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Lou the Fish

Today (July 19), we rode from Waterton, South Dakota, to Montevideo, MInnesota.

After riding about 40 miles, I crossed the Minnesota border at around 11 am. Here’s the proof.

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Shortly after that, we had lunch in a park in Marietta. These silos towered over the park. I tried to imagine how many pounds of grain they hold or how many people could be fed for how long from them, but it was beyond my ken.

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After lunch, I got back on the road heading for Madison, Minnesota. Around noon, I spoke with Bill Werner, a Minnesota News Network radio reporter who interviewed me about NAMI, mental illness, and my reasons for doing the ride. I just stopped under a tree by the side of the road and did the interview on my phone!

Then I started out again toward Madison, which bills itself as “Lutefisk Capitol of the World.” Lutefisk is dried cod, treated with lye, a traditional Scandinavian dish. Frequently on “A Prairie Home Companion,” Garrison Keillor jokes about the Sons of Norway and their annual lutefisk dinner. In a park in Madison, I found what I’d been seeking. There was “Lou the Fish,” who’s been on the job for 25 years commemorating Madison’s claim to fame.

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After riding through about 30 more miles
of gently rolling hills, I arrived at our destination for tonight, Montevideo.

In the evening after dinner, some of the guys put one of the rider’s bikes up on a basketball net. It will be interesting to see his reaction when he discovers it. Tune in tomorrow to find out.

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South Dakota-Four States in One

It’s hard to believe the Black Hills, the Badlands, the barren plains that we crossed in the 100+ degree heat a couple of days ago, and the lush prairie that we crossed today are all in the same state- what a variety!

Today’s ride, between DeSmet and Waterton,  was only 59 miles with gently rolling hills. It was a dream!

Here’s a look at how the landscape has changed. There are actual trees and lakes and greenery!

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This corn was approximately 7.5 feet high. I used myself as the ruler and it was nearly 2 and one-half feet taller.

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Along the way, in Bryant, SD, we stopped at Parkview Senior Care Center. They had cookies and cakes and juice and coffee. It really hit the spot and the residents were a lively bunch. I spent quite a while talking with Dev Horsted. He is 85 and explained that he had spent his work life as a blacksmith, which he found a satisfying job choice because he got to make useful things. I could certainly understand. I told him I love to make and repair things with my hands as well.

Tomorrow, we cross the state line into Minnesota.

World’s Largest Pheasant

Yessiree folks here it is, the one, the only. Don’t miss it. It’s in Huron, SD, which we rode through today.

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The other highlight for today (which actually came before the giant pheasant)  was that we passed the half-way point for those who are riding all the way from Seattle to Boston. Here’s the chalk commemoration that we have ridden 2100 miles!

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The ride today was 79+ miles with a 15-20 mph headwind. I rode the whole thing, all the way from Miller to DeSmet, arriving in DeSmet at about 7:30 pm.

I just want to take some time to thank all those who have contributed to NAMI. The total now is over $2300! I think that’s terrific and know NAMI will put it to good use. I will thank each of you individually when I get back home. Just cannot manage it with all that’s going on on the ride and this teenie weenie smartphone keyboard! In the meantime, I am assuming NAMI has provided each of you with a receipt for tax purposes. Please let me know if that is not true. Thanks again. I sincerely appreciate your kindness.

Pierre to Miller

Today’s ride (July 16) had several of the same issues as Saturday’s-no place to hide from the sun and intense heat. This afternoon, the reader board at the bank in Miller said the temperature was 105 degrees. But, thankfully, there was no head wind. I did the whole ride, but I started this morning at about 5:20 am to try to get in some riding time before things really heated up. The ride was 88.3 miles.

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This picture is a train along the banks of the Missouri River in the early morning light, taken just as I was leaving Pierre.

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This (above) is another shot of the river a little later.

Here is a shot of one of only two groups of trees to which we has access along the way. This was about 15 miles out of Miller. I took it from the vantage point of resting in its shade.

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Lastly, here was a wonderful display of childrens’ pedal cars and tractors arrayed on the back of an old Chevy truck. I came upon it while walking in Miller.

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Philip to Pierre

On Saturday July 14, we rode from Philip, SD, to the South Dakota capitol of Pierre. It was over 100 degrees, there were no trees or structures for respite from the sun, and there was a head wind of 20 mph. I estimate that I rode about 58 miles of a total 88 mile ride.  I was feeling clammy, which can be an early warning of heat exhaustion, so I opted to ride part of the way in the sag wagon, as did many others.

Here’s a picture of the area we rode in. I took this particular shot because it showed one of the few dwellings we passed but it also shows how there was no escape from the blazing sun.

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Once we reached Pierre, we spent Sunday, July 15, our day off, there. On Sunday morning, I spent some time on foot exploring. I saw the capitol building.

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I also saw a man-made lake behind the building that is fed by ground water that maintains a constant 92 degree temperature. The lake does not freeze in winter. On the shore of the lake was this memorial to veterans.

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I also walked along the shore of the Missouri River on the Lewis and Clark Trail. It’s amazing to think the Corp of Discovery trod this same path 208 years ago on the way to over-winter in the Mandan villages in 1804.

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The Badlands and Wall Drug

Today (July 13), we rode through Badlands National Park. The early morning light on the rocky formations softened their starkness somewhat.

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As we rode deeper into the Badlands, I think the heat got to some of the riders! Here is Ineke from Holland standing out at the end of a rock outcropping.

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As we rode on, we saw these cute little prairie dogs. Signs along the rode said they carry plague but they were fun to watch scampering about and calling to each other.  They seemed to be having such a good time. I guess they hadn’t read the signs!

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At about mid-ride today, we came to Wall, South Dakota, named, of course, after my dear Hampden Malarkey Wall. Here I am in front of one of the multitude of signs announcing that one should not, under any circumstances, pass by Wall Drug without stopping.

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So Carol Rutter from California and I stopped in. The place was packed! We got some of their trademark free ice water (a LOT of it, in fact, as it was over 100 degrees out). We also each bought a lip balm. (A person who must carry all of her purchases in a small bike bag is not an ideal Wall Drug customer!).

We finished up the ride with a stretch of about 20 miles on a newly “chip sealed” road. That’s gravel placed over gooey tar in the hopes that the weight of the cars traveling on it will pack the gravel into the tar. Well, the rocks were flying! Cycle America had two windshields and one side window broken on its support vans and 4 of the cyclists had derailleurs broken. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Wish I’d Had a Car

Today (July 12), we would not have missed much had we made the trip from Rapid City to Interior, SD, in a car.

The 80.3 mile ride in the 100 degree heat was a bit of a challenge.

The only thing I found worth photographing were these cacti along the side of the road.

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How in the world do cacti survive through the freezing, snowy South Dakota winters?

I think the purpose of today’s trek was to set us up for an early start through Badlands National Park the following day.