Wednesday, August 18, 2004

It was Pretty Darn Cold

I will forever remember this year's trip to South Dakota as the vacation filled with bikers and artic lows. The only week everyone in the family could get off happened to also be the week of the Sturgis Rally. We didn't think it would affect us all that much since we were staying in Rapid City, a town a decent distance from Sturgis, but the repercussions of having billions of bikers in western SD did reach out to where we were staying... and even beyond!

It seemed like everywhere we went all you could hear was the loud thumping of two cylinder Harley engines and all you could see was bikes, bikers, and lots of leather. Even the campground we stay at every year, Hart Ranch outside of Rapid City, was filled with bikers. All of my neighboring tents were occupied by bikers. It kind of sucked to get woken up in the morning by the roaring of having a Harley started 15 feet away from your tent, but it wasn't too bad later on in the week after many of them left.

When we stopped in Keystone, a little tourist town near Mt. Rushmore, the roads were lined with bikes and every sidewalk, crosswalk, shop, and eatery were filled with leather-clad, middle-aged, usually overweight bikers. Wading through them wasn't very much fun, but I did enjoy people watching for a while since there's a lot of weird biker folk out there.

Beyond the bikers, the big story was the cold. Rapid City set a few record lows while I was there. Two nights were in the mid thirties while the rest were usually in the upper 30's, lower 40's. Yeah, it was pretty cold out in the tent, but I'm happy my sleeping bag was a warm one. It also helped that I was wearing pants, a sweatshirt, and socks when I went to bed.

I only woke up one night because of the cold, and it wasn't because my body was cold, but because my face was frozen. Once I had buried my head inside my sleeping bag with the rest of my body I was fine.

Besides the nights being cold, all of the days (other than the last two) were also pretty cold. It was usually in the upper 60's and lower 70's with a very cool breeze. This meant that most of the days were spent wearing sweatshirts instead of t-shirts, which is odd when I think about it. Last year when we came out it reached over 110 degrees and we felt like we were in a blast furnace most of the days whereas this year we couldn't put enough clothes on to stay warm.

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