What an amazing day, from start to finish.
Just as predicted for last night, with a 119% probability…
It rained. I’m not exactly sure if it happened between 11 and 2 but that seems right. It did wake me up and it didn’t help that I was getting a little wet. I was prepared though so I just threw a bath towel over myself and promptly fell right back to sleep. I was pretty confident in my preparations.
I woke up with the sun at about 6 am, having slept pretty well considering. Bonus, all of my stuff was dry and my tent wasn’t soaked. It must not have rained long and it had time to dry out somewhat.
I packed up and left under blue skies, heading towards Fargo North Dakota. I picked up breakfast and took the opportunity to get a poker chip while I was in N.D.
As I was eating breakfast I watched the sky get ominously dark. That was odd because I’d checked the weather forecast and I didn’t remember it saying anything about rain. As I rechecked the weather app I overheard two ladies discussing the same thing. Yep, the weather app said no rain. I checked the radar. It showed rain. Hmm.
As I mounted up to head south, the rain began. I thought I’d ride on for awhile. Nope. I pulled into a gas station and got all suited up. The rain stopped.
Oh well, I kept it on. The thing you quickly learn about trying to navigate through any farm state is that roads ALWAYS go in straight lines, never angled. This is to go around all of the farms. So you go straight for a long time, sometimes up to 50 miles, and then you make a 90 degree turn. My navigation looked like a big, never ending zig zag.
Which became comical. Off in the distance I could see clouds with rain descending in droves. I’d inevitably be heading right towards one and then I’d make a turn and move away. Then it would continue. I was getting pretty lucky. So much so that I finally removed the rain gear. An hour later, right after lunch, I got soaked.
Here’s the bummer part. When I went to take off my rain gear the first time, I discovered that the rain cover for my clothing bag had somehow come off and blown away, without me noticing. Damn.
So now I’m getting soaked again and I need a solution. I ran into the gas station and asked for a big black trash bag. She obliged. I bought some straps and clear gorilla tape (to use later to repair my tent. I was surprised they had it). I got my bag all set up and it worked surprisingly well. I’m pretty happy with it.
Of course, five minutes later the rain stopped.
Up until this point in South Dakota I had been rolling along through Corn, soy, wheat and potato fields. Even a couple sun flower fields for good measure. These were huge farms. At least 10 major silos and you could see millions of dollars of heavy equipment driving around. It was impressive. I’ve always admired farmers and love watching how they work. I was loving rolling along and seeing it all. It was a big change from the last month where all you could generally see was trees lining the roads. Now you could see rolling hills all the way to the horizon. So beautiful and as always, not what I expected.
This time I left the rain gear on. I found myself a lot less anxious concerning the weather and so I just rolled happy while in my big puffy, black suit.
I wound my way through an Indian reservation which upped the hill ratio considerably. It is so green here.
As I left the reservation, it was like I rode through a magic gate. One second it was chilly and overcast with drizzle and the next it was blue skies, 80 degrees and climbing. I made it another 30 miles before I had to take off the rain suit. As soon as I did, it clouded up. Oh well. It at least hasn’t rained again. It sure got windy though.
My route is taking me to Sturgis but along the way I am riding through Badlands National Park. It is really not what I expected (I need to learn to stop expecting things). Absolutely stunning.
I had to take pictures. This place is great. There is even a very nice campground.
The wind is pretty strong so I’ve got all of my stakes in but this tent has been used in some pretty harsh winds and it does really well. With it all repaired I think I’ll have some good peace of mind which should hopefully lead to a good nights rest.
Just for the record, I’ve now done three days straight of over 500 miles each. I am also now over 12,000 miles total for the trip.
I am really looking forward to the rest of the trip. There isn’t any part of it that I’m dreading or not looking forward to. Plus, even though I haven’t done most of these areas, the west just feels like home.