Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Familiar Faces

After Saturday's fiasco, I had a bit of sunshine to look forward to, figuratively if not literally.  After two days in the high 40's / low 50's, I could expect to reach the high 60's by the end of Sunday. 
Also, the radar showed that despite the 47 degree rain outside my window, I should finally be riding out of it sometime this morning.

But, more importantly, I had an 11:30 appointment in North Dakota to meet my mom and dad.  They left Pennsylvania last week to head west and join me for the last leg of my trip, and this is the rendezvous we ended up with.  With the events of yesterday, I could have rescheduled, but I had no way of knowing what I was getting into until I lived it. 

So, out once again into the cold rain.  I eagerly awaited the cessation of the weather event, but the miles passed with no change on the horizon.  Finally, an hour and a half later nearing the eastern border of Montana, I saw some stark white clouds against the dark gray background.  This was the same phenomenon I'd seen when I rode *into* this weather pattern 700 miles ago.  Was I finally riding *out* of it?


I was not.  Unfortunately.

Then, in North Dakota about 5 miles from our rendezvous, it finally stopped.  I was on dry road for the first time in 2-1/2 days.  Still black skies and cold, but dry.

Hugs and handshakes - never was  I more glad to see a familiar face, let alone that of my parents.  Joy!  I warmed up and had an early lunch, and after about an hour we went out to get on the bikes.  I kept my rainsuit on; mom and dad were confident.  They had stayed in town last night and had been dry for days.

Before we got the bikes started, it began to rain.

But we pulled out anyway, and aside from a brief shower 30 miles down the road, we stayed dry under the dark clouds.  Cold and dry is way better than cold and wet.

Later in the afternoon, we actually got some blue sky with our cold, and we arrived in Deadwood, SD before 4:00 and in good spirits.  We checked into the Iron Horse Inn, a legitimate period hotel with creaky hardwood floors, ornate woodwork, and lots of character.  Donna and I had stayed here a few years ago, and it was great to be back.  Things were looking up.

We walked the main drag, had a great steak dinner, and stopped in Saloon #10 for another beer or two and witnessed a re-enactment of the demise of Wild Bill Hickok, holding his eights and aces in a poker game.  (For the record, the 5th card was the 9 of diamonds.)

Next morning, after breakfast and waiting for mom and dad to check out, I plunked $20 into a blackjack machine and earned myself $11 to boot.  Eleven free dollars!  Things were DEFINITELY looking up!

We headed for Iron Mountain Road, and stopped for a family photo at Mount Rushmore (four more familiar faces!) just down the road from where it starts.  After enjoying our twisties delivered with a side of scenery, we headed eastward - turning for home for them, and resuming my own return.  We have since ridden through the Badlands, spent the night in the worst hotel ever in Mitchell, SD, seen the 2014 edition of the Corn Palace, and posed for a photo with the Jolly Green Giant.

We're in Owatonna, Minnesota for the night, and this blog is officially up-to-date.  I do have a bunch of pictures I want to add to the older posts for color and context, and I have a ton of neat stories and thoughts to share.  But for now, and for the first time in quite a while, you can read about where I am while I'm actually there.

Now time to plan tomorrow's ride.

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