The 2nd Trans-America Challenge 2015
7th - 28th June 2015
Day 15 - Rapid City to Sheridan
Welcome to Trans America Country.
As we pulled out of Rapid City, voted the most patriotic in the USA, a change of scene as dramatic as anything we've seen so far was in store for us today and, after a productive, resting, entertaining, infuriating or stimulating - delete as appropriate - day off, the crews were full of beans and raring to go.
Within a few miles the full extent of just how much this was classic Wild West cowboy country became apparent. Through the Black Hills Gold Mining area, the shops, restaurants and hotels were almost all decked out as they would have been when the West was being won. The Sitting Bull RV Park and Caverns reminded us that there were two sides to this story though.
Once we'd passed through the town of Keystone, thankfully without encountering the Cops and, skirted the National Presidential Wax Museum, the Mount Rushmore monument loomed large in our windscreens and some crews took the opportunity to pay a quick visit and get a little closer to Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
From here we progressed along the Needles Highway. A beautiful road the twists its way through a series of narrow one lane tunnels and canyons and an aptly named hole in the wall picnic area. Hairpin bends, great views, whispering pines and babbling brooks took the Rally to the Time control and Coffee halt at Legion Lake and over the Galena French Creek Divide.
Before long we hit Custer, a town with surely as many RV parks and multi coloured bulls on the sidewalks as any other in the USA. This was also the starting point for the route over a high plains plateau which took us into Wyoming. Proudly boasting that it is Forever West and that we've entered Beef Country. Which brings us neatly to lunch, taken in Remy's Diner in Upton, Wyoming - population 1100 and the self-proclaimed 'Best Town on Earth'. They were, to put it mildly, doing a roaring trade. Rallying is hungry work.
The afternoon run to Sheridan, our night halt, was broken up by two Regularities. The first at Echeta Road was a 20 km section and the second, at Buffalo Creek was a shade over 17 km. They were both wide open, roller coaster sorts of roads and, approaching Sheridan, we got our first glimpse of the snow-capped Rockies.
Martin and Olivia Hunt took the honours on the Echeta Road Regularity with Michael Eatough and Morgan Roberts a respectable second. The Buffalo Creek result was a seven way tie with the very same Eatough and Roberts figuring highly again.
The leaderboard hasn't changed, but Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown have lost three seconds to Peter and Zoe Lovett and Mark and Colin Winkleman.