Greetings from Pierre, SD... capital city right along the Missouri River! (One of the boundaries of the Great Sioux Nation that was promised to the Lakota in the Fort Larmine Treaty of 1868, which was of course broken by the U.S. government in the persuit of more resources and ended in the killings of thousands of Indians...but that's another story that I'll be writing about soon!)
So how did we get here?
We made our way through thunderstorms in the beautiful Minnesota Valley near Lake Manitanka, Hutchison, Granite Falls and Marshall. As usual, we met amazing people. The one that stands out the most was Matt, who we met in Hutchison, MN at a coffee shop, where we exchanged travel stories, as motorcycle is his weapon of choice. He broke out his camera and showed us pictures of his trip to Northern Minnesota. We both fell in love with him and wanted to get him a bike so he could ride with us (he was definitely itching for an adventure!).
Then we were about 10 miles from the South Dakota boarder when Rach spotted a white spec in the distance that seemed to be going our speed. She said to me, "Go fast and get him! It's gotta be a touring cyclist!" I went up a hill through Lake Benson, the Midwest wind power capital, and finally caught up with him only to find out he name was Brian and he was biking across country from upstate New York. We shared stories and took pictures at the boarder.
We crossed the boarder then pedaled 20 more miles to Brookings--an awesome college town with a really charming Main Street. When we got to Brookings, the Couch Surfers we were staying with, Taylor and Scott (AWESOME PEOPLE), told us that they were also hosting Lowell, another cross-country touring cyclist coming from Philly. What were the chances that we would all meet in Brookings?? This called for a celebration, so the four of us got beers and had a huge "family" feast thanks to Taylor and Scott. It was so great sharing stories and similar experiences with others who could truly relate. Our first time on this trip getting that experience!
Dayne and Charolette, we found out, were also riding cross-country on a tandem bike from Salt Lake City eastward. Too coincidental!!!
Taylor and Scott were some of the best people we have stayed with on this trip. They are truly couchsurfers that we will stay in touch with and hopefully become even better friends with in the future. Who would have thought that Brookings, SD would be so cool and this post doesn't even say the half of it. I guess you will have to ask me for more!
As we continue westward there are less and less people and more and more beautiful senery. We can really feel outselves in the thick of this trip. We will be camping at the Badlands National Park for the 4th of July. It was when we were in Pine Ridge that we decided to do this trip and now we are about to get there after 3 months of pedaling. It's kinda of surreal, crazy, normal and everything in between. I am so happy to be where I am right now.
Now I'm sure you can't wait to read my next blog about why we are going to Pine Ridge. Until then, get out on your bike and enjoy the summer heat!