Day 14, July 31st

Start: Murdo, SD

Finish: Mitchell, SD

Miles: 143

Elevation Gain: 1690'


Mitchell Holiday Inn

1525 West Havens St.

Mitchell, SD 57301


Click on an image to see a larger view

It is finally sinking in that I'm actually riding my bicycle all the way across the country. As we approached the Missouri River, we crossed a sign that the PAC Tour crew had painted indicating the halfway point in mileage. We've ridden over 1700 miles in the past two weeks.

It's actually beginning to seem routine to get up at 5:00AM or so, grab a quick breakfast of oatmeal with raisons and bananas, bagels with cream cheese and hot coffee in the motel parking lot, then get on

We crossed the halfway point this morning

my bike for ten hours of so. Then do it again the next day, and the next...

This morning I decided to ride at an easy pace. For the past 4-5 days, I've ridden fairly hard and finished near the front of the group (and was actually first to the motel on two occasions). Today I laid back and

Heading down the road at sunrise

finished near the back of the group, rolling into the motel around 5:00. Well, actually, I rolled into the Dairy Queen next to the motel about then and got myself a large pineapple shake before heading next door. Riding near the rear, I got to ride with a few riders that I haven't seen much of this trip (at least on the road).

The downside of riding at a slow pace is that I was out in the hot sun that much longer. And today was a scorcher, reaching the high 90's in Mitchell when we arrived. Fortunately, much of the afternoon was on a light colored concrete road which doesn't retain nearly as much heat as black asphalt.

The map above is a little misleading - while we did follow Rt. 90 very closely, we were actually riding on very lightly traveled frontage roads for all but about nine miles. The terrain was pretty consistent - lightly rolling farm land with very few trees. As we rode from Murdo to Mitchell, the crop seemed to transition from hay to corn. I suspect we'll see a LOT more corn in the next few days.

Mitchell is know for the Corn Palace - a building that is completely covered in Indian Corn husks forming a mosaic pattern. We didn't have time to go by there today, but perhaps we will on the way out of town tomorrow.

Thanks to all of you that have sent me emails. I'll hope to respond (to at least say thanks for the email) shortly, but I'm running short on time this evening.

Typical scene from today's ride - many of the small towns we passed had tall water towers like the one you see here We passed at least a dozen collections of bee hives today (as well as yesterday afternoon) Anne Marie crossing the bridge over the Missouri

Doug lent his tandem to John and Judy for the day - this was John's first time piloting a tandem, but they had a great time Land is a lot cheaper in South Dakota than it is in Seattle ...and so is gasoline