Day 21 - Lusk WY to Hot Springs SD
Mileage: 93 miles
Weather: Sunny and low 60s to start. Sunny and low 90s to end. Winds varied (see below).
Highlights of the day:
We were a little concerned reading the forecast with winds out of the NE in the low double digits. I know, we’re supposed to relax & make peace with the wind. We eventually did but wind made it really easy. It was mostly out of the west until we reached Edgemont around mile 68. It did turn but didn’t intensify as predicted. It was one of those winds that helped cool us off and keep the low 90s feeling a little more like upper 80s. Mostly. Until we stopped. It also made for a relatively short day for 93 miles. Everyone was in by 2. That’s not SOP on this day. We wouldn’t mind if it happened again like this next year.
It was an early one today. Everyone was on the road by 6:40. Temperatures were very pleasant and the winds were light & mostly at our backs. It was quick work to get everyone to the first SAG. Ten miles later, we turned right and the winds picked up a bit but again, mostly from behind us. We’ll take that and say thank you!
The plains of Wyoming segued into grasslands as we entered South Dakota. The hills are taking on a much greener color without any apparent assistance of irrigation. It’s a marked difference from what we saw across Idaho and Wyoming. Speaking of South Dakota, we crossed our third state line into our fourth state of the tour. Lots of state line photos with bad lighting. Darned sun makes for a strong backlight. Still, celebrations ensued and we rolled on.
The approach to the Black Hills brought trees back into the mix. They’re the first we’ve seen in awhile, aside from the sturdy few we saw standing out in the middle of a field. I often wonder just how and why they get there. Stubbornness? Birds?
The route started at the top of a plateau or relatively flat and high. After ~ mile 10, the route generally went down hill all the way to the second SAG stop at mile 68 – dropping approximately 2200’. The riders seemed ok with this. But all is not free. After fueling at the Fresh Start Café & Store, it was uphill for 4 miles, a respite for about 8 miles and then one last mile long climb. The route ended on a fast, non-technical downhill that led into town. And Dairy Queen!!