|Wall Drug Dinosaur|
|All roads lead to Wall Drug|
|Movie of Wall Drug’s T-rex|
|Movie of the Chen Brothers’ $5 version|
We left Rapid City and made it to Wall on the 10th. We saw the first highway signs for Wall Drug way back in the middle of Wyoming. By the time we got to Rapid City, we’d see one every fifteen minutes or so. Wall Drug was everything I thought it would be. Kitschy and cheesy and pretty fun. On the way to Wall we stopped by Olde Glory Fireworks and bought a whole arsenal to mail to our friend Grey. You have to wait for us Gray!
|Movie of Chen brothers’ MI2|
|flying a kite in the Badlands|
From Wall, we followed the Badlands Loop Highway, which is a nice 30 mile loop through the Badlands. While checking out the Badlands, we saw a yuppie couple with full-on biking gear, including clipless pedals and camelbacks, sunglasses and biking shorts, posing for photos of each other at a lookout point. They then rode about 20 feet to their sporty SUV and put the bikes away and changed out of their gear. I could not see any trails nearby, so I can only assume they totally faked biking in the Badlands. I hope Max and I put them to shame.
|staying in Kadoka|
The road to Murdo turned out to be a disaster. My rear tire exploded and there was no way to fix it, but luckily a really nice guy named Doug pulled over and offered me a ride to Murdo which was 12 miles down as I was walking my bike. In Murdo, we checked out the Pioneer Auto Museum and then spent 3 hours trying to deal with my tire situation. A couple of the locals we met at gas stations and at the museum helped us out by calling everyone in town about a spare tire. No one had one! We sat at a gas station in the blazing heat holding up a sign that said that we needed a ride to Valentine. That wasn’t quite working so we moved to the other side of the highway away from town hoping to catch people as they got off the intersection. That didn’t work either. So then we waited at the gas station again and tried to find some RV people with bikes that we could buy a tire off of. That finally worked after a big hassle. Too big for this log. [Mark’s post trip note: for a clue what the big hassle was all about, read the very last paragraph of the final entry.] I was very tired by the end of the day.
|The General Lee|
|crazy tire difference|
The road from Murdo towards Valentine was pretty nice except for the heat. In White River (was that the name?) we decided to wait a few hours due to the heat and ended up playing some billiards. Thru Mission and to the Rosebud Casino was pretty fun. We had been warned by a few people about biking with expensive gear thru an Indian reservation, but it actually turned out really nice. It seemed to me that all the natives we met were really laid back and liked to joke around. We ended up staying at the Casino which had the world’s smallest swimming pool and the world’s largest 4 women.
The next day we got to Valentine and got me a new set of tires. Then we waited until late and biked during the night until I hit gravel and wiped out. That’s when we camped.
The next day it hit me: we’re in freakin Nebraska! Never in my life did I think I’d ever be in Nebraska. Over the next couple of days I’d come to realize that Nebraska has been the most enjoyable state to bike thru not including Oregon. Almost every town has a free city park, many with either a pool or showers.
Mark’s post trip note: We had originally dropped down to Valentine from Murdo so that we could take part of the country’s longest rail to trail, the Cowboy Trail, all the way to Norfolk and then get to Omaha somehow. Max had already seen the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, so we felt like we could skip out of that kitschy feature. Unfortunately, the Cowboy Trail wasn’t as fun as we would have liked. It was a little too rough for our liking, but would have been awesome if we had knobbier tires. By the time we hit the C & O Canal Towpath in Maryland, we had switched tires and had a blast.
Mark’s post trip note 2: Norfolk was pretty cool, but smelly as all heck because it is next to some cow rendering plants. Fremont is nice and we were able to go canoeing for half a day.
We’ve met a whole bunch of other bikers all throughout our journey to Omaha from Murdo. All of them are going to Council Bluffs in Iowa to join 15,000 others in a ride across the state called RAGBRAI. We’ve decided to ride along for at least the first few days.
Now we are in Omaha. Gonna check out the zoo.