Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 21, Somewhere in South Dakota (Kadoka)

BEST: Riding through the Badlands

WORST: Seeing Kadoka from 9 miles away and never seeming to get any closer.

MOST UNEXPECTED: Thousands of Grasshoppers jumping out of the grass next to the road and suiciding into the spokes of my bike.

Another century ride today. What more can I say. Oh wait, there is more.

The route was fairly flat, and we flew through the first part of the ride. We passed through the Badland National Park twice today and the formations looked like giant sandcastles. Just like the U.S. to take a piece of ground called the Badlands and then charge to get in to see them. Of course the Russians win by taking a nuclear disaster site and making it a tourist attraction charging to potentially kill yourself with radiation. Pretty clever those Russkies. (Chernobyl if you didn't get the connection).

We had a great paceline going with three riders, then added a fourth when we passed him. At the Badlands, all bets were off as we stopped multiple times looking for the best lookout point and running people off the paths. I think the pictures below show off some of the wonder, but they are only a part of the overall grandeur of the site.

Of course the day wouldn't be complete without a final 20 mile run in to our campground with a headwind and multiple hills. However, the headwind was in the 10-12 mph range, and after the last several days, was almost a relief. I spit upon the wind.

Along the windy final miles, we cruised next to the I 90 along the service road which had grass right next to the road. The thousands of grasshoppers were disturbed by the first rider and leapt up into the air in haphazard directions including into the road into the following riders. This was not good for the grasshoppers. I had just commented that I was glad they couldn't jump as high as our heads when one of the grasshoppers made a liar of me and just missed going down my gullet. We could see our final destination of Kadoka from 9 miles away but there were so many ups and downs which were hidden that it seemed we would never arrive. We are staying in a public park (in a town of around 760 people it is probably the only park) next to the public pool. Our restrooms for tonight consist of a single stall for the men, and the women. Tomorrow should be interesting to see how that plays out. Dinner was downtown (I am being very generous with that description) at the only restaurant and they served their world famous meat loaf followed by rhubarb crisp. Back at the campground I am now worried about how that food load is going to affect my strategy of the bathroom use.

Temperature was moderate for most of the day but heated up at the badlands to upper 80's. It is pleasant at the park, but still too warm to lay down in the tent. Also check out the largest prairie dog in the world below.


  1. Amazing landscape. I have never seen anything like this. You might have to take me, via car, along this part of the country. I love you more than you love me. :)

  2. Grasshopper frenzy! We did experiments in my Science Ed. class using grasshoppers. I'm pretty sure I recall that heat helps their jumping ability so perhaps 80+ degrees is what's getting them to head level :)