Days 34 & 35: Badlands, South Dakota

Yeah, I’ve been lazy with updating this here blog. I reckon I should add a 4th essential to my “Unlikely Trinity Of Bikepacker Blogging” (Phone battery, Internet access & Time) – that being “Motivation.”

There’ve been a couple of times this last week when I could in all honesty, have written updates, but didn’t.

Partly because while the scenery has been incredible and people friendly, there’s really been nothing of particular note to mention. Partly because my rant would be repetitive “constant headwind!” And partly because I’d rather spend a couple of hours drinking with the locals, experiencing whatever it is that respective (if not respectable) locals call night-life, than spend those same hours trying to think of something interesting or worthwhile to say.

Yet, as said, the scenery I’ve battled against the constantly fierce wind to see, has been utterly stunning.

1st up was south-central South Dakota

These pictures make it look as if SD is flat – as I was expecting it to be. But South Dakota is not flat. Rather full of constant upflats and downflats (hills and descents for the non-cycle-speakers).

In spite of this constantly hilly terrain though, I did gain benefit of 2 exceedingly rare days with tailwinds – and so miles were high.

Looking forward to a 3rd big-mile day, into the Badlands, was too much though as the wind’s changed. Headwinds again! And properly gusty at that!

A couple of days I wanted to stop short of targets but literally was nowhere to do so, so I’d persevere. Benefits in hindsight.

Utterly jaw-dropping Badlands

The small town of Interior was obviously the centre-point of tourist activity within the Badlands. A few motels and campgrounds/RV Parks (actually with dedicated tent spaces!), a couple of bars, cute “City Jail” (which I thought may actually be reasonably comfortable) and a noticeboard.

The main attraction was obviously what’s just outside of town. Words cannot even partially do credit to the out-of-this-world spectacle of the Badlands. In person, even more so than mere pictures!

As beautiful as they were, the road was steep. I climbed from the valley floor some thousand feet up to the plateau atop these remarkable hills.

Day 34, White River to Interior: StravaRelive My Ride

Day 35, Badlands: Strava

Day 36 Pt1, Badlands to Rapid City: Strava


Note that while I write this, I’m actually in Walla Walla, Washington State, having completed Day 56 on the road – and only a few more days riding from the coast. So still nowhere near up-to-date!!!  Sorry.


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