2014 South Dakota – Day 29 – Custer: Marbles – falling from the sky

Tuesday June 17, 2014, 6 miles (10 km) – Total so far: 1,344 miles (2,162 km)

So I’ve just been hanging out the last few days. Yesterday I went into town and stocked up on food, went to the library, then headed back out for a lazy day at a Forest Service campground. It stormed a couple times in the afternoon. It seems to be a pattern at the moment.

Today I just hang out again. My friend Wayne is coming up from Ft Collins, Colorado and we’re going to meet up to do some hiking. If we weren’t planning on meeting today or tomorrow, I would have taken off after the Hell Canyon Hike.

I’m excited to see Wayne – we’ve been friends for 18 years. It’s always fun to meet up with family and friends on tour for a change of routine. But it can be hard to coordinate meeting places and times on occasion. He says he’ll let me know when he gets up here this evening.

As the afternoon wears on, I start to wonder if he’s been delayed. He hasn’t texted anything to say he’s heading up or not. The sky has been alternating between storms and fast-moving, building cumulus clouds all afternoon. I’m not liking the look of things. If I’m going to make a dash for town, I think I need to do it soon. Or I need to just plan on staying here.

Finally, when the sky is dark and menacing in three directions, but not toward Custer, around 4.30 pm, I decide I better go for it. I only need to do about 6 miles into town.

But I don’t make it before one particularly big dark cloud comes rumbling over and starts to drop marble-size hail on me as I ride. Ouch! That actually hurts my arms. And it is incredibly loud on my helmet. Two miles of that.

Once in town, I ponder what to do. I really need shelter. The sky is awful-looking just about everywhere. Where’s Wayne? I hope he’s okay – the wind is really terrible and he’s pulling a big-ass 5th-wheel trailer. I hope he hasn’t had an accident. I get a motel room. I hadn’t planned on the expense but I guess it’s worth it when there are two severe thunderstorm warnings that go out for Custer. I worry about Wayne until midnight. He said he’d let me know when he was on his way. I hope he’s okay.

Of course, he was. He’s just a guy. He just didn’t bother to text. Car people don’t always realize what it’s like to be on the bike, either. I will get a text from him early the next morning, so all is good. And in the end, a motel room means I get a shower, a bed, and a pillow – never a bad thing!

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