Today we biked 84 miles from Pierre to Chamberlain. Our route today took us along the Missouri River all day, and for the most part we spent a good portion of the day crossing the Crow-Creek Reservation. Throughout the day, we kept getting glimpses of the winding Missouri. The only real change in the scenery over the last couple of days was the River and greener vegetation/more farmland than we’d been used to lately. In general, South Dakota earns the award for having the most roads that seem to ribbon off into nowhere. But I am not complaining about that–it’s pretty to see miles of rolling hills cut through with only a road, and traffic has been pretty light.
The terrain was also a pretty good challenge today. Louis and Clark came through here looking for a water trail to the Pacific. Many times they climbed the bluffs to overlook the river to scope out their route, and today we climbed the bluffs as well. We had 3 big 600 foot climbs today and two of them came in the last 15 miles. The scenery was beautiful on the bluffs, but I think most everyone wondered why the road didn’t more closely trail along the river at a lower elevation (undoubtedly flood plains).
BIG milestone today–HALFWAY. It’s hard for me to imagine that I have now ridden halfway across the United States. On the other hand it’s sobering to think that there’s as many days to come. It’s been nearly a month since I flew out from NYC, and the pace and all consuming nature of this ride never relents: almost every waking minute is consumed with prepping, riding, eating, bike maintenance and sleeping. I suspect, though, that I will soon start to feel some sort of sadness that this adventure is winding down and the “bubble” of life that I have been living in will revert back to “normal.”
A reporter was at the hotel today to do a story on the ride. I explained my cause for Freedom to Marry, and she was excited and took a lot of notes and my picture. I can’t wait to see what gets published, but it may be a while before I have evidence. She said there in no online edition of the paper and took my home address to mail me a physical copy of the paper. Still, I am excited!