Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 45: Doland, South Dakota

When I left Miller, SD, this morning, where I stayed overnight (more on that later), I was originally only intending to ride to Redfield, SD, which would have been about 49 miles. But in the back of my head was that stopping at Redfield would set up a nearly 80 mile day tomorrow, when I wanted to get to Watertown, SD, so, if the winds were favorable, I was ready to push on, past Redfield, another 21 miles to the tiny burg of Doland.

Well, it turns out that the winds weren't favorable. They were blowing steadily from the NNE, at 8 to 12 mph, and my route went north for about 26 miles and east for about 23. Even though portions of the route were lovely -- I actually found paved back roads, which were almost completely deserted, for about 30 miles of the route, the ride was exhausting. And, yet, I didn't really want to get off of my bike facing an 80 mile day tomorrow. So, after fortifying myself with a chocolate milk (my recovery drink of choice) and personal pan pizza at the local Redfield pizzeria (housed in an old Pizza Hut building), I decided to push on to Doland, where I straggled in at about 3:30.

Now I had some doubts about staying in Doland. I had located the sole motel -- aptly named Roger's Motel -- but was taken a bit aback when the phone was answered with only a "yeah?" I pursued this line of inquiry with an incisive "umm, are you a motel?", to which I received a quick "we're trying to be." Hmm. I asked about availability and rates. Yes, they had a room -- it would be $20. Hmm again. A bargain, or a case of getting what you pay for?

Which brings me back full circle to the Dew Drop Inn on the outskirts of Miller. Since I was staying there on a Sunday, much of the town was closed, and Sara, behind the counter (the owner's daughter) led me to believe that the nearby DQ would be my only dining choice (this after refusing to give me their AAA discount because she had already run my credit card and didn't know how to process the refund). This was unacceptable -- DQ, that is -- so I rode into town, did a quick survey, and found that the Turtle Bar and Saloon was very much open, with the owner and cook, Kurt, in residence and in full story telling mode. And, so, an excellent time and sirloin was had, chased by a Fat Tire beer, instead of a DQ Flame Burger and shake -- a fine tradeup in my book.

So this experience inspired me -- rather than going straight to Roger's Motel and trying to check in -- to ride through the town of Doland first. I found the R Bar, which is open and serves dinner, and then I found the library -- this in a town with a population of 297 (down to 180 now, per the librarian). I got to chatting with her, Lillie is her name, and, among other things, asked if there was any place in town where I could get breakfast early. She said only the convenience store at the gas station, which might not open until 8, but, this might sound silly, why not stay overnight with her and her husband, David? They both like to bike (and are doing a two-day 150 mile ride for MS this coming weekend), get up at 5 every morning (old farming habits die hard), and brew coffee right away!

I didn't take much convincing.

So I'm typing up my blog post early, here at the Doland library, while waiting for Lillie to get off work at 5 so I can go home with her (3 blocks away), shower and change.

Thanks in advance, Lillie and David!

Here are today's route and metrics:


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