Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Day 25 - The Badlands!

Going solo for the first time in 10 days.  I'm ready to go.  Good rest day yesterday, new seat on the bike, music loaded.  Let's gooooooo!  Weather looked a little iffy in terms of rain.  I went with the dark glasses as a show of optimism.  I'll take my not so waterproof rain jacket just in case.  

We did call an audible to the master route plan.  I will riding 72 miles to Union Center today.  The reason is that after I finish we want to spend the afternoon in the Badlands National Park.  This route takes us more south and makes the drive to the National Park significantly shorter.  Longer riding and shorter driving (hmmm, I may not have thought that one through).  

The ride today encompassed a little of everything.  Started cool with no wind, I then got dumped on in Sturgis (wishing for my rose glasses),  sun half way through (glad I had my dark glasses), then those damn headwinds the last 30 miles (glasses didn't matter).  About 30 miles in, I ran into a construction zone with another pilot car.  Not wanting to run into a Kathleen situation, I asked if I could simply follow the pilot car and received the Okie Dokie.  It was all well and good until the pilot car started cruising at 40 miles an hour and obviously started pulling away from me and my non Tour de France legs.  Not wanting to hold up traffic I veered to the side of the road to let the other cars pass and now I'm by myself looking in the distance at the cars following the pilot.  Nothing like being on a bike in tight shorts and a jersey riding by yourself in a construction zone.  I was even passed by the next group coming back through and got a wave from the pilot car driver!  I'm not having good luck in construction zones this ride.

The best news from the ride is that about have way through the check engine light cleared.  Cheryl stopped by the Chevy dealer in Sturgis to talk with John the service technician.  After giving us a hard time for putting 85 octane fuel in vehicle that needs 89 or higher (forget that there is a warning about this on the windshield, who reads those anyway), he assured us we did the right thing in getting some better fuel in the tank and it would clear, which it did.  Whew!  

So now we are off to the Badlands.  The Badlands are large rock formations that were originally covered in water and the sediments formed different colored layers and when the water receded, erosion exposed the layers (ya, just call me Chris the "Geologist Guy.")  They really are amazing and it's simple to take in this natural beauty.  There is a ring road (HWY 240) that goes through them all so you just drive, periodically get out at view points,  ooo and ahhh, take pictures, then your done.  It was great.  

Now that the visit to the Badlands was complete, we needed to decide on a place to set up camp.  There isn't much in Union Center except a gas station, farm store and café that looked out of business.  We drove about 1/2 mile out of town and found a community center, complete with baseball fields.  We decided on a spot ride down the 3rd base line (always the best seats in the house!)

Cheryl made up some delicious chicken and salad and we watched the NBA finals.  All in all a great end to a pretty good day.  The route audible adds about 50 miles of riding so I will tack on some extra the next few days to get back on schedule.  Forecast calls for a slight chance of rain but we will see.  I'm going to get up and out early to try and avoid the headwinds.  I'm going to hedge my bet and say a little prayer to the bike gods before going to bed.  

Until then..... 

1 comment:

  1. Not another pilot car!

    I don't know about that "longer riding shorter driving" thing. Had I been doing the ride to this point I would have traded in eight or nine hundred driving miles already, even though I would have missed out on the 1000 mile package from the kids. I think shorter riding longer driving is definitely the way to go. Love the picture of you lording over the Badlands. Beautiful (the Badlands, not you)!