Plans, What Plans?
After a full day and 2 nights of supposed resting in Sioux City, I should’ve been up and raring to get back on the road early this morning. But I wasn’t.
I wasn’t being altogether lazy either though. I’d met several folk last night when I went to a bar for dinner (solid food as well as liquid nourishment). One of whom was on the University of Minnesota squash team, but hadn’t found anyone to play against for a while – so we’d agreed to meet up in the morning for a game.
I’d like to say that I held my own and didn’t have my ass handed to me on a plate, but I’m not sure Alexi would agree with my summary.
So it was well after noon by the time I got the bike moving, and it took a while making the seemingly straightforward exit out of the city – due to signposts not quite correlating with bike pathways.
But eventually I was across the Missouri River and into Nebraska. A quick stop at Walmart had me stocked up on fresh and dried fruits, peanut-butter and tortillas.
Then I hit the open road. And started to fall asleep. Several times I had to stop for water and fruit breaks to try to wake myself up, but I had no motivation to be cycling and was feeling a few twinges from the squash court. Going was slow!
Deciding I needed a caffeine kick, I went into a bar (the only place open!) in Jackson. They didn’t have coffee so I had to settle for a cola. I never drink cola, but I was pretty desperate. That, and the bar had air conditioning, so I was in no hurry or motivation to get back outside to the 34’C heat!
Nearly 4.30pm, I said goodbyes to the local patrons with whom I had been chatting, and forced myself outside – having decided to stop for the night at Ponca State Park only 16miles up the road (as opposed to my original target of Vermilion, 30 miles northwest).
Arriving in the village of Ponca, I rechecked Google Maps to discover the road to the State Park climbed and descended 400ft over 4.5 miles, whereas the road to Vermilion climbed 600ft but over 16 miles – and wouldn’t require back-tracking in the morning.
I had been making good progress since my cola break, so pushed on further.
I realised also that rather than taking the main roads and interstate highway all the way through South Dakota, East to west, I could save about a day’s worth of riding by sticking within Nebraska, and on exceptional quality, lesser main roads before entering SD about half way through the State.
The bonus to this new option being that I’d approach the Badlands from the southeast in my natural northwest direction, rather than doing a time/energy-wasting zig-zagging route through.
So following this new route, just a few miles past the Vermilion junction, I found the tiny hamlet of Obert with its own campground. Google lists it as a campground, though in reality it’s a small Park with picnic benches, an outhouse and water hydrant – but there’s no charge and the (39) locals seem friendly.