Day 42: Western South Dakota is NOT Flat — T-34 Truckstop Near Billsburg, SD to Pierre, SD. June 19.

Daily miles – 71. Total miles – 2526.

We woke up this morning and the flag on the trailer was flapping toward the west. Crumbs. Another day of headwind. Oh well. One definite characteristic of today’s riding (and yesterday for that matter) is that there are not mountains, but there are certainly hills! The rolling hills are a different type of challenge. You can see 5 or 10 miles ahead and the road looks like it just goes on forever and ever. As we climb, especially with the wind at us, our speed declines but the scenery doesn’t change like it does in the mountains. The result is feeling like we are going slowly no matter how hard we push.

We met another biker – she was a solo traveller named Kelly going from Colorado to Minneapolis. We have really seen few loaded bikers on our route. So many people do long rides in the summer, but somehow we have missed them. It was nice to share a few stories, but we kept on trucking on our own after lunch together.

The landscape wasn’t really much different than the days before, but we were accompanied by tambo (dragonflies) that flew along with us. The tambo are harbingers of several things. In Japan, they transport souls back to home during Obon. It makes me nostalgic for the approaching Obon season back in San Jose and somehow their presence make me comforted. Also, Keiko (Chandra’s sister) is pregnant and refers to the baby-to-be as tambo too. The tambo are also so common in the Midwest that they represent the transition from the west to the midwest. It’s all starting to feel familiar in a way that harkens to our childhoods.

We checked into a hotel and had a great dinner at La Minestra. Probably the best eggplant parmesan I have ever had! When the waiter came around to describe the desserts we said “You know, honestly, we’re from out of town and would love to know where local folks get ice cream”. His face lit up as he told us about a place called Zestos. We went, had a malt and cone, and thusly fat and sassy, went to see Cars at the movies. Tomorrow is rest, and I think we’ve earned it!

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