RIDE C2C L2 DAY 17: Hill City to Rapid City...caught in a storm and the end of Leg#2

Aug 18, 2019

RIDE C2C L2 DAY 17: Hill City to Rapid City...caught in a storm and end of this tour 

Miles: 28

Elevation:  4300ft to 3200ft - sounds like downhill.... 

We’ve been contemplating it for some time, asking the locals about safe routes east from the badlands, and have decided that Rapid City will be the end point on LEG#2 of our Corner to Corner bike trip across America.  We heard from everyone we talked to that east of the badlands is desolate, has no reliable services, and safety might be an issue.  

We have a hearty hotel “free” breakfast and load up for our last section of our journey.  Doug has found the Sheridan Lake Road which will keep us off the highway the majority of 28 mile ride to Rapid City.


We started out on hwy 385 north, which was fine, but cars were moving fast next to us. 

Once we turned onto Sheridan Lake Road it was peaceful and NO cars passed us for at least 10 miles.  Beautiful pine forests, rolling (and sometimes very steep) hills.  It was like our own road. We had a nice tailwind to boot.


And then it started raining.  Subtle at first. 


Then our nice tailwind and subtle rain evolved into a full scale storm.  The rain pelted us and the wind nearly blew us off the road or in to traffic at times.  This was riding that became unsafe - our big downhills into Rapid City were treacherous.


6 miles outside of Rapid City, we pulled into the first and only possible shelter...a convenience store...because it was too dangerous to ride.  There was a perfect little protected alcove by the front door for us to stash our bikes while we shook off like wet dogs and went inside for hot coffee and a bite and to wait out the storm.  About an hour later, it cleared. 


Thankfully the rest of the ride was 90% downhill with more traffic and the sounds of a city as we closed in on downtown.  We parked our bikes and had a walk around in the sunshine.  Being downtown seemed like a good idea, so we booked a night at the historic Alex Johnson hotel - complete with ghosts!  


Once showered and settled we went for a good walk about and splurged - at the firehouse brewery had a beer/cider with lunch!  The huge Legacy Commons park was the redeveloped area devastated in the 1972 flood which wiped out 8 block industrial area and killed over 280 people.   


After a brief rest at the hotel - it was time to celebrate the end of LEG#2 with dinner and fun!  started our celebration at an Irish pub with a toast of whiskey, then off to join “summer night” party in downtown with two bands, streets closed off with food vendors and beer.  We started with corn on the cob, had a burrito, and danced to the sounds of county-rock & roll band and chilled to the tunes of a Beatles cover band.  We ended the evening with a nightcap on the top of the hotel - their outdoor deck with table fire pits, clear skies and a view of Rapid City and the moon.


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