Somewhere in the Black Hills of Dakota…

We left Wyoming behind today, but not until staring at Devil’s Tower from new angles while riding away.

On the way out we passed a Historical Marker which (surprisingly to me) acknowledged that the US seizure of the Black Hills was a violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and is “an action of which the legality is still being disputed in courts.” (How one can acknowledge a treaty violation but still think there are questions regarding legality is beyond me.)

I finished off my 4 lb jug (about a gallon size) of Cytomax and had to resort to drinking Gatorade today. Now I know why athletes dump it on the coach’s head after a victory. It tastes too vile to drink. I’ve also gone through a tube of sunscreen.

A thundershower came through in the middle of the night and we awoke to a sunrise rainbow. (Insertion of picture here failed after a 4 minute attempt to upload.)3983F6B6-B780-4DD6-A4BB-C83D1161C4D9I met a guy at a convenience store in the next town. He told me he knew about our trip because he had been talking to Charles (one of the riders who stayed at the motel in town in lieu of camping). Charles later told me the guy had been an extra in the film “Close Encounters”.

We spent much of the day riding up through Spearfish Canyon. My connection here is slow so I’m not sure if I can include any pictures.

The climb went on for 11 miles but was gentle enough that my speed stayed in double digits. The vegetation looks more like Wisconsin than anything so far – the roadside weeds are similar, the forest is mixed hardwoods and evergreens.

We followed Spearfish Creek until it eventually crossed under us. There was a water stop just past the bridge and this made an excellent spot to take my shoes off and get my feet in the water.

I’ve said before that I realized my maximum mileage without caloric intake was about 40, and as long as I take something in every 20 miles I can go a long time. This trip has made me realize I could also use a cold mountain stream every 20 miles to cool my feet.

I wrote yesterday (in the post that died) that, three weeks ago, I couldn’t really imagine riding 90-100+ miles day after day. Now that I’m doing it, I can’t say that it gets easier. Some friends said “You’ll ride yourself into shape”. I think riding oneself into fatigue is equally likely.

We passed through a small community of palatial log homes. One had a 100 foot elevated walkway to a garage that was bigger than my house.

After the canyon we had another treat in store, a 7% climb for almost 3 miles. The special treat was that a shower had come through shortly before, so steam was rising from the pavement – evaporative cooling for the pavement, heating for us. After a quick descent we came in to Lead and had a short but very steep climb up to the school – saving the best for last!

We are camped on the football field – up 88 steel steps from the level of the school. I’ve made two trips up so far (one to set up camp, another after my shower to hang laundry and write this). I hope for only one more – up to bed after dinner.

I hope for a better connection for Black Hills pictures some time this week.