LET'S DO THIS!
Today begins with happy birthday for my amazing wife. For the second year in a row she is letting me bike across South Dakota instead of celebrating with her. I won't tell you how old she is, but I was at her third birthday fifty-eight years ago.
Yesterday I met up with old friends and made new ones as we bussed across South Dakota. We arrived in Hill City at two PM. After unloading, we explored the town with weather that cycled from rain, to sunshine, to hail and then sunshine again.
Today's route was short, only thirty-nine miles. The good news about Hill City is that it's not "Valley City," and the route to Rapid City is mostly downhill. There were a few leg burners but the coasters outnumbered the climbers. It was crisp and cloudy with not enough wind to fluff a flag. The only question was how much clothes would we need until the engine of our exercise warmed us up. No problems with those three swearwords to bikers; heat, headwinds, and hills.
I rode with Howie and Jeff again. We met last year and they adopted me. I thought about buying them each some of that bikers miracle cure I found as a gift, but it's eleven dollars a tube and I decided I didn't like them that much (jk - I know they're reading this).
It was an awesome ride. While I love Sundays at church with my family, it was impossible not to be inspired by the beauty of God's creation and the brotherhood of bikers. We rolled past rock outcroppings, swollen streams, peaks and pines. Clouds of morning mist hung over our heads in the valleys. We saw remnants of nostalgia inspiring Americana. The melody to the Beatles, "Long and Winding Road" kept playing through my head.
You just can't see this at 55 mph behind your windshield in a conditioned car. You can't hear the birds chirp or the horses whiny and snort. You can't smell the pines, the lilacs or those campfires. You can't feel the wind in your face or those few drops of morning rain. Perhaps you are getting the sense that I love, love, loved this ride. Get out here people, it's amazing!
I did unfortunately have a dental detour. I was blessed to find a Rapid City dentist gracious enough to come in on a Sunday to save me. Due to continuous travels my next opportunity to see a dentist in the USA would have been June 27. My broken tooth wasn't going to make the day, let alone another three weeks. The dentist pulled the broken piece and gave me a crown with the assistance of his twelve year old son Thomas. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Dr. Rob Loftus for helping out a desperate man and giving up hours of precious family time on a weekend.
I got some bonus miles and banked fifty thanks to my dental emergency. Unfortunately, I came out of his office to a flat and later got caught under a bridge in a flash storm. There will be no whining though, it was still a great day. I'm off in search of a pharmacy and food. Perhaps I won't eat a steak quite yet.
Join me tomorrow for a ride through the Badlands, destination Wall Drug. As always, check out the pics and captions. They tell a far better story than me, but they don't come close to replicating the experience. For that, you'll have to join me out here next year.
Todd Moss is a retired architect, a world traveler, a biker , and a blogger. Todd and his wife Rhonda organize and lead tours around the world. He has been in all fifty states, fifty-five countries, and 6 continents so far. You can follow this and his other adventures at http://www.facebook.com/extratouchtours