Bicycle Trip to High School Reunion

Author: surlymt (Page 1 of 3)

It Bee Winter Time

Bees go to bed when temp is below 50F.  There are different types of going to bed but when it gets cold like this pic the bees cluster tight.    A cluster is like a large ball of bees.  All clustering around the queen to keep her warm.   Remembering that there is only 1 queen per hive.  This is their sole purpose in life.  Bring in nectar, keep the queen happy and make more bees.  As a beekeeper I try to get the hives through the winter.   Feeding in November with some raw sugar.   10 lbs actually.  And starting next month more sugar in the form of sugar cake.  The black wrap helps to keep the cold wind out and on a sunny day provides some heat to the bees so that they might break cluster a bit and grab some honey and sugar for food.  Anyway it will not be long and the flowers will be out and the bees will be busy.  We need bees.WinterBees


Well it has been sometime since I last updated this site.  Soon I hope.  Not sure as this wordpress built site will be available much longer.   So if it goes away be patient and keep looking back.


Mitchell to Home, Day 22, Home at last

The designation is in reach today, I’m hoping.

Woke up in Mitchell to high winds and rain and it was about 10:30 before the weather front moved through and the wind settled down. Unfortunately it was looking like a headwind type of day. Just what I didn’t want was a 55 mile day with headwinds that can easily feel like a century ride at the end.
It has been about 6 years since I have traveled down Hiway 37 going south from Mitchell. Michelle and I spent a year traveling back and forth from Menno to Mitchell when we both attended the Mitchell Area Vocational Institute, but that was quite a long time back.. Very close to 40 years actually. Obviously a lot has changed. New housing districts are now on both sides of the highway as the city is expanding out. And this means more traffic. So after fighting traffic and a headwind that was coming straight down the highway it was time to pull into Parkston for some lunch.
The plan was too head east out of Parkston on Highway 44 for the next 25 miles. Take a look at this mess.

The whole road was a rumble strip

The whole road was a rumble strip

Yep for the next 16 miles it was like this. It is a resurfacing machine that levels the road by cutting down all the high spots so that the road is level.
For a car this is probably not too noticeable but on a bicycle it is like a permanent rumble strip. And I would not tell a lie here but the wind also changed so once again it was coming straight down the highway. So after 16 miles of the road construction and a river bottom ride (hole) I was just 11 miles from home.

Now I’m starting to get nervous. Like my first time to Wall Drug as a kid. Anxious as I know I have friends awaiting my arrival. So after about 3 nice rollers and a straight stretch of highway I’m seeing Menno. Really this journey is about to end. But in a very nice way.

My Destination

My Destination

It was nice to have family and friends waiting for me. It was a very nice end to this long day and a very complete “Welcome Home”.
Friends and Family

Friends and Family

Stay tuned for my final blog coming soon. Need a few days to relax and get my head back to normal.

Thanks for staying with me.


Huron to Mitchell, SD Day 21

Great day for travel. Just a slight sprinkle of rain when I left Huron obout 10:30 am. Ah yes but a bit of a headwind. Put the head down and bear it I say. And that I did. I knew it was going to be a 50 mile day but a headwind can easily make it feel like a century ride. Not much to say about this leg other than it felt like being home when I lived in the Menno area. Michelle and I used to come up to the State Fair with my folks and I remember stopping at the melon stands along the way to pickup just the right watermelon. My dad had the knack for thumping the melons to pick out the ripe ones. Of course the melon stands are closed this time of year
A ways down the road, really out in the middle of nowhere I ran into a ice cream oasis. A little rundown shack that evidently had enough business to keep the doors open. I did enjoy a very good orange soft ice-cream cone
As I was closing in on the small community of Forestburg, SD I remember as a teenager hearing about a dance hall here. While we would go to Milltown Island to hear our rock bands the same bands at times would go to this dance hall in Forestburg. Well here is picture of a little bit of South Dakota history. Seems quite a few famous bands, like Lawrence Welk, Benny Goodman, would also play here. And if you did the ponies back then you also had a place the lay the money down.
Check this out. New road work for quite a few miles. But the bicyclist was left out. Notice the rumble strips on the right of the white line. But the gravel? Why would they do that. We don’t ride over there. It forces us to ride on the highway. Somebody just didn’t think this one out.
Moving down the road a little closer to Mitchell I passed this very nice older farm. Not sure if it was a “active” farm anymore but it was worthy of a picture. Barn red and white.
And when I arrived in Mitchell a trip past the “Corn Palace” was in order. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the palace you will not be disappointed. It was under some construction at this time as the top hats were sitting on the ground. Decorated with corn.



And some pictures on the road. At first look as I was passing this dead bird on the road I thought it was a pheasant. But notice the feathered feet and deadly claws.

A very dead and flat horned owl

A very dead and flat horned owl

And this little male yellow finch. What a shame to have lived at least a year, endured the wild, survived a winter, and then to die by a vehicle. Sad. The roads are just littered with dead carcasses of wildlife. I would much rather see these creatures of the earth flying, running, soaring, in their natural setting.
Yellow Finch

Yellow Finch

Oh yea, and these self centered horses. If you have followed my journey I made a previous post about sheep and how much of a nice animal it was. Whenever I pass them on the road they alway say Byeeee, Byeee, to me. But not the horse. Self-centered, kinda pompous, free spirited, horses. I usually yell at them as I go by and say something like “HI horses, having a good day” And the most they ever say is “Weeeee, Weeeee” So it is all about them. They could care less about us. Always about them. How fun!
The Weeeee Animals

The Weeeee Animals

I have ate ok while on this trip. Some crappy bar food, mostly burgers and fries, some food that make me sick, high energy bars, Clif bars, lots of over ripe bananas, soft apples. Just have not eaten normally for the last month. So tonight when I arrived in Mitchell I indulged in what I thought was some better quality food. And finished it off with a ice cream dessert. I’m satisfied now.

Culvers Chicken

Culvers Chicken

Well I has come down to this last leg of this journey. Here posted is my planned stretch. I have driven this path many times so it will be fun to do it on my trusty steel steed.
Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 9.30.55 PM

This will not be my last post on this blog. But after I get to Menno it might be some days before I can update. Please check back as I will also post this last leg coming up.

This for me has been and adventure not to be forgotten. I have done many, many exciting adventures but this one is rated near the top. So many great folks, communities, wildlife, many miles of soul searching.

Thank you. Love you all.
Peace on earth,


Aberdeen to Huron, SD Day 20

About 2am this morning a big storm went thru the Aberdeen area. Lots of lightning, thunder and at the motel we lost electricity for about 2 hours. But when the morning sun popped up it was to be a great day for a bicycle trip. I like doing about 50-70 miles a day and finally my last few cities are all 50 miles apart. Redfieldd is to be my destination today. I did a check of the weather for the area as I left the motel and it was to be a tailwind day. Yes! What a neat way to move a bicycle. Tailwinds that is. Well I rode the 44 miles to Redfield in about 2:39 minutes. Way too early in the day to settle in here so I stopped for some lunch only.
And the food was a chef’s seafood salad
Redfield is a small city with a population of 2300. A busy little city with some friendly folks. As I was leaving the restaurant I noticed an older gentleman having a long hard look at my bike. He was pretty impressed with the fact that someone would actually ride a bike this far. He was 95 years young and honestly he didn’t look a day over 75. Now I was impressed with that.
Did I mention that I broke my own land speed record for a flat section of road. I need to mention that it is very flat out here. We have all heard the expression “flat as a pancake”, I gotta tell you a pancake on the road here would be the high spot in the county. So with wind pushing me and me peddling like the crazy retired bicycle rider I am here are the results:
Well I made it to Huron, SD by 5:30. Been to Huron a couple of times in my life. State fair for South Dakota is held here. It has grown a lot and appears to be very busy. The traffic on the highway coming form Redfield to Huron was as busy a stretch of highway I have been on during this trip. Shoulders were poor for most of the way also. I chose to jump off the road 4 times to the gravel shoulder due to being squeezed by trucks today. I had a trucker tell me about a week ago if it comes to hitting another vehicle or squeezing the biker, the biker will lose everytime.
So here are a some pics of this flat country:


And this is how South Dakota makes the scene of a fatal vehicle crash:

Here are the numbers:
96 miles
6:31 hours
14.74 avg. speed
34.02 max speed
956 total miles
84:14 hours total

I have not kept up with the road kills, diaper toss, flying glory, fatal crosses of late. To be honest it is just at times too much data. I have made some observations on things though. South Dakota folks fly the flag more, lots of pheasants were killed in ND. Dumb pheasants? Montana folks just toss the diapers out the car windows and South Dakota has the raccoon record for road kills. Dead rocky’s everywhere.

Stay tuned.


Fun Day in Aberdeen, SD Day 19

After my long bike ride from Mobridge I was a little tired. And the wind for this day was not in my favor to travel south. So I took the day off and just tried to get to know Aberdeen. Hey folks, I’m impressed with this community. Streets are clean, lots of good looking restaurants, bike trail, college, nice business district. First time in Caraboo Coffee for me. Starbucks has nothing over this coffee shop.

Caribou Coffee

Caribou Coffee

A little Art in Parks also.


And the Vietnam Memorial for the local boys lost in that war. Very well done. Moving for sure.


It was a great day to relax and prepare for the day ahead.

Stay tuned


Mobridge to Aberdeen, SD Day 18 Century Ride

Mobridge is a big fishing tourney town. Woke up to a parking lot full of $50K fishing boats. I figured something was up as I heard a lot of fishing stories in the parking lot about midnight. The fish are evidently very large at midnight.

When I went into Mobridge recall that I was not feeling all that well. I would seem that the bug did pass so onward to Aberdeen. Getting out of Mobridge involves climbing out again from a “hole” The city itself is about 100′ above the lake (Mobridge is on the Missouri River but the river is damed at Oahe in Pierre, SD) The climb out is probably another 300′ in altitude.

Mobridge in the review Mirror

Mobridge in the review Mirror

Passed this sign on the RIGHT side of the road.

Passed through several small towns. All very nice little villages but none with motels. I have become accustomed to sleeping in a motel bed of late. The goal was to get as far as Ipswich today. About 75 miles. As I was progressing towards the goal the winds actually helped and I was knocking off the mileage. Stopped in the little town of Roscoe for a breather and ended up in the local eatery with this great piece of Snickers Cream Pie

A good treat at the right time

A good treat at the right time

I got to Ipswich about 3:00pm and it just made sense to continue on the Aberdeen. Another 25 miles. It was a tough 25 miles. But did make it by 6:30.

Wow a century ride that was not planned. Most century rides on bicycles are well planned out and on light bicycles. My bike weighs about 28 lbs stripped down and then I added bags etc. 42 lbs of stuff in bags actually.

And the “Gold” at the end of the day. Presented free by the Super 8 Manager. Felt sorry for me I guess.

No, this is not a urine sample

No, this is not a urine sample

And this is what a stressed out bicycle rider looks like.

Stay tuned


Rain and Rest Day 17

Feeling not all that well yesterday when I got to Mobridge, SD. Pretty sure the pink burger and maybe the french frys were cooked in some bad oil. Plus I have managed to pick up a cold. Went to bed and woke up this morning to rain, and wind. Rolled over and am still here. Will leave tomm morning heading for Aberdeen. WX looks good for the next few days but as we all know when you live up here on the high plains it can change in a short time.

Thank for all the good email and text from all. They help and keep me going.

Stay tuned.


McIntosh to Mobridge, Day 16

Ugly day. Still feeling sick and the wind was blowing when I got up and then the fog and mist rolled in Packed up and left. Got to Mobridge and checked into the motel and went to bed. Sad day.

A pic:

Lemmon to McIntosh, SD Day 15

Well after 2 days of sitting around on my bottom this day was a good day to put some miles under me. Left Lemmon about 7 am with little to no wind. Maybe a slight tailwind is all. By the destination it was shifted to a slight cross wind out of the NE. But a good trip. Noted was lots of green country. Rain has been good it would appear. I can tell that Im back in farm country. The residents along the highways actually look like farms and I do detect the smell of money, i.e, cattle, hogs yards. As my cousin Earl R. would say to me ” young man that is the smell of money”. I think Earl had me shovel lots of money out of the barns he had.


Arrived about noon. Now what to do. Too far to get to Mobridge. So I found the sheriff’s office and asked where I might pitch the tent. As it turns out the sheriff is pretty entrepreneurial also as he has a rv park I can throw the tent down.

Walked up town to see what was available for food. Turns out the only place to grab any food was the youth center. So I ordered a burger and fries. Here is a pic of the youth bar.

Well the burger came and was a little bit red inside but I went ahead and ate it anyway. Well that appears to be mistake, eating it that is. I spent most of the night in discomfort. And am still feeling off somewhat.

Went to bed way before the chickens did. Woke up to wind, fog and crappy weather. Oh and 60 miles to do and the sheriff said not to stop at the next town. McLaughlin, SD. Seems the natives are somewhat restless these days and he figured I was easy pickens. You do listen to the sheriff don’t you? I do and did.


42 miles
3:15 minutes
674 odo
57:26 minutes saddle time.

Stay tuned.

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