Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hot Springs, SD to Rapid City, SD 74 miles

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."---Charles Dickens

I loved today. I hated today.
It was stunningly beautiful this morning as we rode through the Wind Cave National Park. So green. The morning light was perfect. Buffalo grazing in the distance. Prairie dogs standing tall to get the best view of this colorful bunch passing by. I just really love the area. So peaceful.

Buffalo having breakfast.
I've noticed more skies, and clouds this trip than I ever have.

I think this was in the town of Pringle.

These round hay bales make me happy.
So neat and tidy.

Gotta love these old barns.

Bike parking at our first SAG in Custer, South Dakota.

Custer Mansion
For sale for $329,000
Currently a Bed and Breakfast

Crazy Horse Memorial.
Can you see it?

We climbed 9 miles to see Mt. Rushmore.
Check out the mountain goat just a few feet off the roadway.

I have been looking forward to seeing Mt. Rushmore, 
since we signed up for this ride.

 I didn't want to leave.
I just wanted to keep looking and
think about those men. 
They were real.

One last look.

Leaving the area.
Heading to Rapid City.

Seeing Mt. Rushmore will certainly be a highlight of the trip. I loved standing and looking at each face and thinking about them as real men. Men with families, and smelly socks, and favorite breakfasts, and things they thought were funny. Thinking about the impact each had on our country. I didn't even mind the 9-mile climb up to see them, even though some had said it was the second hardest day of the ride so far. Afterwards, we headed into Keystone and joined a few other riders for hamburgers.

Then came the "worst of times" part of the day. We were about 10-miles out of Rapid City, our destination for the day. The winds had really picked up. They were horrible, buffeting, crosswinds swirling around and somehow surprising me which direction a gust would hit from next. It was getting harder and harder just to stay upright. I, literally, thought I was going to be blown off my bike. It was the most scared I've ever been while riding. I almost started crying four times. I could have just pulled over and walked, but we were so far from the motel it would have taken forever to get there. I just wanted to be done. At one point, I said a prayer that included "please send some guardian angels to help me. I just want to stay upright. I'm afraid I'm going to get blown off my bike." About 30-seconds later, Mikey (ABB staff) comes riding up next to me. He's a big guy. I didn't really think anything at first, but then he says, "Look, I'm blocking the wind for you." 30 seconds. I wish all my prayers were answered that quickly. With Mikey riding on my left it made a huge difference. It was still a tough ride in, but SO much better. I was still so rattled when we got to our motel. It took about an hour to get calmed down and not feel like bursting into tears over the whole ordeal.



  1. I absolutely hate crosswinds ans wind gusts! I probably would have cried and been off my bike. Good job Les!!!!

  2. You are my hero! I absolutely could not, would not, do what you are doing! Love you!

  3. When we traveled through that section we also had the crosswinds. Glad you got some help. The road is still very long, but many of the most beautiful rides are still to come.

  4. I think your face should be on there too! Love Mt Rushmore! You two are the best in the west ! (and the mid-west) !!