|Nothing quite like sharing a campfire.|
The first day would pretty much need to cover the 133 miles from the North Dakota border to Spearfish. There's just not much out there for camping between those spots, other than the ditch and an occasional tree. That's a long day on a loaded bike, especially with the stark exposure and remoteness. But the gravel is relatively fast and the rolling terrain is relatively mellow, so I think it sounds about right, as long as the weather doesn't get too crazy. If it turns out to be a bit too much, one could pull into the Belle Fouche Reservoir campground about 20 miles or so before Spearfish.
|All in at the geographic center of the United States.|
|Typical Black Hills gravel on the BackBone. Look for over 100 miles of riding like this.|
|Southern exposure to the Nebraska border.|
There are always other ways. With this daily plan, although the riding itself is remote, the overnights are at the good sized tourist towns of Spearfish and Custer. One could camp nearby to maintain the "out there" experience, maybe just topping off water. Alternatively, both towns have campgrounds right in town, for the option of more substantial resupply or meals or connecting with family or friends. One could even bypass the whole carry-it-all-on-the-bike thing and have the camping gear stashed or delivered by shuttle. A "credit card tour" is also possible, simply by staying in a motel, cabin or house of a friend. Many options, depending on the experience desired.
If I were riding this trip solo, I'd probably just bikepack it, while enjoying a substantial dinner meal, and maybe breakfast, in Spearfish and Custer. But I can see a great group ride, traveling light and meeting up with non-riding family or friends for dinner and campfire at night. May have to carve out a couple of long weekends next year.
|Nice way to end the day.|