Day 21 - Lusk WY to Hot Springs SD
Mileage: 93 miles
Weather: Mostly cloudy with a few scattered showers and low 60s to start. Sunny and low 90s to end. Winds out of the SSE.
Highlights of the day:
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, mostly in our face. It did give us the opportunity to really enjoy brand new pavement on Hwy 18 in South Dakota. Our usual explanation at rap the night before about the rough shoulder and poorly placed rumble strip was for naught. It was very smooth sailing most of the way into Edgemont.
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!!