Mileage: 57 miles
Weather: Upper 60s to start. Low 80s to end. Winds out of the WNW.
Highlights of the day:
Wow. What a day. For the first time, Across America North went through Badlands National Park. It’s hard to count the number of superlatives used by the riders to describe the day. Suffice it to say that this is one that they will remember for the stunning and unusual scenery.
Badlands National Park is a 244,000-acre area comprised of softer rocks & clays that have been eroded by wind and water. The remaining hills, buttes, mesas, rocky spires, canyons and other geological formations are striped with sedimentary layers. These layers contain one of the world’s (yes world’s) richest fossil beds of rhino, horse, and sabre-toothed cat that once populated the area. Now you find big horn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer, bison and prairie dog roaming (or digging holes) in the extensive mixed-grass prairie. I’m sure there are other fossilized or currently roaming creatures but these are what I found specified on the Badlands National Park website & I think you get the general picture.
What all this provided was a day of relatively short mileage where the riders could (and did) stop at just about every pull off along the road through the park. Lots of pictures were taken. Lots of questions were asked. And then, with the fortunate location of our SAG stop right next to a gift store & visitors’ center, lots of souvenirs purchased.
The day ended with a 20-mile ride along the frontage road of I-90. We were back to South Dakota rollers and a horizon that goes on forever. We will see more of this all the way into Sioux Falls. We had that gosh darned tailwind again pushing us into the metropolis of Kadoka SD, population 654. Mechanics, rap and group dinner will wrap up the day. Sleep will be needed for tomorrow we ride much longer.