Travis, our host, was working nights and so didn’t have to be at work until 6pm. Most people who work nights go to bed during the day, not Travis. He was eager to ride as far as he could with us on his touring bike. He loved to ride but also wanted to try out a new way to mount his camera to his aero bars. I had mentioned that he might as well try a loaded touring bike, so he carried my front bags and C’s rear ones – a true gentleman.
Having spoken to him the day before about possible routing, I had decided that following I-90 seemed the best plan. It would give us most frequent access to services and civilisation. It would also be the shortest way to Rapid City meaning we could get there in 5 days of riding.
Riding with Travis was a pleasure. Him carrying our bags was a nice touch, but, as with everyone we get to ride with, it’s cool to have company that isn’t C. C & I have been riding together for over 2 months and our styles mean that while we’re nearly always in visible range, we don’t talk that much. Travis gave us someone else to talk to, a fresh perspective on touring and also gave C a hand like she had gotten since back in PA.
Travis rode with us as far as Bridgewater, about 40 miles, where we stopped for a break in a small grocery shop. Being in a small town, the grocery store seemed like a social hub for the town and so had a table in it where people could sit, drink coffee and eat cakes. We used it for our lunch break, and it was lovely to be in AC and eating at a table and chair.
After saying goodbye to Travis, we headed off for the final 30 miles in to what was now a slight headwind. The wind combined with it just being me & C again made it feel like we were going a lot slower, even though we weren’t.
The last few miles in to Mitchell, the midday sun was definitely starting to be felt. We were both so glad when we made it to Moe’s. Moe was out when we arrived, but we were greeted by her husband John who welcomed us in. They had 6 children, Josiah, Jeremiah, Sam, Anna and Maya who were living at home and Alex, who was out of state.
I had a great time with the kids. Their energy was invigorating and they were so inquisitive and, being children, had different questions than I’m used to being asked which was refreshing.
After dinner we got taken to Mitchell’s must-see tourist destination, the Corn Palace. The murals on the outside are re-designed every year and are really interesting to see. We went on the free tour and met a couple of cycle tourists who were also taking it.
They were riding from Pennsylvania to San Francisco, but going via Nevada so a quite different route than us after SD. They were the first tourists on the road we’d gotten to speak to for a long time, which was great fun. We exchanged contact information and asked them to message us in the morning if they were wanting to ride with us.
During the tour they had mentioned other things to see in Mitchell. Josiah was unimpressed with most of them but his ears perked up at the mention of Cabelas. I wasn’t sure what it was, but he assured me it was worth going to.
When we got there, I understood why he was so excited. It was a massive hunting, camping and fishing superstore with everything you could ever need to track, kill and embalm whatever you find be it a stoat or a bear.
Josiah showed me the guns and, as I told him I’d never fired one, made me hold them. I posed for a picture with the gun pointed at him but then got shouted at by a salesperson who asked if I’d checked to make sure it wasn’t loaded. I didn’t say that I assumed that the guns they have just sitting round aren’t loaded because that’d be a huge safety risk, and just passed him the gun saying I had no idea how to do so.
After Cabelas we went back to their home to watch a DVD. I got most of the way through it but exhaustion as it was around midnight, and the plan to get up at 6am the next morning, forced me to go to bed. I wished them a good night and said my goodbyes before vanishing.