Day 52 - Where to go from here?

Thursday, June 4, 2009
Rapid City, South Dakota
We are staying with Jane who is a friend of a Kathy from Sioux City. We got a ride (in a car) to Mount Rushmore. After the hills to get here, we did not want to bike the hills to Mount Rushmore.

Photo Credit: Ranger Ed Menard http://www.nps.gov/moru/photosmultimedia/index.htm

We are in Rapid City looking at maps.

How to get through the mountains?
Tie a rope to a SemiTruck?
Hitch a ride on a flatbed truck?
Rent a Uhaul van?
Turn around and roll all the way back to Ohio?

We stopped in a bike shop and talked with the mechanics and sales staff. After buying two replacement rear tires we headed to Mt. Rushmore. Along the way we saw the cyclist we'd met the day before. He was struggling up the hill from Rapid that would eventually drop him into Keystone. Then it was just another long hill to Mt. Rushmore.

Dave and I have spent the last 7 and a half weeks wandering around and generally figuring out what it's like to be on a bike tour. Neither of us had ever been out for longer than a day trip of 50 miles. With that in mind we picked a general area to ride and set to working out all the bugs along the way. The last week across South Dakota has taught us what pain is. The continued exertion has started to take its tole on our muscles. We're eating about all we can but I doubt it's exactly what our body needs.

We've managed to land ourselves with a great lady who has been very understanding. She's letting us work through our next decision and helping us to understand the terrain around this area. Before we started we imagined we could pedal 50 miles a day without trouble but some days that 50 has meant 8 hours on our bike seats. Then we also decided to pick about the hardest area to ride through. The sparse population has caused us to ride 80 miles between nightly stops and food restocks. It's also taking a lot longer then we could have imagined.

Along our trip we'd say that we were headed for Oregon. It was the easiest thing to yell at someone as we were pedaling by. It was a little harder to explain that we were just out to be out and though we were headed west it didn't matter if we made it or not.

We had always said that we'd make it to the coast if we could and make it back to Ohio if we could. Maybe something along the way would keep us in one place. We were open to whatever came. Lately it seems like we've been fighting to make headway and now we've decided to try and get back to having fun. Entering Rapid city we found ourselves smack up against a hillside that once we made it over would lead us to mountains. Originally we thought it wouldn't be too much trouble crossing the mountains, but almost 2000 miles of riding has taught us one thing: our bike wasn't made for hills.

What does that mean? Well, the old song goes that if you can't go over them or can't go under them you gotta go around them... or something like that. Now we just have to figure out how to get around them. We've no idea what that's going to entail. Just like the ride up to this point, we're just wandering around.