if any of you were planning on visiting the big horn mountains, i hope you already did, because we left them a smoldering hole in the ground. In a two day climbing marathon, we blew through those mountains like they were nothing! Ok, maybe not nothing, but we did a darn fine job of pedaling. It was 23 miles of steep uphill, part of it through the rocky and lovely shell canyon. the pass was 9000 feet, the highest i’ve ever ridden my bike. We may see our second day of rain today. We’re only a couple days from south dakota, should be a piece of cake from here on out. -megan
Previously on bike bums- we rolled out of Sheridan Amidst a swarm of motorcyclists on their way to the sturgis rally. Someone said they expect half a million! we were hosted by the find owners of the spotted horse bar, where we tented among the trappings of their anniversary pig roast. on the lonely highway there, we saw a 3 mile stretch where there were slim fast shake cans strewn every 15 ft. probably some cowboy chugs one every morning on his commute. Yesterday we had some nasty head winds into Gillette. probably one of the hardest days. it was actually a relief when it started storming because the wind shifted. we didn’T even mind the hail! well, that about wraps up this state – onward to dakota!
we found another tourist town. We are eating in an old train car. there was a lady paid to stand at gas station and tell people about the specials. May have been an old set for dances with wolves. Barely avoided a big storm last night. It’s been windy in the wrong direction, but We’re about to turn, so it should get better. Probably be in pierre tonight. I’m told It’s peer in south dakotan.
rolled into pierre last night. Had a super tailwind while we were going north, then turned the corner into a cross wind. Broke the cardinal rule last night, and ate dinner in the tent because the mosquitos were so bad. thinking about getting full body mosquito net. We’re still drying out from the thunder storm last night. i got scolded for riding to the laundromat in flip flops. Should be in minnesota the day after tomorrow. – megan
that’s right, we just avoided a nasty storm
in the home stretch, with two bike days left! Did century yesterday, at 104 miles i beat my longest day by 2 miles.
Victory! We rolled into minneapolis at around 6! Total mileage was 2900 almost exactly. Ok – time to start transitioning back into humans from bicycle machines. A more substantial update will follow soon.
Ah, geez. Once again, we never got around to writing that final detailed post. In our defense, things got pretty busy pretty quick once we got to Minneapolis (who knew – you give the cops $50 million to play with, and things start to get out of hand). Anyway, here’s the brief summary:
After rolling out of Pierre, the terrain flattened significantly. On that first day out, we got caught in a nasty storm. We at one point were debating on whether to proceed 3 miles into the next town or knock on the door of the only farmhouse we’d seen in at least a mile. We decided to go for it and rode about 20 feet when the wind began gusting in our faces so hard that I almost fell over. We rode back to the farmhouse and were greeted by the hospitality of Phil Ostrich. He flipped on the TV, and we discovered that there was a funnel cloud over the town we were heading to! Phil told us that South Dakotans will never turn folks away in bad weather – in fact, while we were waiting it out, someone else knocked on the door for refuge because the hail was too bad to drive in!
We continued on through an abundance of Dairy Queens, spending the night in De Smet, birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. In Brookings, I lost my glove to a man-mountain in the library, and we continued on through a giant wind farm on the Minnesota border. As soon as we crossed the border, we were surrounded by lakes. Also, the weather got crazy again, and we were having a deja vu moment of considering riding up a drive to a farmhouse, when a minivan pulled up and the woman told us that she was giving us a ride into town because of the tornado warnings. Weee! This time, we might have actually seen the finger of the funnel cloud snaking towards the ground. Despite the weather, we pushed on to do our first (and only) century on the trip – 104 miles. We were rescued from having to camp in the Marshall, MN wal-mart parking lot by Alice, who let us stay at her house – and even sleep in a bed! Thanks Alice! From there, it was a fairly easy two days into the Twin Cities. We had the best breakfast of the trip at the cafe in Buffalo Lake – you have to check it out – they make their own syrup! On the final day, we hooked into the awesome bike trail network they have in minneapolis, culminating in the midtown greenway, which is basically a below-grade freeway for cyclists. We came in during bicycle rush hour, and it was awesome to see so many folks on two wheels cruising through the city. We finally rolled up to Angela’s house, where we stayed, with the odometer clocking 2900.5 miles. I’m not entirely sure where the extra 200 miles came from, but we made it!
Aside from the craziness surrounding the RNC, we had a great time in Minneapolis/St. Paul – they’re super bike-friendly, and the cities have a pretty good vibe. The first day we were there, we went to the raw food restaurant our friend works at – it was so nice to eat delicious combinations of raw fruits and vegetables after 6 weeks of diner food.
Ok, I think that’s the bulk of the update. Here’s the newsflash: I’m not done! I’ve spent the last week hanging out with my family in Ohio (megan flew back to Oakland), but in the next day or so, I’m going to ride out to Boston to meet up with my band (the Brass Liberation Orchestra) for the Honk Festival. So I’ll be putting in another 700 miles or so! As always, I’ll do my best to post updates from my phone as I travel along – the hope is that I get a good run of autumn leaves and all that, although it looks like it may be a late summer.
Well, I’ll keep you posted! Keep the rubber side down!
Oh – by the way – I’m uploading the rest of our pictures right now, so they should be available in the gallery section. Be forewarned: Megan took almost 1800 pictures!