Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

copyright janet m. webb

Having survived the downpours of Saturday and refreshed ourselves with an outstanding meal the night before, Bill’s ready to leave for the last half of the trail, from Custer to Deadwood.  Although there’s water sitting in the parking lot of the motel, the sky is mostly clear, the temperature lovely.  After he loads the bike and all his goodies, I drive him to the trail head where yesterday’s ride ended.  He’s off with the ease of just getting started.  I head back to town to look for sandwiches for lunch.

At the far end of the main street, I find the only large grocery store in town.  My meandering brings me to bulk dark chocolate-covered malt balls.  I quickly put some in a bag.  Most places only carry milk chocolate malt balls, so I’m filled with joy at the score. There are also (my initial objective) some rather nice pre-made sandwiches that look as though they’re homemade.  Even better, the price is excellent.

Next stop, a bakery spotted the night before.  Resisting apple fritters the size of the wheel of a tricycle, (why did I do that??), I buy a freshly-made glazed doughnut. (No picture, I ate it too fast and discover only after breakfast that I have glaze all over my chin!)   Have to have something to last until breakfast, which is at least 5 minutes away.  It turns out to be longer, as an older man sitting in front of his room, engages me in conversation.  I have to walk away but after breakfast, he and his half-brother are both out, so it takes a bit more time to get past.

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As soon as I get home from work on Thursday, we load the car and point it in the direction of Iowa. It’s time for a mini-adventure, mini to me being something that takes less than a week. My husband is an avid biker…as in bicycling, so this mini is going to be a two-day, 109-mile bike trip in SW South Dakota…for my husband. I’ll be driving the support vehicle, support in both the sense of emotional support but also for food, water, and so on.  It’s not the Tour de France, but it’s not a flat ride on the prairie, either. I plan on taking lots of photos and generally having fun and relaxing.

Relaxing will have to wait until after we get through Iowa! We lose between 1 ½ and 2 hours in two huge delays: the first caused by a detour for construction, the second for an accident that leaves the shell of a semi hauling fish shredded. When we choose a place along the highway to eat, the service is quite a lot below stellar, the food only average. Our motel is clean and adequate, but although I’m exhausted, I don’t sleep well.

Up until we’re almost at Council Bluffs, named for the Lewis and Clark confab with Indian chiefs, we are, outside of the huge delays, flying along on interstates, two lanes going each direction. But we elect this time to take the road less traveled by ditching the fast lanes for the two-lane, old-time road of Route 20 once we hit Sioux City, Iowa. Our GPS almost has a heart attack, continually trying to get us to turn around. “Recalculating” plays over and over as she strives to determine why we aren’t following her directions.  Bill finally shuts her off, leaving only the map.  I think that because most people travel on the interstates, there’s not much traffic on our chosen path.  When I was growing up, we went on vacation every year, driving all over the US on two-lane roads.  But at that time, that’s all what there was, so there were lots of vehicles and whoever was driving spent a lot of time trying to pass slower-moving vehicles.  I imagine it wasn’t nearly as much fun then as these mostly empty roads are today.

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Although I grew up in Nebraska, I’ve never been in this part of the state, a place that gives lie to the idea that Nebraska is flat and boring. Rollercoaster-like hills go on for green mile after green mile. We reach Plainview, Nebraska and are arrested by the sight of a gigantic clown outside the Klown Museum. Our younger daughter finds clowns creepy, so of course we have to stop for a photo. The owners are working outside and the museum isn’t open, but they insist that we come in, showing us the museum’s over 7,000 clowns, which vary from vintage Ronald McDonalds to porcelain clowns, a clown carved from Mt. St. Helen’s ash, and one made from coal. All the clowns were donated, with many of the owners coming personally prior to donation to see if the museum was suitable.

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No drought here. Everything is vivid green with water lying in many low spots. Then we see a sign for Ashfall Fossil Beds.  Bill becomes animated, insisting that we stop.  So, to the chagrin of our much-tried GPS (yes, she got turned off again), we turn north for the seven-mile drive to the fossil beds.

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To be continued…