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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 21 - Lusk to Hot Springs






I am exhausted.

I just want this day to be over.





There will be a headwind in the afternoon and we have 92 miles to go.

I’m just not up for it.

But I will do my darndest.

I'm the first one out of the chute this morning....

passing by the famous Lusk cemetery...

I know we will have a side wind until the turn at mile 45.

Then we turn East into the wind....

I am hoping to have people around after mile 45 that I can draft behind if I need to.

So I promise - no stopping for pictures.

Rod and Mark quickly realize how down I am and begin drafting me behind them.



And the scenery is beautiful with the morning sun melting over the soft green hills and sudden protrusions of stone.








And the prairie sunflowers glow in the early morning light....







But...no pictures Rod!

Isn't this what I came for?










To see America...

To enjoy capturing it's beauty on pixel?













To write this blog?






SAG stop at Mile 35.

No restrooms.









Cold pizza?

I think I'll pass...










Ten more miles - not too bad...still bikers all around me.

At mile 45 - the turn - I stop at the rest area for "the facilities".

And when I come out...











alone again....





Not much I can do but bike on...





The road is lonely for houses...

for trees...

for bikers...






We're in the grasslands now...

When I get tired, I rest my bike in the tall grasses...

It's like my Indian grass at home - just not so tall...










I finally catch a picture of this delicate rose-like flower I've seen off in the fields...










And I realize that behind it's lovely face...

are wicked thorns...









And speaking of faces...

I now enter our 4th state - with the faces of the presidents.

How sad that the sign has been pocked with bullet holes...


Back on bike - the miles are long and lonely...

I begin practicing my Italian again to pass the time...

Count to 100...

Uno, due, tre...

Maybe Tom and I can return to Italy next year for our 25th wedding anniversary...








The wind is picking up...

slowing me down even more...










The SAG wagon is by the road...

with fresh water for me...

If they suggest loading the bike and me into the van, I won't argue...

But they don't...





More miles...

More Italian....

More gosh- danged wind in my face...




At last I see the last rest stop of the day....







....the promised land of Edgemont!









I'm not even cheered by the friendly face of this pooch...



Food...
Drink...
Bike more...




Now we start the four mile climb...

My legs feel like lead...

No strength at all...




I see Ian starting up the hill...

He shakes his head - "I'm not havin' fun any more..." he says in his Scottish brogue.

Now I saw Ian when we struggled walking up Teton Pass and we were laughing...

And I saw Ian when we were descending from the Continental Divide in that hellishly freezing headwind. We were all smiling.

We aren't smiling anymore...




Ian drops back.

I slog up the hill...

Stopping every now and then to look back for Ian..

To look back on the hill I've climbed...









Suddenly we're out of the grasses and into the trees again!




It is amazing how quickly the habitats change...






And at last, my weary legs carry me to the top and I see the welcome downhill warning sign...





I zoom down into the valley in an instant...

How can it take so long to climb and the reward is over so quickly?

The onslaught of civilization

...the billboards leading up to Mt Rushmore.



what a shame to mar the landscape...




The hotel at last!

And Al is there...

How was your day?

Al had an awesome day!

She rode all day long with the thoroughbreds - the fast bikers.

She hung with them and even took her turns pulling the front of the pacelines...




She was amazing!



This youngster who didn't hardly train for this bike ride is riding with some of the best of them...

Sometimes I think life isn't fair...


















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