The morning dawned with no rain. This was a great improvement over yesterday’s cold, wet finish. We rode a short twenty miles to Rushmore to see the four presidents (did you remember their names?). As we came up to the mountain there were signs which said no standing or stopping pre-sumably because the faces are visible from the road. Mike and decided after spending $20 a piece for the privilege of riding through Yellowstone that we’d recoup some of our expenditure on this park. So, I walked up to the face of the mountain toward the road and snapped a few shots. I don’t know but I thought Lincoln looked tired. After the viewing we rode back down the mountain to Custer. Here we planned a short stop to look at the map before traveling on. Before traveling on as I said, I decided to get one of the falls I owe to Bud Shevick out of the way. I chose the street in front of the town’s courthouse as the place and that time seemed perfect. I was once again standing still- not even moving at low speed. Anyway, that’s over!
We left Custer via Hwy 385 headed south. About an hour later we crossed into Nebraska, our 20th state. Mike and I really had no idea what to expect of Nebraska. My preconceptions were flat and boring. I was wrong in spades! We rode through 200+ miles of rolling grassy hills called the Sand Hill area by Nebraskans. Meredith and I had a debate just for argument’s sake about my usage of the word “wasteful” regarding God’s creation we’ve experienced going out and now coming back home. Mere’s disagreement with my term was based on its connotation of wastefulness or the idea that something better could have been done with what was wasted. A better word is maybe the word “extravagant.” This word can also have a negative connotation but I mean it in the profusely exaggerated, decorative or showy sense. He seems to be extravagant in spreading the beauty, not only in national parks, but everywhere, even in common places like today. I did some math while I was riding (I know, dangerous!) and Mike and I could look in any direction at numerous times during the day and see over a million acres of land with no town, city, burg or village. This land is beautiful in a large and lonesome kind of way. While there were no towns for miles in any direction, there were numerous “grass-conversion-units.” These come in many shapes and sizes and are called by many names- Hereford, Angus, deer, antelope, etc. If you want company out here, these are your choices. We saw a great variety of animals today. We saw more buffalo as we came through the Black Hills National Forest, with antelope, prairie dogs, deer, coyote (1) and a snake. We took many pictures of wild flowers as we watched trains pass an old roadbed where we took a break. This was a great day for riding. Tomorrow we plan a “ground covering” day. As a matter of fact we plan to repeat this for the next three days to get us closer to home. Between here and there we have no big sites to see until we get to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway. If we have time, we may try to see Gettysburg. Even though I’m a big Civil War fan I’ve never made it to this battlefield- we’ll see.