South Dakota and Wyoming, July 1999. (by Lois Horowitz)
A trip of extremes except for the weather. It was consistently hot - 90's.
Bikers included Susie and Stogs Stogsdill, Mary Ann Hautman and Doug Paulson, Martha and John Scott, Nita and Tak Lam, Ralph Peterson and Rona Djeddah, Wilma McIntyre, Nick Nicholson, Bob Ladner, Doc Faulkner, Harry Baldwin, Rick Webb, Larry Armstrong, Walter Schmitt, Marge Cooper and grandson, Sage (12) and me, Lois Horowitz (21).
# of flat tires - 19. Several of mysterious origin. Seems the heat melted old patches and cracked the tubes. Nida Lam and John Scott tied with five flats each. Three of John's occurred while bike was in Marge's trailer and Nida might have had the same flat four times.
# of ice creams consumed (cones, floats, shakes, ala modes) over 90
# of days of rain (not counting short flash floods & hail storms) 1.5
# of days of Hot as Hell weather 11 of 13
# of lost canoes (on canoeing trip) 1
# of cars rolled and totaled 1
# of cars broken into at end of trip 2
# of pounds of sun screen used unknown, but a lot
# of gallons of liquids consumed ditto
# of times Wilma changed rooms at hotel in Rapid City ditto
At beginning and end of bike segment:
Total elevation gain 27,000 feet
Total pounds lost None
Sun., July 11, Rapid City When I arrived in Rapid City for the bike segment, it continued the events of the recently concluded canoeing week. First, the hotel had changed names. Then they didn't have me registered and said that my roommate (Wilma) had checked out. When I arrived for a 7 p.m. meeting in Marge's room, John and Marge were talking serious to a tow-truck outfit in Montana 160 miles northwest, about an accident. Some background: halfway into the canoe trip, Walter got a bad sunburn and couldn't continue. Mary Ann had to leave due to a family emergency. She and Wilma also lost their canoe and gear (didn't use a double knot), so the numbers worked out. Before the ladies could price canoes, it was found tied up alongside the river with nothing missing, which also meant that the group now had one canoe too many. Towed it to shore, called outfitter to pick it up. Walter, once off the river, went camping till Sunday when the bikers were to meet. Said he fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle and rolled it. He was shaken but uninjured except for cuts, bruises and totaling his car. In it were his bike and mine, condition unknown, and most of my clothes, including all undergarments.
Mon. July 12. Rapid City to Hot Springs Temperature, 90's. John Scott rented a pick-up and drove northwest to Montana for Walter and the bike bodies while the group rode south to Hot Springs. (I rode John's bike, which would have been a perfect fit if my arms were five inches longer.) Hot, no shade, feeling giddy after 35-40 miles. Half of us arrived in Hot Springs hanging out the windows of Marge's van. John and Walter arrived Hot Springs late afternoon. Walter's bike okay. My back wheel bent. Pause for a little South Dakota history. The population of the entire state is less than half of San Diego's. Rapid City is the second largest city at about 50,000. Elevation of the towns exceeds the population. The only bike store was back in Rapid City or one week away in Spearfish. We did enjoy Hot Springs' woolly mammoth site however.
Tues. July 13 Hot Springs to Custer Hot as hell. Got lucky. Walter had to return the rental to Rapid City so he, Tak and I drove back with our bikes while the group rode to Custer. Once in Rapid City, with a 25-minute rental drop-dead time, we rushed to transfer Walter's camping gear to Tak's car at the hotel, drop me off at a bike shop, then return the rental. Walter and Tak rode their bikes back to the bike shop for me and we rode 46 miles to Custer to meet the group. A 2,000 foot gain over 15 miles, but now in Custer
State Park (and trees.)
Wed. July 14 Custer, layover day Sunny and hot. No one cared. Celebrated getting back on track and no loss of life or limb. In Marge's and another rental van, most of us toured. Saw bison, the Crazy Horse Monument and wonderful scenery.
Thurs. July 15 Custer to Hill City Cooler. High 80's. Fully rested, we rode to Hill City 15 miles away. Some went via Needles Highway for a longer more scenic ride and others sampled the Mikkelson trail (hardpack dirt). That night, we attended a shoot-out on Main Street proving that cowboys also have bad luck. The only rain that day occurred during the shoot-out. Cowboys do wear raincoats. Dinner at Alpine Inn. Went to bar for wine. No one there. Man stepped in front of me. Ordered five drinks, all different.
Fri. July 16 Hill City to Keystone (Mt. Rushmore) 90's. Some of us took Route 323, a small country road with no traffic and lots of trees, to Keystone 11 miles away. Arrived 10:15 a.m. Getting soft. Main Street cute. More shoot-outs. Did Mt. Rushmore. Tooled around adding more miles, shopped, laundry. Went to a Subway for lunch, a Boy Scout troop in front of me.
Sat. July 17 Keystone, layover day Rained overnight. Drizzly and chilly all day. Some went to the Rushmore Cave. Big thrill of the day was converging on the local junk store for unbelievable bargains. Italian restaurant for farewell dinner, Nick returning home the next day. Got served first
Sun. July 18 Keystone to Deadwood 90's. Most took the direct route, 45 miles. Lots of climbing. Nida, Tak, Larry and Rick took a longer, higher loop, 64 miles. Ralph and Rona took the Mikkelson Trail, longer than expected - 65 miles, about 50 of them bumpy. Ralph got seat-sores. Last three miles into Deadwood, a screaming downhill. Stayed at the Historic Bullock Hotel where Wild Bill, Doc Holliday, and Calamity Jane shot guests. Quiz: Calamity's real name: (a) Elizabeth Poker (b) Martha Canary (c) Monica Lewinsky (See bottom for answer.) Lots of casinos, cute town.
Mon. July 19 Deadwood to Spearfish Hot as blazes. Ralph didn't ride today. Stood up in Marge's van into Spearfish. Group climbed 2,000 feet out of Deadwood for 10 miles, then 22 miles of pure downhill through Spearfish Canyon (six times older than the Grand Canyon). Rain clouds gathered at six-mile downhill point. Stopped at a lodge. Some hurried into Spearfish to beat possible rain, others not so smart. Lunched at the lodge during the rain. Marge arrived in van reporting flash flood in Spearfish. Susie, Stogs, Larry and Rick surrendered to van. Wilma and I, the last holdouts, waited. Hated giving up the chance to coast 14 more miles without pedaling. Made the right choice.
Tues. July 20 Spearfish to Sundance, Wyo. Hot, no trees. Gradual 1100 foot climb, 30 miles. I got a flat tire in the only shade that day, the Beulah, Wyo. (pop. 33) rest stop. Larry and Rick rode to Devil's Tower - 75 miles on what Larry said was his hardest ride ever. Tak, Nida and Harry did a part off-road loop - 65 miles. Gave the motel in Sundance an instant tenement look hanging laundry over the 2nd floor rail. Dry in two hours from the sun. Dodged a hail storm (marble-sized) on walk back to the motel from dinner. Evening activity - watching thunderclouds and speculating chance of rain.
Wed. July 21 Sundance to Newcastle, Wyo. Clear, blistering day, no trees. Climbed gentle rolling hills 29 miles then lunched at Four Corners, the only country store/restaurant/post office/grocery store/beer joint. Run by Hazel selling out for almost half a mil. (We expect few takers.) Downhill the remaining 18 miles except for one big uphill.
Thurs. July 22 Newcastle,Wyo. to Custer, S.D. Hot, getting used to it. 40 miles. Visited Jewel Cave near Custer. Second largest cave system in the US & third in the world and still being explored. A dry cave meaning no stalactites or stalagmites which require much water.
Fri. July 23, Custr to Rapid City Hot. Starting to crave it. Dropped 2,000 feet because we're worth it; 26 miles in Custer State Park, last 20 miles in the blazing sun, no trees. In Rapid City, Bob and Tak/Nida's cars broken into at hotel while we were gone. Walter priced the cost of a last- minute plane fare from Rapid City to San Diego - (see below) (Hint - RT fare is $365). Last Supper.
Sat. July 24 - Rapid City - home Everyone drove except Larry, Doug and me. Harry and Doc took my bike home, Mary Ann and Wilma took Walter's. Rick took Walter's camping gear. One-way plane fare from RC to SD - $700. Walter took the Greyhound to Denver, switched to a free or almost free flight America West (his son is a pilot for AW) to Reno. His son drove Walter's second car from Seattle to Reno and flew back to Seattle. Walter drove home from Reno.
Calamity's real name: (b)
"In young girls the bones of the pelvis are not able to resist the tension required to ride a bicycle, and so may become more or less distorted in
shape, with perhaps in after life, resulting distress." Northern Wheeler 17 August 1892
"Avoid running over dogs, Hoopdriver, whatever you do. It's one of the worst things you can do to run over a dog. . . Don't scorch, don't ride on the foot-path, keep your own side of the road. . . and always light up before dark. H.G. Wells, Wheels of Chance, a Bicycling Idyll
May the Road Rise Up to Meet You . . .
By Mark Hiss
In God and man’s grand designs — somewhere between fire and the Frisbee — lies the bicycle. As it leans passively against its kickstand, becoming a mere speck in the rear-view mirror of technology, it is easy to dismiss it as a child’s toy or a fanatic’s reason for buying skintight black rubber shorts. Lest we forget, in its time, the bicycle was as an important technological advancement as any the world had yet seen, laying the foundation for the development of motorcycles, automobiles and airplanes. Although it is difficult to exactly pinpoint the bike’s birthday, its primordial roots can be seen in the mechanical four-wheeled carriages of the mid-17th century. Clumsy and expensive, these servant-powered vehicles were considered curiosities and the makers were for the most part just looking for a free ride from the nobility. The concept of man-powered travel was afoot, though. The next big step for the bicycle was the hobby-horse, a child’s toy shaped like a horse and mounted with wheels for the child to push himself about on. Around 1791, an eccentric French gentleman launched a sensational new fad by appearing in public on an adult-sized hobby-horse. From that moment on, a stigma was attached to "velocipede" enthusiasts which lasted well into this century — that of a slightly indecent, irresponsible bohemian. The hobby-horse became more sophisticated, and soon attempts were being made to fit continuous mechanical drives to it. A Scottish blacksmith, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, was the first known inventor to succeed. Sometime between 1839 and 1842 the first true bicycle — a two-wheeled, man-powered machine that could move upright without the support of a passenger’s feet — was created. (Soon afterward, the first true bicycle knocked over its first pedestrian. Macmillan was fined five shillings.) From this point on the designs came fast and furious, some practical, like the tricycle, some drastically ill-conceived, such as the women’s side-saddle velocipede. Boneshakers, safeties, the high-wheeled ordinaries (later unkindly referred to as penny-farthings) — all attained cult status, even though cyclists were initially criticized, ridiculed and even assaulted by "respectable" citizens who found bicycles vulgar, noisy and disruptive. Curiously, the cycling cult was one that reached across social strata, from the fad-conscious social elite to the working class who saw the bicycle not only as mere transportation, but as an escape from work-week drudgery. Eventual mass production had made it possible for all but the very poorest to afford velocipedes. The bicycle was more than a milestone in physics and engineering, it sparked a social revolution. Mobility allowed for new outlooks and new contacts. The bicycle even found itself at the phalanx of the women’s rights struggle, for not until after years of debate, in about 1895, could a lady ride a velocipede in public without eyebrows being lifted, heads shaken or tongues wagged. Then, after gaining this initial acceptance, the next fight concerned those women cyclists who actually dared to ride in "rational" dress — a risqué display of leg probably unprecedented outside the music hall — rather than the yards of useless garment that often proved quite hazardous to women riders. These were, indeed, pivotal and far-reaching social, cultural and technological changes, borne on the tires of whimsy.