Cycling Date: Monday 06-July-15
Mileage: 74 miles
Weather: Low 60s to start. Low 70s to end. Winds not in our favor for most of the day but not strong enough to be a big issue. Mostly cloudy with a rather significant haze that is rumored to be from the Canadian forest fires. Cleared up a bit towards the end of the day.
Highlights of the day:
At our rate of travel we rarely get to more than one inspiring spot in a day. Today we saw three. It started with Wind Cave National Park. In less than an hour we rode by buffalo and prairie dogs, all free and unfenced. Some riders had to stop and wait while a very large buffalo sauntered across the road. From there we climbed into the Black Hills, and made a short stop at the Crazy Horse monument in progress.
Our next turn, onto State Highway 244, took us onto one of my favorite stretches of this tour. It starts in a forested area and gradually heads into bare rock spires. There is something about experiencing this area by bicycle, outside the steel and glass enclosure of an automobile. The region holds spiritual significance for Native Americans and from this vantage point it makes sense. Unfortunately, pictures do not do it justice – so you’ll just have to join us sometime to experience it for yourself! :)
Mount Rushmore was our next feature. The mix of cyclists in lycra & “civilians” in touristy t-shirts was interesting. I’m not sure who thought who was stranger. :) Photos taken, we descended rapidly into Keystone, a mishmash of tourist attractions with amazing views of the surrounding hills.
A 3-mile climb was our exit out of Keystone and up to some serious rollers. Rapid City is our end point today. Bike shops were visited. Dinners were consumer. And now we sleep. Tomorrow we head to Wall!