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Saturday, July 14, 2007
Harry Potter, Junk Food, and the Missouri

After we posted at the library in Winner, SD yesterday afternoon we went to the park to take showers at the pool. We've done that twice on this trip, and both times they've let us use the showers without paying. Beautiful.

Then we went over by the baseball field to hang out and make dinner. While we were making dinner a little league practice got underway, and we had several foul balls pop over the fence in our direction. After the practice, several of the parents came over to talk to us, including Dawn, Karen, and Jim. They stood around talking to us for a good hour, probably. Chatted about our bike trip, the local fireworks, and just joked around a bit. Before heading off for the evening Dawn promised to return with some MREs (her husband is a retired Marine) and Jim invited us to a drive in movie with his family. Dawn and her son, Shayden, came back first, bearing an Old Navy bag packed with goodies (see the picture).

Jim's whole family came a little while later in the pickup truck. With some maneuvering we managed to fit all 3 bikes in the back and fit 7 in the cab (Jim, his sons Tyrell and Taylor, and his wife Tracy sat in the front and the 3 of us sat in the back). We drove a little ways to the drive-in movie place where we were treated to milkshakes, a banana split, a chili-cheese dog, and some popcorn while we watched Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. We watched it from the truck, where the sound was piped in from a radio station. Some of the darker scenes were a little hard to see, but overall it was a great experience.

After the movie we were allowed to camp on the drive-in grounds, so we pitched our tent near the children's playground. Even though we were up past midnight, a rare occurrence, Tracy and Jim wanted to take us out for breakfast in the morning so we had incentive to get up. Karen found a little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure on the ground, so Minwah has a Raphael on the front of her bike to pull her up hills, emulating Seager's Power Puff girl.

We managed to be all packed up by the time Tracy and Jim arrived and went to a little diner to eat breakfast. On the way in we met Tracy's parents riding bikes (well, Tracy's mom was riding her bike; her dad was riding a motorized scooter he made himself) and on the way out we ran into the two of them driving around in a beautiful old-style car Tracy's dad had fixed up. It was funny because the town wasn't all that small, and Tracy's parents lived a little while away.

Tracy and Jim are high school sweethearts who have 25 acres outside of town and lots of trees (over 100 of which they planted themselves). Their eldest daughter, Mackenzie, is a rodeo star and their second eldest, Mallory, is a singer in Nashville (we have a couple of her cds to listen to when we find a cd player). Anyway, we had a nice breakfast and Tracy and Jim left us at the movie place as they drove off to Sioux Falls. We managed to get on the road before 9.

The road was relatively flat and we saw more of the farmland and golden grain. Suddenly over an uphill the scenery changed to lush green hills and we had some steep downhills and long uphills, then...the Missouri! We were treated to a range of blues greens and proceeded to eat lunch on the wrong side of the river on a pile of hot rocks instead of the nice shaded grassy area on the other side of the river. Oh well.

The last 15 miles, after a climb out of the river valley, were very flat and also windy, as if a storm were blowing through though we saw none. We got into town early in the afternoon, did a grocery run, and hopefully find a nice shady spot to pitch tent for the night.

I (Karen) got ahold of my Uncle Bob last night and it sounds like the day we will be in Vermillion he and his whole family will be in the Black Hills for a family reunion (except Jennifer who is a counselor at girl scout camp). So I think we are not going to go through Vermillion (I need to call back to let him know that) since it's a little out of the way, and will just follow 44 across the state, then take 9 into Rock Rapids. We should be there two or three days early, then will just hang out until the start of RAGBRAI. Getting close! We're looking forward to seeing Seager and Kendra again and also hoping our friends Shawn and Cindy from Rapid City will show up!

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 01:45 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Seager update

Hey all. Here's what's going on with me. In Wood, SD I got word that our landlord in Eugene was evicting us and gave us 30 days to get out. We probably had about 45 more days of riding to go, so this doesn't work for me. I called Shawn for a ride to Rapid City and then flew back to Eugene arriving around 11 last night. I have a few days to pack and find a new place before heading back to Iowa to help run the RAGBRAI team. If I can talk my landlord into giving us an extension on the eviction I can finish the ride, if not I'll be heading back to Eugene after RAGBRAI.

Now, to clarify the eviction: It has nothing to do with us. He's going a little crazy. Our best guess is that his daughter wants him to raise the rent and that's why he's kicking us out. We pay our rent on time, keep the place in nice shape, and I've even done several improvements to it. He's made up several BS reasons that I have countered but he just changes the subject. He is lying to us. Unfortunately we are on a month to month lease and can't do anything about it. My only hope is to get him to give us a few more days so I can finish this ride since I don't know when I'll have the chance to do it again.

Posted by Seager {bio} @ 12:19 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Friday, July 13, 2007
Bear Butte, Grasshopper, and the Sweat Lodge

When we left Paul and Judy that morning in Nisland, SD, we headed for Bear Butte. Deacon Joe had recommended that we go to Bear Butte, as it is the Sacred Place of the Plains Indians. Whether or not we are Indian, it is a very spiritual and special place.

It was a mere 26 miles to Bear Butte. After we settled our belongings at the campground there, we hiked up to the summit. Beside the trail were numerous cloths of different colors, some with tobacco wrapped inside it; each cloth is an offering or prayer that some Indian made. As we got closer to the top, we could see miles and miles of the Great Plains stretched out before us. Even though the terrain was hilly on our bicycles, it looked completely flat at the top of Bear Butte. Truly, the Great Plains.

As we were going about our usual business back at the campsite, an Indian in a large pickup drove past us. He went by the lake for a smoke, then got back in his pickup. As he was driving out, he asked us about our trip. Then he told us he'd be back later to camp and then drove away. About an hour later, we came back and said: "You are a very special group. I feel a great energy in your group. I'm going to a Sweat Lodge tonight, would you be interested?" That's how we met Grasshopper, and got to attend a Sweat Lodge.

For those of you who don't know, a Sweat Lodge is the where Indians connect with the Creator. It is where they pray. The structure is a bunch of sticks positioned in a dome, and covered with several layers of blankets. Before the ceremony, they build a fire and heat rocks underneath it. The proper attire for a sweat is: only shorts, no shirt for a guy, and women must have a skirt or a dress. Karen and I borrowed skirts from Vernalee.

At the start of the ceremony, the Indians present their offerings: pipes, eagle feathers, and other things that I couldn't distinguish. Then it is time for people to enter. Before entering, we waft ourselves with cedar smoke using an eagle feather. Then as we enter the Lodge, we must say "Matakayasi" meaning "To all my relations". After everyone is inside, someone brings the hot rocks in, cedar leaves are put on it, and then the door is closed. It is completely dark inside, except for the dim red glow from the rocks. To make it hotter, they poor water on the rocks. The Elder beat on their drums, and sing some songs. Within minutes, we were all drenched in our own sweat. Afterwards, all my body fluids (sweat, snot, tears) made no difference...everything was soaked.

There are several rounds of sweating. I don't remember all of them, but some of them were: opening, prayer, healing, thanksgiving, pipes, and closing. Between each round, the door is opened. Someone must say "Matakayasi" before the door can be opened. Water is passed around in the ladle, where we can rinse ourselves a bit, and drink some water. More hot rocks are brought in before the next round starts.

The Sweat Lodge was a powerful, very personal experience for all of us. We are especially proud of Ariel. She doesn't deal with heat well, and she was in a lot of pain during the second round. We all prayed for her though. And she said during the third round, her headache went away. And that's never happened before! It had always been that if it came, it didn't go away. It was awesome.

After the sweat, we all enjoyed soup together. Vernalee had made 'puppy soup' and we had made the veggie soup from Ariel's mom. We all talked for awhile before Grasshopper drove us back to the campsite. We went to sleep to the sound of Grasshopper singing his Indian songs by the lake.

Posted by MinWah {bio} @ 03:10 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)

Badlands, Grasslands, and Spicy Food

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 to Friday, July 13, 2007

Scenic, SD to Wanblee, SD

We spent the night in Scenic without incident, and awoke early to ride through the Badlands. The day was supposed to be cool for the Badlands, in the eighties, but we still wanted to beat the heat. We got on the road early. Ariel had some mysterious problem related to a bouncing rack...don't know whether she ever solved it, but her rack seemed to stop bouncing.

We only biked through a small portion of the Badlands, a few miles, maybe. We were surrounded on both sides, and front and back by smooth spires, pale and shadowed from the low, early sun. The colors of the Badlands ran between ivory and red, layered sediments banding the spires. The terrain was pretty flat, and we saw few people going that way in the early morning.

We made quick time into Interior. We had some trouble all getting to the same spot...Ariel and Karen managed to find the only two convenient stores in a town of like 50 buildings and went to different ones, but we managed to all meet at this small Native American crafts store. I (Karen) saw a decorated hatchet that I think my brother Eric would like for his collection but it was over $100 so he'll have to wait on that one. We ate lunch early, at 10:30am, maybe, and while we were eating a stray dog wandered up, short tail, scruffy, sniffing the food. We shooed him away, and he wasn't listening, and then his owner came out of the store and we discovered he wasn't a stray after all...

We rode towards Wanblee, SD, which is on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The road past interior was hillier. We started having some real rollers in there, and a headwind picked up the last 10 miles or so, but not real strong. The road was mostly farmland and ranchland similar to what we'd seen between southeastern Montana and the Black Hills.

Minwah and Karen got into Wanblee first and looked around town. There was nothing on the main street through Wanblee, so they asked a local after a gas station, which apparently was just out of town. So the two headed over there, and waited for awhile. Meanwhile, Ariel and Seager got into town, and, not realizing there was anything beyond town, started looking around for Karen and Minwah. Fortunately, someone came to the gas station/grocery store who had passed Ariel and Seager, and when he left went to inform Seager and Ariel where they could find their friends.

So we all met up at the gas station/grocery store. We bought a case of ramen and polished off a bunch of them, and also splurged on some tasty cinnamon rolls and bagels with cream cheese and these disgusting white cookies with frosting that we all ate.

We camped behind the grocery store, just hanging out until after the store closed and were were ready to sleep.

Wanblee, SD to Wood, SD

The night at Wanblee passed without incident, except that Ariel's slow leak had matured to a full blown flat. She changed the tire. Seager realized that Ariel's tire was extremely sad-looking, and not only that, she was missing rim tape and her single layer of electrical tape was kind of sad looking. We got a good laugh over what Shawn would say if he had seen that situation, wouldn't have let her ride, and then Ariel put some duct tape over the electrical tape to make Seager feel better. Apparently she had ridden 500 miles without even electrical tape before she got a flat. Hopefully she didn't use up all our luck in avoiding blowouts with a bare rim.

There were 48 miles between Wanblee and the next town, White River, which was off the reservation. Those 48 miles contained lots of rollers, a headwind for the last 30 miles or so, a crossing into the Central Time Zone, and some barking dogs that chased us down the road. It was the closest Seager came to using his stake hammer on dogs, and Ariel did use her water bottle to squirt water at the dogs to keep them from chasing her. The four of us spread out on the hills, but arrived at White River within 40 minutes or so of each other, eating a slow lunch in front of a casino. We asked in a nearby restaurant whether there was anything in Wood, the next closest town (15 miles away) or Mosher, the town after that, and learned that there was a little something in Wood, but not very much, a.k.a. nothing in Mosher, so we aimed for Wood.

The last 15 miles a strong headwind was blowing, but we trucked along. The rolling hills were tough with the headwind, but the downhills provided us with sweeping views of the grassy plains and were very pretty.

We rode into Wood, and had three options for places to stay: 1) At the park, 2) in the backyard of some guy named Dave we met at the small grocery store/gas station in Wood, and 3) in the front yard of Jodie, a friend of some lady we met at the gas station. We opted for #2, since we weren't sure of water at the park and Jodie was planning on going off to work so we wouldn't have access until water until 8:30pm, and we were planning on eating before then.

So, we set up our tents by the grain bin. Dave was a funny guy, a self-proclaimed "professional visitor" with a gravelly voice. He sat around and told stories all afternoon, and was fond of the expression, "you betcha". He let us use his bathroom, and his phone (with a calling card), and he made us some tasty goulash with his special, homemade 7-chile spice blend that had Seager, Ariel, and Karen crying by the end of the meal. Minwah is the only tough one amongst us.

We also got an unexpected call from our friend Grasshopper from Bear Butte, just checking in. We used up one of Arie's phone cards chatting with him for awhile, each of us taking turns.

Unfortunately, later in the evening we learned that Seager had an emergency back in Oregon, thanks to his wacko landlord who wants to evict Kendra and him for bogus reasons. The rest of the night he was on the phone, trying to work out that situation. Ariel, Karen, and Minwah listened to Dave's political rant for awhile and then went to visit Jodie who had graciously offered her front yard, a cozy little garden area.

Eventually, Seager determined that he should probably return home, and he called our friend Shawn in Rapid City, who had graciously extended the offer that if we were in 3 hrs driving distance by car of Rapid City and needed something, we should call. Shawn said he'd be by in the morning, so we climbed into bed, Ariel crying her head off because it is sad that Seager has to leave us because of some -----.

Wood, SD to Winner, SD

We planned on a short day today, since Shawn was showing up here around 9-930 mountain time, or 10-1030am Central time. So we slept in a bit, although we didn't really since we woke up at 630 and we were still a bit on Mountain time. We packed up, ate breakfast, and went to the park, where we discovered a cool ancient toy that is a pole with chains hanging off a rotating disk at the top. You run and then liftoff, and the rotational inertia keeps you swinging and airborne.

We decided dangerous toys are more fun, got ourselves dizzy, and went to wait by the gas station for Shawn, who showed up when expected, bearing Ariel a new tire, some rim tape, and treats for everyone including pickles for Minwah, dark chocolate for Karen, and Dr. Bronners for Ariel. He also showed us a neat shirt-folding trick and we played in the park.

I'm going to wrap this up since the library is closing soon, the ride into Winner was mostly flat, pretty golden waves of grain, downhills, a tailwind. Made good time, found a park to sleep in. Back to normal for a little while...

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 03:04 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (2)

Bear Butte to Scenic via Rapid City

Hello everyone! We are back to finish our update which we started but didn't finish in Rapid City:

Bear Butte to Rapid City

We slept in the day after the sweat lodge (see Nisland to Bear Butte) since we had stayed up so late eating puppy soup. We had the usual peanut butter sandwich/cold oatmeal breakfast until Grasshopper broke out some Michigan cherries. They dissappeared in a flash. We then hopped on our bikes and rode Black Hills-ward through Sturgis. It amazes me that an entire town can be completely dependent on three weeks of the year for it's income. There was very little other than motorcycle-associated businesses to be found. The Black Hills welcomed us with a climb that rivaled many of the mountain passes we've ridden. It was beautiful, but very, very steep. At times it reached a 9% grade, but luckily our spokes remained intact and we made it to the top for a glorious ride downhill practically all the way out of the hills. It was very refreshing to be back in trees, even for a short period of time. Karen said that the little town where we stopped for lunch, Nemo, reminded her of Vermont. After a short day of good weather, steep hills, and new entertaining songs written by Seager, we rolled down into Rapid City. We had previously arranged to stay with Vernalee, a woman we had met the night before, but upon rolling into the city we met Shawn, who looked at our bikes and saw our deaths staring him in the face. He insisted that we come to his house so he could tune up our steeds, since riding any further would certainly result in our demise (except Seager, whose bike was perfectly fine). Shawn worked magic on our bicycles like I've never seen before. It was like he was convincing them to work nicely instead of actually using wrenches and grease. We dubbed him "The Bike Whisperer" for his amazing capabilities. We went back to Shawn's house and spent a wonderful evening cooking, eating, and being entertained by Shawn, his girlfriend Cindy, his mother Fern, and his neighbor/family/fambor Tony. We had a wonderful steak dinner and ice cream and fruit pizza for dessert, spent lots of time playing with the polydactile kitten, Ferrous Mewler, and did not finish our picture or journal update because there was too much other stuff to do. We slept soundly and happily in both Tony and Shawn's houses.

Rapid City to Scenic

In the morning, Shawn pointed out to me that he had fixed my shifting and eliminated the squeak in the night. He is like a bike elf. He and Tony took us all out for breakfast, where Shawn offered to take us on a short hike in the Black Hills before we started biking. The weather was good, and we were planning a short day to Scenic anyway, so we agreed. He took us to Silver Mountain/Boulder Point, which we enjoyed climbing up. From the top we could see everything for miles around, and we took lots of great pictures (coming soon). We stopped at a bike shop on the way back to Shawns house, then returned to our bikes and rode to the edge of town with Shawn. Upon departing, our gracious host told us that we should call him if we needed anything at all until we reached the middle of the state. We all smiled and thanked him, and never expected that we would have to take him up on the offer. Hoping we would see Shawn and Cindy again soon in Iowa, we pushed on towards Scenic.
Scenic, South Dakota is a small, historic town. Our Broadus host, John, told us that several people had been killed at the Scenic bar (possibly during the violence on the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation), and that the old sign on the front said "Indians Welcome" in English and "Indian Dogs Keep Out" in Lakota. It gave me a creepy feeling to know that. We met Wayne at his rock and fossil shop/museum, and he said that we could camp behind his building...but we should go talk to Twila about it, because she owned the building along with the rest of the town. He had some very interesting rocks in his little place, but it didn't look like many people came through to look at them. The entire town shut down by 7:30, which made very little difference because it seemed that the only thing you could buy there was alcohol and Native American Souveniers. We ate dinner next to the gas station in order to avoid the wind, and enjoyed our mashed potatoes and ramen along with a very entertaining narration of an ant vs. fly battle going on on one of our pot lids. For the first time in quite a while, we were able to get to bed early, which was good since we wanted to get out early in the morning to skip the heat in the Badlands.

That's my part of the story. Read on for more interesting and exciting adventures!

Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 03:03 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!

Monday, July 9, 2007
Alzada, MT to Nisland, SD

Karen, MinWah and I woke up in the beer garden at 4:30 to beat some heat, while Seager stayed in his tent, still sickish and pathetic. Riding early in the morning was lovely, mostly cool, and the sun wasn't in our eyes for two hours. We were out of Montana within 2 miles. As we rode into Wyoming, all of about 100 cows in a roadside pasture started running alongside Karen in front of me, then with me. When Karen stopped to readjust her panniers for shimmy, every single cow that had been in that field crowded up to the fence next across the road and mooed. At first, Karen wanted to go visit them, then she realized that the fence was awefully low and there were 100 curious cows on the other she decided to keep riding instead. Other highlights of the early morning ride included riding alongside running groups of antelope and passing the "Bentonite Capital of the World." It seemed like the 20 mile section of Wyoming we rode in had more stuff in it than the last four days of Montana put together. We soon arrived in South Dakota, stocked up on post cards and groceries and had only 10 miles to our destination town by 9 AM. MinWah and I decided to make a 2 mile detour to the resevoir for a swim, and we met Seager and Karen at the "Nisland Mall and Cafe," which was really just a cafe, around 11:00. Seager had hitched another ride to protect his health, and in the time he and Karen were waiting for us, he had struck up a conversation with a nice woman who decided to donate $20 to our trip. We spent it on wonderful pie, ice cream, frenc fries, and other good breakfast items. As we ate, some local ranchers came in for lunch and sat at the table next to us. They were talking about haying, and I got interested and started asking them about the details. Later, they overheard us asking some other patrons about camping in the fairgrounds and pitched in, "You can stay at our place, it's air conditioned and there are no mosquitos!" Air conditioning sounded nice, as it was about 115 degrees in the sun. Paul and Judy told us that they lived 10 miles away down a gravel road, but would be happy to drive us in their pickup to and from the paved road and their Ranch. We gratefully accepted the offer, and as we waited for them to go get their pickup, we were treated to watermelon by the owners of the cafe. They also gave us a ziplock of cookies as we left to load our bikes into the truck.
Judy and Paul made us feel extremely at home in their home on the range. We hauled our stuff into the two guest bedrooms and then piled into their Tahoe for a tour of the ranch. I now know why Tahoes exist. Air conditioning was necessary in the blazing heat, and we certainly used four wheel drive to traverse the pasture. They showed us the "dead hole" where they throw any dead cattle and bury them when the hole is full, the mommies and babies that where in the nearest pasture, and the flume where the water used for irrigation poured into the lower canal. During our tour, we passed a neighbor who said he needed a hay bail (the big round ones) moved, so we went back and waited as Paul hitched the bail-mover-attachment to his tractor, then followed him to the neighbor's house. This particular neighbor was a dog breeder, and shared most of the space in her tiny home with about 40 border collies. We got to see the tiny little puppies, but all of the dogs there were definitely very subdued due to the heat, which a small air conditioner was doing nothing to subdue. Then we went by another neighbor's house to see his horses...enormous horses. I'm not sure what breed they were, but their hooves were as big as dinner plates, and they were 18 hands high. Wow. Then we went to check on the irrigation dams that Paul had set earlier that morning. A few of us with him on his four wheeler, and the others in the Tahoe, we learned about how ditch irrigation works, and concluded that the dams would have to be switched around 9 that evening. Then we all got to try driving the ATV, which Paul claims is not for fun, but for work. It was definitely fun. We spent some time lazing around the air conditioned house, writing and chatting with our gracious, hilarious hosts. Karen and I went swimming in the irrigation canal, and then we had a good old fashioned dinner of beef roast (their cows), potatoes, peas and bread. I've never enjoyed beef so much. After dinner we watched videos of branding and castrating calves, and another of the old house on Paul and Judy's new land being burned down. Paul said out there they didn't even need a permit, they just called the sheriff in advance and told them that if someone called about a house fire, it was nothing to worry about. We learned all about branding, and got a detailed description of how to castrate calves, and how ranchers set their cattle out to pasture for the summer, and how to tell if a cow is pregnant...and many other wonderful tidbits of rancher knowledge. Around 9 we went out and helped change the irrigation dams, and Seager and I got lost on the fourwheeler in the middle of a flooded alfalfa field trying to find our way back home. It was one of those moments where you step back and look at the situation, and wonder how the heck you ever ended up where you are, and doing what you are doing. It made us laugh uncontrollably, and then fall asleep with permanent grins on our faces. Paul and Judy opened up their home to us, taught us about their work and their lives and their family, told us wonderful stories, fed us well, and helped us realize again that we are very, very lucky people to be able to travel like this. Our good bikema came through once again.

All for now. I hope you all are very well.


Posted by Ariel {bio} @ 09:01 PM CST Link | Leave us a note! (1)

Broadus to Alzada

We slept well in our beds (!) in John & Amy's house, two fans blowing a cool breeze over us. We woke up in the morning to little John Gregory shouting, "Mom!" He was the last one to sleep, I think, and the first to wake up. Wandered downstairs to a breakfast of hardboiled eggs, french toast, oatmeal, fruit salad, and cherries. Delicious!

Seager was feeling under the weather and thought it was due to the dehydration from the ride into Broadus the day before. John and Amy offered to drive him to Alzada later in the day, so he slept in a nice cozy bed in Alzada, out of the sun, the whole day.

We got out around 8:30am, and rode for awhile. It was very flat and very grassy. We started off with a headwind, but that disappeared as the day wore on and the sun became stronger. There was really only one big hill to mention. Minwah was riding ahead of me on the hill, both of us keeping a steady pace up it. She was riding in a straight line, then all of a sudden swerved and toppled over! She was not badly injured but added another mark on her fall tally.

There were more pretty prairie flowers by the side of the road, but aside from that, in Ariel's words, there was a lot of the "mind-numbing landscape of southeastern Montana". It WAS boring. AND hot. So we pushed on through the mind-numbing landscape of southeastern Montana.

Eventually we made it to Alzada. I pulled into a biker bar and had several bikers look on with amusement as I attempted to stand up my bike and finally succeeded. They wanted to know about my trip, so I chatted with them a bunch and asked them about their tour. They said the were headed to spear fish for the night, so, having lived in Hawai'i for a year, I thought this was an unusual place for the activity but a perfectly reasonable thing for people to do, so I asked, "Oh, do you carry your spears on your bikes?" Well, this got a lot of laughs because they were going to Spearfish, SD, and now Seager, Minwah, and Ariel all secretly think that I'm a natural blonde.

Alzada consisted of the biker bar (the Stoneville Saloon), a gas station (the one with the dinosaur on the sign), and another cafe/bar. The biker bar was the main thing, with a sign outside that said "Cheap beer--lousy food" which we later found to be false advertising since the food was quite tasty.

Minwah and Ariel rode in a little while after I did, and we sat around for awhile and recovered from the heat. We later learned that the temperature was 105F, which I am glad I didn't know while I was biking. We were so beat by the heat that we decided to order dinner at the bar, so we went inside.

The bar was dimly lit, with an air-conditioner or giant fan thing blowing...I don't know whether it was really an air-conditioner because it was still quite warm in there and the doors were wide open. The floor was covered in sawdust and the walls were covered in romance novel cover-type art done by the owner and also lots of insulting/ironic slogans of the type found on t-shirts.

The only person in the bar was the waitress/owner Diane Turko, a biker to the core. She was thin and wiry, with a deep tan, leopard print tattoos on her right shoulder, and a variety of other tattoos on her neck, other arm, etc. Her hair was bleach blonde, braided into cornrows. Quiet, when we first met her the only conversation we had was from her terse responses to our questions.

The bathrooms were also amazing. The girls' bathroom was wallpapered with cutouts from Playgirl and the like, with a sign, "please do not take the posters...they are for all to enjoy". Seager said that the boys' bathroom was decorated in a similar vein.

In the background, behind the bar, was playing Judge Judy and then some home decorating show. Diane watched it most of the afternoon when she wasn't serving people.

For dinner, we feasted on chili and grilled cheese and Rocky Mountain Oysters, i.e. sliced bull testicles battered, fried, and served with ranch dressing. They were kind of tasty, especially since fried, a little rubbery, but Ariel and I couldn't work up an appetite for them since we couldn't forget where they had come from.

As the evening wore on it didn't get much cooler, so we hung out inside, writing in our journals and writing postcards. Eventually we got a few more customers, a foursome from Iowa on motorcycles and various other characters, and finally a cowgirl named MaryJo and a truck driver with an African Grey parrot with a 2,000 word vocabulary. The parrot gave us three girls a kiss goodnight and sat on our shoulder.

Seager showed up with John around 8pm as the sun was setting. John hung out with us for awhile before leaving.

We set up tents since the mosquitoes were so bad, and planned to get out early in the morning.

Posted by Karen {bio} @ 05:16 PM CST Link | Leave us a note!




July 2007


07/08 - 07/14
07/01 - 07/07
06/24 - 06/30
06/17 - 06/23
06/10 - 06/16
06/03 - 06/09
04/22 - 04/28
07/23 - 07/29
07/16 - 07/22
07/24 - 07/30
07/17 - 07/23
08/08 - 08/14
07/25 - 07/31
07/18 - 07/24
06/13 - 06/19