Wagner to Gregory
I awoke to intermittent early morning showers. It cleared long enough to get ready for the day’s ride and eat breakfast put on by one of the high school groups. I headed out with Craig in a cool, wet mist to go tackle Radar Hill. It didn’t seem so bad so that gave me a confidence boost. The rain was coming down steady by the time we headed down the back side of the hill to the Fort Randall Dam. We stopped for a break at the convenience store near the dam before crossing the dam and climbing back out of the river valley. As we crossed the dam there was a little hand lettered sign that read “Welcome to West River!”
The first several miles of the day were on Highway 46 so truck traffic was heavy. After the first semi carrying an “oversized load” (part of a wind turbine) passed me on the other side of the dam where the road had little shoulder, I decided when I saw the next two come up on me from my mirror on my helmet, that I would just stop and move as far over as I could with both feet planted on the ground. A load that large just seems to want to suck you under their wheels. Yep, this is how I got my nickname “Timmy” in our group, for being the timid one. But it’s my bike and I’ll ride it the way I want to (quote from fellow MS ride team member, Willie).
Finally it was time to turn off of Highway 46 and head in to the small town of Fairfax. They had a very nice museum in an old bank building that was very elaborate with lots of marble and beautiful architecture that the city purchased for $600 after the stock market crash in 1929. At this stop Craig and I took our socks off and wrung the water out of them the best we could.
On to Bonesteel where we had a wonderful early lunch in their high school gym. They had the best pork loin sandwiches and a slice of pecan pie that restored my body and soul. Shoes and socks came off and I wrapped my feet in napkins and they were warm and dry at least for a few minutes. I also had one of those chemical pack hand/foot warmers that warmed one foot at a time.
Leaving Bonesteel we were blest with a tail wind and we were riding consistently between 21-22 mph so we pushed on several miles before taking a quick break on the outskirts of Burke then it was only 9 more miles into Gregory.
We arrived in Gregory at 12:05pm, we made good time mainly because we were tired of being cold and wet. Shuttle Guy was still setting up camp so I tried to stay out of the way and got some rags and oil out of the trailer and went to work on cleaning my bike. Riding that many miles in the rain over the last few days had kicked up a lot of road grit on to the bike. I was also a speckled mess of mud from the trucks passing.
Now it was time to get myself cleaned up. Since it was still early in the day, Craig and I decided it would be a good time to go to the Laundromat. The only problem was it was about 2 miles away on the edge of town but I talked with a nice lady at the volunteer booth and she offered to give us a ride. Laundry done, we picked up our bags and headed out to the road and walked about a quarter of a mile and a nice farmer in a pickup stopped and offered us a ride back to our camp in the park.
Since I had the hamstrings massaged the day before, I decided the quads deserved a massage, so after 20 minutes with Laura, I thought I might have hope of surviving the next day’s ride.
Although there was a lot of good food booths at the park, sitting inside somewhere dry and warm sounded more appealing, and by the looks of the steakhouse several bikers had the same idea. On the way back a stop was made at the Oscar Micheaux Museum. This was an interesting bit of South Dakota history I wasn't familiar with and enjoyed hearing the story from the museum guide. Again, the museum/theatre itself was once an ornate bank building; this one had lots of green marble counters and a cool tiled floor, complete with a beautiful flower garden on one side.
Back to camp to lounge around and enjoy the evening and the camping in the beautiful park. Some of us decided to hike up to the observation park overlooking the town. The hike up was short and well worth the view of the surrounding area.
Sonja - from the Shuttle Guy. This bra was hanging from a tree along the path up to the observation center, so of course, we needed a picture!
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