I have often wondered what it would feel like to be in a major bike race with fans lining both sides of the road cheering you on. Today I got a little taste of that on the badlands loop. It wasn't people cheering for me, instead it was thousands of Prairie Dogs! And to be fair instead of chasing me down the road like the mad fans at bike races the Prairie dogs mostly just ran away. But they make the most amazing chirping sounds that made me think they were cheering for me anyway.
The 19 mile ride I did on the road from the campground to the Wall South Dakota turnoff was made possible because I have a pretty amazing wife who told me I should hop on my bike and she would catch up with me later with camper in tow. Not only did she have to hook everything up and pull out but she also had to empty the tanks! I guess that is true love.
When I left the campsite it was only about 36 degrees and about a mile into the ride I was wishing I had worn warmer gloves. But as I settled into the ride my body warmed up and I didn't notice the colder temperatures at all. Indeed it also warmed up to a nice 65 degrees pretty quickly. It was a beautiful solitary ride, I don't think I had more than 5 cars pass me for most of the ride.
At one point I did run into a bunch of cars parked on the sides of the road and it turn out that everyone was looking at the bighorn sheep. If I was a better photographer I'm sure I would have found a way to capture all of the harsh beauty of the badlands.
This last picture is from the turnout where Jane caught up with me. It was called Yellow Mounds which seems to match up nicely with our first night staying in Blue Mounds.
Lovers Leap in Custer State Park
Traveling in with a camper has many advantages. Not the least of which is that after Jane caught up with me I was able to go in the camper recycle my morning coffe, and change out of my biking gear right there at the pullout.
Today was a short day of driving so it was only another 90 minutes before we were pulling into Custer State Park, one of the largest state parks in the country. We made ourselves some tacos in the camper and then were ready to head out for an afternoon of hiking. The trail of choice was Lovers Leap.
Although the first quarter of the four mile hike was steep it was well worth it!
This. Is. Why. We. Bought. The. Camper. How many times in your life do you get to the top of a climb and say "wow! just wow!" That was my reaction to the pinnacle of our hike today.
Again its hard to capture the 360 degree vista from the peak of this hike! But if you get to Custer State Park and you can do it, this is a hike not to be missed.
The last 3/4 of the hike were a much more gradual down hill slope than the first quarter but the scenery was even more beautiful.
At the end of a little more than 4 mile hike I was ready to be done. After 19 miles of biking in the morning my legs were a little tired. But I'll say it again. This is why we bought a camper. To see America the beautiful.