Murdo to Wall (The Badlands!)

Yesterday morning, we all woke up an hour early in order to prepare for an extra-long day of riding through the Badlands. As we set out on a nearly 100 mile ride, the early morning sun quickly gave way to ominous, rain laden clouds on the horizon and over the hills to the west. Luckily, a strong wind pushed the storm aside before it hit any of the groups too hard.

A combination of cool weather, lightly rolling hills, and almost no traffic made the first 60 miles or so go by like a breeze. About three miles out from the entrance to the Badlands National Park, we met at a roadside gift shop / gas station where we finally acquired our new team mascot. Brad, a  hilariously happy prairie dog,  is the newest member of the Illini 4000! Welcome to the team Brad!

From there, we rode to the park entrance and took a team picture before paying $7 to enter. Within a half mile, the scenery was stunning. Land formations unlike most of us had ever seen before spanned the horizon just as the sun decided to emerge from behind the morning cloud cover. After riding only a few miles into the national park on freshly paved roads, the adventurous side of the team took over, and we ditched the bikes to climb on the dusty monoliths all around  us.

As the sun rose higher and the temperature climbed, we rode through the gorgeous park, stopping at various viewpoints as well as the visitor center in order to take pictures. None of us will ever forget the near-perfect ride through the Badlands.

About thirty miles later on the way out of the park, the skies once again darkened, as if on cue. As we neared 100 miles pushing ourselves into Wall, South Dakota, the winds picked up and really tested our strength at the end of the day.

Rolling into Wall felt fantastic. We unloaded the van, and many of us walked the few blocks over the (in)famous Wall Drug for coffee, FREE ICE WATER, donuts, and snacks. Lauren and the cooks for the night made a delicious pasta with cheese sauce, and much of the team watched a movie before satisfyingly slipping into a deep sleep for the night.

Comments (4)
  • Admeral T. Cornwall says:


  • Julia Biggins (Eamon's sister) says:

    What a great experience for you guys! We are so proud of all of you – keep pedaling!!
    ps – Eamon, can you upload a post soon? Your hermanas need to hear from you!!:)

  • Uncle K says:

    It’s in Wall, SD. It started out as a little drug store in 1931, and when I stopped there in 1981 it was gigantic, a place where you could buy just about anything.

  • Claire says:

    AHHH!! I was only 4 days behind you all! I’m so glad that you guys got to bike through the badlands because it was amazing scenery! Also, I believe Wall Drug is truly a unique experience. I hope everything continues to go well for you guys! Miss you all lots!!
    Love, your portraits director

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