, depending on the weather.
Entering South Dakota, our fifth state.
Black Hills National Forest. This is a beautiful area, still claimed by the Sioux Indians as their land.
The town of Custer, one of the major encampments of General Custer’s original 1874 expedition that discovered gold in the Black Hills.
Custer State Park and Wildlife Reserve. We did not see one of the 1500 free roaming bison in the park but it was still enchanting– and almost all downhill.
Big Rider Steve Lindbeck makes us all smile at a check-in past Custer State Park with tufts of hair sticking through his helmet. We were also smiling because none of us knew what lay ahead.
A typical highway billboard.
Entering Rapid City. This photo gives no indication how hard the wind was gusting.
A close-up view of Mount Rushmore National Monument, completed in 1941 and depicting Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln.Ninety percent of the granite was sculpted with dynamite.
A resident of Rapid City smokes a hookah at a popular downtown cafe on Main Street.
Rapid City, the second largest city in South Dakota, has an active financial services sector.