Hank – We decided to take the most direct route to Hot Springs today. We started off with a muffin and an egg, ham & cheese croissant from the Flying J. Gross but necessary. We had a misty rain at first but the remainder of the day we had mostly cloudy skies. Every once in a while the sun peaked through. We were making good time and decided to stop in Buffalo Gap and take a break. That meant we got to meet Elray, the owner and proprietor of the Buffalo Gap Trading Post. Kathy and I got drinks and chatted with Elray for a bit and checked out his wares. He has some cool old radios that I liked. Kathy saw a few things she would have picked up had we been in a car. Charles stopped by and said hello. He is quite the character with his dry wit and joke cracking. Elray said the colorful locals were part of the reason he moved here.
Leaving Buffalo Gap, we got back on the highway and quickly covered the 12 remaining miles to Hot Springs. The forecast had called for rain all day–it was wrong–and we reserved a motel room to stay dry. That turned out to be unnecessary. But what the heck. After checking in Kathy wanted to go to the Evans Hot Springs Plunge to swim in the hot springs pool there, which sounded like a great idea. The water temp is 87 degrees, which is pretty cool on a day like today. But they had regular hot tubs there so we sat in one and relaxed for a while. Back to the room for showers and then to a steak house for dinner. We hadn’t had a proper meal all day so we were pretty hungry. Unfortunately, this particular steak house leaves customer service as an afterthought. After waiting for an hour for our meal our waitress finally told us they were short staffed so meals were running late. That would have been good to know up front instead of after waiting for so long.So rather than use up more patches I tossed the tube.
I proposed another option to Kathy regarding her difficulties with the climbing we have to do at times. We could get a tandem and pull a trailer. That way we’d ride together and she could benefit from my stronger legs. She’s not too keen on that because of the expense, which is a valid point, but I’d prefer she was more comfortable. As it is, we’re not close enough to a city with bike shops that could offer that option to us. In the meantime, we’ll work closer on the routes and be more considerate of the distance and elevation gain.
Kathy – Today was such a wonderful day. Hank and I both enjoyed our ride today…and our communication was back on track. We rode 44 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain. When we left our campsite this morning in a misty rain the forecast predicted rain all day. Much to our surprise and appreciation it was cloudy with little rain. After all the rain and thunderstorms we have been having recently we were thrilled with the dry weather during most of our ride.
We really enjoyed meeting Elray in Buffalo Gap today. Our purpose for getting of going to the town was to eat but Elray only had frozen pizzas that he was willing to heat up for us which we declined. We just had a snack from our pannier bags instead. Elray is originally from Montana and moved to Buffalo Gap about 12 years ago to be closer to his children. He built his business himself, the Buffalo Gap Trading Post/Bar. It is amazing just how much stuff he has collected in the place. I seen so many really cool things that I would have purchased if I only had a car. Before we left Elray and I agreed that I should come back after our bike trip in a car so I can bring home a few treasures. It was great to meet Elray and Charles, they both are really good people. This is one of the reasons we love to visit these small out of the way towns.
Once we arrived in Hot Springs, South Dakota we decided to hit the natural hot springs. We we were not in them long because the water was so cold. They said it was 87 degrees but it felt much colder. Instead we opted for the hot tub…ahhh, so relaxing on the sore leg muscles. We had a good dinner despite the long wait and then explored the town sites. Days like today make this trip so worth it. It really was a relaxing day.