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Kyvon

Kyvon ~ SnR Tour of Discovery Wrapup

It’s a bitter-sweet feeling to know that the trip is basically over. I’m happy that I can finally see my old friends and my family. But, I made new friends on this trip that are just like family. When we get back to Chapel Hill I will tell my friends all the stories but they won’t understand me fully because they weren’t actually there. If I want to talk to Mahlique or Jeimy about the things we did on the trip they will, of course, know exactly what I’m talking about. For example, the clothespin game! It was lots of fun while it lasted. This is where you secretly attach a clip-on clothespin somewhere on a person’s clothing. Very similar to a game of “Tag” but with a big surprise in the discovery that you’ve been TAGGED!

Also, Jo Jo would laugh hysterically when I reminded him of the time that he tossed a frog onto Maysa’s back but no one else outside of the tour really knows that story. It is one of the many things we share amongst the group. I am never going to forget this trip and the people who I journeyed with. The North and South Dakota Badlands, Yellowstone and the Grand Teton are only a few of the memories of the National Parks that we’ll share. Natural beauty, the friendships that were strengthened or the new friendships that were created made those locations some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments of my life.

There are a lot of people out there who can’t say that they’ve been to half of the places that I have this summer and I’m proud to not only say that I’ve seen the places in person but, most importantly, that I was able to enjoy those places with people close to my heart.

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Kyvon – Aug 3 Traveling Along the Pacific Coast Hwy on #acaPacCoast Route

KyvonWe are finally on the coast and it is gorgeous! I have never been out here and it is everything I dreamed it would be and more. After a long day of riding it feels nice to know that I can sit down, relax and watch the sun fall beneath that gigantic blue horizon. On days we would stop and just take a break on the beach most of the time we would find starfish or crabs. If we found them we would take the time to take photographs so our families could see what we did.

Once we made it to the campground we often had ocean lookouts and we would go as a group and search to water for signs of life. Almost every single day we would see whales resurfacing for air or see seals sunning themselves on large rock formations and often large colorfully billed birds. I have never seen anything like that before in my life.

Once we made it to California we decided to go to the Redwood forest, the tallest trees in the world that can only be found in this one specific spot in California (and as I just learned there are four here in Chapel Hill). When we actually got a chance to hike through the Redwood Forest we saw trees so tall that you would become dizzy in the effort. Banana Slugs, a sign of a healthy forest ecosystem, were found everywhere. We were able to walk through a hollowed out base of a tree and you could tell that the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees! Now I have bragging rights in saying that I have been to the Redwood National Forest.


Kyvon – July 15 First Day Back Cycling on the SnR #acaLewisClark Tour of Discovery

Kyvon

Today was the first day back on the bikes and like usual, I’m injured.  I rolled my ankle yesterday goofing around. Even thought I hurt my ankle I still kept riding.  For today to be our first day back we all rode pretty fast and we finished 21 miles in only an hour and 10 minutes.  After we finished that we took a break at a gas station.  Once we left the gas station we kept riding until my seat became loose on my bicycle. This happened while I was riding up a hill. So, I basically had to ride with no seat until I reached the top. I told Kevin that my seat fell so he gave me a tool to fix it. I tried to use the tool but it looked like it wasn’t working so I turned it harder until the piece that held it in place broke. Since we didn’t have any extra seat post clamps on the tour I couldn’t ride for the rest of the day.  It would be too painful on my ankle and knees if I rode with my seat broken.

After we put my bike in the trailer we drove to a state par to get water for the rest of the group and also to rest. Once we finished there we drove to a gas station wo wait for the rest of the group. We waited for a while and then we saw everyone pull in.  Some motorcyclist told us that we should wait out the approaching storm that was already in the next town called Whitehall because they had just gotten soaked. Soaked driving through there and that’s what we planned to do. Whitehall was our destination for the night.

Then a man came to Suepinda and basically told her that he had heard complaints about there being cyclists on the road and he didn’t want us on his land because he “didn’t like our kind”.  He also told us to not buy anything from his store and that we had to leave his property because he owned that gas station and half the county that we were in at the time.  Suepinda told him that we were just high school students just trying to stay out of the rain but he said he didn’t care and if we wanted to stay we had to pay for a campsite. I can’t believe something like this would happen in the west.  This is the only time someone has been anything but kind to us.


SnR Badlands Visit-off #acaLewisClark trail

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Badlands Visit, a set on Flickr.

Jul 6

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.

Via Flickr:
SnR Youth Cyclist visit to ND Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park


Kyvon’s Blog Post-Jul 7 1st Day in the #NatlParkService Badlands

So, today is the first day of the South Dakota Badlands. This National Park is something that I have never seen before.  I don’t think that you can find anything like this an any other place.  At first glance it looks colorless and dull, but when you actually take it in you can see animals all over the mountain like structures. We saw snakes and bison.  I’m so happy that i was given the opportunity to see all of these National Parks. The Badlands are something that not everyone in America gets to see.  We also learned that the Lakota people didn’t actually call it the “bad lands” but referred to it as sort of a “paradise”.  We got a fantastic lesson from a park ranger named Rick who actually ended up giving his beaded bracelet to Itza!
After the lesson we went to the campsite to eat. Following that we went to the amphitheater to learn about “light pollution” (street lights, homes, etc from cities) and the clear star lit skies that can be seen on beautiful nights like the one we had in the Badlands without the light pollution.  We also learned about the nocturnal animals such as certain birds and rare night feeding black footed ferrets.  The park ranger told us that research was done on that type of nocturnal bird and it was discovered that they use the constellations to navigate and fly through the night sky.

 

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July 5th~SnR #acaLewisClark Tour Day 12

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.

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Video

Meeting the neighbor

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

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.

19:22
Update:
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.

 

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First day of riding; and post blog~Kyvon Brown

Kyvon

So today we left from Council Bluffs Iowa. This ride, actually, was not that hard. I was extremely surprised that I didn’t cramp, since I had to completely stop riding on the first section of the ride during the UGRR tour. Personally, I’m proud of myself, because I did not think that I would make it through the whole entire ride. Once we started riding though, I realized that I could easily finish without having to stop and stretch.

After riding for a while we all took a break and met a man from the town that we stopped in. After having a short conversation with him, we invited him to ride with us. He rode with us for a couple of miles and told mr. Brogden about a huge cross-state ride that had about 30,000 riders, he told us that it was one of the largest cross-state rides in the U.S.


Ride Day #10~ Just a short 40mile ride to Pollock, SD on the #acaLewisClark Tour

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
(repeat)

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.

 

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