DAY 56

May 9, 1999

Sleeping in late, I got up at 9am and showered then went to the restaurant next door. Carni’s Copper Room is the restaurant owned by Keith. It was initially called Copper Room but when Keith bought it he added Carni’s to the name so it would be consistent with the other restaurant he owns in Rapid City, Carni’s Italian Restaurant. Inside I ordered 2 pancakes, toast, orange juice, and coffee. Keith came out to talk to me about today’s plan. I told him I would try calling after ten to see if anyone was open yet.

Back in the motel room, I noticed the motel receipt…$53.00! What? I thought they said 40 dollars plus tax. I paid by credit card last night because I only had $25.00 on me. She handed me the receipt to sign but I didn’t even look at it. Geez! I got ripped off by this cheap motel. The other motels were advertising about $35.00. Dang it, if I would have looked at the receipt before signing it, I would have gone somewhere else. Oh well, too late now.

There was no answer at Mountain Mania but there was at 2-Wheeler Dealer. I spoke with Trent and he said they have a Shimano XTR for $99.00. My bike currently has a Shimano XTR and I asked if there was anything better. He said it was a really good one and that I shouldn’t have a problem like this unless I dropped my bike and bent it. I gave him my credit card number and told him someone would stop by to pick it up. Keith had said his Mom would be driving down from Rapid City and that she’d be able to stop by and pick it up. Walking back to the restaurant, I gave Keith the necessary information and thanked him.

Later in the afternoon, I got the derailleur, Cool! I took my old one off and compared it to the new one out of the box. Hmmm….the new one doesn’t have one of the components that my old one has. They look identical except for the part on my old one that’s bent and cracked. This shows my knowledge of derailleurs :) Apparently; the part that broke is the derailleur hanger, not the derailleur itself. I thought it all came together as one unit. Calling Trent again, I discover that they have new derailleur hangers for $11.00. So now, with all the time I’ve wasted, I have only one choice left…..That is to convert my bike to a one speed and bike to Rapid City for the hanger. Keith offered to take me and my bike to Rapid City but I couldn’t do that. I told him that I need to bike the whole distance and that cutting 20 miles out would be like cheating. It is real important to me to bike the whole distance. That was when he came up with the idea to have his Mom bring the part here since she was coming anyway.

After taking my best guess at what gear to use and shortening my chain, I was back on the road. Not only did I have just one speed, I had no rear brake on those hills. I couldn’t get any chain length combination to work without it being too loose. So, I had to pull my rear wheel out a little and tighten the skewer. That made the rear brakes rub the tire so I had to disable them. I found that I couldn’t go faster than 8mph very easily on flat roads. When I pedaled as fast as I could, I’d go 10mph.  So, my feet were flying around and I was barely moving. 

As it turns out, it was a good speed for going uphill and then I’d coast downhill. The whole ride was up and down hills. I left at 3pm and was very hot with my several layers of clothes on. Then, when I was a couple of miles out of town, I realized I’d forgotten to eat. I had nothing to eat since breakfast and was very hungry. There were no stores around and I didn’t anticipate any for miles. So I got in my trailer and ate a cup of my TVP and 2 packets of sugar. I forgot to fill my water bottles also but I always keep water in my camelback. So I washed it all down with water and continued on my way.

By 4:30 the sun was hidden by dark clouds and a cold fog began to move in. I was getting really cold now, especially on the downhill. When I reached Rapid City, I noticed the population was 54,000 and there was another sign that said "Bicycle Friendly City". Cool!  Since it was getting dark I checked into the Budget Host Inn. The sign out front said $27.95…perfect! It was a much nicer place than the last one and for a lot less. With the tax it came to $30.93 total. Then I went to Pizza Hut and ate a medium mushroom and green pepper pizza. I was hungry and it was GOOD!

Before going to sleep I did my usual routine of watching the Weather Channel. "National Weather Service Alert….Severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and large hail…go inside a sturdy building and stay away from the windows…" And I though this was Spring! What happened to the "March" winds and the "April" showers? If this were average weather for this time of year, I’d be biking in mild temperatures, not hot and not too cold. Now I’m wondering if I should go back to my original plan to go due north and avoid the Rockies for now. Guess I’ll just wait and see…

Wind – blowing to the south, 15-20mph

Today - 21.27 miles
Total -  2924 miles
Avg. Speed - 9.0mph

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