Once again I’ve fallen behind on my blogging. Seems to be a theme. The days start to blend together on the 4K so I’ll just focus on the highlights that I can remember.
The badlands. It was like biking into another planet. Back in the day Hollywood would film footage there for scenes on the moon. Honestly, I think it’s a little more reminiscent of Mars. There are these large, towering rock formations that have an orange tint to them. It was 101 degrees getting into the national park, but some locals told us it was 112 in the actual park because of the rocks. Regardless, it was hot. Real hot. Despite the temperature I force-fed myself water and did some exploring. Climbing the badlands is tricky business. They’re these sandy gravely slopes that don’t seem particularly stable. We managed to make it to some pretty high peaks and the views were absolutely spectacular. All in all a magnificent, albeit hot, day.
Getting out of the badlands was another story. We faced our strongest winds yet. In the morning we had a headwind hovering just under 30mph. More than anything else it’s a mental challenge. It’s very frustrating to work so hard pedaling to move at such a slow pace. It took as a whopping 2.5 hours to make it our first 20 miles. The steep inclines getting out of the park probably didn’t help either. The next 20 miles were just as tough. We faced the same wind, but as a crosswind rather than head on. At one point we were on the shoulder of a busy road going downhill and I was exerting all my focus on keeping my bike straight and not getting blown into oncoming traffic. It doesn’t make for the happiest of days, but getting through it felt like a real accomplish. After the first 50 miles or so the winds died down and we were met with rolling hills. I’m a big fan of that kind of terrain and enjoyed the rest of the day. Most of us were still pretty drained from the morning, though.
Today we’re in Rapid City. We had a rest day and it was pretty grand. This morning we had the opportunity to visit Mount Rushmore. It’s spectacular. I’m still in awe at its creation. We spent the rest of the day driving through the black hills and exploring a national park. The black hills are absolutely stunning. First of all, they should be called “the black mountains”. Calling them hills is a joke. Anyways, they’re steep inclines and descents covered in pine trees. Coupled with the rock formations it’s truly a sight to take in. They’re gorgeous. We stopped by a lake and ran right into a wedding. I never thought I’d say this…but maybe South Dakota would be an ok place to get married? I dunno, I have very mixed feelings on this state. The first few days were flatter than that bottle of Coke that’s been in our van since day 1. There weren’t any trees – it was just prairie and corn for as far as the eye could see. But then we ran into the badlands…and now the blackhills. It’s certainly been interesting.
Until next time!