Pork Belly Invitation, BLACK HILLS HUNDRED, June '22!



January 1, 2022




Dear Porkers,


We're delighted to announce a reprise of the Black Hills Hundred, a bicycle adventure on the gorgeous Mickelson Trail with the full support of PBV!


In addition to the campground amenities you've come to expect on our rides, we add afternoon excursions by train and by coach to see the Great Faces and Great Places of South Dakota.


The history of the Mickelson Trail makes a very touching story indeed, and we've summarized it for you at the end of this invitation! Please read on for a description of the ride, your day-to-day itinerary, and the inclusions and pricing of this tour. We would love to have you join us on the Black Hills Hundred!



The Black Hills Hundred

on the Mickelson Trail

Deadwood to Edgemont

Gather on Sunday, June 26 -- Ride June 27 to June 30





What Kind of Bike Tour Is This?



The trail is just over a hundred miles long. We're adding a little distance on the Whitewood Creek Trail on the north end in Deadwood proper (connecting to the Mickelson). Your tour is about 115 miles, spread over four days.



This is a southbound downhill-trending cruise, but there's some gradual climbing involved. Your first day is the toughest (20 miles up), and then it's quite doable. We welcome E-Bikes and we can charge your batteries at our refreshment stops on the trail and in camp overnight.



This is a well-cared-for limestone chip trail. The surface is quite smooth. Bring the bike you're most comfortable on, but we recommend something other than a skinny tire.


Refreshment Stops

On three longer days, we'll staff a refreshment stop with water, bananas, other snacks, e-bike charging, and a friendly Attaboy from our crew! On your short day, 15 miles, we will not provide a refreshment stop.


Camping Options

We'll offer our top accommodations, the PHAT Trailers, and our rental tent service. Or you may bring your own tent and pay only the entry fee for the ride. And also, you're welcome to call each of our hosts and reserve an RV spot in our privately-owned campgrounds--or a cottage on two of the nights. Don't delay reserving these limited opportunities. Keep reading!



You'll find the friendly PBV crew in lovely privately-owned campgrounds right on the trail, with the shower trailer flowing, the juice thingy juicing, the morning coffee brewing, and some excellent meals included. When we think you need it, we'll have food vendors in camp, but for much of the time, meal options are easily accessible on foot or by trolley from camp. At Carsten Cottages, all three of your meals are included. We'll offer you an in-camp breakfast option every morning.


Overnight Stops

Our overnight stops include...

·     PBV campground within 1.4 miles of the Deadwood historic downtown

·     a private campground out in the beautiful countryside of the Black Hills and right on the Mickelson Trail, and

·     two small and lovely tourist towns, Hill City and Custer, at which we'll stay in privately-owned campgrounds right on the Mickelson Trail



In Iowa, June is a hot-weather month. But in Custer, South Dakota, the average high/low in June is 74/48. Bring those pants and a sweatshirt. Our June riders of 2021, pictured below, will confirm this advice! Thank heavens for the bonfire!





Our Day-to-Day Itinerary


We begin in Deadwood on the north end of the Mickelson, breaking the approximately one-hundred mile journey into four days of variable mileage. In part, mileage is determined by the distances between towns, and so we've taken advantage of two shorter, less difficult days by tucking site-seeing excursions into your afternoons. While you're in the Black Hills, you can visit its iconic monuments (like Crazy Horse, pictured above) and travel through its gorgeous landscapes. By bike, by coach, and even by train, you'll get to know the Black Hills on this adventure!



Gathering Day, 6/26,

Arrive in Historic Deadwood!


Shuttle from Edgemont:


Many of you who are driving in may opt to park on the south end of the trail in Edgemont and shuttle north to the start in Deadwood on June 26th.


With coaches and a bike trailer, we'll operate our shuttle midday, getting you to Deadwood by early afternoon, where our first campsite will be set up and waiting for you.


Of course, we encourage those who use our shuttle to arrive in Edgemont plenty early and visit one of Edgemont's eating establishments for breakfast before parking your vehicle and catching our shuttle. Edgemont is accustomed to providing long-term parking for tours on the Mickelson, and there's no charge. Let's give their businesses some support!


By all means, if you would like to find your own way to Deadwood, or place a vehicle at both ends, or come up with some other creative travel plan, that's just fine. Our shuttle will operate from Edgemont to Deadwood only on June 26th.



Deadwood Campsite: We will overnight at the Day's of '76 Campground, behind the museum. The Deadwood Trolley, which runs until midnight, picks up every hour, running from our campsite just a mile and a half to the historic downtown ($1 per ride on the trolley.) You'll have this afternoon and evening to visit the museums, bars, restaurants, and casinos of Deadwood. Don't miss the unique museum that chronicles the long history of brothels in this wild-west town!



Long-term Parking in Deadwood: Our Deadwood campsite is only blocks from a free long-term parking option at the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce. But please remember that we don't have a shuttle returning to Deadwood at the end of the ride. You're welcome to leave a car in Deadwood if it makes sense for your travel plans.


RV Spots and Hotel Rooms

Available tonight, see below.



Day 1, 6/27

Deadwood to

Carsten Cottages and Campground:


A Night in the Country, All Meals Included!


Breakfast: Day 1 is challenging, but we'll start you off in Deadwood with an optional breakfast buffet in camp this morning.


Mileage: 20 miles, much of it on an uphill grade. You're getting the tough section of this tour out of the way on Day 1.


Refreshment Stop: PBV will be at a convenient place along your route with refreshment for our riders.


Campsite: Right on the trail, you will stop for the night at picturesque Carsten Cottages and Campground, overlooking a beautiful valley. The property is home to llamas, alpacas, many kinds of chickens, peacocks, one emu, and three mules named after Kardashians. Our hostess, Joyce Carsten, is a talented caterer, and on her lovely pavillion, she will provide us with lunch, dinner, and tomorrow morning's breakfast. This remote country campsite provides our opportunity to get to know each other and savor the natural beauty of the Black Hills.


RV Spots and Cottages Available Today, see below.




Day 2, 6/28, Carsten Cottages

to Hill City.

Then All Aboard

the Black Hills Railroad 1880 Train!


Breakfast: Expect a delicious breakfast from Mrs. Carsten before you hit the trail! You'll leave Carsten's Cottages with a full stomach and a morning snack in your pocket!


Mileage: 33 miles today, but not a difficult ride, leaving the afternoon free for your excursion.


Refreshment Stop: Yes--at the Mystic Trailhead.


Hill City Campsite: We're right on the trail, blocks from town. A babbling brook runs through our gorgeous privately-owned campsite today. After your shower, you can walk with our crew just a few blocks on the Mickelson Trail to the Black Hills Railroad Train Station for your afternoon excursion.


ABOVE RIGHT: The route of your afternoon train ride to Keystone and back,

including box lunch and history narration!



Excursion on the 1880 TRAIN Included: Your morning bike ride on the Mickelson Trail gives you plenty of time to shower and walk to the train station by 2:00 pm. Claim your box lunch before boarding the 2:30 train for a one-hour narrated tour on the history of the pioneers, gold-mining, and the mountains and forests you pass along the way to Keystone. The narration will be different on your return to Hill City. Today's PBV Map of Hill City will guide you a block from the train station to downtown dinner options.


Note: Several options are available for your pre-ordered lunch on the train, and PBV Crew Members will be along to make this excursion go smoothly!


RV Spots and Cabins Available, see below.




Day 3, 6/29, Hill City to Custer, plus Afternoon Excursion to Custer State Park, Rushmore, and Crazy Horse


Breakfast: In Hill City, we will work with a non-profit organization rather famous for its breakfast burritos!


Mileage: 15 miles, mostly downhill into Hill City.


Refreshment Stop: Not today.


Campsite: Nestled between the Mickelson Trail and the French Creek, and a block from the main-drag bars and restaurants, we'll camp on a shady privately-owned campground in Custer.


Crazy Horse/Custer State Park Excursion: Get your shower, grab some lunch, and board our coach to see the most important monuments and landmarks of the Black Hills. Our driver may adjust the order, but plan on a gorgeous drive through Custer State Park, scenic routes to and from Mt. Rushmore, plus the magnificent monument-in-progress, Crazy Horse. (You'll have time to explore at Rushmore and Crazy Horse.). Firm schedule to come, but we're thinking a 12:30 departure and a 5:00 arrival back in camp. Note: We'll have a food vendor in camp this morning. There are meal options at both Rushmore and Crazy Horse. PBV Crew Members will be along to make this excursion go smoothly!


Spend your evening enjoying Custer restaurants and bars--easy-peasy walking distance to/from camp.


RV Spots Available Today, see below.



Day 4, 6/30, Custer to Edgemont, Your Downhill Cruise to the Finish!


Breakfast: At our Custer campsite, we will offer you a great in-camp breakfast option before your longest day's ride.


Mileage: 44 miles, mostly downhill!


Refreshment Stop: We will be on the trail at the Pringle Trailhead with refreshment for you!


ABOVE: This lovely covered bridge is across the street from our Edgemont site. It's in the back yard of the Trails, Trains, and Pioneer Museum, right on the main drag.


Showers/Restaurants: On the south end of the tiny Edgemont downtown, we'll have everything we need: water for the shower trailer, space to unload baggage, and indoor restrooms. We are in close proximity to long-term parking AND close proximity to three or four bars and restaurants on Edgemont's main drag. Our new friends in this little town couldn't be more welcoming! We hope you'll visit these businesses before you leave town!


Our Showers will be available until mid-afternoon.


RV Spots Available, see below.




ABOVE: All Aboard! First stop, Rushmore!



About Inclusions and the

Cost of This Tour


Just a reminder that we rarely take so much of our equipment so far from home, mainly because of trucking expense. We have selected privately-owned campgrounds right on the Mickelson Trail. We think, and hope you agree, that despite these additional expenses, the tour is reasonably priced.



Inclusions: Trail user fees; reserved campsites right on the trail in lovely privately-owned campgrounds; daily baggage transport from campsite to campsite; refreshment stops on the trail on three cycling days; daily hot, private shower and towel; phone-charging and morning coffee in camp; catered lunch and dinner on June 27; catered breakfast on June 28; round-trip train fare and site-seeing tour with box lunch on June 28; half-day site-seeing with coach transport to Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse, with return coach transport to our Custer campsite (monument and park admissions included) on June 29; and the assistance of the able and cheerful Pork Belly Crew throughout the Black Hills Hundred.


We fully expect to have a bike mechanic and a massage therapist along with our crew.


Later, to those of you who sign up for the ride, we will publish details about food vendors in camp and arranged optional breakfasts in our campsites.



Fees & Options: You may bring your own tent. But if you want that extra level of comfort from the PBV Crew, see our accommodations below!


Entry Fee for Rider: $525.00


Entry Fee for Non-Rider: $515.00


6/27 Shuttle, Deadwood to Edgemont: $84.00


Rental Tent Service with Air-Mattress, including the tent with ground cloth and rain fly, one twin air mattress, all labor of set-up, take-down, and moving of baggage to and from the tent each day. Tents are roomy for one person, cozy for two. (A second air mattress is a separate option.) $245.00.


PHAT Rooms, our top accommodations, including your 80-square-foot air-conditioned guest room on board a semi-trailer with hotel-style amenities: three twin-sized bunk beds, a sofa, and an optional twin-trundle on the floor; mattresses, sheets, pillows, and blankets; air-conditioning and fans to circulate cool air; knotty pine interiors; laminate flooring; sound-muffling insulation between rooms; electrical outlets; switched lights at the ceiling and the head of each bed; shelving and wall hooks for convenient duffel and clothing storage; an outdoor deck with chairs; and locking storm doors and windows. Rooms can accommodate one to five sleepers in their own beds. PHAT Room occupants are the only riders on the Black Hills Hundred who unpack once. Trucking from Iowa is the main factor that affects the price of our PHAT Rooms on the Black Hills Hundred. $1750.00




Interested in RV Sites or Cabins?

Get 'Em Quick!


For those who wish to bring an RV, we do have a non-rider entry fee for your RV driver and limited opportunities in Deadwood, Carsten Cottages, Hill City, Custer. and in Edgemont for you to reserve your own RV spot, usually with hook-ups. (You may call the phone numbers below.)


For those who may wish for a night in a cabin right in camp, you could get one at Carsten Cottages on the 27th, and in Hill City on the 28th. Act fast!


Here is your contact information for each campground. Most places are closed now, but if you're patient, you'll be able to make a reservation. Leave a message. Try again. Don't wait until summer to stake your claim at these lovely campgrounds!


In Deadwood, 6/26: Call Shanna at Days of '76 Campground for an RV spot: 605-578-2872.


At Carsten Cottages, 6/27: Call Joyce Carsten at 605-584-3321 for an RV spot or a cottage.


In Hill City, 6/28: Call and leave a message for Glenda at Black Hills Trailside Park Resort (on the trail), at 605-574-9079.


In Custer, 6/29: Call Diane, French Creek RV Park and Campground at 605-673-3727 for an RV spot. This is a small park right on the trail.


In Edgemont, 6/26 and/or 6/30: Call Deanne at 605-891-9728 for an RV spot. She's a busy person, and you may need to leave a message.




Let's Head for

the Hills!

We had a blast on this tour--two of them--last summer, and we hope you'll consider joining us in June of 2022! Your questions are always welcome!


Sign Up for Black Hills Hundred!


Finally, please know that Pork Belly Ventures will bring the same level of care, the same attention to detail, and our usual love of a good laugh with us to South Dakota. We hope you'll come along!


Your friends,


Tammy and Pete



P.S. The Amazing Story

of the Mickelson Trail


Until 1983, the Burlington Northern operated what was called "the old high line" into the Black Hills. Like many railroads during that period, the Burlington Northern petitioned to abandon the line, opening up the possibility of recreational use along this gorgeous corridor of birch and ponderosa pine forests, wildlife, trestles, and tunnels.



The governor of South Dakota, however, who was quite famous for never changing his mind, opposed this controversial new rail-trail, largely due to the objections of adjacent land owners. The situation seemed hopeless, as a contractor hired by the railroad had already begun to tear down the bridges, and parts of the trail were only "a signature away" from being lost forever.


But--and this is one of the amazing parts of the story--a group of regular citizens put together $12.000 to buy out that contractor. They bought themselves time to petition for rail-trail conversion. Next, a new governor, George Mickelson, took office, and he made no secret of his belief that this future 109-mile recreational trail would become one of South Dakota's most important tourist attractions. Governor Mickelson set an aggressive ten-year timeline for completion.


This seems like the end of the story, doesn't it? But tragically, Governor Mickelson was killed in a plane crash in April of 1993. That same intractable former governor, Bill Janklow, who had initially opposed the project, became the governor of South Dakota again.


Contrary to his reputation for stubbornness, Janklow not only promised to carry out his late predecessor's vision, he championed it. Under his leadership, the timeline for development was reduced from ten years to only five. With the development of the George S. Mickelson Trail, South Dakota became a pioneer state in rail-to-trail conversion and the custodian of one of the most beautiful examples in the country.


There's more to this inspiring story, and it's worth watching the whole video right here:




Today, over 60,000 people use the trail annually. In 2021, Pork Belly Ventures was responsible for the care of about 170 of them. We hope you'll come along with us this year!




Pork Belly Ventures LLC 

Tammy: 808-375-8921 c, tammy@pkbelly.com

Pete: 402-681-2613 c, pete@pkbelly.com