On the trail to biking adventure…the road to the Michelson Trail, part 5: Day 2…the end of the ride

Posted: June 20, 2015 in Family, Travel
Tags: , , , , , ,

Having survived the downpours of Saturday and refreshed ourselves with an outstanding meal the night before, Bill’s ready to leave for the last half of the trail, from Custer to Deadwood.  Although there’s water sitting in the parking lot of the motel, the sky is mostly clear, the temperature lovely.  After he loads the bike and all his goodies, I drive him to the trail head where yesterday’s ride ended.  He’s off with the ease of just getting started.  I head back to town to look for sandwiches for lunch.

At the far end of the main street, I find the only large grocery store in town.  My meandering brings me to bulk dark chocolate-covered malt balls.  I quickly put some in a bag.  Most places only carry milk chocolate malt balls, so I’m filled with joy at the score. There are also (my initial objective) some rather nice pre-made sandwiches that look as though they’re homemade.  Even better, the price is excellent.

Next stop, a bakery spotted the night before.  Resisting apple fritters the size of the wheel of a tricycle, (why did I do that??), I buy a freshly-made glazed doughnut. (No picture, I ate it too fast and discover only after breakfast that I have glaze all over my chin!)   Have to have something to last until breakfast, which is at least 5 minutes away.  It turns out to be longer, as an older man sitting in front of his room, engages me in conversation.  I have to walk away but after breakfast, he and his half-brother are both out, so it takes a bit more time to get past.

The road goes through Hill City, now open, but there are delays along the main street, where volunteers in high rubber boots are using push brooms to get the last of the water out of the way.  Any pumping by the fire department must have been done either earlier or the night before, but they’re out in force as well. Up higher where the road is dry, the streams and rivers next to it are swollen and have broken free of their banks, roaming freely in fields and meadows.  Soon the road I want turns off from the highway and becomes unpaved, something that had made me a bit nervous the night before, wondering how the surface would be.  Although unpaved, compared to the road we travel in Wyoming every summer, it’s a super highway, easily wide enough for two vehicles and quite smooth.  Here and there are mobile homes or cabins, but I meet no people, only signs warning me that on the other side of the cattle guard, cattle are roaming freely. Evidently they’d heard I was coming and were nowhere in sight.


I do more interceptions and lunch (with more tea) come at just the right moment, for both physical and psychological refreshment.  Although there have been some long downhill stretches, this bit is a rather long uphill.  Most of the people Bill meets have come from Deadwood or riding just a part of the trail.  He’s determined to finish and off he goes again.

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At the next trail head it’s time to stretch me legs, so I head down the trail to meet Bill.  I walk quite a ways before spotting him. I know something’s wrong when he finally comes into sight.  The tire that had seemed a bit soft earlier has lost a lot of air, which means that riding is much more difficult.  We walk the mile or so back to where I parked and while I enjoy the view of the aspens and forest, he changes the tire.


This isn’t the spot with the aspens, but is lovely.

The trail map is excellent (of course, how lost can you get when there’s only one trail), but the part showing the roads isn’t quite as detailed and I take a wrong turn.  However, the turn leads me into the most gorgeous, open valley and I drive for a long time before deciding to turn back.  The road is narrow and bumpy, reminiscent of great rides in France with my s-i-l on similar roads, when we had no idea where we would end up.  I’m finally back on the road toward Deadwood.  Paved highway announces I’m back in civilization.  Drat!

Deadwood is full of tourists and the trail signage for once fails,  When I finally figure out where to go, along a road under construction, Bill’s just arrived.  He hasn’t had to wait long and as soon as the bike is loaded, I point the car in the direction of I-90 and our motel, waiting about 6 hours down the road heading east.   This is scenery with which we’re very familiar from every summer since we’ve been married, but that doesn’t  dull or detract from the beauty.  Once away from the Black Hills, the land stretches out in all directions.  The northern edge of the Badlands looms to the south as we keep at a steady 5 miles over the 75-mile-per-hour limit, stopping only for food, gas, a/o bathroom breaks.  The adventure is winding down.

Thanks for joining us for the Michelson Trail adventure.  Hopefully it’s given you a peek at the beauty of the Black Hills, the parts away from Mt. Rushmore and the more commercial areas (not that those aren’t worth seeing, but we’ve seen them.)  About a week after we returned, Bill got a certificate attesting that he rode the rail and a Michelson Trail luggage tag.  Those things–fun; the adventure–priceless.

The first parts of our trip can be found here:  part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

  1. ledrakenoir says:

    Excellent captures – and very tempting if you like me is the lucky owner of a mountain bike… 😀

  2. What an adventure – applause for the biker and the support system. 🙂

  3. I couldn’t do Bill’s part. Might be okay with yours!

  4. Sandra says:

    I think I might need to lie down now…

    • Ha, Sandra! I could do a small part of the trail (a very small part), but I was a great support person. 🙂 Everyone has a role and I did mine to the best of my ability.


  5. What an adventure. Love your story and photos. I have really enjoyed reading about your adventure.

    • Raewyn, I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the trip posts. I always wonder when I take so many posts to cover a trip, whether people are enjoying it or waiting for me to move on to another topic. 🙂 But I don’t want to put too much in one post and make it impossibly long. Thanks for the good feedback.


  6. thirdeyemom says:

    Janet, we just began our family road trip to the Black Hills and will arrive tomorrow. Looking forward to it!

    • Have a blast, Nicole. I hope it’s not raining. But everything is really, really green. Can’t wait to hear about it.


      • thirdeyemom says:

        We just arrived today in Hill City. I’m taking a walk now in the Michelson trail. It is lovely! How far did you bike? We want to do a few hikes while we are here but have to see how my daughter does. I’m looking forward to it! 😊

      • I didn’t bike at all, as I was the support van driver, but Bill biked the entire trail from Edgemont to Deadwood. 🙂 I’m excited that you’re there seeing it when it’s so green and lovely.

      • thirdeyemom says:

        Awesome Janet!!! So cool! I can’t believe how many motorcycles there are here. They are everywhere. It has such a different feel to it. Today we are doing Mount Rushmore and Needles highway once my daughter wakes up! I would love to do the biking but my youngest isn’t that great yet on the gear bike. We brought her around everywhere on a tag-along bike for years and now she needs to adjust.

  7. makingcamp says:

    Enjoyed the ride. My wife and I recently took up cycling our local rails to trails. You inspire us to keep peddling to new adventure.

    • That’s great to hear. Thanks for coming along. There are so many great trails and perhaps I’ll even do a few with my husband, although he has a biking buddy here and they go out together.


  8. So enjoyed riding along on this. Your details are wonderful and tasty. Not sure how you could pass up a fresh apple fritter, but I admire your discipline! And congrats to Bill….what a ride.

    • Janet, passing up the fritter wasn’t so much a matter of discipline as not wanting to spend the money. 🙂 Thanks for taking the ride with us. It was so much fun and I’m looking forward to whatever the next ride brings.


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