May 12, 1999
|I walked outside with three layers
of clothes on. My face was covered with only my eyes showing.
Considering the cold temperature of the previous days, I was prepared
to face the cold. Gene said he'd be down in about 15 minutes.
Riding to the store, I began to sweat. The sky was a pristine
blue, unspoiled by even a trace of a cloud. Perfectly blue as
far as I could see in all directions, with a bright sun glistening through
the valley. What an incredible morning, and I've only ridden just
over a mile to the store for breakfast.
Kirk and Brian were working this morning. I had Kirk fix me one pancake for breakfast. He added a touch of vanilla to the batter for me...Excellent! Mmmm. After eating I made a point to introduce myself to Brian. He is the general manager but I hadn't had the opportunity to meet him yet. I've seen him around the past couple of days though. He's a tall man with thick hair and is in his 40's. His persona seemed very positive and upbeat. When I spoke to Brian I found out that he does "body work". That's a term used by those that perform a multitude of techniques beyond traditional massage therapy. Unfortunately, he was busy so we didn't get much time to discuss holistic healthcare and therapies.
Beau showed up just before I left. Yesterday he advised me to change my route to ride through Spearfish Canyon. This would add about 20 miles but would be well worth it. After saying good-bye to everyone, I headed out of the lot and onto the road. It felt great being on my bike. The temperature was perfect allowing me to wear the bare minimum. I felt light without the weight of the extra clothes I've become accustomed to over the past week or so. As I biked away I thought about this nice little oasis in the Black Hills. Everyone was exceptionally nice and seemed to work together. There was the one incident where I had a negative experience with the maintenance man, but on the whole, this was a very positive experience filled with positive people. I imagine it will be much like a large family with everyone working together. Most people are new employees, just hired in the last few weeks. There is still a lot of organizing to do but I know this place has potential to grow into something even more incredible. The owners appear very dedicated and the employees seem to share in their vision. I'm looking forward to seeing how they evolve in the future and hope to make it back there again.
Leaving thoughts of Nemo behind, I continued riding north on Nemo Road. It was all uphill as I continued following the creek near that ran near the road. Soon I saw one lonely cloud appear to the north. It was a small, puffy, bright white cloud. Within an hour the sky became streaked with white clouds. Man this is really an incredible day...the sun is bright, the temperature is perfect, and I'm feeling fantabulous!!! :-)
When I reached 385 I turned right, towards Lead. At the intersection of 85 I turned left (south) to go to Lead. It was a very steep one mile grade that I thought would never end! Finally making it, I stopped at the Subway for a seafood and crab sub. Riding towards downtown the uphill climb continues....Geezz, when will it stop! Finally, turning left at the stop light, which kept me on 855 then 14A, I had a downhill. Unfortunately, it didn't last long, I had more climbing ahead. There was still snow on the mountain tops in the distance. I didn't notice it getting cooler as I kept climbing and climbing, very slowly I might add. Then I see it! "Terry Ridge Summit", ah....I made it up. There was snow by the road and in splotches all around. Looking at my map, I noticed I was in "Icebox Canyon". As I crest the summit, I was reminded what I like about a long climb up...the long downhill that follows! Flying down, the wind was very COLD...My teeth hurt when I tried to breathe through my mouth. By the time I reached Cheyenne Crossing, I needed to get warm. There was a general store/cafe right on the corner. Inside I met Kathy, one of the owners. She gave me hot tea to warm me up and told me, "there's a reason they call this Icebox Canyon", as I sipped it. I stuck around for about 45 minutes then was on my way into the canyon.
Wow, this is indeed an awesome ride through here! Reaching Savoy, I saw a sign that read "Dances With Wolves filmed here". The canyon walls began to get taller as I continued north. I didn't know this place existed in the Black Hills. And the best part was that it was downhill through the canyon :-) When I reached Bridal Veil Falls, I stopped to take a photo. I didn't have a tripod with me and looked for a place to stabilize my camera. Trying to keep my weight as light as possible, I left my tripod at home. Now I'm thinking about getting a small lightweight one to strap on the side of my trailer. As luck would have it, two other guys stopped to photograph the waterfall. The older guy with gray hair sat his tripod on the ground, mounts his expensive looking camera, then pulled his light meter out of his pocket and looked through it. After he finished taking his photos he asked if I wanted to use his tripod. I said "sure" and he helped me to mount my camera on it. He went into a few technical things that I didn't know and I explained that I was still learning. He gave me some suggestions on what speed to shoot at and frowned on leaving the aperture open to blur the water. That is the most over used effect, I suppose. I tried a few different settings. My camera has settings from 1/8000 of a second to 30 seconds. He advised me not to "stop" the water, just a little blur, so I tried 1/256 of a second and then 7/10 of a second. I'll just have to wait and see which looks better.
After I put my camera back in my handlebar bag, I was approached my a fiftyish white haired man. He had pulled up in his yellow, dirty, older Ford LTD, and left it running as he stood and talked to me. His eyes were sort of bluish gray and he had bushy white eyebrows. He was wearing an old, worn, button up, dress shirt covered by an old, dark blue, cardigan sweater. I immediately felt uncomfortable as I stood breathing in exhaust fumes and the smell of burning oil from his car. He kept asking questions about my trip, about my trailer, and every time I tried to break off the conversation he asked another question. Even when I put my foot on the pedal and started to move, he quickly came up with something else to say or ask. All I could think about were the psychos Gene had told me about. His manner of speaking, his movements to get between me and the road each time I tried to leave, the negative energy I felt from him, and his whole persona seemed to fit such a profile. I felt as if I had to match wits to beat him at this game and tactfully get out of there. As I pedaled away, I kept watching him in my rear view mirror and rode fast to put distance between us. Maybe I didn't have a thing to worry about but my intuition told me otherwise.
Reaching Spearfish. I stopped at the first convenient store, a Conoco station. Inside I met Eric and Amy with the background sound filled with NPR's "All Things Considered" on the radio. I asked about camping and motels, here as well as Belle Fouche. She said there was a sister store there that had a motel for $25.00 a night. We discussed my route and Amy pulled out maps to see what a good route to Missoula would be. Then she called the DOT in Montana to see if a bicycle can ride on the interstate....Yes, they can. When we talked about my ride so far, Eric told me that I was lucky with the buffalo encounter. He said that they can be unpredictable.
Looking ahead on my route, they suggested I ride by Devil's Tower. If I hadn't seen it before I would have gone that way. I wanted to take a route to see things I haven't seen before. That would take me through Belle Fouche instead of heading west from Spearfish. Amy called her sister store and talked to Bert to let her know I was on my way and needed a room. It was about ten more miles and when I got there, Bert informed me that there was tent camping about two blocks away. Cool, it was good weather and I was in the mood to camp.
My first stop was a little drive-thru burger joint. I went to the walk-up window and ordered a veggie burger which was listed on the menu. After an incredibly long wait, I got my sandwich, sat down outside, and noticed I had red meat and mayonnaise. I walked back to the window and told the lady the error. She seemed upset that I was complaining about it. She took it back and said it would be a few minutes. Then, after another long wait, I got my sandwich and discovered they replaced the bun with mayo smeared on it with one that had the mustard I wanted. But, I still had a red meat burger, the same one AHHHH! When they replaced the top bun, they put a bottom bun on it. So I had a red meat burger with two bottoms, and I was furious...especially with their attitude towards me. I had to stop myself from going back to the window. I was afraid of what I might say and was trying real hard not to be negative. I just told myself it wouldn't kill me and I ate it. It tasted nasty and made me nauseous.
I rode to the campground and paid $10.80 to pitch a tent. Geez! That was expensive for a piece of crap campground. My tent sat in the middle of a trailer park. There were outside rows of trailers where people lived and in the middle were spaces for RV's and tents. This sucked! I had a view of the local trailer trash outside my tent. The neighborhood was noisy with cars and dogs. I hated it! I would rather pay $15.00 more for a motel.
Needing to settle my stomach, I searched for what food I had. There was some angel hair pasta and 2 soups. I fixed some pasta and added the chicken noodle soup and TVP to it. After eating that concoction, I felt better and tried to sleep.
Wind - Blowing to the west
Today - 68.77 miles