Another wonderful day

I woke up this morning to the sounds of a large family already awake and cooking breakfast. It was just past 7am.

I was happy to get up and moving because it had been a little cold over night. As I began packing up, I heard a voice ask if I’d like some coffee. I realized she was talking to me and so I consented. Happily. I even tried to show it on my face. After I was presented the cup she asked if I’d also like to join them for breakfast. Rather than making an excuse as to why I couldn’t, I smiled and said yes, of course. I had an amazing, camp stove prepared breakfast of blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and banana bread. It was so good and the perfect way to start the day. I was also able to chat with about ten new friends as we ate. I am so grateful for their generosity. Thank you!

I rolled out close to 9am. For the first time in days, I saw blue skies in the morning. It was about 64 degrees and would stay that temperature for the whole time I was along the coast.

I will say this, the coast of Oregon is infinitely more amazing and stunningly beautiful than the coast of Washington. Hands down.

I made it to the town of Tillamook and stopped in for a self guided tour of the cheese factory. It was fascinating and I’m glad I took the time to do it. The only negative was that I couldn’t buy any cheese because I had no way to keep it.

I did get two pepperoni sticks and a bag of raspberry licorice. Yeah. It’s interesting at best.

After the creamery I went across town to the air museum. It was kind of a let down. Oh well. They can’t all be winners. Hope they enjoy my $7.75

The next few hours were spent winding along the coast enjoying the views and the traffic. It wasn’t so bad in between the cities but once I was in a city, stop and go traffic would materialize. Just my luck to be here on a weekend.

I left the coast in Florence and took a left heading towards Eugene. The traffic wouldn’t have been so bad except for the inevitable driver who just refuses to go the speed limit and gets everyone backed up behind them. When I could finally get around, the roads were great.

I grabbed a poker chip in Eugene and then took back highway 126 towards the mountains. Traffic had really thinned out and it was fun cruising along this road. I was having a great time.

Just after the town of McKenzie River, I left 126 and got onto 242, otherwise known as the McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway.

This road is now the best road I’ve ridden this entire trip. And I pretty much had it all to myself. I made my Harley pretend to be a sport bike. There were curves, tight and open. Banked and flat. Winding hills. Beautiful tall trees. Rock formations. Mountains. Volcanoes. Basalt formations. Views for days.

The pictures were taken after most of the winding road was over with, at least on the way up. I just hadn’t wanted to stop riding in order to take pictures. Don’t worry, I did stop to take these, and yes, right in the middle of the road. Like I said, all to myself.

The best part about today is that the whole reason I was going to Bend is that a good friend lives there who I haven’t seen in forever. Yep, me dropping the ball again. I’m trying to make up for that.

He looks exactly the same, hasn’t aged a bit. His wife and kids were great to meet as well. He is very happy and that makes me happy. He has a good life here. We sat out on his porch until 11pm chatting about everything. I get to stay here tonight and maybe even tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to catching as much as possible. Plus, I really want to check out Bend. It was on our list of possible places to live a couple of years ago and I want to see what I’m missing out on.

Another good day and I’m happy.

Is this really working?

Giving myself some credit

I’ve often said that I have a hard time initiating conversations, or even continuing a conversation with a stranger once they’ve started it.

Here I am at the end of the day and it dawned on me that not only today, but many days recently, I’ve been ok with talking to strangers. Maybe even friendly. I’m sure I still have my bitchy resting face (search YouTube for reference) and that doesn’t help.

Today I chatted with people on the ferry. I talked with different people at gas stations. I talked with someone over lunch, and once again over dinner. And now, when I pulled up to my campsite, the people next door were friendly and I didn’t shut that down like I usually do.

I’m not saying I’m over it and that part of me is fixed. I am saying that I feel more relaxed and not on edge. That maybe, people can be nice and worth talking to.

Maybe.

I’ve had a very picturesque day. Here’s leaving Seattle on the ferry:

Here’s a neat spot, for me anyway. It’s as far west as I can go before I was forced to turn south. That’s a good feeling.

The ocean and beaches have been beautiful. Once I passed Port Angeles Washington, the traffic cleared out and I began riding highway 101 in ernest. This part of my trip always seemed like it was so far off, almost abstract, so that I never really paid much thought to it. Now I’m here and it’s a surreal feeling. The road winds in and around the coast, sometimes close enough you can see the ocean and other times there is no sign of it. I have once again crossed paths with the Lewis and Clark expedition. They camped for a long while near present day Astoria on the Columbia river.

Speaking of camping. I stopped at the first State park in Oregon that advertised camping available but they were full. It is a Friday. Yes, but it’s not a holiday right? What gives? It seems everyone in the Pacific Northwest went camping this weekend. My neighbors are from Seattle. Across the way is a camper from Vancouver BC. So I couldn’t camp there and I presently refuse to patronize any KOA. I don’t know why. I just do. The next state park was an hour south. It was already just past 7pm. Oh well. I need to go south anyway. It ended up not being an hour but the sign at the entrance said the campground was full. Feeling defeated I sat there and pulled out my phone to do a search. Right then the Ranger leaned out of the booth and said that one spot had just opened up. Wow. Also $31 wow. When are these campsites going to get cheap again? I still remember when I was baffled at $20.

Regardless, I’m happy to have a campsite. It’s been chilly all day along the coast, about 64 degrees mostly. Now it is a bit breezy as well. I just need some sleep tonight. I’m tired. Apparently, according to my nephew, I snore. Only on my back. But I don’t sleep well when I do. One of these days I’ll be back in my own bed.

In the meantime, I am enjoying the journey.

Humbled

Let me get the easy stuff out of the way.

I’m still staying at my brothers in-laws. I am baffled by the kindness these folks have shown to me, essentially a stranger. I am trying to stay out from under foot as much as possible and so I leave early and get back late. Sitting here in their living room right now is the most time I’ve spent with all of them.

When I left this morning I went down to Issaquah and had breakfast at the 12th Avenue Cafe. 20 years ago I worked right around the corner from this restaurant and it was brand new. I’m glad to see it has hung on for so long.

Once I ate, I plugged Mt. Rainier National Park into my GPS and took off to follow back roads.

It was an overcast and chilly day (go figure…Seattle) but I was hoping it would clear up by the time I got there. Nope. I never once saw the mountain while I was there. It was also in the 40’s and got a bit chilly. Oh well. I’ve seen it a thousand times before. I rode awhile and then finally decided I wasn’t going to see anything and so I turned around.

I meandered my way back to a Harley dealer near Seattle to pick up a chip. On the way, the pain I’ve been having in my back became excruciating and I figured screw it. So I stopped and got a massage. It helped. But now I’m sore. I can’t win.

Now for the best part.

One of my good friends, who is absolutely about to pop (she’s due with twins next Friday) set up a dinner for old friends and new friends to come say hi.

Right as I arrived, Dan came over to introduce himself. He’s been following this blog from the beginning and has been kind enough to offer some thoughts when they are needed.

Soon after, my friend arrived and my heart missed a beat. We were such good friends for so long and she was such an important person in my life. I didn’t realize how much I missed her until this moment.

We all grabbed a table and had just sat down when Marcia arrived. She had driven for more than two hours just to meet me on behalf of her CVMA club. So big shout out to the 11-5.

We had a good long conversation over drinks and appetizers. Well, my appetizer was nachos and that’s always enough to feed 5 people.

I opened up a bit more to them than I have here on my blog but I felt comfortable with them.

Some big questions were asked that really made me think and I appreciated the candor.

I’m sorry I don’t write some of those things here but they are still immensely personal. They still hurt.

It was a wonderful evening spent with really good people. As always, the anxiety I feel leading up to any social gathering was unwarranted. I had a great time and wish the evening could have lasted forever. Regardless I met two wonderful people and rekindled a friendship that means the world to me.

No, she did not drink that beer. She’s just holding it to give all of you a heart attack. Relax.

I’m glad my story is resonating with so many people. Enough so that they drive hours just to say hi and to shake my hand. There are good people all over. I need to be more open and willing to meet them. And to listen to their story.

Tonight I feel loved.

Reunions

Today and tomorrow are all about reunions for me.

I got up, hit a cafe and then went straight over to an old youth leaders office where he is a dentist.

He recognized me right away which is impressive after 20 years and a beard. He made me feel like I’d never left and I wished I could just sit there and talk for hours. Unfortunately it was my fault for interrupting him at work so our reunion was brief. I love that guy. He really helped get me in to mountain biking and he was a solid shoulder to cry on when my brother died.

After that, I hoped on my bike and spent a couple of hours riding around my old haunts. I found my old home, several friends houses and a few old places where I worked. I then rode down the hill to see my old school. It has been completely rebuilt. I really don’t think any part of the original structure exists. Maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder but I have great memories of that school. I’m even still friends on Facebook with one of my teachers who was instrumental in my life. I still love her to this day. Thanks Mrs. Watson. I thought about you a lot today.

After a quick lunch I rode for almost an hour to a ski town where one of my best friends ever lives with her husband and two kids. We were inseparable for a long time and she understood me better than many people in my life. She was my counselor in tough times and my accomplice in way too many acts of teenage mischief. I have missed her dearly for 20 years and I really wish I knew why I walked away from so many great friendships.

I tried to make up for that yesterday. When I arrived at her home she didn’t even give me time to get my helmet off before giving me a warm, welcoming hug.

We talked for hours and hours. I didn’t leave until just after 11pm.

In the meantime she took me stand up paddle boarding on a lake near her home. I always thought it would be easy. Nope. My legs were so tired from shaking so much trying to keep my balance. I couldn’t even stand up on the damn thing until I went close to the shore.

My friend was kind and kept encouraging me but I think she was just being nice. I truly sucked at it. But…it’s something I’m going to commit to practicing more. My kids would love one of these.

Her husband left work early just so he could meet me and I instantly took a liking to him. He is a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor and a pure outlook on life. I am so happy for my friend that she found him. Mostly I’m happy that she is happy and that her life is going well. I think if we could go back in time and talk to our high school selves about what our life would be like in the future, we’d just want to know that we are safe and happy. That’s a great thing.

It was hard riding away. I hope I don’t let it go another 20 years. I vow to change that.

One of many things I need to change. I’m working on it.

Tomorrow night, the 19th, I am having a get together at Masa Mexican Kitchen and Cantina at 5pm in Seattle. If you are nearby and would like to come, consider this your invitation. I’d love to see everyone. Yes, I have anxiety about it but I’m handling it. I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Tomorrow my last day here and then I’ll head out Friday morning.

Venmo: Jake-Weber-21

PayPal: webers@digis.net

A good place.

Today’s ride took me from the middle of Washington to the west coast. I followed the North Cascades Scenic Highway. It isn’t the best road I’ve ridden this trip, but it hands down had the best views.

You be the judge:

I was having an amazing time. I really wished I could have had my dad stay with me an extra day just so he could have experienced this. It would have been worth it.

He iron manned it all the way home. He left at about 4:30am and rode 750 miles all the way back to Star Valley Wyoming. Crazy.

Once I made to to Burlington I stopped in at a Harley dealer because I needed a 20k service. I feel like I just got the 15k service. It was about two weeks ago.

They were actually really cool. They bumped me to the front of very busy queue and within 3 hours, I was out of there.

I’ve learned to trust my bikes navigation in some respects. If I need specific routes, I have to plug those in but if I don’t care, I allow it to find the best scenic route and so far it has done really well. Today was no different.

As I rode it was neat to see cities I remembered spending time in, populate themselves on the map.

I had a quick stop to meet up with my brother and then we headed over to an old friends home. I haven’t seen her since she came to our wedding in 1998. She was one of my teachers and I wish I had been a better student for her. She deserved better than me. I wonder if we all feel that way when we look back on our youthful days. I sure do.

I definitely enjoyed my teenage years and I recall them fondly. It’s good to be back.

We even walked around a park tonight.

When I got back I caught someone trying to steal my motorcycle!

Good thing she couldn’t reach the ground.

Unfortunately it doesn’t take much to burn me out and I just need some quiet time. That may be something I can’t find for a few days.

Euphoria

I can’t begin to explain how it feels to see the cities of Sammamish and Issaquah pop up on my GPS.

When I lived in Issaquah, it was only Issaquah. After o graduated and moved on, where I lived became Sammamish.

It is excitement mixed with anxiety mixed with hopefulness.

I am strangely peaceful and excited for the next few days. There are a lot of people I hope to see but my isolationist self may try to keep me from going out of my way.

Is it more about the people or the place? Will it be enough to just ride around and check out the old haunts?

Probably not.

I was almost moved to tears last night while setting up meetings with a couple of old friends. It has been decades.

This will be an interesting few days.

Normal

Is this what normal feels like?

I think I remember but I’m not sure. It could be.

Today I just…was. There weren’t any negative thoughts, no anger, not even feelings of despondency.

I didn’t even think about this blog or what I would write which is a first. Usually it’s something I think about a few times a day.

That being said, this post may jump around or not have a point.

I was just impressed that today was just a day.

We left Kalispell at 7:30. Riding through canyons in the shade and early morning hours, it was really cold. We averaged in the mid 40’s. I gutted it out for over an hour because I didn’t want to stop to put a coat on. I can be retarded like that. We did try to take some riding pics.

I finally had to stop so we pulled into a little town restaurant for hot drinks and a cinnamon roll. That did the trick. When we got back on the bikes it had warmed up to 64. We crossed from Montana into Idaho and enjoyed meandering through the mountains and small towns. I thought about sticking around for the start of “river days” in Bonners Ferry but alas.

Crossing a bridge over the Columbia river took me back into Washington State for the first time in 14 years. I miss this place. For those who don’t know, I grew up in Issaquah Washington and I still have a lot of friends. People I haven’t seen in a long time. I am really looking forward to catching up with and many as I can. A good friend is helping to find a place where we can invite a bunch of people to just hang out for an evening. If you live in the Seattle area, keep an eye out for a post regarding when that will be. I’d love to see you.

In Washington we began following the Pend Oreille river. It was beautiful. My dad even had an eagle fly next to him for a good ten seconds. Turning up onto a winding road, it set the tone for the next few hours of our ride. We were in amazing country. High alpine. Tall Douglas Firs and Ponderosa pines. Rock outcroppings and small towns. Tight corners and high speed straights. We were having a great time.

We found an interesting but good spot for food in Colville. It was Hawaiian flavored Asian inspired noodles and meats. It was a ton of food and more than either of us could eat. I felt bad leaving a half eaten bowl on the table. Oh well.

From there we had more great riding, for maybe an hour. And then we began the downward spiral. Almost literally. The roads began losing elevation and while doing so, the roads were still winding. We were having a blast. But the temperatures were rising. What began as a cold day, had progressed to a very pleasant day. Now it started to get hot. We descended below the alpine treeline and were coming out into brown hills and sagebrush. And 100 degrees. And then it hit 106.

We were baking on the bikes. Finally had to stop at an Arby’s because they had air conditioning. It took about an hour to recover. That, and a milk shake.

We decided to get a hotel just down the road in Pateros. Our hotel literally backs up onto the Columbia river. My dad swam in it. I didn’t. I didn’t want to get the herp. I did swim in the pool for over an hour and it was bliss.

We’ve decided that this is as far as my dad will go. If he went on my route for tomorrow, he’d be committed all the way into Seattle. So he’ll leave here early in the morning. He has a long way to go and I hope he’ll stop in Butte to spend the night.

It has been an amazing three days being able to spend time with my dad exploring this area. What a great experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Much like the rest of this trip.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Your trauma is just as bad

How many times have I heard someone say something along this line: “what happened to me pales in comparison to what happened to you”?

A lot. Actually almost everytime I get into a deeper or longer conversation with anyone concerning my story. We’ll inevitably begin talking about things that have become traumas in their own lives and inevitably they’ll try to discount them as not worthy of discussing further.

I’ve been there as well.

It happens all of the time in group therapies and it happened in mine.

While I was in therapy, locked up at Salt Lake Behavioral Health, we would all spend time telling each our deepest, darkest issues. I couldn’t believe the terrible things that had happened to these guys. I wasnt worthy of sitting here in the same room as them. My traumas were nothing compared to theirs. When it came time for me to read my trauma statement, I was worried that the other guys would wonder why I was even there, that I didn’t belong. Oddly enough, at least 4 of them approached me later and said that they were in shock. That my story moved them to tears and that they felt that their own trauma was shameful in comparison.

Over time, I’ve learned that we all think that way. That any other person would be able to handle our traumatic situation with ease and that we are just weak for not being able to stoically handle our own business.

The thing is, we all have strengths and weaknesses and unfortunately our traumas hit us in our weakest areas. What one person may be able to handle another is crushed under the weight. When we hear the trauma of somebody else, we are amazed that anyone cam live through it because it wasn’t something we’d ever expect. We didn’t live the life that lead up to it. So it is surprisingly shocking. It seems to be something well beyond our understanding.

At least that’s my observation.

And I have to tell you. Your trauma is just as bad as mine. If you are dealing with something that you know is horrible and is ruining your life, don’t ignore it just because you think it isn’t worthy of therapy.

Own it. Get help. Before it embeds itself like a tick in your psyche and you do something you’ll regret.

I spent some time on the bike thinking about that today because of a conversation I’d had with my dad. Nothing specifically but it just keyed a thought.

Vets hear similar things all of the time when talking with vets from other eras. Hell, even I say it. How can I compare my service, my war, to that of a vet from a real war? Do you see what I’m doing?

It is a vicious cycle.

Today we woke up around 6am because neither of us could sleep and my dad likes to talk. That makes it hard to roll back over for another hour. That’s ok because we had a big day ahead of us and we needed to get moving. I may have just been enjoying a real bed too much. The continental breakfast would have to do.

Rolling out took extra clothing, it was 54 degrees. We topped of the tanks and headed north.

Deep canyons, tall trees and great roads. It was beautiful but hard to enjoy as it hit 46 degrees in the shade. I haven’t been this bundled up since day 2 in Arizona.

After an hour we came out above the canyons, to high plains. Rolling hills and farm land as far as you could see. It remained this way for about 250 miles. Here’s a shot of Great Falls, where Lewis and Clark had to portage around.

We got lunch in East Glacier at a restaurant on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Worst, and most expensive hamburger so far this trip. They can’t all be winners.

Right across the road was the Galcier Park Amtrak bridge so I took this picture for David.

Here is where we hopped onto the “Going to the Sun” highway. This was the whole point of our days journey. It didn’t disappoint. Other than being really crowded. The immensity of the mountains and valleys is not something I can adequately put in to words. I apologize for not being able to describe it well enough. Someday, everyone should do this park.

One of my favorite things about today is that I had some friends who were currently in Kalispell. We linked up in town for dinner tonight. It was so fun catching up with them. People from southern Utah meeting in northern Montana. I love it. Thanks guys!

I had a good time. I enjoyed being able to think about things and it was great to have somebody to talk with and to share experiences with all day.

Venmo: Jake-Weber-21

PayPal: webers@digis.net

Big thanks to those helping.

A day I’ve been counting down to.

My dad called me three weeks ago and said that he’d just bought himself a brand new Harley.

He was the one that got me into this mess when he rented bikes for all of the Weber boys last year. Little did we all know what would be happening just a year later. While watching my trip unfold, he was inspired to quit prolonging the inevitable and to grab life by the horns. I think he’s pretty excited to be a new Harley owner. If he feels anything like I did, I know he is.

So three weeks ago we are chatting about his new bike and he states that his goal is to meet me in Montana and to ride with me for a few days, if I’m up for that.

Of course! How many guys get the chance to ride motorcycles with their fathers across beautiful country? Or just doing anything adventurous? Do it while you can because time marches on and it will pass you by.

Since we made the tentative plan three weeks ago. It has been in the back of my mind since then and has been something we’ve both been looking forward to.

And here we are. We met today in White Sulphur Springs Montana. I came in from the west, and he came in from the south.

My route to get here today was pretty interesting.

Once again I did not sleep well. I was awake at 5am but tried to force myself back to sleep. Finally at 6:30 I’d had enough so I just got up. I rode out heading north and got breakfast in the little town of Hulett. The Sturgis motorcycle rally overflow reaches all of the way out to this town. I believe this is somewhere that most groups transit through on their way to the rally.

Anyway, from there I continued north through rolling hills and farmland until I crossed into Montana. Then it got monotonous.

Mostly flat and not much to see. I just set the cruise control and zoned out. I realized later that I hadn’t really been thinking about anything and that’s a good thing. There was plenty of opportunity there for something negative. I’ll take that as a positive.

I did stop in at the Little Big Horn. I got there just in time for the “Ranger Talk”.

That guy was amazing. He used to be a high school teacher and he was animated. He even had props. Seriously. Props. There were about 150 enthralled listeners by the time he was done, over an hour later.

This is a mass grave of over 200 cavalry Soldiers. By the time the Soldiers were originally buried, they were so decomposed that identification was impossible. The deepest grave dug at the time was Custers and his was only 18 inches. A year later the Army came back to find that animals had dug up all of the corpses. They were eventually all reburied here, at the top of Last Stand Hill. Custer and the other officers remains (what could be identified) were all reburied back east. This is a very solemn place to stand.

These are not actually tombstones but markers of where Soldiers bodies were found. The only one with a name on it is Custers, the one with black marking.

This is at the Indian memorial just north of Last Stand Hill.

I left Little Big Horn with a peaceful soul. It was good for me.

I headed on to Billings which I’ve decided is a town worth avoiding. I picked up a poker chip and had lunch. Then I got out of there as quick as I could. It didn’t help that it was 95 degrees there.

Next I just had to put it the miles and I’d be meeting up with my dad.

I didn’t count on the wind. Crazy wind directly from the side. It was so bad that it was literally lifting my helmet off of my head. Which was then in effect lifting me off of the bike. Which of course was blowing sideways hard enough that I changed lanes inadvertently once, despite my best efforts. It was downright dangerous.

My dad said he ran into some dangerous winds as well.

Now we’re hanging out in a little hotel in a little town and planning our trip for tomorrow.

We had a prime rib dinner at the joint next door and wondering where we’ll have breakfast tomorrow. Things are good.

Venmo: Jake-Weber-21

PayPal: webers@digis.net

An amazing world

As I’ve been riding, there have been so many things I’ve seen that are jaw dropping, awe inspiring and just humbling.

Today was my favorite.

I began with a ride through the rest of the Badlands NP. It was about 6am and I had the road all to myself. I watched the sun crest above the pillars and just soaked in the sunshine and the morning warmth. I could have taken a picture but sun pictures never work out so I just kept that one for myself.

I stopped for breakfast at Wall Drug in Wall ND. It was decent but a couple busloads of Chinese tourists came in right after I did so I didn’t stick around after I finished. Too crowded.

Next stop was Sturgis. It is beyond obvious that this town lives for one week a year. Everything, and I mean everything is geared towards motorcycles. Surprisingly it is a pretty town with a nice backdrop. I could see how living here would be appealing, if you could vacate the premises for that certain week.

Next stop was the town of Deadwood. As soon as you leave Sturgis and head towards Deadwood, you start climbing into the Black Hills. It is so beautiful here. It helped that temperatures were in the low 70’s and there were blue skies. But the hills and trees could hold their own in any landscape beauty pageant.

Unfortunately Deadwood has become commercialized. It is a unique town with a lot of old buildings. It would take time that I didn’t want to devote in order to really see it all. Maybe someday I’ll come back with my wife and family and we’ll explore.

The roads just kept getting better. Winding, flowy, alpine vistas and wonderful smelling pine trees. It was heaven just riding through.

I pulled up to Rushmore and the tourist nightmare began. I did the same thing I did at Niagara Falls. I parked, walked quickly to a vantage point, took and couple pictures and left just as quickly.

Now the real adventure in riding began. The road became very narrow. It was relatively slow going but the road wound around, back and forth, switchbacks and even corkscrews. Yes, corkscrews. The road would do a tight curve in a narrow area and it would go under a wooden bridge, which you would end up on just a second later, going over where you had just been. It would then turn again along the mountain and keep going up. It’s hard to describe. At several points the road would go through a single vehicle width tunnel and drivers would just play chicken with each other to see who got to go first. At other times the road would separate between the two lanes with no line of sight between them.

As I rode through Custer State Park, I ran into several Buffalo. It’s definitely not the first time I’ve seen buffalo, not even the first time I’ve seen them while riding a Harley. Each time though it’s a neat experience. Especially when a bull is right in the road and won’t move. I didn’t get a picture of him because I kept my hand on the throttle just in case. What I would do I don’t know. But it was just in case and it made me feel better. I did get this picture after he moved on. And no Tim, I didn’t rev the engine.

I also got these pictures at an overlook, looking back on Rushmore. It is in the distance. You may have to zoom in.

The next road was called “the needles” highway as it wound in and out of tall black spires that must be the needles. There was even a short section that went through a somewhat natural gap widened to be a tunnel.

After all of that amazing riding, I turned onto a much straighter piece of road and made a quick stop at the Crazy Horse Memorial. I remembered watching something about this on TV a long time ago. I was surprised to see…that it hasn’t changed. Are they working on it? I don’t know but they did charge me $7 to see this…and that’s as close as you can get.

I stopped in for lunch in Custer and then resumed my trip across South Dakota. It didn’t take long before I was in Wyoming.

Wyoming is home to me. My family can trace its roots pretty far back in this State. I breathed in with a big smile as I crossed the State line. Beautiful rolling hills and the foothills of the Black Hills were my companions as I turned north towards Devils Tower.

Just wow. Seeing pictures of the tower will never do it justice. The immensity, the striations and the colors can hold you in a trance as you just stare at it.

Which is what I have been doing for the last while during the time I wrote this post. This has been my view.

Yeah, I know, the tree is in the way. Just wait. I will be camping here at the base of the tower. There wasn’t any internet service in camp and I discovered that there is here, in this exact spot.

Clouds are overhead, threatening rain again. I got lucky last night. Fingers crossed for tonight.

Here’s a picture of a prairie dog that I got for my kids. They are all over the place.

Big thanks again to everyone helping out. I really appreciate it.

Venmo: Jake-Weber-21

PayPal: webers@digis.net

Today was a great day of riding and of sightseeing. Definitely in the running for my favorite day so far.

Bonus! No more humidity!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow as well but it’s mostly a point A to point B day.

One thing worth noting. No negative thoughts today. That’s a plus. Now that I’ve said that, I’m screwed.

Good night.