| The first thing I will mention is the
result of my experiment with the tent. Never again! Yep, you guessed
it. I was rudely awakened at 5:45am to the sound of rain drops
on the tent. I had to rush outside and get the rainfly on before
anything inside got wet. So much for being lazy.
Because of the rain I got to pack the tent dripping wet again
this morning. Luckily, since I am camping every night there really
isn't too much time for mildew to grow and ruin the tent but packing
everything wet is just not that fun. This makes the third time
in four days.
Today was a day of first sightings. I saw my first wild pheasant
although it took a moment for the fact to register. I have been
looking at hunting magazines and books since I was a little
kid and have seen literally thousands of pictures of pheasant.
When one ran across the road in front of me I thought "oh, there
goes a pheasant." Then it dawned on me that I had never seen
a wild one before.
I also saw wild badgers for the first time. I was riding along
and saw something ahead on the right side of the road. I slowed
way down thinking it might be something alive that could just
decide to run out in front of me as I rode by. It wouldn't have
been the first time. Sure enough it was something alive. Actually,
two somethings alive. As I slowly passed, both badgers bristled
up and dared me to come closer. They certainly were not afraid
of me and I was a whole lot bigger than they were. Prudently,
I decided to keep riding and let them keep their little stretch
Today was supposed to be an easy 230 mile day but when I got
to Yankton, SD I couldn't find anyplace to stop that looked
particularly interesting and it was still early. I turned west
and kept moving. Just after getting on 44 the weather decided
to make the day a bit more challenging. One advantage to the
plains is that you can see storms from a long way off. Sometimes
this information is helpful and other times it is irrelevant.
Today it was helpful. I was heading west when I saw this nasty
looking black sky directly in my path. I decide to head north
up 45 to I-90 and try and go around it. After stopping for gas
and talking to someone who had heard it was hailing along the
Nebraska border it seemed I had made the right choice. I got
rained on multiple times but each shower was short lived and
I didn't encounter any hail.
Once the storm appeared to be southeast of me I took 47 and
49 south back to 44. I lucked into a campground in Interior,
SD with showers and a laundry mat. Good thing too since my clean
clothes supply had now dwindled to nothing.
I love the sky out here. It has character and demands your attention.
It is an active part of the landscape but is it the sky itself
or is it the contrast to the flat, featureless plains? Actually
for me it doesn't matter and one can appreciate something without
being able to necessarily explain it. In my rear view mirror
I saw a rainbow to one side and sheets of rain to the other.
I turned the bike around and snapped a couple of pictures. I
turned around again and left the rain behind.
A short mileage day? Right. Instead a 600 mile, dodge the
rain day. Skirting and dodging the storms was actually fun and
the extra mileage actually put me one day ahead of schedule.
Tomorrow the badlands.