Day 13 – 9/12 George Mickelson Trailhead, Tracy Park in Hill City (SD)

I hope everyone else here is sleeping better and better like I am… wow, I slept great and woke up at 6:30am feeling super rested.  We definitely found the right setting for the furnace so everyone is comfortable, and it’s 66F.  It is a bit on the colder side, but again, perfect to sleep.  I’m looking outside now while my coffee is dripping on the coffee maker… it’s looking beautiful already, sky is super blue, no clouds above me, but I don’t see the sun on the horizon, yet it is bright out.  I’m guessing clouds are covering the sun in the horizon.  It’s supposed to be a warm day, and today is our last full day here.  We are going to let everyone sleep until whenever, then have breakfast and go for a bike ride.

Everyone woke up on their own time, and we were all awake by 8.  I did some work on website and consulting stuff early morning, then got outside to start getting things ready for our day.  First thing I did was setup the bike rack, which we have in front of the trailer, into the hitch of the truck.  It didn’t quite fit properly as the pin from the bike rack does not go through the hitch adapter sleeve all the way into the truck hitch.  It does pass a little, but not enough for a super secure connection, so I had to “strengthen” the connection with some bungee cords, holding the rack from sliding out of place.  Minor speed bump.  Then, I went to get the bikes, and decided to check tires before putting each bike in, and inflate as needed.  Carol’s bike was first, and boom.. surprise, rear tire tube had a hole and was flat.  Crap!

I had never changed a bike tire, though I knew how to.  I thought this was not starting well, but, went into it with calm and got the bike stuff I had, fortunately, and removed the old tube, put a new one in and voila, we were back in business.  I don’t have a patch kit along, so I can’t fix the old one, so we’ll have to buy a patch kit when we have a chance.  Fortunately, none of the other bikes had issues, so I loaded the rest while Carol got things ready, and we were off around 10 or so.  The bike path was in Hill City, which is about 15 minutes away from here… oh, and again, everything feels like it’s 15 mins away from where we are. 

The path is called the George Mickelson Bike path, we started it at the George Mickelson Trailhead, at Tracy Park in Hill City, and went North towards Mystic. 

We were told the path was easy, it was an old train track that was transformed into a gravel trail, so all easy uphills.  And, our first 6 miles were all uphill! 

It was an easy uphill, but little by little the girls were getting tired, especially Bella.  The trail was really nice.  You ride through the side of the mountains, near small towns and ranches, etc.  Very pretty. 

We saw 3 snakes crossing the path at different times, and in one of the times, Bia was ahead and rode over it, then Bella did next, then I did… Carol was able to avoid it.  I don’t think we killed the snake, but it sure got some bike marks.  The way up was nice, we’d stop at every mile mark to rest, sometimes a bit sooner.  The uphill was hard for Bella. 

We adjusted the girls seats to raise them so it’d be easier to bike.  We got Bella’s fixed right away since she has the manual lever type of seat.  Bia’s bike needed a tool which I didn’t have along, so we waited for the chance to ask someone if we could use theirs, and in one of our stops an older couple stopped next to us, started chatting and I noticed the lady had a tool bag under her seat, so I asked and we got Bia’s bike seat adjusted. 

It was much easier for Bia to pedal with the seat up, as her legs were very bent with the way the seat was.  She started biking faster, and we were getting ahead of Carol and Bella. 

On our second last stop, and our last stop, we shared some GU energy gels with the girls as that was the prize to make it to the 6 mile mark.  They loved the gel, and as we turned around to go back, they sure had energy, were in a really good mood, and just booked down the 6 miles without a single stop.  Well, it was downhill so not much pedaling was needed.  The downhill was fun, imagine over 40 minutes of riding down a very subtle descent, not having to pedal much and just enjoying the view.  The girls were talking, a lot, especially Bia. 

Bella eventually took off ahead with Carol, and they disappeared.  Bia and I were behind, going slower, and chatting.  She’s a chatter when she’s happy and comfortable, and she was a chatterbox :).  This was a very fun activity, even though a little challenging for Bella.  We rode 12.5 miles in about 2 hrs.  Then we decided to grab lunch in town and went to Bumpin Buffalo, which was a recommendation from our friend Michelle Z. 

Very nice little place, with Buffalo and “Western” decor.  They even had TVs by our booth, so the girls were happy.  Girls had Mac and Cheese, Carol had fish fry, and I had their Buffalo Burger, with Pepper Jack Cheese and Jalapeños… YUM! 

That was a good burger :). We had some local beers too while there.  Nice stop and nice lunch after our ride.  Then we went to Best Buy to get a memory card for the GoPro 8 as the card we had was not fast enough to handle the new features.  We stopped at the campground on the way to leave the bikes.  When we got to BestBuy, I stayed in the car and talked to my parents on the phone.  Then we went to Walmart for a few groceries for our ride tomorrow, and went back to the RV.  No more fun activities planned, so girls were just playing outside.  I was getting things ready for our trip, putting the bikes away, replacing all the lug nuts and torquing them with the torque wrench, etc. 

The girls wanted to help, so I had them go on the roof of the trailer and sweep, make sure any big tree branches were out and inspect if we had any damage.  Bia swept it all, especially over the slide out, so when we close it we won’t get a ton of stuff inside.  While we did this, Carol was cleaning the inside of the trailer.  She vacuumed, dusted, wiped, etc.  We are ready for the final packing tomorrow and will try to leave as early as possible.  Kids watched some TV and had pop corn too.  It was a great last day.  We’re going to miss SD!

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