RASDak, The Ride Across SDak, is an annual bicycle ride across South Dakota. We are celebrating our 6th year of showing off SD, the land of infinite variety. Here are some of the highlights we have for this year’s trip:
Saturday June 2 We will meet at the Royal River Casino & Hotel in Flandreau, SD. The Casino and RASDak have a great evening planned for everyone before we take off on our adventure!
Sunday June 3 (72 or 90 miles) You have 2 routes to choose from. The optional route is for those who want to bike every mile across SD, the other one is for those who are OK with being 9 miles short. We leave the land of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and bicycle north to Brookings, home to South Dakota State University. From there we will follow historic highway 14 and visit lake country and the communities of Volga, Arlington, and Lake Preston. We will finish at the Little Town on the Prairie, De Smet, setting for five of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books. De Smet was recently named one of the twenty best small towns to visit in the country!
Monday June 4 (78 miles) We will continue on highway 14 and travel across the James River Valley. This is the land that inspired Harvey Dunn, one of South Dakota’s greatest painters, as he grew up near Manchester. This is also the route that John E. Miller wrote about in, “Looking for History on Highway 14”. We will visit Huron, home of South Dakota’s State Fair and the world’s largest pheasant. From there our route will jog north, around the Wessington Hills, before we turn west again and finish the day at Miller. Miller is the start of cowboy country, and we will be treated to some western hospitality!
Tuesday June 5 (77 miles) Visiting more cowboys today starting with Ree Heights, hometown of the Etbauer brothers who won 7 World Championships in Saddle Bronc Riding, and finishing at Fort Pierre, where the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center is located. This center honors Casey Tibbs and others who have contributed to South Dakota’s rich rodeo history. As we ride into the river valley we will visit the capitol of South Dakota, Pierre. From there we will arrive at our overnight destination, Fort Pierre, considered by many to be the most historic spot in South Dakota. Fort Pierre is where the Verendrye brothers claimed the region for France in 1743, where Lewis and Clark’s expedition almost met a violent end in 1804, and where in 1817 a fort was established marking the start of 200 years of settlement. This is also where the Deadwood trail began in 1876, and where we will begin our journey on day 4.
Wednesday June 6 (94 or 128 miles – if Kasey’s predictions of an east wind doesn’t hold up then 62 miles) Today we need to “cowboy up” as it is our longest day of the week. The route is 94 miles if you take the the optional shuttle to Hayes, where you will enjoy breakfast with the Hayes VFD. The other option is to take on the challenge of the longest ride in RASDak history, 128 miles from Fort Pierre to Union Center. Also, if the predicted east wind doesn’t happen we will offer a shuttle from Howes to Enning, which will get the mileage down to 62, and you still get to ride the last 6 miles to Union Center with no one the wiser! This will be RASDak’s second visit to Union Center. While Union Center is the smallest community we have stayed at, it was also one of the most popular. Along the route we will see the beautiful Cheyenne River, at which point we will enter the land of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. We will also enjoy the hospitality of small prairie outposts such as Billsburg, Howes, and White Owl. Our last stop will be in Enning, where we will enjoy the hospitality of Nellie’s Mercantile & Saloon.
Thursday June 7 (87 miles) Our ride will take us to Bear Butte, one of South Dakota’s most famous landmarks, and a sacred religious site to the Lakota, Cheyenne, and others. From there we will head to a site famous to motorcyclist, Full Throttle Saloon. Along the route we will see irrigated fields, courtesy of Orman dam, which at one time was the largest earthen dam in the world. Our destination is the geographic center of the United States, Belle Fourche. The word in French means “beautiful fork” which describes the rivers that meet there. Belle Fourche was a famous cowtown, but is now more famous as the northern gateway to the Black Hills. It is also going to be a lot of fun as we get to help kickoff the Hometown Thursdays celebration featuring live music, entertainment, kids activities, and more in downtown Belle Fourche!
Friday June 8 (42 or 62 miles) We will venture into Wyoming through the historic town of Alladin. From there we will climb over the Bear Lodge mountains and we will approach the beautiful Belle Fourche River valley and Hulett, Wy. The SD Black Hills & Badlands website calls Hulett the “Best Little Town in the West”, and we are going to be there on one of its biggest weekends to see the Hulett Parade and Rodeo! For those up for some more bicycling, America’s first national monument, Devils Tower (Bear Lodge), is 10 miles to the south. Bear Lodge is sacred to many Native American Tribes and has inspired people for centuries. RASDak hopes that you too will be inspired by this sacred place of beauty.
Saturday June 9 Optional day to enjoy the Parade and Rodeo, or just explore the beautiful northern Black Hills. RASDak is offering bus service back to Royal River Casino at 8 AM on both Saturday and Sunday at a cost of $100. We will be staying at the Hulett School Friday and Saturday night.