Tuesday, June 8th. No pumas. No bears. The only injuries I received was Josh smacking me with his arm in his sleep as he sometimes tends to do. I was real excited! Today was a big day- we were scheduled to reach Mount Rushmore today!
First things first though, we needed to get my broken spoke fixed. We heard rumors of a bike store in a small town called Hill City. Right on the way to Keystone (where Rushmore is at). It's real pretty around here! Nothing particularly special. Rather typical forest area but I guess I just kinda dig that. I bet it's absolute hell in winter with this terrain and a bunch of snow.
Couldn't had been much more than an hour to town. It was a cute little town. More importantly it had an all you can eat buffet! We do NOT turn down all you can eat. I'd be surprised if we didn't get kicked out. We made our way to the bike shop first where a very knowledgeable gentleman worked on my bike. In the mean time we gorged.
Bellies full, we returned to my fixed bike. Josh decided last minute to get his bike tuned up as well. Probably a good idea, it has been nearly 1500 miles.
The closer you get to Rushmore the more the geology changes. Rapidly. In the 5ish miles before you get there you begin seeing large rock spires jutting out of the ground. They were pretty neat. I think this one was Josh's favorite.
Once Josh calmed down after witnessing cock-rock we continued on. Overall the biking was uphill (its a mountain, duh). But the peaks were comparatively short and steep and frankly I was handling them pretty well.
Rushmore was quite different than I expected. It was, well, small. Maybe not small but way smaller than I expected. If I hadn't known it was going to be there I could had easily biked right past it unknowingly. Also there's this big like entrance gate for lack of a better term. I kinda thought it'd just be mountain + heads but nope. Big long entrance area which was kinda cool. We put our bikes off the beaten path behind a building but clearly in view of the fellow tourist. We didn't even bother to lock them up, we kinda figured if someone really wanted to steal a bike laden down with all this gear then I suppose they deserved it. And we'd have a great excuse to go home.
While it wasn't exactly what we'd expected it was still a really cool sight to see. I highly recommend checking it out if you get the chance. We waited around checking out the displays and caught a guided tour. What a weird tour though! First of all, the tour was held by a Native American. Which is totally fine, don't get me wrong, but ALL he did was talk about Indians! I'm at an American monument all this guy just blabbed on and on "George Washington's head is up there. The bla bla clan of Indian has a leader who just like him etc." I mean literally, that all it was the whole time. I was a bit dissatisfied but we did get to see some close ups of the monument.
After spending a few hours there we made our way back to our bikes which sadly had not been stolen. Have I mentioned yet a pet peeve of mine being how it takes Josh FOREVER to get ready when going through his bags? The S.O.B. literally reopens his bags like 200 times and needs every fold and place perfect. Maddening.
Biking out of the area went smoothly. It was majority down hill all the way to Keystone. Sadly afterwards it was a moderate uphill to get out of town. I managed well enough. We got out of the hills and the sun was already getting low. We biked past a large restaurant advertising 1 dollar all you can eat pancakes. Yes please! Turns out it was for breakfast only, but we weren't going to let that stop us! Conveniently there was a campground right next door so we went to check it out.
We went to the office and rented a tent plot for 14 bucks. Pretty reasonable. The office had a boatload of food as well so we ended up chit-chatting with the nice lady and buying mac and cheese, frozen pizza and some other snacks. And she had a super cute Boston Terrier and we spent quite the bit of time playing the pup. She definitely seemed to like us after that. My guess is she was kind of a dog lady. Either way she was kind enough to let us into her house to cook some of the food before heading to our camp site. We walked toward our plot when we noticed some small cabins and were real curious if they were up for grabs. Running back and catching the lady before she went to bed we found out the cabins were a mere 6 dollars more. Sure I'd be sharing a bed with Joshypants but it's still way more roomy then my tent!
We also had access to showers and a laundry room which is always lovely. While washing ourselves and our clothes we met our cabin neighbors. They were a rather kind family although perhaps a tad rough around the edges. From Minnesota I believe? Anyway more importantly they gave us a few hotdogs and it made for a delightful night all around!
Day's mileage- 37.0
Total mileage- 1482.9