Day 2037 Friday 13th May
Having a poor nights sleep, waking to rain and later a crispy fall of water, I much later woke to thirty mil of snow. Not wanting to lie cold I got up to wash the supper pots and make tea. Getting the garage door open in cold wind and thick wet rain was an urgency, with my tyre iron it was soon done and brekkie was prepared out of the wind.
Once packed we went to the gas station to visit the wash room and leave.
Stopping off at the general store for tonights supper i bought an extra large pair of dish washing gloves to wear over summer gloves. They were not really big enough but they did go over my gloves. While not giving any insulation they would keep out the cold wind and snow that was forecast.
Riding onto Newcastle where we were told the weather was cold and wet, we headed onward, once arriving in the town, cold wet and snow covered, my thumbs were blue cold and aching, I thought I had frost bite. In the washroom I ran a sink of warm water to get some heat back into my suffering digits.
We rode on to Custer to see if we could endure another eighty clicks, arriving there we stopped at a cafe for biscuits and gravy, good food with a pepper sauce and sadly coffee that tasted of hot water, again.
The temperature had risen by five degrees so we rode on to Crazy Horse monument, we stopped and took a few pics without paying the twenty buck fee. They were very relaxed with us turning back without paying. I had looked at the monument on the internet back in La Hatche, the picture was taken sixteen years ago, the monument sadly looked like it had not progressed too far. It was started back in nineteen forty eight and is a huge undertaking I reckon it could be a hundred years before it may be completed.
Soon we arrived at Mount Rushmore, as one can see the monument from the highway we once again asked to carry out a ‘U’ turn once again where stopped for a sneaky picture shoot Very soon a guy on a golf cart told us ”You guys have not paid for this, fire up up leave now”. As I walked back to my bike Diane called out “I need help to get my bike up”. I want back and looked at the statues as I went, the guy shouted back, “hey keep your eyes forward, off the statue, don’t look at what you have not paid for”. We rode off chucking at what his job description may be.
Riding on through Rapid City in cold westerly winds we halted at Wall Drug where we took a room, shelter from the cold and wind. The owner was a great guy, Diane asked if he could do a deal on the price, he asked what she wanted to pay, and replied “its off season, thats fine!” We had a walk the very tourist town boardwalks, the stores packed with ‘must have gifts’. The motel owner later told us that in peak season you can’t walk due to the amount of folks. We said good for business, he smiled and nodded!
Day 2038 Saturday 14th May
The day dawned a complete contrast to the day before sunshine and no wind. Even though we had no camp to pack we still got on the road at nine thirty. Alas twenty clicks down the road the wind picked up and blew cold from the north, oh well!
At Plankton we stopped for food and fuel, the cake cum bar served up a greasy fry up which I fancied, as always it seamed like a good idea, however half way through I felt queezy so I wrapped the cheese filled hot pepper parcels for a snack later. As we left the cafe a little snow was blowing in the light wind, I sighed as pulled on my gloves and headed to the highway. Thankfully it came to nothing.
We pulled off at Mitchel to see the Corn Palace, a large building for performing arts, basket ball or what ever is needed. The frontage is decorated every year with cobs of coloured corn, wheat sheaves and corn stalks. It is from the days when the farmers were proud to boast of being capable of growing good crops in the bleak mid west. In one of the corridors all of the artists drawings from the past designs were on display, showing the wide variety of themes.
Leaving the town we hoped to make distance and hoped to be in Nebraska for Sunday to attend the Renascence Festival.
We managed to get a nice camp in a State Park, we arrived at half six, very late for us, families were sat around camp fires, cooking their dinners, the smell of steaks and wood smoke drifting through the trees.
Day 2039 Sunday 15th May
Getting moving by seven thirty, a record for us, we reckoned to be at the festival by noon. The wind had dropped and the temperature was failing to rise. We stopped at a road house and had a filled roll for breakkie…
Making clicks on the long straight highway we unexpectedly crossed into Iowa.