I thought cross-country riding was a cinch. Well, they say “third time’s a charm” and it certainly held true for today. I had mostly clear skies and warm riding for my first two days of traveling, but South Dakota had other plans for me on Wednesday. Let’s start at the beginning.
My host, Lisa Fedders Brouwer, is the organizer for the group ride originating in Sioux Falls. Her group calls themselves the Windsisters and they welcomed me with open arms into their conga line. Locally, they have raised over nine thousand dollars while partnering with Avera Hospital’s cancer navigator program. They planned to head from Sioux Falls to Mitchel, then on to Pierre to meet the governor. What a grand plan! Sunny skies shined on our shoulders as we took the backroads to Mitchel.
We stopped at Klock Works, a custom bike shop that you never would have expected in such a small town in South Dakota. There we met with owner Brian Klock. He told us the most amazing story about his wife and her two daughters who are land speed record holders on the bikes he builds in his shop. Klock Works is the home of the World’s Fastest Bagger, and the first Mother-Daughter-Daughter trio to all breaks land speed records on the same bike. Brian was so very excited and passionate about his work, and it truly showed. Amazing people to say the least. Before we rolled out, I checked the radar and saw the rain headed our way, and I was already dressed accordingly in my Icon Patrol rain suit.
Here is where the fun stops. We rode to the next town, about 70 miles away to gas up. From there, we had 100 miles to go to the capital. 100 miles in the pouring rain is not on my list of recommended fun things to do in South Dakota. It was difficult even to see the person 20 feet in front of me on the backroads. I was not wet thanks to my Icon rain gear and full-face helmet, but I sure was freezing cold! Worst of all, when a semi went by, I had to pray that for the next 3 seconds I was going straight and the road was too…
Once we reached Pierre, we drug our soaking wet selves into the capital building to meet governor Dugaard. We had wet rain gear scattered on the floor under the dome – it was quite a mess. He lifted our spirits just in time to head to lunch, dry off, and relax for an hour. By the time we were finished eating, the rain had stopped and an overcast sky promised to keep us cold for the next few hours. It was time to head to Rapid City, but I was not excited in the least.
Ok, so the rain wasn’t so fun, but western South Dakota more than made up for the crappy ride to Pierre. Some of the most beautiful scenery I had never even heard of was hiding in the foothills on the way toward the badlands. I was a happy camper once again, and decided not to give up on cross-country riding afterall. We reached Rapid City by 7pm and were safe in Spearfish an hour later, where we had hotel reservations. I had a big day planned for myself on Thursday, and would again be riding solo, so I took advantage of happy hour at Applebees with the Windsisters and called it a night.
Day 3 STATS:
Hours Traveled: 13
States Visited: 1
Timezones Crossed: 1
Miles Traveled: 455