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Day 10 - Moorcroft, Wyoming to Rapid City, South Dakota
130 miles
6370' climbing

After months of driving my co-workers crazy with my paranoia about getting sick, refusing to share keyboards and telephones and such, I now faced my biggest fear. My roommate had a cold. I had to share a sink with a sick person. I'm sure I drove her crazy by refusing to touch the TV remote after she did and constantly washing my hands, but this ride had been my life for almost a year.

We had also been warned about part of this day ahead of time. The first twelve miles of South Dakota were not paved. I looked for the welcome to South Dakota sign, but only saw one that said "Pavement Ends". We then hit some hard packed red clay, occasional gravel and mud. Water had sprayed to keep the dust down, but it really just helped us coat our bikes and bodies in red clay. This stuff does not wash out of jerseys and I will always be able to tell what I wore that day, since it still has red spots.

Lunch was at the Jewell Cave Visitor Center. I had really hoped to tour the cave, but the wait was over an hour, and I didn't have that much time to spare. I did take the time to call my friends at home and asked for a new saddle and a Camelbak bladder. I left a frantic message about saddle sores from hell and feeling really really bad.



We had a lot of climbing after lunch, but at the top of Crazy Horse Mountain, I just had to stop, take a picture and reflect on the sign I saw, that said "Never Forget Your Dreams." Suddenly my pain seemed to diminish, and I started getting some perspective again.

Our next stop was at Mt. Rushmore. It was definitely buzzing with tourists, but was also quite a site to see. A few pictures and a bagel later, and I was headed down the hill. There are an awful lot of touristy places around Rapid City, but the one that struck me as really odd was Reptile Gardens, not so much that they would have a reptile garden here, but the billboards all had parrots on them, and last time I checked, parrots aren't reptiles.

As usual our motel was on a big hill, a really, really big hill. I had to use my lowest gear to get up the thing. Lots of bike washing was going on when I arrived, and my bike certainly needed it too. I think I was carrying bricks with me from all the clay caked onto the frame. Later as I was walking downtown to find a bank machine, I saw a carwash billboard that said "Welcome Bikers, Hi-Pressure Wash." I don't believe it was intended for us, but I had to get a picture anyway!

Rapid City was big enough to have a bike shop with Camelbaks. Thank goodness. I have used one for so long that I can't seem to figure out how to use a water bottle, and had a tough time all day and did not drink enough.

I ate at my final buffet that evening. I finally realized that you get what you pay for, lots of really bad food. I stuffed down a few pieces of pizza, but I just didn't find the food very appetizing, which means it was really bad!