Friday, July 22, 2011

Bike. / Dwell. featured in Bike Bits

Bike. / Dwell. was recently featured in the Bike Bits newsletter sent out by Adventure Cycling Assocation.  See here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The bicycling portion of Bike. / Dwell. is now concluded!!!

Dear Family, Friends, Supporters, and Those I've met along the way,

First and foremost I wish to thank you for all the support you've shown, in all respects from donations to emails, to phone calls, to you name it.  Although I rode most days alone, I sincerely could not have completed this trip without the support of all of you (this includes a loving push by my dad on more than one challenging mental day --> thank you, dad)...

Second, the posts for 7/5 and 7/6 are quick + temporary as my time is limited at the moment.  More photos and better stories of each day coming soon...

I have made it to Gillette, Wyoming and am now with family (so nice to be with them!) to enjoy a few weeks together.

As you may imagine, it is all but impossible to 'bottle it all up' in one quick post, or even a ten page written summary.  As I formulate how to continue packaging the experience to share, I hope you have enjoyed journeying with me through photos, and have learned about the diverse range of FLW's architectural abilities, as well as the incredible land we are so blessed to have in the United States of America.

I send a big hug / high-five / chest butt / or any other measure you wish to use to end one phase of a journey like this.  More than anything, I send my gratitude and enthusiasm about living each day to its fullest...

Love and peace (until soon),


7/6 - Day 33

Sunrise.  Sundance, WY.  Final day of riding.
Each day is a fresh start.  If there is one thing this trip has most reinforced for me, it is the value of each day, and the Fresh Start offered by a new sunrise.
This is it!  Final destination for meeting with family and continuing the westward journey in the car.  2141 total miles.  Countless wonderful and interesting people.  More summary results coming soon...

7/5 - Day 32

Last state!  Wyoming.  Just cities away now from final destination. 
Met Nick + Jessa, fellow bicycle tourists en route to California from Vermont.  It was truly a joy sharing with them and I wish them the best on their continued journey... 
Their loaded bikes.  This is what I spotted while rolling into Sundance to end my day's ride.  Needless to say, it was an exciting moment!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

7/4 - Day 31

Faith.  Great gift.  Small town.  Useful tool for crossing from Faith to Newell.
Morning survey of the 'lay of the land'.  Heading west out of Faith, SD, there are 75 miles before reaching another town with any type of service station (Newell, SD).  I was glad to have waited until the morning to begin this leg of the trip, as my morning mind tends to be most strong (and my legs appreciated the rest I allowed them the day before).  I don't pretend to be someone heroic for crossing this stretch, but I can say that it was a real mental challenge for me.  Perhaps I let all the remarks about how there is 'literally nothing' by many locals intimidate me a bit too much, but I was ready for it.  "Do one thing every day that scares you", so it is said...
Belle Fourche here I come!!!
A little gem along the way.  I suppose 'literally nothing' is all relative, right?  The ineffable landscape yet again blew my mind, especially the first sights of hill formations, as if I was really approaching the west for the first time (after the crossing of Mississippi and Missouri Rivers).
Thunder Butte (I believe), with black angus grazing on the foot'mounds'.
That's what I'm talking about!  Land carving away; strata revealing themselves; distant peaks jutting + to define the horizon.
Close-up of a typical butte.  A distension of earth swelling out of the confines of vegetation.  As if there was just too much earth for the grass to hold.
The long road.  This was an offshoot along SR212, which I believe to terminate at a household.  Many of these off-shoot roads have signs which list the various farms which they serve.  Some feed some 18 miles into the distant surrounding land.  Incredible.
Sheep enjoying the holiday on the hill.
The prairie grasses dispersed within this deep green field appeared to me a reflection of the sky, a verdant version of the water reflections I've shown in previous posts.
Approach into Newell.  I made it!  I was very fortunate to have a partial tailwind and fair amount of descent on the last 13 miles of the journey, as it helped me to arrive earlier than expected and escape some of the hot sun.  Yet these were not the only wings I was given.  Without a doubt the distant profiles of the Black Hills were an adrenaline boost that gave me a 'leg'wind.
75 miles covered, I took a break in the Newell City Park (much like the Faith City Park from day before), where I enjoyed shade, lunch, and 'air out' of the sweaty accouterments.
In fact I unraveled the sleeping bag on a picnic table to rest the body, with this gorgeous weathering wood as my 'ceiling' for a couple hours.  This was audio book time, and I began soaking up 'The Last Lecture' by Randy Pausch. 
Newell Public Library.  Love the baby blue building.
While I missed out on the fireworks (well, kind of, see last image below), today was a day of celebrations nonetheless.  These included overcoming 'the pass', hitting the 2000 mile marker, arriving at the Black Hills, and making it to the geographic center of the US!  I can't think of anything more exciting (okay, 4th fireworks over Mt. Rushmore would have been amazing too, but they were called off due to pine beetle) on the 4th than to, by surprise, arrive at the literal center of the country.  Sweet serendipity!
I can't think of a more appropriate way to hit 2000 miles.  I pulled off to the side of the road, heading due south, and with a distant view of the majestic Black Hills beyond (you can see faint profile breaking up horizon).  Beautiful...
The final leg into Belle Fourche consisted of the oneiric skies I remember while driving with family on summer vacations to/from our camping destinations.  These were the clouds I dreamed upon, and upon which those dreams continue...
This is a common gate at road entry to a family ranch.  This one happened to frame up the Black Hills rather nicely.
As I entered Belle Fourche, wouldn't you know it.  Coincidence?  The Last Lecture.  What a great piece...
Detail.  Roof line.  Wells Fargo Bank.  Belle Fourche, SD.
Detail.  Facade.  Fahrenheit Consignment Clothing Store.  Belle Fourche, SD.
Detail.  Old electric signs.  Fahrenheit Consignment Clothing Store.  Belle Fourche, SD.
Cowboy hats, anyone?  Across the street was a cowboy bar with live music.  It was great to be engulfed in the western culture for a night.
Standing on the monument to the geographic center of the US!  The actual marker lies 20 miles north of Belle Fourche, but this is used as a more accessible for visitors, like myself.  Pictured are Ohio + Wyoming, start + end!  Almost there...
Detail.  Wall mural on approach to Belle Fourche.  I am in lower right trying to race the cattle truck across town.
In spite of missing the fireworks (they had been on 3rd), another serendipitous experience was the journey back to the campsite, at which time I 'stumbled into' this fantastic sunset over the Belle Fourche River.  Quotidian fireworks.  I was also treated to just about the whole city blasting off small-scale pyrotechnics, so didn't miss the booms or bangs, either.  Ha ha.

7/3 - Day 30

Downtown Eagle Butte.  The night before I had met a 100% Sioux that sang a tribal song for me outside the grocery store (long story).
Many thanks to Larry and Kris for a fantastic breakfast!  Larry had spotted me outside the grocery store the night before and kindly invited me to his place in the morning after he had worked all night at the local hospital.  Kris made a spectacular meal, and I enjoyed it over photos of Yellowstone, where the two had just vacationed.  Thanks again you two!
These are very common signs strewn along SR212.  I believe them to be memorial markers for all those that have passed from roadside accidents.  Given the quantity I've taken in, that is an eerie thought.  My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families that have lost loved ones this way.
Detail.  Panels on strorage tower.  Dupree, SD.
Dry grasses and distant butte.  En route to Faith, SD.
Quite a dramatic difference from the flooding in parts of ND.  Not sure if this is mineral rebuild for the soil or what, but it was a sore thumb amongst all the other lush areas.
The road stretches ahead.  Gentle rolls provide for a sequential revelation of that which lies beyond.  Every once in a while one reaches a high point and catches a glimpse of the distant horizon.
Faith, SD.  My destination for the day.
Faith City Park.  The colors of the afternoon were so richly saturated under the intense sun. 
Colors under the sun.
I took the afternoon off to prepare for the next day's journey from Faith to Newell (see July 4 post), and rest a little in some afternoon shade.
A bit later in the day, while doing some writing, I was witness to a water balloon war.  It was great to hear the thrills and laughs.
I learned on arrival to Faith that this is where one of the most intact skeletons of the T-Rex was first discovered in 1990 by Sue Hendrickson.  More info here.  This was an beautiful sculpture celebrating that fact...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

7/2 - Day 29

Ahhh, the sun.  It is incredible how well this natural sphere, so many miles away, can dry out bags, clothes, etc. just about as good as any drying machine.  In short, I appreciated the morning rays.
Cycling conditions were spectacular, with low heat and almost no wind.
Wind conditions were so calm that indeed it was a day of doubles.  With so many ponds, lakes, and water features strewn along the road, this made for some brilliant views.
Pheasant country.  It is crazy how many pheasant I see as road kill.  Truly.  Though I can say they have a rather strange exit flight pattern, leaving at barely the last moment before flying with killer speed away.  The wing motion is rather unique as well, with spurts of intense flapping followed by a flat horizontal for control.  Beautiful to watch.
One such unlucky pheasant.
The lonely road (no I didn't ride this one).
Gene and Ginger (or as she pronounced it with thick east coast accent, 'Ginja'), out for a morning ride along SR212.  They had stopped to take a photo of me, so we exchanged 1 for 1. 
This is what I had stopped to photograph when they pulled over.  A barbed wire fence ascending and descending into still water.  It was gorgeous.
Detail.  Oxidation of sky-blue painted water tower sparkling in the sun.
Power along the plains.
Hay bales with tractor marks in field.
Reflection.  Fence post.
South Dakota, state of small towns.
Cheese!  If there is one thing I've noticed on the many miles through the country, it is that cows love to stare.  It is rather amusing, and GREAT for photos...
EKG of the day's ride (reflected reeds).  So many exciting things happening.
Including meeting this amazing man, Glenn, who is running 3100+ miles from coast to coast (averaging 50 miles per day) as a means to raise funds for an Alzheimer's cure.  More information here.  He is a tremendous inspiration and a truly kind man.  Good luck Glenn!!!
All colors were so vibrant for the day.
Detail.  Truck front.
Close-up of the common gray weathered wood peaking through layers of red paint.  This on the side of a Honda store.
Red, white and blue.
Detail.  Hay bale.
Old house along SR212.
Preparing to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe.
While passing through La Plant along SR212 en route to Eagle Butte, I had the fortune of listening to some tribal chanting, which extended a good mile or so down the road, echoing off the surrounding hills.  It was spectacular.
Buttes of South Dakota.  (See definition)
Detail.  Post Office.  Ridgeview, SD.
Final destination for the day.  Eagle Butte, SD.