Wednesday, September 27

Pierre, South Dakota

I loaded up in 45 degrees and pouring rain and headed south for the 88 miles to Pierre, SD. The radar on the Weather Channel showed the storm moving east, so I expected to pass through it. The rain covers on my saddlebags are held on only by elastic, and one on the side flew off. I noticed it missing after several miles, and with the dropoff mud shoulder, rain and wind there was no way I was going back looking for it. I'm not sure if it's really necessary anyway; the bag itself seems to be somewhat water-resistance, but if everything inside is soaked at the end of the day I'll see if I can get a replacement.
Around halfway, through the rain and gray sky I could make out a stretch of blue horizon off in the distance, promising some dryness, if not warmth. Several miles later, the rain stopped, so I pulled into a gas station to dry my gloves on the engine. I had barely taken the cover off my tank bag and put on my sunglasses, and it started pouring again. There was no food at the station, just a chemicals and fertilizer shop, so I got back on the road, this time with slightly warmer gloves.
My mix of Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield was playing in my ears the whole way, and I think I've decided it's the best music for riding. (Besides the music's mood, most music has to be played too loudly for comfort to hear it over the wind noise, but for some reason Floyd and Oldfield are heard at a much better volume.)

Like the dust kicked up by horses in the desert, you can spot an 18 wheeler coming at you from a mile away by the cloud of mist, wind and gravel it kicks up. Thankfully the blast hits you head on, not sideways as when passing a truck in the same direction, so it doesn't knock the bike around.
The bike is pretty dirty from all the mud and rain it's been through the last two days. If I see a car wash with a hose I'll give it a bath.
Now I'm eating a 2/3 lb Hardees cheeseburger with curly fries, good food for any weather. My gloves are on my tailpipes again and the rain seems to have stopped. The sky keeps going from blue to dark gray, so I don't know what weather to expect on the next leg, to Rapid City and Mt Rushmore.


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