Joseph ~ Expressions Along the Lewis and Clark Trail (#acaLewisClark) on The Tail End of the SnR Tour of Discovery
I’ll never forget the day we reached the west coast. We had only left Portland, OR a couple of days before
and we made it there cycling all the way. The closer we got to the beach the stronger the headwinds became. Once we reached the end of the roads and were cycling alongside the sands and the ocean I knew the ending of the Lewis and Clark journey was near. As usual, Mr. Brogden was in front and the rest of us followed. While maintaining my balance, I leaned my bike to the right to look ahead beyond the line of cyclists. There, in the near distance, I saw a large crowd of people gathered around the gigantic statue of Lewis and Clark. A big sign in front of the monument spelled out the words “End of Trail”. I think we all were relieved to finally reach the end of the trail. It was a personal goal of Itza, Mahlique and I to cycle the entire route and we had achieved that goal. I was proud of our accomplishment.
I thought about how hard it must have been for everyone on the expedition to walk the distance. With that thought came a greater respect for the men, woman and child who had the courage to help link the eastern United States to the west.
Today we reached the Rocky Mountains on our first trip to Yellowstone National Park. I was totally amazed at how much bigger the Rocky Mountains were than the mountains in North Carolina. The tips of the caps on the mountains had snow on them. At one of our stops we got to feel and touch it (on top of Bear Tooth Hwy). We acted as if we had never seen snow before. We also got to see many waterfalls surrounded by evergreen trees. The water was so cold because of the melting snow and ice into the newly created streams that turn into the rivers below. I have many great pictures of this phenomenal experience.
I was so excited when I heard we were having chili macaroni tonight. The last time we had this for dinner, I went back for thirds. But before we could eat this meal each of the campers went in a circle and said something nice about each other. After dinner, we had to set up our tents because we were afraid of the bears getting to us late at night.
In Yellowstone National Park you have to take extreme precaution when it comes to cleaning up after yourself because of the animals. One thing I noticed is that at night is it gets really cold and sometimes it’s hard to sleep. Good thing I was fully covered for bed.
Badlands Visit, a set on Flickr.
We packed the wet tents and headed toward our next stop of Medora, ND to camp and visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Paha Ska – White Hills (well known as the Badlands). We learned the Lakota word for it is Mako Ce Wankankil (Mahko Che Wha Khan Kil).
We stayed the night at Sully Creek State Park in ND. It was a nice campsite at the base of a cliff. We quickly setup tents so they would dry from last night’s rain. The ground was gray and muddy. Horses were nearby and our noses pleasantly reminded us of that fact.
When the tents were complete and lunch was had we visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park and learned of his early life. In the visiting center there was the cabin that he stayed in during his visits to the Badlands. The cabin was mostly the original beams with the exception of the header. Some of the furniture was original.
We visited the ND Badlands and had our first encounter with the prairie dog colonies. We hiked along a trail that went above a river which reminded me of a picture out of the Grand Canyon. We saw prairie dogs and bison by the roadside.
Jeimy was nicknamed AJ for Adventurous Jeimy as she loved to explore.
During one of the hikes through the Badlands we found a cute and small horned toad.
SnR Youth Cyclist visit to ND Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
We spent the day learning by seeing and doing. The visit was to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center where there was a walking tour of exhibits dedicated to North Dakota and the L&C Corps of Discovery tour. The YC’s were very interested in the history and enjoyed donning costumes to reenact scenes from the past. Fort Mandan was particularly interesting because it was completed during a time when the temperature was -44* F. Talk about motivating factors. The guard posts could only be manned in 5 minute intervals!
The tour was the bulk of the day. We camped at Lake Sakakawea State Park. By the time we arrived only the primitive sites were available. Which meant, to some degree, the YC’s had to do a little detox on the technology and talk and play with one another. This was a good thing. This morning, one electronic gadget was taken from each. What remained was the item that would take photos. But how primitive is running water less than 200 ft away and an outhouse less than 500 ft away? Oh, and by the way, America’s definition of camping is brining along your air-conditioned living room with the flat screen television, possibly satellite hookup, and all that can fit within. I guess you can say it’s a rolling beach house. But those of us with tents are definitely in the minority.
It began raining just after cooking was completed so dinner was had within the tents. A practice we don’t want to repeat when we get to the National Parks. It stopped soon after and the kitchen area was cleaned up. Just after 11pm CDT it began to rain again. It didn’t stop.
Meeting our French Canadian neighbor in Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan, ND July 4th, 2012.
Happy 4th from SnR on the #acaLewisClark Tour
Today is a rest day so I only awoke at 6:30 CDT. Nature has a way of creating its own alarm clock when you’re hydrating so vigorously. Some of the YC’s visited a Native American cave dwelling.
Today there is a forecast of thunderstorms so if they come we’ll weather them in the tents.
The storms didn’t come but the storm winds did and they came strong! So strong, in fact, that the boy’s tent blew over and both arching poles were severely bent. Serious Bummer! So, as I was speaking with the campground host, who strangely enough is African-American, I had to run off and begin tent repair. Because at the time it looked as if the thunderstorms were still on their way.
The Marmot tents that we have come with an emergency repair tube that helps you when you bend a support tube. The wind bent two so I had to use the repair tube from the girl’s tent. With the rubber mallot left at the other campsite I had to beat the bent poles into submission (and correct shape) with a vice-grip plyer that Mahlique had found two days ago. Repair tubes in place and a little duct tape and we’re back in business. What would have been an “haha” moment for the boys if it had happened to the girls became a valuable lesson for the boys. I like learning moments.
The YC’s spent the day blogging and journaling to catch up on days missed. They had to because we were not going to take them into town unless they completed at least two day’s worth of entries. We had shopping, laundry and lunch to get while in town and they got right to work at it.
During that time Frida, the wife of the campground host, came to see us. She was still moving around their camper when we stopped by earlier. The two of them give Suepinda and I hope that we can volunteer in the state and national parks as hosts. Up to this time we’d never seen an African-American couple performing this wonderful and needed service to the campgrounds. Harold and Frida have been volunteering in state parks for six years. They also do the National Parks. They take their grandchildren out to the parks and teach them all they know. They have a great time. They’ve been to all 50 states but claim to have volunteered in only 48.
My duty in town was laundry. What we learned last year is that people don’t respect the hard work that goes into doing laundry. They take it for granted that their dirty, balled up socks and underwear magically get freshly cleaned by the laundry fairy. You put it in the bag, your mom or someone carries it away and the bag comes back with your clothes nicely folded and smelling wonderfully sweet. Well, just like (hold your ears) Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny that myth was dispelled.
As it got toward evening (hard to tell here) we all ate as a group and also enjoyed the company of our French Canadian neighbor. His wife and he are from Quebec. Sammy and Khin engaged him in conversation speaking French.
We saw the Mandan dwellings which were a great and interesting site. They were replicas but the structures were extremely sturdy. Soon it was getting dark and time for the fireworks display so we heading down the hill and picked up Frida and headed back up the hill by van to take in the spectacular view. For at least 30 miles away you can see people partaking in a traditionally American experience. One half of the horizon was alight with explosions. This was a sight never before seen by anyone on the tour, specially us adults. A grand close to the evening, indeed. I hope your fourth was just as cool.
Today we rode 40 miles. The whole terrain was nothing but hill after hill. At this point, 40 miles felt kind of like 60 miles. Although there are many challenging days ahead, it is cool and exciting to see places I have never been to before. Most towns we have cycled through are cool and all have an interesting character to them.
The thing I like about this week is that we have 10 days off of biking in order to see the some of the most famous sites in North and South Dakota and to learn more detail about American history up close and personal that was not possible in classes. I am having so much fun with the friends a have made on this trip.
This was a great morning! Seriously! The weather was a grand 72* and there was a 5 mph breeze keeping everything just special. We climbed the 3 miles out of the campsite and turned left with the wind.
We were only going 40 miles today as we are finishing up in Pollock, SD and driving to Bismarck, ND. A new state, finally.
Itza and I rode with Kate who just wasn’t feeling the day, today. I don’t blame her. We’ve been cycling for 10 days now and it’s time for a break. That’s why we’re driving to Bismarck. That’s our destination of rest. Time to allow our minds and butts to heal. We cycled slowly for Kate and during that time Itza and I came up with a song. With Brentton’s help and his harmonica we could maybe do something with it. But for now, here are the lyrics as I currently remember them:
Andando en bicicletta is life
To take away, think twice
Between the land and the sea
There’s no better place to be
When there’s sunshine there’s rain
When there’s joy there’s pain
When you’re climbing the hill
You’ll find no Spanish word for hill
Sobre cuesta means up… the hill
bajando means down… but still
At the end of the day
There’s no Spanish word for hill
South Dakota is hot
Let’s find a shade tree, OR NOT
I guess we’ll suffer the heat
Until the wagon we meet.
Sobre questa means up… the hill
bajando means down… but still
At the end of the day
There’s no Spanish word for hill
El vientro is nice
when you’re by the campsite
But when it crosses your side
your in for a rollercoaster ride
Sobre questa means up… the hill
bajando means down… but still!
At the end of the day
There’s no Spanish word for hill
I’m no John Legend, I know, but this was fun and it did help us pass the time. When we reached the halfway point of 20miles I suggested to Kate that she get in the van. We had another 20 miles to go and it wouldn’t be good to to drag that out with the sun coming out. So, Kate agreed; knowing that today was not a day that she could double her speed.
As we continued on the grande vistas became more spectacular I went against my promise not to take another video or picture of them. I mean all of SD is beautiful rolling hills. So, I took another video.
When we reached Pollock, a town of 397 people, and lunched at their nice City Park. After lunch we repacked the truck and headed to Bismarck, ND then on to Mandan and Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park for the night. Mandan was having a festival in celebration of July 4. The whole town was out and coming to celebrate. It looked like a great deal of fun.
I have to say that climbing out of that valley this morning felt worse than it did going in when I was on my 80th mile! It must have been the anticipation. The hills just kept rolling and rolling and rolling. I think the count was 5 hills. I didn’t count. Didn’t want to. Didn’t want to think about it.
This will be a short entry. We had a great ride, no one was overheated and we had nice cloudcover for pretty much of the day. We clocked in about 75 miles today which includes the 9 miles it took to get out of West Whitlock Recreation Area. So, mapped, it was 66p
The nights are getting cooler now. As I type this at 11:45pm CDT the temperature seems to be around 73* with a slight breeze of about 5mph. Fireworks are going off in the distance.
There was a lovely sunset this evening and a beautiful moonrise. The wind was at our backs today and the DFL team was me, Itza, Jeimy, Maysa and Kate. No repairs has to be made today and all was good.
Everyone went to be in good spirits as I’m going to do now. Enjoy the slide show.
What I noticed last night was that not only are we on a schedule (although, not yet keeping to it as perfectly as we would like) so is the wind. We rise begin cycling and almost like clockwork the wind begins picking up during the 8am hour and continues on until somewhere in the 9pm hour (there roundabouts); seriously! It’s done it for the last 4 days that I’ve noticed. Hopefully, it won’t prove me wrong tomorrow.
So, after a beautiful sunset last night there was a storm coming thru the campsite at Northpointe Recreation Center but it wasn’t the type we normally experience out east. It was a dry lightning storm. We battened down the tents and listened as the wind rustled and whipped everything in its path. When asked what they thought about the storm the girls answered “what storm?” Seems they slept right thru it. It must be great to not have a care in the world.
The morning’s ride began with an uphill out of the park. It was a fitting warm up; just enough of an incline to wake you up and not have you mind it so much. Being DFL Leader (DF2L) I now have a DFLL in-training with Itza, my co-pilot. Suepinda was able to join us today and we all rode DFL with dragonflies buzzing about us like dolphins to a ship. We had a combine truck pass us and we did something different in moving onto the other side of the road since he was taking up much of the shoulder and road at the same time. I think he appreciated that, as did we.
With the wind in our faces the three of us caught up with Kate and rode beside her for a number of miles. Itza and I started a game to break up the monotony by racing downhill as fast as we can while I call out the current speed. We were impressed with our best time of the morning with 37 mph; an improvement from yesterday’s robbery of 24.9 mph. But eventually we found another hill where we were able to get up to 40 mph. Suepinda and Kate got up to 37 mph. Their best time to date! We didn’t tell them that 40 was faster than 37, but I think they knew.
Me being a lover of grande vistas I took lots of pictures but realized they meant nothing without the context of a cyclist in the picture. Oh well. But South Dakota, I would say, is home to the rolling hillsides. Miles and miles of rolling hills. What a site. I can’t wait until I see mountains in the background or grande vista. Working on my Spanish this summer: learned to say “Hola, vaca negra, hola, vaca kaffe”
To remind us that we are in the very deepest of the country we only witnessed a few oncoming vehicles and almost NONE coming up behind us for miles. Wow. That’s why I’m DF2L. Because in the country, to quoting one of my favorite movies, “no one can hear you scream”. As we rode on eventually more vehicles past us and two of them were trucks carrying hogs. Dripping, oozing, leaking a foul substance that clung to the road like a paint. And being up wind we began to travel what we now call the “Trail of Stench”! The wretchedness lasted consistently for almost two miles as we could not get away from the headwinds which faithfully brought to us every molecule of that strange substance.
At the campsite tonight the youth cyclists played “Ninja”. A game where they get two moves, defensive and offensive to either block or hit the other opponent’s hand. That’s all I can explain but it looks fun.
Tomorrow we plan to continue with the tailwinds and make good time to Fort Thompson.