Big aspirations turned into panic as I looked at the calendar for possible weekends to pull this off. It was mid-July already and I didn't want to go the next weekend. Not enough time to prepare. The following weekend was out as it was my turn to work a Saturday and the Boy had theater camp. The next TWO weekends were out as they bookended the Sturgis Rally so finding a campsite would be as rare as stepping in a unicorn turd. I suppose we could have done it the weekend after that, but it is our anniversary, so I'm doubting that saying to my lovely that the Boy and I are going camping/riding would go over too well. So, we decided to get all crazy and cram a whole bunch of shit into one week to get ready to go. All that coupled with the fact that the Boy's theater camp was starting on Tuesday meant that we were NOT going to be able to go down and back. After some deliberation, we decided to go down and half way back to Hill City.
|Getting ready to take flight.|
About 1:30 in the morning I got up to take a whizz (why is it when I'm at home I can sleep through the night and NEVER get up piss but when I'm camping I almost ALWAYS have to get up to go during the night?) I notice that about 4 sites over they've got a bonfire reminiscent of the Springfield tire fire and I notice some lightning in the sky. About 2 hours later, I'm feeling raindrops through the screen of the tent. I get up to close the rainfly and hope our stuff doesn't get too wet.
No luck. I awoke to an overcast sky and our stuff was wet. Great. Without going into minutia, we packed up our stuff, took the picture you saw above and hit the trail by 7:00 am. I got the Boy on the trail at 7:00. Impressive.
|At least he had a long sleeve shirt on...|
As we finished the climb to Dumont, the drizzle got heavier, to the point of being almost rain. Again, I looked at the temperature to see 57 degrees. I thought to myself if this keeps up all the way to Hill City, I am going to pull the plug on this adventure. The last thing I want to do is ride in the rain, set up wet stuff and try to stay dry/warm all night long with home being no more than 50 miles away.
Back on the bike, we continued on to Rochford, the Moonshine Gulch Saloon and the gastronomical treats therein. We rolled up to the saloon, took off some gear and headed in for some lunch, which consisted of a burger and fries for me and a corn dog and fries for the Boy. If you've never encountered the Moonshine Gulch, I HIGHLY recommend it, but make sure your stomach is strong. Not that the food is gross, far from it, but the place is really indescribable. There was a live deer in the kitchen at one time for god-sakes. That should say it all.
Bellies full, we struck out from Rochford onward to Mystic, the last "real" trailhead before Hill City, which means our last chance for water before a lengthy climb and a nice descent into our first day's destination. The weather was breaking, with the sun coming out and the temperature on the rise. As we reach Mystic, I'm about out of water, so now it is all I can think about. Why the hell does that happen?
|Still happy after all those miles.|
We roll into Hill City in decent time, stopping at the health food store for a snack and the bike shop for a tube before heading the 3 miles uphill to the campground. While in town, the Boy decides that he'd like to have dinner with Mom, so we call her and arrange it and head off to camp.
|The yellow and grey barrier between us and West Nile Virus.|
Once at camp, we visit for a little more and decide as the sun was setting we were ready for bed. My lovely drove off and the Boy and I slipped quietly into our sleeping bags. About 3.7 seconds later we were asleep and dreaming about the next day. Dreaming until I had to get up to take a damn piss in the middle of the night.