Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Beautiful day today and one of the easiest 68-mile days we've had. Unlike yesterday, when we had a headwind all day except for a 20-mile stretch at the end, today we had a tailwind all day except for a 20-mile stretch at the beginning. It was cloudy in the morning but mostly cleared up later and got pretty hot but the wind was blowing enough to keep us cool most of the time. Not too many hills and none of them steep, so it was a very pleasant riding day all around. We even had good road surfaces all day except for the last 10 miles or so.
We only had one stop today, at mile 22 in the town of Selby. No restaurant, but we mostly just wanted to fill up our camelbaks, to make sure we'd have enough cold water for the remaining 46 miles (we just made it). We had a report from some motorcyclists we were talking to in Selby that our two friends on a recumbent tandem, Aaron & Laurel, whom we'd met 2 days before, were just a little ways ahead of us. This was surprising to us since we thought they'd be a half-day ahead of us at least, but we never saw them. We also saw a large building with half of its roof destroyed and insulation all over the yard and road nearby. The woman in the convenience store said the wind had blown the roof off last night.
Other than that, there was not much to report, only beautiful rolling hills, farmland covered with crops or grasses for pasture, cows, horses, and some sheep. There seem to be a lot of pheasant or quail nesting by the road, because we often passed by spots and had a bird suddenly burst out of the grass, flapping wildly with a lot of clatter. We've noted that the South Dakota cows seem exceptionally sociable (with each other, that is); we've never seen so many herds of cows packed tightly together out in a big open field. It's really odd - we used to think, well, there must be a feeding or watering trough there, but there never is. They're just crowded together eating the grass in the pasture. Maybe it helps keep the flies off, with so many tails swishing in close proximity - who knows. There was a lot of big farm equipment moving around on the road today. Maybe Sunday's a good day for that since there's not much other traffic. We got some great shots of one farm implement that literally took up the whole road! Quite amazing to watch.
We saw a number of ponds, creeks, and wetland areas today. We got near the river at the end of the day, as we were at the beginning. Lake Oahe is what the river is called here - it's a huge lake that we've been following for days now. The Oahe Dam, which created this lake, is near Pierre where we'll spend the night tomorrow, so hopefully we'll get pictures of it. We have a very pretty view of the river here at our motel. There's a bridge across the river here, too, a rather rare sight. We finished the day at a little under 68 miles in under 6-1/4 bike hours, our best average in quite a while.