August 9, Day 38 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
After a very good sleep and breakfast at the not-so-econo-lodge. we left Rapid City and headed due east on Route 44. During our stay in Rapid City, I was convinced drivers from New York and Boston had simply relocated there. Those people drive fast and furious, true to their city’s name, many while tethered to their cell phones. We were relieved to escape city limits unscathed.
As we pedaled farther out of town, the traffic decreased and the shoulders widened, making for a very pleasant ride…until I took off beyond Tim’s sight, and was stopped by a motorcyclist a few miles down the road. He reported that Tim was on the side of the road, with a flat tire. (I had looked in my rear view mirror and thought he was just stopping to take a picture.) I circled back a mile or so and found him changing his fourth flat tire. Just yesterday in Rapid City, we stopped at a bike shop for a new rear tire and front tube replacement for his bike. This flat, however, was caused by a nail from the road’s shoulder.
South Dakota remained hilly today, but a bit less so after leaving the Black Hills behind. If we hadn’t had the flat, or the hail and rainstorm outside of Scenic, South Dakota, we felt capable of a century ride (100 miles). I must admit, I like riding in the rain! Our panniers are waterproof, we have rain gear to keep us dry, and the thundershowers around here have been short lived.
After an ad hoc lunch in Scenic, an unusual “blast from the past” town, we headed east, right smack into the storm. The pinging on our helmets and views of white droplets bouncing from the pavement told us we were in a hailstorm. It was warm, so we kept on riding as the clouds swirled around us. Eventually, we approached the Badlands. With names like the Black Hills and the Badlands, it’s no wonder we have had some ominous weather!
Several more miles down the road, the weather cleared as we rolled into Interior, on the outskirts of Badlands National Park. A four-mile jaunt down a side road landed us at our overnight stay, a KOA campground in a more tranquil setting than our prior few evenings.