4. South Dakota Bicycling Across The USA

Through South Dakota, Sept. 12 to 19

Belle Fourche, a small town at the western edge of South Dakota, says that it is exactly halfway between the East Coast and the West Coast. We passed just south of it when we crossed the state line on Friday, September 12. Our trip is ten weeks long, and we completed the fifth week on Monday the 15th, so at the halfway point we were on schedule. South Dakota marked the beginning of the second half of the trip in another way, too. Between Glacier and the Black Hills, we followed a zig-zag line that ran south and east. After Rapid City we headed more or less straight east, to dip our tires in the Atlantic Ocean on October 22.

South Dakota is about 400 miles from end to end. We entered the state on on a frontage road that might have been U.S. 14, but was definitely just a few yards north of I-90. We continued on Saturday (Day 32) south on U.S. 14A thorough Spearfish Canyon, then climbed Icebox Canyon on US 85. After an unsuccessful attempt to ride on the Mickelson Bike Trail, we finished the day on US 385 South to a campground near Hill City. Sunday was a rest day.

On Monday the 15th (Day 34) we started at the intersection of US 385 and State Route 44, which runs the length of the state between 20 and 60 miles south of I-90. Route 44 was originally built to follow a rail line in 1907, and most of the small towns along it have stayed small. We drove through Rapid City on Monday and rode from the east end of town through the Badlands to Interior, the commercial center for Badlands National Park. On Tuesday we continued to the town of White River; on Wednesday, we camped on the west bank of the Missouri River; and on Thursday, battling a vicious crosswind, we rode to Parkston and drove the last few miles to Freeman. On Friday the 19th (Day 38), we crossed into Iowa and stayed in Rock Rapids.

By bradedmondson

Writing about social change and how it happens.

3 replies on “Through South Dakota, Sept. 12 to 19”

Good morning. Gorgeous fall weather here and full harvest moon last night. FYI.
Where will you be finishing on the east coast and dipping your wheels into the ocean? You’ve done the difficult part of the ride and now will have a straight – rolling and level – ride to the finish.
P.S. they say it is all downhill to the Mississippi but don’t count on it (smile).


Jim –
I am really enjoying reading about your adventures. Sounds like there have been some boring miles in the recent pass and the headwinds must be a real pain!
From reading your blog I am getting the idea that my husband should rent an RV and take Glenn, Kelly, and me on a biking trip. We’ll have to get your recommendations for a nice, not too difficult trip of say 5 – 7 days. My husband loves local diners and would be happy to be the support vehicle if it means he doesn’t have to bike!
When do you get to NY State? Will we be able to cheer you on somewhere nearby?
Best of luck for the upcoming weeks.


Betsy..yeah and RV support vehicle would be an excellent choice! No tents to set up……especially in the rain.

The current plan is to bike from Buffalo to Roch. on the Erie Canal bike path on Sat. Oct 11. There will be a welcome “party” at the Greece Community Center on the Pathway that afternoon.
We plan to stay in Roch. that night and then bike to Cayuga Sate Park on Sunday for a 2nd “party/welcome” event.
There should be some kind of more formal announcement about this eventually.
We hope to see lots of fellow cyclist with us those 2 days. Hope you can join us.



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