So, we left all the guys at Pactola – very sad to say goodbye …it was so nice to meet them all. to roll up after a loooooong day of lots of climbing (beautiful, but exhausting), it was so nice to drink some beer and meet a load of great new people with all sorts of good stories. no women are allowed on this “fishing” tradition weekend thing, but they all seemed happy to have me around and occasionally even said things like – hey, not with the lady around.

after leaving the lake, we rode through rapid city, a hilly but really nice ride. had some good buffalo in rapid and ken finally finished typing the story. and then we headed out to the town of Quinn. This was the most grooooooling, painful, frustrating 60ish miles. holy crap. the wind was pushing us backwards and sideways the entire time and we were on some f**cking service road that had constant steep up and down hills. every time i’d look over at the highway, id see nice flat road or really gradual climbs. agh. finally, we found a way to get to the highway and had a slightly easier ride from there. but not much really, the wind was no help at all.

we saw countless signs for the wall drug store, but at the rate we were going – we werent going to make it there before it closed, so we just planned to go there the next day before heading to the badlands. quinn, 4 miles away. sweet! this was the first sign. there were signs for other towns miles ago, but quinn is basically a ghost town, with lots of empty houses and a few people in the town. and one great bar/restaurant (thank goodness) called the TWO BIT. i stopped and took photos at every single “quinn” sign that i could find.

the reason we went to the town of Quinn is obvious, but the reason i actually know that there IS a town of Quinn is through my former position as photo researcher at Discover Magazine. We did a story on a wonderful guy named Ron Dyvig. Ron is an astronomer, and a good, well recognized one too. He has a home in rapid city, but spends most of his time at his homemade observatory built in the old, abandoned Quinn Hospital. Aparently, the town of quinn used to be much larger than the town of Philip, but after they put the highway in, Quinn was much less accessable and thus much less popular. Lame. This story on Ron was one of the first that I produced at Discover, it was a bit of a challenge finding the best, cheapest way to get my photographer and his assistant out there (to the middle of nowhere in South Dakota). Well, Ron was nice enough to answer my emails and let us camp out in his backyard for the night. He gave us a tour and great lesson on his telescope and what exactly he does. you should check out his website here: and the story that discover did here: He has discovered several asteroids and when discovering an asteroid, we learned, the discoverer gets to suggest names (usually approved) and Ron named one after South Dakota. I would have too – love this state!

We woke up in the morning to a fresh pot of coffee and a giant screen showing the nasa station where some astronauts were fixing something in space. (this is a first for us.) then off to the badlands. Thanks again Ron!

this was the first sign we saw.  Quinn, 4 miles.  Phillip, more miles after that.

this was the first sign we saw. Quinn, 4 miles. Phillip, more miles after that.

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the observatory

the observatory

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with Ron and his TOP SECRET sign above our heads.  awesome.

with Ron and his TOP SECRET sign above our heads. awesome.

there were two of these signs.  wish i ahem took one, but noooo.  there was a quinn post office too!  but i didnt want to stop us for a 500th time to take a photo of it.

there were two of these signs. wish i ahem took one, but noooo, better not to i guess. there was a quinn post office too! but i didnt want to stop us for a 500th time to take a photo of it.

several people told me that there were maybe 5 people living in Quinn, and that we'd be lucky to find any kind of gas station or store, but there was a bar!  Doesn't get any better.

several people told me that there were maybe 5 people living in Quinn, and that we'd be lucky to find any kind of gas station or store, but there was a bar! Doesn't get any better.