After a nice rest day in Spearfish, we hit the road on a hot Sunday morning. Although the distance was not too demanding, today was a scorcher. The temperature topped out at 105F which equates to 40.5C. Ouch. We’re lucky we invested in good suncream.
Arriving into Rapid City, we checked into America’s Best Value Inn and headed straight for their outdoor pool. Needless to say it was a huge relief to get in the water on such a scorching day.
That evening we drove to Mount Rushmore to get a few snaps of the famous faces. It’s a impressive place and has an interesting history.
Will, our human alarm, had the cyclists up early again today and within minutes we were on the road.
Today was a hard day along the I-90 again. The first half seemed to be all climbing with some really long uphill drags. The heat again threatened to top 100F.
We stopped in Sundance for some lunch, and after that thankfully the downhills came along and it was easier to make quick progress. 8 miles from our destination, we crossed into South Dakota which means we now have crossed four States! Woohoo!
We arrived into Spearfish and made our way to the Rimrock Lodge owned by South Dakota’s greatest good samaratin Jesse Ziebert. After a snooze, Jessie and her friend Andi made us a dinner of stuffed peppers, spuds, peas and mango. Yum yum.
Afterwards we drove to Deadwood, a popular town 40 miles away, to promote the Cycle of America’s Pancake Breakfast the following morning, and to indulge in a few glasses of water. Deadwood is an historic Wild West style town with gambling the activity of choice. We did most of our marketing in a cool bar called Saloon No 10. We handed out flyers and got nearly $70 in donations.
It was early to bed however – Jesse has organised a 8:30am charity cycle to the Pancake Breakfast which we are going to participate in. Even our rest days involve cycling!
The Team left The Occidental Hotel in Buffalo at circa 7am and headed for brekkie at a local cafe.
It was a normal enough day in the saddle. We stayed along the I-90 for all of it as there was no backroad alternative. The terrain was up and down like the rest of Wyoming but there always seems to be more ups than downs! There were no towns along the way for us to stop and have a break so we simply powered on through the 70 miles like pedalling maniacs. With 20km to go I punctured just as the lads had crested a hill in front of me so having fixed that I was riding solo for the last hour which was tough.
We stayed at the Settle Inn which was a big spacious hotel. We got the added bonus of having a free dinner because of a manager’s special or something – we were too busy munching on hotdogs to find out the real reason for the free grub.
That evening we went to the cinema to see Inception and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Why those films you ask? Well there was little other choice seeing as the cinema only had two screens. After the films we took a drive around Gillette to see the town. Upon stopping into a bar (for 5 waters of course), a certain member of the Team who is partial to a night out here and there, realised he had forgotten his ID as proof of age. Being sticklers for the rules, we were sent packing by security, and headed home for an early night. The steam is still clearing from the head of that certain member of the Team.
The cyclists were up early again today in an effort to beat the sweltering heat that hits us in the middle part of the day – between 12pm and 6pm. We were on the road for 8am and headed straight for a backroad that avoids the Interstate.
We took the Big Horn Highway out of Sheradin which passes through metropolises like Banner (population 40) and Story (best name ever). There was hardly any traffic on the road so it was a lovely ride. The only downside, ironically, was the lack of downhills. We seemed to be climbing steadily for the entire first part of the day without the reward of cruising downhill. On one climb, we passed two cyclists out for a spin going the opposite way. We waved but didn’t exchange words. Later that day we got an email from Patrick, one of those cyclists, who had tracked our website down, and offered us a free coffee in Starbucks in Gillette as he was the manager there. Thanks Patrick!
The countryside was beautiful though, and it was lovely to get off the Interstate and into the peace and quiet. We were lucky to see some more deer running along side us at the roadside, and an antelope scarpering into the bushes. Antelopes are apparently so common that they out-number humans in Buffalo.
After covering 40miles by 11:30am, we arrived in Buffalo (our destination for the day) at the same time as the support team. We grabbed a nice lunch at a cafe before continuing on the road to get in some extra miles to make the coming days a little easier. We pushed out an extra 20miles over some VERY hilly terrain in heat that peaked at 98.9F – about 36C. Needless to say in heat like that our water starts to taste like its coming out of a hot water bottle. Yummy.
We met up with Rob and Donal at the end of our extra miles and they drove us back to Buffalo where we checked into the brilliant Occidental Hotel. The hotel is like a time warp back to the Wild West days. It has had some famous people stay the night including Teddy Rosevelt, Butch Cassidy and Calamity Jane.
After showers, we grabbed food including Bison burgers in the hotel’s restaurant. Unfortunately the restaurant’s frier was broken so our ‘side’ was a packet of crisps (in the packet) thrown into some coleslaw. Genius solution!
That evening Mark, Rob and myself drove back to Sheridan to pick up copies of a newspaper interview we had given the previous day. It is a brilliant piece and the publicity that articles like this bring to our journey is a real reward for our effort on the road.
We were up at 6.30 this morning to meet Mayor Kim for a bit of breakfast. Again she arranged a complimentary breakfast for us at the Dew Drop In Cafe. Donal dropped us off at Crow Agency ( where we had cycled to the day before ) We were on the road for 8 o’clock and it was already extremely warm pushing up towards the high 70s already.
We took a frontage road to avoid the dreaded I90. The road lenny loves as it’s the shortest route. But myself and Macker have no issues with banging on a few extra miles to the journey, lenny and his pencils for legs are just not able for it!
We stopped off in Wyola for some food and to take in some of the sights! We had no punctures today so the tyres were obviously doing there job! The temperature was pushing into the high 90s and we finally completed our trip through Montana and arrived in Wyoming. It took us 9 days to complete our journey though Montana and we met some wonderful, friendly people. We would recommend people visit!
Wyoming started well with a tasty downhill and it has been nothing but climbs ever since! William “Contidor” Kerwin lead from the front with a rope tied from my bike to Mackers, to Lennys. It was the only way the 2 boys could keep up with me!
We arrived in Sheradin around 2 o’clock where we were interviewed by the local paper and had a pizza hut to replenish the energy stores. It’s a strict diet of burgers and pizzas that are carrying us through this trip! Even the support team are keeping to this strict diet! Its gotten to the point now where we have to tie shiels to the roof as we cant fit him in the car anymore!
We had a short enough day today – it was only an 80 km cycle to Hardin but we decided to push on an extra 20 km to make tomorrows cycle a little shorter! So we cycled to a town called Crow Agency where the support team picked us up an brought us back to Hardin. We also got the support team to pick up some armadillo puncture resistant tyres to help with the number of punctures we are getting!
It was an enjoyable cycle, we avoided the I90 all day and took the frontage road to Hardin. We didn’t see a car on the road for hours but we had other issues to deal with! There were thousands of crickets all over the road and they were hopping all over the us!
Poor Leonard nearly fell off the bike around 6 times avoiding the crickets and at 1 point nearly crashed into me avoiding them! Leonard was cruising along at his usual 100 mile an hour rate and had a head on collision with some type of insect that resembled a dragon fly! In his state of shock he turns to me to ask “was that a bird Kerwin!!” it wasn’t!
We arrived in Hardin to a great welcome from Mayor Kim who treated us to dinner and organised a complementary hotel for us aswell as a tour around the local prison! There are currently no prisoners in the prison until we locked up Macker for slashing Contidor Kerwins tyres in an attempt to slow him down!
We had a very early start today, up at 5.45. The owners of the Burnt Out Lodge put on a massive breakfast for us. As usual I was the 1st one up doing my normal 1000 press ups and sit ups before breakfast started! After breakfast I noticed I had a front wheel puncture, Leonard was seen leaving the scene with a knife but still maintains his innocence. Donal dropped us into Big Timber for 7 o’clock. The Burnt Out Lodge was over 8miles into the wilderness on dirt roads so we had to get dropped into the local town.
After getting soaked to the skin the day before we were hoping for an improvement in the weather today! Although it was very cloudy there was no sign of rain. We hit the road at a hard pace completing the 1st 50km in less than an 1hour and 30mins with William “ Contidor” Kerwin leading from the front, followed by Eoin “ Big Mac and cheese” McNamara With Mark “Louie Armstrong” Leonard screaming “your killing us on these hills Kerwin!!”
We stopped off at Colombus for some food and a short break. We were back on the I 90 on the way to Billings. I was sick and tired of the I 90 with the juggernauts flying by us so I persuaded Macker and Leonard a different road to Billings – The road less travelled! This added a few extra km to the journey, well more than a few extra km’s. It seemed to be going in a completely different direction to Billings but after promising “ it swings in”! we eventually arrived back on the I 90 and went on our way and this is where the fun really began!
Leonard got the 1st puncture of the day and from there it went from bad to worse! We got a total of 10 punctures between the 3 of us! At one point we had to persuade Macker not to throw the bike out in front of one of the lorries and get the train to Billings!
We eventually arrived at Billings at around 2 o’clock to a great welcome from Shell Mann the manager of the Boothill Inn. She gave us goody bags with T-shirts and bottles of Guinness which went down a treat! Eoin and Donal drove back to Butte for the Irish festival and myself and Leonard flew the flag for COA in Billings!
A brief video showing an average day in the life of the Cycle of America 2010 cyclists. It charts their journey from Ellensberg to Moses Lake on August 3rd, and features punctures, pit stops and the daily halfway-point meet-up with Rob and Donal.
The 16th of August was spent in the town of Hardin, Montana. We received our warmest welcome so far in America from the kind people of Hardin who treated us like members of their own family. We’d like to thank the Four Aces for providing us with a free, scrumptious chicken dinner, Mojoes for the complimentary coffee, and the Dewdrop In Diner for the breakfast. Thanks also to the Western Motel for putting us up.
A huge thank you to Mayor Kim Hardin, who made all this happen, and to the City of Hardin. Jeffrey S. McDowell of the Two Rivers Authority also gave us a tour of the currently empty Two Rivers Detention Facility, a brand new prison that has been built in Hardin. It was very spooky, but really interesting. It’s not every day that you get to stroll around a prison! Here’s a little peek at the prison:
Again, thanks a million to Mayor Hammond and all the people of Hardin! A great town to visit!