We packed up camp and drove vehicles back to Rochford, our end point yesterday. Rob mentioned that we were going to have Betsy whip us up some breakfast burritos........he got the stink eye from the group. Funny guy!!! Today's plan with vehicles was, Teesie and Janiece planned on riding an out and back to the top of the grade out of Mystic and then drive up to Hill City to meet for lunch and where our next campground is. Turns out Ruth and Gary did the out and back and drove up to Hill City for lunch and gave Teesie and Janiece a chance to ride the full ride and then a shuttle back to vehicles at Rochford.
Getting ready to ride
The trail was so scenic today with bridges and tunnels through the mountains. It was a long uphill grind for riding but so many things to look at the time went by very pleasantly.
We got to the campground and Teesie and Janiece had our spot for us. While we set up in the sun Teesie went and made new best friends with the people next door and their big fifth wheel and an awning so she got to sit in the shade while we set up!!! She kept checking up on us because she waved every ten minutes or so. Good campground up until a big family reunion in the RV's behind us got back from town about 11PM and were pretty noisy. In and out of the RV with the door slamming everytime. A good finish to the day was Wendy found the tiniest of holes in her tube in the sink. Couldn't see it or feel it out on the trail and it would hold air for awhile, but revealed itself under water in the sink. Patched and good to go!!!
This was our short day, about 16 miles to Custer. We decided to not move any vehicles and just ride an out and back. Of the 16 miles the first 12 were an uphill slog up to the entrance to the Crazy Horse Monument. Teesie and Janiece decided to take a day off the bike and go do the tourist thing. Teesie had never been to Mt. Rushmore and wanted to experience that. Once again it was a pretty morning!!
This is our last day of riding and we are up early because we shuttle vehicles down to the town of Edgemont this morning before riding. No out and back riding today just one 46 mile ride Custer to Edgemont. Teesie and Janiece decide to drive their vehicle down to Edgemont and ride an out and back for some amount of miles. We head out of Custer on a short uphill grade but know that most of our ride today is a gradual downhill slope to the ride. Very different scenery today as we roll out of the mountains and out onto the high plains. Another great morning to be riding bikes!!
I think that Richard posted a picture of this old car body next to the trail...but here it is again!!
First you see the signs........
and then you see the animals.....
We roll down into the little burg of Pringle and find some interesting old buildings and the bike sculpture which is an interesting thing to look and all the different styles of bikes tossed on there.
Nobody told me I could just pick up my Kings Treasure in Pringle, South Dakota. I been working hard all these years to earn it instead!!
The bike sculpture with bike sculpture models!!
Some kind of mining operation going on here
After Pringle the wind that was either in our faces or a crossing headwind became more of a factor. Yes, we were rolling on a down slope but pedaling was a necessary order of the day.
This big boy got to rolling around creating a big ball of dust!!
The terrain really started to change at this point. Bring up your imagination and think of "Dances With Wolves" It was hot and windy but still plenty of countryside to look at and enjoy being out there on your bike.
Much of the trail out here on the high plains has this double track look to it. I think it gets less use than the mountain sections of the trail around the tourist towns of Deadwood, Hill City, and Custer.
We negotiate our way up and over one last ridge of rocks and drop down into Edgemont.
And Poof!! just like that our ride was over. Teesie and Janiece had eaten their frickels or some thing like that, and left us a dusty message on windshields and were heading back to New Mexico. We said our goodbyes to Rob and Kelley and Wendy, and Kyle and I headed back.to Colorado.
My reflections of the trip are very positive. The trail was a very scenic and at times challenging ride. Never boring, always things to look at and some mining history to soak up. As always it is about the people that you share the time with and I can not think of any better times then these great people that I got to meet and share the ride and camping and dining and some beers and laughs with. The logistics of the trip worked out pretty good and having our vehicles with us every day was a bit of work but made for more comfortable camping and dining options. Doing the out and back riding gave us a chance to double up the fun parts of the trail.
We tossed around some ideas for the next ride. Any thoughts from the group would be great!! Some of the ideas for future Rails to Trails riding included the C&O-GAP trail that is Washington DC to Pittsburgh. Maybe the organized ride that is on the Erie Canal???? Thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
Thanks for reading along!!