August 8/9 - Tourist Trap: Badlands To Black Hills, SD

No towns between Badlands and Rapid City, and the road was deserted, with 4-8 foot wide shoulders. So we tried Annie and Shaine on their singles. Ann's, of course, is a 20-inch kid's job, with handlebar brakes and six cogs in the rear. She moved along at 7-12 mph, which was just fine for us; we hadn't done much better against the wind on the tandem.

But the wind shifted to SE, and our route shifted to NW, so the second half of the ride today was swift. Cheryl continues to be impressed with the emptiness, the grass, the rolling hills, and the high skies. I hope she still feels that way a week from now, after we've gone all the way thru eastern Montana.

The afternoon was spent at the RV park swimming pool and hot tub, preparing for the evening's trek up to Mt. Rushmore, for the "lighting ceremony", at 9:00 PM. The RV park reminds me a bit of the one in Washington, DC, where we also spent 3 days - RVs parked butt to cheek, high volume operation with many employees, rental cars available, tour bus stopping outside the door. This, of course is different, with the growl of Harley's constant on the road, choppers everywhere in the park, and a cooling breeze (howling wind, actually, when the front went thru last night) thru the lodgepole pine.

But the main attraction is the same - memorials to dead presidents. Somehow, I like the DC versions of the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials better. But here, I did get an appreciation of Washington and TR. There was no guarantee that our country would stay together in 1789; after all, several previous attempts at unity and nationhood had failed in the previous 15 years. For eight years, he kept at the simple but necessary task of insisting that fractious, independent states would stay as one, ensuring their strength through "E Pluribus Unum". This prepared the way for the Louisiana purchase, and the success of the War of 1812 (a draw, I've heard - we got to keep our independence, and England got to keep Canada).

We'll stay here three nights, and choose among the various tourist traps - I hope we choose wisely, and frugally (do fewer well, as well as cheaply).

This morning, when Annie woke up, Cheryl and I were still in the RV, resting this morning from biking strains. She said "Are we at the meeting place?" I guess her head is in the trip - she usually sleeps until the morning's first meeting place.

Miles: Al (Tandem&single) 73; Cheryl (Tandem) 50; Shaine (single) 9; Ann (single) 9.

Total Miles: 2316

**Next Day's Journal**

-Al Bikrutz