Saturday, July 28, 2012

Days 42 and 43: Pierre, South Dakota

A two-day combined post because I'm taking a rest day today, here in South Dakota's capital, Pierre (pronounced "pier" -- go figure).

Yesterday, on Friday, we rode from Midland, SD to Pierre, a little over 62 miles in total, with a fair amount of rolling hills and climbing. We got off to an early start, at around 6:30 (before Midland Fuel and Oil even opened), both to beat the heat and, we hoped, avoid the worst of the wind, which was forecast to be coming mostly out of the East (our direction) and getting stronger as the day progressed.

The first portion of our ride (still on Route 14) was lovely. The temperature was a downright frigid 59 degrees to start (it felt great), the road was still empty and, because we first had to head North for about 20 miles before turning East for the 42 mile balance of the ride, the wind was a non-factor (it sometimes even helped, when it shifted to coming from the Southeast).

I focused on riding, and accordingly didn't take a lot of pictures, but the scenery was very much more of what we've seen in South Dakota since leaving the Badlands. Farmland. Ranches. Horses. Cattle. Rolling hills. Wheat fields, usually harvested. Hay stored in circular and, less frequently, rectangular, bales. Grain silos. Unlike Eastern Montana, however, there was a fair amount of greenery, including the occasional grove of trees. Notwithstanding the drought, it's definitely moister here than there.

Which was confirmed when I crested the last big climb into Pierre and saw -- the Missouri River in all its grandeur. It was a nice sight to see -- and also meant, once we crossed it into Pierre (which was built on its Eastern banks), that we had passed into our third time zone of the trip -- welcome to Central Standard Time!

Our total mileage to date is now just shy of 2,000 miles (1,983 to be exact). And we're still not even halfway through our planned route (which, at this point, is probably about 4,300 miles in total). Sheesh.

Our trip is changing a little bit for the next week. Bob and I have given ourselves until next Saturday, August 4th, to get to Minneapolis (if you don't know that's to meet our wives, you haven't been paying attention), but Bob wants to go a bit out of the way to visit an old friend in Mankato. For my part, I'm beginning to suffer some recurrent tenderness in my achilles tendon (right foot, if you must know), and wanted to take a rest day today in Pierre. So we're actually riding different routes, separately and at different times, for the next seven days until, hopefully, we converge again in Minneapolis.

That will be a bit strange after all this time together, for sure! May you have good luck and following winds, Bob. I'll miss your company.

Here are Friday's route and metrics:


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