June 7, 2004

6/7/04 Pierre SD

66 miles (1270 total)

The WIND! That's in capital letters, I'll tell ya'. Last night it seemed a hurricane settled over our campground and wouldn't leave. Even sheltered by the RV, I couldn't get away from the howl. Even ear plugs didn't help much. Just not a great night's sleep.

Was awake before sunrise and on the road by 6am. And just in time to watch the sun beam down on the the lake. But no dew on anything, so I'm guessing it's going to be a hot one today.

Yeah, you guessed it, another long climb out of the river valley. Ended up doing an alternate route that stayed away from the river. Stopped at Mac's Corner for some liquid pick-me-up. Gotta' love that Coke for breakfast.

The Wild Blue Yonder

The sign said “no services 46 miles.” Was a little concerned about water, but I did have four liters. The real rude awakening was when I turned west, it was right into a headwind. Woopie!

As I passed a road crew working, the foreman yelled “Want something to drink?” Ponch and his crew were just taking a break. We talked a bit about the trip, but I was anxious to get back on the road.

Hardly saw a car, house or even a tree the whole day. Just rolling prairie as far as the eye could see. I imagine it was a lot like Lewis & Clark saw. It was beautiful. One of the road crew said with the recent rains, everything was greener. And it went on, and on, and on.

Miles and miles and miles....

Most bizarre section of the highway came when I reached a mile-long stretch plagued with grasshoppers. The pavement was covered with their carcasses like rocks. They didn't seem to move until you got close, then they would swarm up in front of you. It was so thick with them, they'd hit your face and helmet. I slammed my mouth shut to prevent swallowing one. Kind of spooky, but glad when I rode past them.

Hours and hours went by as I pushed through the headwinds. Ten miles, twenty miles, thirty. Then the road paralleled the river and I knew I had to be getting close to Pierre.

Following alongside the blue Missouri

After getting something to eat, did laundry which was long overdue. Got a motel because the city park was just too busy. The gang ended up getting a motel across the street, so we went to dinner at the Hotel St Charles. Then late, Jim Russell and his wife Char, came by to visit. They're parents of one of the guys I ride with back in Kansas City. Ended up staying up too late but tomorrow's only a 56-mile day.