|Local Rider's Journal||7-5-98|
I'm sitting here on a rest day from the ride, in my room in the beautiful old Hotel Alex Johnson in downtown Rapid City, South Dakota, http://www.alexjohnson.com. Alex Johnson turns out not to have been Howard's also-ran brother as I first postulated, but the VP of the company that brought the railroad to Rapid City. Last night after arriving at the "de rigeur" high school athletic field 10 miles on the FAR side of town, my scratchy throat which had been festering for three days exploded into a full-blown case of the flu. I probably will not be able to ride tomorrow from Rapid City to Kadoka unless there is miraculous improvement overnight. Right now I feel like 180 pounds of clay padded in cotton. Several other riders got the flu about a week ago but were promptly quarantined to prevent a mass outbreak. I guess I was exposed before the prophylactic intervention. At any rate, it's a good day to sit and catch up on writing and picture stuff. The five riding days from Billings to Rapid City were exceedingly tough -harder each day, with each day being nearly a century ride. The day before yesterday was 117 miles with many tough climbs. Yesterday (Day 20) was 85.9 miles and included crossing the entire Black Hills mountain ranges. There were several climbs of 6 percent grade that went on for MILES. All of this has taken a toll on the weary old bones - my body finally drew a line in the sand and demanded repair time. I have ridden each and every day of the ride so far, but these last two days I ended up bussing the last portion of the ride. I would not have arrived back at camp by the highway curfew time. Riding nearly a hundred miles a day for three weeks is very tough, folks. More than I expected. Nevertheless it is a wonderful experience and I'm having a great time. I have hundreds of great pictures that I can't wait to share with you when I return.
A new Kodak DC260 camera was waiting for me at the hotel when I arrived yesterday, replacing the smashed one I received in Billings and had to return. Look for some spectacular pictures. This camera is amazing. Attached to this letter is a sample - a picture of downtown Rapid City (pop 34,500) taken from my eighth floor hotel room. Attached file gte7-51.jpg More as soon as I am able.
Flu is much worse. Looks like I'm going to be staying in Rapid City tomorrow and then figuring out how to catch up with the ride in Kadoka or Fort Pierre (no- I don't know where they are either). There are no bus lines, no rental cars, no trains and no taxi services that service from here to there, so it should be interesting. I'm not very happy tonight. Tomorrow I'm going to miss pedaling through the Badlands. Anyway, the unexpected extra day off should give me a little time to prepare some more pix.
The attached file gte7-52.jpg is on the road from Newcastle, WY to Rapid City. It is not too far after crossing the South Dakota state line and entering the Black Hills.
Entering the town of Newcastle, WY.
The attached file gte7-53.jpg
Downtown Rapid City, SD at nite. (DC260 camera).
Attached file gte7-54.jpg
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