Day 24 – Wall to Murdo, South Dakota

99.9 miles, 3858 feet climbed

When I did this ride in 2004, it was a 117 mile day. We hopped on the Interstate for about a mile and then vectored northeast to Pierre, the state capitol. Not much to see and headwinds to boot. The highlight was crossing the Missouri River just before Pierre.

Well ABB has fixed that in the last few years. Today we went south instead and looped through the Badlands National Park. What a pleasant surprise. On our one family trip through this area when I was a kid we were short on time and only visited Mount Rushmore so I had no idea this existed. You’ll find a multitude of pictures below. To make sure we didn’t spend all day there–it was a 99 mile day, after all–staff set time windows for each of the SAG stops to keep us moving.

A second thunderstorm early this morning complimented last night’s bedtime blast. I don’t think anyone could miss it, especially those of us on the second floor, what with the hail pounding the roof. As we were loading, the skies were overcast with some dark clouds but soon enough they evaporated and we were treated to a nice sunny day, not that hot but I still took in a lot of water over the course of the day. More South Dakota rolling hills made for a lot of short climbs and some tired riders.

A lone bison, just inside the park
This must be how the hay rolls are made.
The up and down frontage road that wears you down.
Some are not sure about the math on this but it is fair to say that we are at least half way through the ride.