Mickelson Trail MM 60-52

We rode south this time from the campground. Uphill again. Still beautiful of course.

Billie checks the tires before every ride. Today, she lowered the recommended PSI – a very good idea as it turned out. There were many patches of sand and the tires handled the challenge quite well.

MM 52. I did not want to climb anymore. 8 miles in 2 hours. I turned my bike around and texted Billie who was ahead of me.

Now for the really good part. Downhill for 8 miles, minimal pedaling, maybe 12 mph. The back tire fishtailed through the sandy gravel spots, so faster was possible but not smart. Less tire pressure was a really good idea. 16 miles total. Tired legs.

Mickelson Trail MM 60-70

The brochure says the trail is generally a 4% grade. So, pretty much, you’re always riding uphill or flying downhill. Hill City is at one of the low points on the trail which means every ride that starts from here will be UPhill. Today we rode north from Mile Marker 60, the first 8 miles were uphill .. I’m not used to this.

We had ridden a very nice 2-mile downhill to MM 70. I was ready to turn around and .. climb back up that “very nice” 2 miles.

Billie had a flat tire on the way back. She only had a short walk to a shelter and the tire change + insertion of a boot didn’t take very long.

Just 21 miles in total, but so beautiful. It took about 2 hours to get to our turnaround and just 45 minutes to get back to Hill City – a wonderful 8-mile downhill run, but not too fast – gravel and sand were definite hazards. In Hill City, we veered off to go to a grocery store. Our saddlebags easily held 2 bags of groceries. Yikes, my legs are tired!

Hill City SD

We felt lucky to get a week-long reservation during part of the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Sturgis is just 34 miles up the road. Our site backed up to a gurgling creek and then (noisy until 10 pm) US-385, a major route through the Black Hills. An endless parade of motorcycles all day – quite entertaining actually, I saw a white Jedi Knight go by and a motorcycle that looked more like a missile.

I took a 30 second video and later counted 35 motorcycles go by.

The main downtown street of Hill City is closed to all vehicles except motorcycles, so you can probably imagine, we won’t be going there.

Badlands National Park

On Tuesday we drove to a campground in Oacoma and today we’re in Interior SD at Badlands KOA. Motorcycles are abundant (understatement) – the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally is this week. We arrived early, set up and went for a drive. I was completely surprised by the beauty of Badlands National Park. Add this park to your bucket list.

Yellow Mounds:

Porter Sculpture Park

We drove just 29 miles from Sioux Falls to a one-night Harvest Host: Porter Sculpture Park.

It was a slow curvy drive on a dirt road through a cow pasture to the fenced area where the sculptures were located.

Setting up went fast since there were no hookups available.

Our view from the “patio” –

The wind was blowing which cooled the air. We didn’t walk the grounds until early evening. Wayne Porter is the sculptor and proprietor. You can easily see some of his biggest pieces from I-90.

There was usually a hand-painted poem to go with each installation.

And finally, revenge for my persistent use of a fly swatter, inside and outside:

Sioux Falls Bike Trails – 5

One final loop around the city. Which direction to go? Easy decision: clockwise – to avoid riding UP the switchbacks – and the same route we took the last time.

I found one more viewpoint of upper Falls Park.

23 miles again today. We’ve ridden five out of the last seven days for a total of 124 miles = the most/week so far.

Sioux Falls Food Tour

We met the tour group at Covert Artisans Ales and Cellars at 1 pm.

We sampled one wild sour beer called Blackberry Crumble and a “rainbow sherbet” seltzer called Project Inclusion.

A short walk to Ode to Food and Drink

to try Chislic – a South Dakota specialty, pronounced chiz-lick – or fried red meat served with a Thai pepper peanut sauce and a ghost pepper sauce plus a delicious white sangria with peach schnapps.

Dana, the owner of Sioux Falls Food Tours did a great job of sharing stories about the city and some of its history.

Stop #3: Monk’s Ale House.

Mashed potato pizza and ..

a hummus platter.

A short walk to R Wine Bar.

The R is for Riccardo who came over to our table to share a bit about his history – he came to America from Italy when he was 5 years old – and how the restaurant came to be. Fascinating.

Pasta pomodoro with meatballs and paired with the perfect red wine.

Final stop, dessert at Prairie Cocoa and Confection.

This was called Strawberry Hot Chocolate.

This was the best food tour I’ve taken so far. Great food, everything timed well, restaurants ready for us with very prompt service, a few chef or owner visits, excellent guide. Dana leads 4 different food tours during a month. Great job Dana and Sioux Falls Food Tours!

Sioux Falls Bike Trails – 4

We left early, after a big rainstorm last night. Riding clockwise on the main trail this time. North of airport, a small plane landing:

Because of the heavier rains last night, the Big Sioux River was running faster:

We rode on the west side of the river as far as we could, not the main trail, more in downtown. We thought we’d seen the best part of Falls Parks but were pleasantly surprised to more great views upstream.

As we rode through the Levitt at the Falls (an outdoor concert venue), the band performing a free concert at 10 am was warming up. We rode right past the front of the stage and felt like we got a brief mini-concert. The saxophonist sang special lyrics for Billie as we left. Apparently she was “dancing” on her bike.

After our usual rest stop, we continued on the west side of the river to Fawick Park. Just in case I never get to Florence Italy to see the marble version …

David, a full-size bronze replica.

We continued down the west side of the river until Cherry Rock Bridge.

I extended my ride a bit by crossing over Cole’s 1906 bridge and riding to Dunham Park then back to the turn off to the RV park which meant today’s ride was 25 miles. And … I rode 100+ miles this week.

Sioux Falls Bike Trails – 3

Without showing you the map again, we rode the spur and turned right, going 19 miles counterclockwise around the loop. Why? Today we will climb the switchbacks up. Tomorrow, we get to go down.

Rest stop, slight right, up the ramp, sharp U to right and … you know where we are, right?

North of the airport with a small plane landing:

And back to the RV park. 23 miles.