Rapid City to Interior, SD

The day started out with a five-mile ride from the school to downtown Rapid City for breakfast at a diner called Tally’s. After finishing my blueberry pancakes, I headed out of town on my own.

What a difference a day makes. We are definitely out of the mountains now and into the Great Plains. The terrain was mostly flat with gentle slopes, surrounded by farm and ranch land. There was a nice tailwind for a while, too. I eventually caught up to Brian and Meg, and later, Bruce caught up to us, and we made pretty good time to the lunch stop in the little village known as Scenic.

The afternoon sun turned up the heat, the wind was much less in our favor, and the land turned more desert-like, including a two-mile stretch of the Badlands. By the end of the 84-mile route, the would turn out to be my most difficult day of riding to date.

When we reached the remote town of Interior, we stopped at the A&M Cafe for what the Cycle America staff reported to be the best pie in the country. After my slice of blueberry pie ala mode, I had to agree.

It was another four miles past town to arrive at the Badlands KOA, our camp for the night. Despite some rare and much-welcome shade trees, the campground still had a dusty, desolate feel to it, as the oppressive heat hung in the air until late in the evening, and a warm wind kept tent domes flapping.

We shuttled in the vans back to the A&M Cafe for dinner. With about 50 cyclists and about a dozen locals vying for 44 table settings, it was a bit chaotic. Some of us joined up with locals at their tables, and the wait staff was friendly and efficient, so it all worked out in the end.

Back at camp, Molly and Marisa rented one of the KOA Kozy Kabins for the night, so they hosted an informal get-together outside their cabin. It turned into a haircut party, as Richard broke out his $15 Wal-Mart clippers and went to work on Ted and Brian, and Alis used them on Bruce and Peter. Some were more satisfied with the results than others…

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