Monday, July 12, 2010

AAN Day 22 - Hot Springs to Rapid City, SD

Daily Statistics:
Mileage: 75.0 miles Average Speed: 12.3 mph
Vertical: 5698 feet Depart: 5:49 AM Arrive: 12:59 PM
Calories: 4922

Link to Garmin ROUTE DATA

I think today was absolutely the best of the trip so far. If you discount the fact that we had to do a ton of climbing (most in the 3-5% grade range, so manageable), the scenery was fantastic. We departed Hot Springs, and were soon in Wind Cave National Park. I came across this buffalo, who seemed to be just standing there posing. I wouldn't want him coming after me.
The scenery in the Black Hills of South Dakota is terrific. I took several shots (which is rare for me) of different interesting rock formations, and have included one for an example. These large granite rocks crop up in a lot of spots, and with the trees, the route was great.
About 37 miles into the ride, we were at the Crazy Horse memorial in progress. The photo I took isn't very good, but you can see his face is complete, and they are continuing to work. I believe the intent is to have him sitting on his horse.

Of course, a highlight of the day was a visit to the Mount Rushmore Memorial. I am showing this shot, just to prove I was actually there. The setting is breath-taking, and they have a large amphitheater below the viewing terrace. From there, it was a quick ride down into the very touristy town of Keystone, about a mile and a half of 10% downhill grade.

I was fortunate, and got to the motel just as it started to rain. Most of the group was not so fortunate, and took shelter where they could to ride it out. In spots, there were large hail stones, so I was glad I was in.
I rounded out the day with a terrific visit with old friend Bill Burkhart. He picked me up and gave me a grand tour of Sturgis, Deadwood, Lead, and Spearfish, with the highlight a visit to his log home in Spearfish Canyon. I have included this shot of Bill with his home in the background. The setting is spectacular. We had dinner in Spearfish, and he brought me home with just time to do my blog and call it a day.
Tomorrow, we go to Wall (and Wall Drug), which should be a pretty easy day. We don't load until 8:00, if that is a clue.

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