Day 28 – Madison, SD to Wessington Springs, SD

We woke up at the golf course and had to dodge the sprinklers again, but managed to stay almost completely dry. The lawn mowers were just getting started as we pedaled away! Perfect timing. 

We ate breakfast on the side of the road, where we realized Aidan’s beloved spoon had been left behind at last night’s dinner spot. I’ll let him describe the events following that sad moment of discovery. 

It was a sad moment when I realized my spoon was gone. My oldest brother Michael carved it as a birthday gift last winter. Since then, it has accompanied me on many expeditions, collecting scuffs and memories along the way. I was not going to let this one go easily. I googled the business whose land I believed it was lost on the previous night and called them up. I described our trip and my spoon, prefacing the conversation with “this is likely the weirdest question you will hear all day, but I think I left my spoon in your yard.” She was able to find it and will be mailing it to none other than the post office in Powell Wyoming. By coming so close to losing this essential piece of equiptment it made me notice how connected to these everyday items I have grown. After spending so much time with my headlamp, knife, sleeping bag etc. they start to develop personality. I appreciate a tool that I can always count on to get the job done in style. 

When we filled up on water this morning, we saw that there were showers in the bathrooms – that was the second place in South Dakota where we’d noticed that, so we asked if that was typical. It turns out that showers can often be found at truck stops, so we now know to keep an eye out for those. 
A few of the towns we passed through made Monkton, VT seem like a city!

Yes, that does state that the population in Vilas, SD is 19. 

When we finally stopped for lunch, we had just reached a town where we were hoping to find one of those truck stops so we could clean up, and we were delighted to discover a town pool instead – free to use! When I came out of the shower to our bikes, this is the scene that I was met with. 

Aidan had made friends with the group of little boys running around the town with bikes and an incredible amount of energy. They were so excited to tell Aidan all about their dirt bikes, and they did their best to convince him to race them down the road. 

Most of the riding today was almost perfectly flat, but the 17 mph headwind slowed us down a bit. But there were some fun sights by the road every now and then!

We got yet another lovely evening ride in, and we were pleasantly surprised to find some little swells in the landscape, and over each one we were met with a stunning view of South Dakota. 

We’ve found what is possibly the best campsite yet of this trip! Okay, we’ve had some other great ones, but we’re quite excited about this one. Just after passing a field of cows and noting that it was lucky we hadn’t hopped over a fence to camp, we found a field clearly not in use! The sun is setting still, the moon is out, and we have a 360 degree view of the colorful and darkening horizon. 

11 thoughts on “Day 28 – Madison, SD to Wessington Springs, SD

  1. Liza Joy Marcato July 15, 2016 / 3:44 am

    Ok you two, tell me you are going to Mt Rushmore and the Badlands. You HAVE to see them! Mt Rushmore itself is so weird, it just has to be seen. Plus there is great bouldering around it, amazingly HUGE stones to stand atop and feel grandeur. And the Badlands is just plain old rad. I never would have gone were I not showing some Germans around when I was living in Chicago…
    which reminds me of a little open–possibly the greatest ever written:

    God’s Grandeur

    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
    Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
    Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

    And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
    And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
    Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

    Happy trails!


  2. Mary July 15, 2016 / 10:30 am

    I have always wanted to go to SD (and several of the other states through which you’ll be passing). Thank you for sharing your memories and beautiful photos! I love the genuine delight that shines through your writings.


  3. Nancy Vanderlin July 15, 2016 / 11:47 am

    I loved reading Aidan’s thoughts about his spoon, and successful effort to get it back!


  4. Dad/Chris July 15, 2016 / 11:59 am

    Truly heartwarming story about the spoon.

    Great poaching on the golf course! As a former grounds keeper (“outta nowhere….on the 17th….here at Augusta…”) I can attest to how early the mowers and sprinklers start spinning.


  5. James Fecteau July 15, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Making friends with kids is a gift.
    Spoons are remembered for life?……..I’ll bet they are from now on.
    You two are rocking this life thing. GO GO GO!


  6. PSonn July 15, 2016 / 3:26 pm

    It is great that Aidan got such a special spoon on the path to being reunited! The connection with trusty tools reminds me of Homeric epithets (‘white-armed Andromache; ‘fair-haired Menelaus’) that help in identifying favorite characters. I wonder what epithets the spoon might be accumulating… Also, something to think about: South Dakota (and neighbors) are still rebounding from the last glacial period – in other words, roughly 10,000 years ago the glacier melted off but the land is depressed from that mile-thick ice that used to be on it. It is slowly, slowly un-pancaking itself. But not fast enough to give you some more hills to coast down!


  7. Jen Hempey (A Friend and former co-worker of your mom) July 15, 2016 / 3:30 pm

    Hi Clara (and Aidan),
    I am loving reading about your adventures, thanks for sharing! I keep getting more curious the further you get…where do you anticipate your route will put you when you dip your toes in the Pacific? Also will you ride back across to return home, or will you get home by other means? I’m hoping you are riding as I would thoroughly enjoy reading where your trip takes you! Cheers and safe travels!


    • Laura/Mom July 15, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      (Jen, Clara and some friends also participated in your summer basketball camp 5 years ago!) 🙂


    • bikesoveramerica July 22, 2016 / 11:15 pm

      Hi Jen!
      After making it to Portland, OR, we’ll bike another day to Astoria on the coast. We’ve heard it’s just amazing there! We won’t be biking home, but neither of us has a real plan of how we’re getting back to VT. Maybe a train, maybe driving, maybe flying. So glad you’re enjoying the blog! 🙂


  8. Aunt Mar July 16, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    Nice guys!!!! Looks like beautiful riding. Dr Seuss “oh the place you will go” Sounds just like you two. Keep enjoying, as we are enjoying your daily notes!!!!!! Love Aunt Mar.


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