Thursday, July 7, 2016

More Mickelson

When we last left our heroes they were hanging about the camp. Then another member of our group, Wendy showed up from Montana to join with this epic adventure. It is always so much fun and rewarding to meet face to face the people that you have shared with an online friendship. She even brought craft beer instead of the on sale Coors light that was had at the store at the bottom of our hill!!! My kind of cycling friend!!!

DAY 2 

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 out of Rochford continued on the long downhill grade 8 more miles into Mystic. Fantastic way to start a ride in the morning.
By the time we got to Mystic we were all feeling the heat of the day. We stuck our heads under the cistern pump to get ready for the climb out of Mystic up a grade that is almost to Hill City. Wendy had a flat just before Mystic, a reoccurring theme for her this day.
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.

None of these tunnels are very long but still, it sure gets dark in there!! After the long uphill there was about 4 or 5 miles down into Hill City where we had a great lunch at Desperado Cafe. They even iced up our water bottles for the ride back. Now it was Hot and I was feeling like my riding was finished for the day, but, Rob, Kelley, Kyle, and Wendy all wanted to ride back because they wanted to roll that long downhill back into Mystic. So.....peer pressure got the best of me and armed with iced water bottles off we go, back the way we came. The kicker for me was a bailout thanks to Janiece again. When her and Teesie got to their vehicle in Rochford they moved my truck up to Mystic so after enjoying the long downhill to Mystic there was my truck waiting for us so we did not have to ride the uphill 8 miles back to Rochford. SCORE!!!
 I liked the geology of this area with the stacked shale rock formations. The pieces would come off these cliffs in big slabs before breaking up into smaller flat pieces.

 We rolled back to Mystic with a fast ride, down through the tunnels again, almost all coasting. Wendy still had her vehicle in Rochford and wanted to ride the rest of the way back. She is a strong rider!!
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!!

We rode to the outskirts of Custer where the trail turned to paved asphalt, turned around and just went back. The 12 miles downhill back to Hill City was a fun cruise. We went looking for our campground in Custer called Buffalo Ridge. It had new owners of the former Fred Flintstone Bedrock campground. What a hoot!! There were still some old Bedrock cars on property and the bathroom shower houses were still looking right out of the TV show. Plus a big Dino statue out front!!  But the new owners were spending money on the property to improve it all. We upgraded into the little bunk house cabins, they gave us credit for the money already spent for tent sites, so it all worked out good. They had a nice pool and deck so we all settled in there for some cool off time in pool and shade. Richard, we were going to ride up to the stockade fort you recommended but the lure of pool and deck chair and a nice cold beer was too much to pass up!! Found a nice place downtown for a rooftop dinner and then we drove out to Mt. Rushmore for the night time lit up monuments.


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 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!!


  1. So glad you enjoyed the trail. Looks like a great group and that always makes for a better and fun ride together. This definitely is a different, and in my opinion more interesting trail than the Katy. Great write up as always, and some nice photos to go with it.

  2. Looks like a really great trip. Makes me miss the Black Hills even more.

    The GAP trail is really popular. My son's Boy Scout troop rides it every 4 years.

    But there are tons of trails in our area (OH, PA, WV, NY). I've been putting together a map of the trails and resources: .

    Check out the 'bicycling' option on Google maps and you'll see that you can ride most of the way across Ohio from SW to NE on paved trails.
    You might also think about some of the WV trails like North Bend or Greenbriar River Trail (a favorite of mine). There are also opportunities for extensive gravel road touring in WV's Monongahela National Forest.

    I do have some info saved on local trails. If you're interested let me know and I'll send you an email bundle.

    1. I think I am interested! my email is

  3. Thanks Steve. Both for reading along and for the ride suggestions.

  4. Sounds like a great trip Jim, I always enjoy your pictures but especially enjoyed the Day 3 shots. Incorporating a pool -deck chair -and cold beer into a bike trip sounds like my kind of vacation. As for other rides I think I mentioned this before but the John Wayne trail goes from Seattle (Issaquah) to Ellensburg, and although I have never done it I have heard great things and its on my bike bucket list. If you come out (North) West let me know and I'll ride at least some of it with you.

  5. Wished I could ride there. Fantastic scenery and a well-kept trail.

  6. Sounds like it was a great time. Glad you enjoyed yourself. I'm itching to go back. It's been so long it should all seem new again.

  7. A perfect life would be just traveling from one awesome trail to another, cooler always full and maybe a great riding companion alongside. Gypsy Nick is doing it and Cass...a hundred others but somehow, it eludes me...this living on thin air. I have had times when even Coors on sale was out of reach.

    But buffalo! How cool is that? And that Flintstone campground sure rings a bell...I think I went through that area on my motorcycle back around 1976...those are some hazy days...I was recently out of the Air Force and following Aerosmith around the country trying to get a gig as a roadie and being a pain in the ass backstage. I loaded plenty of trucks but never saw a dime. Lots of fringe benefits, though...

    Where was I?

    Oh! Anyway, Coach, good job! IMNVS.


    1. We met a guy and saw him out on the trail everyday. He said he ate ramen for a year, sold his house in California, quit his job, bought a small RV and was doing rail trails all over the country. I would put his age about mid-50's. Living life as a gypsy. Not a bad life. Kerouac like. Not sure if I could do that full time but I would like to try it for 6 months or so to see

    2. I too would love to do this. Wish it was as simple as it sounds.

    3. Hey Coach! Have you ever been to Hanging Lake?

    4. Are you talking the Hanging Lake that is up out of Glenwood Canyon?? No, I have not. Been by a bunch of times. But never took the time to pull off the highway and hike up there

  8. Hi Jim--

    I really enjoyed your comments and compliments on BoF and it's always fun to stop by and learn about a new visitor. Man, these are some beautiful rides! I have a feeling they'd kick my butt, though... I'm mostly an Ohio rail trail flatlander! I don't ride as much as I would like, with 4 kids at home... but I also mix in some hiking, geocaching and a little backpacking. I really just started riding a little more in the past few years as my marriage came unhinged. That's a much more involved story than the blog details... but I have to stay polite.

    It's really cool that you still get to ride with your adult son. My oldest has lost interest in most adventures with dad. Fortunately, my 14 year old is usually still up for an overnight ride or backpack outing with dad. Hope that lasts!

    Keep riding and keep blogging!


    1. Thanks for stopping by and checking this out Jeff.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.