LET'S DO THIS!
After finishing in the wind and the rain yesterday, I was not sure I had a lot left in the tank for today. The choices were for a long route (82 miles) or an extra-long route (102). In biker lingo, a 100 mile plus ride is "a century."
We left at a leisurely pace in the fog and drizzle at 6:10 AM. There were no planned points of interest on the route, nor could there be with the miles to burn. I hope you non-bikers will not SAG on this story. Stick around for the highlights near the end.
The weather was foggy and overcast most of the day, so not conducive to a lot of pictures.
Whenever there is a hill impressive enough to have a name, I become concerned. In this case she was triplets, "The Three Sisters." I found the girls to be quite beautiful, and not nearly as mean as people said. Another case of don't let your fears defeat you before you begin. I've heard the "Sisters" are two faced though, they are said to be nastier from an east to west approach.
At mile 38 we crossed the Missouri River and at mile 53 we reached Platte. It was about 10:15 AM. We enjoyed fine dining on the curb at Casey's General Store. I was feeling as good as any old cowboy could after hours on a 2" saddle, and I was leaning toward taking the century route. Always take the long route, right? Not as many South Dakota bottom bouncers this year, so I felt no need to revisit my Platte pharmacy friend for more miracle cure.
At mile 67 I may have missed the decision point on routes but ended up on the century. I'm so glad I did. The highlight was at mile 75, Aurora Center, South Dakota, population 22. I walk in the Aurora Center Store, a place that time forgot. Bells went off and I remembered a fellow traveling friend who had told me all about this store that was formed in 1924 and is still operated by her family members. I had a nice chat and took pictures with Sylvan and Naydene De Haai. They've been married 67 years and the store was now owned by their son, Byron. The prices were really inexpensive. I could have used a restroom at that point, but I decided to wait, rather than use the outhouse out back. Seeing the store and meeting the De Haais was one of the many highlights of the trip.
I crawled into Armour around 2:15 with 102. 6 miles. The sun was shining. The people of Armour closed the street, had live music and great food. We had a great afternoon and evening in Armour. Thank you, Armour, for your warm RASDak welcome.
Just 64 miles to the finish line in Freeman tomorrow. Hope you'll join me there to hear the end of this story.
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.