Rapid City SD to Wanblee SD
Travel Time 9 hrs
Saddle Time 7:10 hrs
People had warned me that the badlands would be scorching hot, with nothing to see and no stops. So I loaded up with my two extra camblebacks of water and got on the road at 5am. It turned out to be a cool morning, so I needed to wear my long sleeve shirt. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get out of the metropolis of Rapid City, so I miscalculated where I thought I would end up for the night.
I had projected I would make it to Scenic SD which is right on the outskirts of the Badlands. But I had a little wind at my back, it was relatively flat, and the shoulder was smoother than the main road, so I made great time. I got to the ghost town of Scenic at 8am. There were the boarded up stores you see in the pictures and then there was a gas station with a store that was possibly open. There was also a sign for a media company sitting there, which looked out of place 40 miles from Rapid City. I walked into the “convenience” store and this is where it got weird.
The place was bright, new, clean, and the shelves were hardly stocked. Behind the register was a 40ish yr old man that looked more like he was from one of the coasts than the Midwest, working on a laptop. In the back of the store was a 6ft folding table with two Philippine families. There was no trailer outside, so they weren’t here for gas, and a matter of fact they looked like they were working. So I asked the man behind the counter for the scoop. It turns out that he and these two families (one from Brooklyn and one San Fran) are part of a church called Iglesia in Cristo (Church of Christ). It is a huge mega Church all over the world, started 100 years ago this year and is headquartered in the Philippines. They do a lot of disaster recovery work and their website is incmedia.org The Church bought this town and the surrounding 45 acres 3 years ago. What I learned from talking with the two families is that they are here this week to plan how to rebuild this town. When I asked why they choose this location, all they would say is that they wanted to bring this town back to life!
I biked on thru the Badlands, which were beautiful! Had lunch at the next town, and then headed to the next possible location, Wanblee. My friend Goose, who helped me install spotwalla on my blog says that Wanblee is close to the Continental Pole of inaccessibility? That means I am in the middle of nowhere!
I found the one gas station/ convenience store in this small town on an Indian Reservation. I saw someone watering a garden in a house behind the store. They have given me permission to camp in their back yard. It came with a dog, and everyone knows how much I love dogs. Next town is 50 miles east!