Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another state line crossed

Day 19. Lusk Wyoming to Hot Springs South Dakota. We left culturally sensitive Lusk Wyoming this morning, and crossed the state line into South Dakota. Before we even crossed into South Dakota, the environment changed significantly from semi-arid/sagebrushy to grassy and green. One last comment about Lusk Wyoming. After dinner last night, we went to the drive-in burger/ice cream joint next door to our motel (The Covered Wagon Motel) for a milk shake.

I have to admit while drinking my milk shake, a little shiver went up and down my spine, and it wasn't because the milk shake was cold.

At this drive-in, there was a surly looking guy wearing a "Whities" t-shirt ("the breakfast of white people" t-shirt you see here). I have never been in a place that is so white before in my life. There is zero ethnicity here. People talk about the south being full of rednecks, but the south has got nothing on Idaho and Wyoming. During our first week on the ride, Joe and I had a bet on when we'd see the next ethnic person. I said more than 1 week and Joe said less than 1 week. Joe won. We saw our first ethnic person 6 days after the bet, in Boise Idaho. You don't realize how ethnic a city like Toronto is until you go someplace that is the polar opposite. And by polar opposite, I mean POLAR OPPOSITE.

I can't help but say that there was just a weird vibe at that drive-in. I'm sure I was just imagining it (I don't think any of the other ABB riders sensed it), but that guy in the t-shirt simply gave me the creeps.

Oh yeah. One last item on Lusk Wyoming. After yesterday's parade, they had a show that we were invited to (everyone was welcome). The show, which was a prelude to a fireworks display, was about an incident from frontier days where the locals re-enacted the skinning of a settler and the ensuing battle (massacre) with the Indians, which resulted in the deaths of the Indians (at least that's the way they re-tell the story). I didn't go because I fell asleep, but the whole thing reminded me of the Simpsons "Whacking Day" episode. Really.

Anyway, on to today's ride. I already mentioned how the terrain became more interesting. It was a beautiful sunny day (we had our first rain of the trip yesterday, after we arrived at the motel). It started off cool, became nicely warm (not too hot), and then got windy into our face. This morning the Geldings were joined by young Alex (in the red jacket), a college senior from Indiana who just spent a semester in Argentina studying how to dress like Eva Peron (I'm kidding about what she studied while she was in Argentina, by the way). Great kid and a very good cyclist. She had no problem keeping up with us all day. She is on this ride with her mother Helen who is a pathologist and is writing the most beautiful blog of all of us:

Alex rode with us for 35 miles to the first SAG stop where she asked whether or not she should wait for her mother. Alex decided to ride with us for the whole day. What's interesting about this is the dynamic that ensued. A couple of the guys in our group suggested that Alex be allowed to ride with us and draft us without having to take a turn "pulling" (which is way harder than drafting). Also, a couple of them suggested that if Alex be allowed to "pull" that she should be allowed to take a shorter turn (we were doing 3 mile "pulls", but it was thought Alex should do less). My opinion was that if Alex was going to ride with us, she should take an equal turn pulling at whatever speed she could manage. You see, I am learning that we're all capable of way more than we think we know. Like way way more. Also, I work with a lot of young women (and have my whole career) and have learned that, in some ways, women are way tougher than men. Men may think they are, but in my opinion, they aren't. At least not in terms of mental toughness anyway.

Alex came through with flying colors. If she wants, she can be our lead pony anytime!

Here's video of the early part of the ride and then the later part of the ride:

FYI – the DQ Blizzard count is up after stopping today at the local DQ:

3 flat tires
4 Snickers
7 Blizzards
3 milk shakes

No mail today!

Here are my Garmin stats for the day:

This is Joe's blog:

Trip journal and photos by our tour leader Mike Munk:

This link is Jeff's blog:

This link is Baltimore Mark's blog:

And this is Katie's blog:


  1. like yesterday's ride shirt better :)

  2. Hi Mark. It's 7:32 pm Monday in Toronto, which must mean it's 5:32 pm (or perhaps 4:32 pm) wherever you are at the end of another exhilarating day. I am loving your blog, so thanks for taking the time to post every day. It (almost) feels like I am along for the ride, the descriptions are that vivid. We saw The Duchess on Saturday night at the annual surf and turf bash on Nomad. She had a smile on her face, and was wearing (among other extremely stylish items) some pretty fancy cowgirl boots. Thanks for giving me something interesting to read at the end of each day (or the start of the next one). Safe travels!

    One of the other neighborhood Marks (H that is)