7/9/12 State Park 10 miles N of Custer to Keystone, S.D.
Awoke to a beautiful morning. Today is the start of the 7th week of the bike ride – halfway through! After riding through rain, sleet, snow, mountain passes and the Continental Divide (several times), and +35 mph headwinds, I feel confident in my ability to complete the ride barring unforeseen circumstances. I guess the remaining physical test is heat, which I think we will be facing shortly.
Slept pretty well in the tent, even though it did get a little cold. Once again, the sleeping bag liner saved me.
Randy, Frank and I set out for Hill City to find breakfast, then ride the 10 miles to Mt Rushmore. However, right after we got on the Mickelson Bike Trail, we saw a red sign hawking “all you can eat pancakes for 2.50.” Our bikes immediately veered off for a good deal, plus not going to Hill City cut off 5-6 miles from the ride.
Along the way, we stopped at the KOA where Muhammed and M had camped last night, presumably so they could go along with us to Mt. Rushmore. I found their tent first, and M was still asleep. They apparently had a really bad day yesterday with all the inclines and hills, and were not their usual cheerful selves. I went to the camp store to find Muhammed and Randy, then we all went back to the camp site where Frank and M were discussing the route to Iowa. Muhammed and M had been under the impression that everyone was staying at the KOA tonight, but those plans had changed as Frank had decided to ride another 50 miles to the next town and take tomorrow off, while Randy and I decided we would prefer to take the rest of today off after Mt. Rushmore and stay in Keystone, then ride to the next town tomorrow. There have already been numerous discussions re the route through Nebraska and Iowa, so I told Randy I was going to Mt. Rushmore and not waste any more of my day off re-hashing . He agreed and we set off without the others.
The ride was quite steep in places and took some effort. Along the way, we saw some goats on the side of the road with their babies. Seems like a lot of baby animals this past week or so.
Arrived at Mt. Rushmore, and took in the informational video and sights. It was very impressive. I still can’t seem to wrap my brain around how they go about blasting those figures out of the side of the mountain. I think I foolishly always assumed they actually carved the heads, but that doesn’t make sense when you think about it.
After leaving Mt. Rushmore, we biked the 2 miles downhill into Keystone, S.D. and found a Subway for lunch. Afterward, we checked into a local motel and took the rest of the day off.