Much has occurred since I pedaled through the Black Hills of South Dakota to Sturgis, but before I recollect and recap, we have to trace the trail backwards, back to Iowa. I found some lyrical lines I’d written from our travels traversing the great state of Iowa, and want to share them with you:
You, me, and the bourgeoisie
clamber clamorously to Pike’s Peak
Gazing east across the Mississippi
reflecting back the recent week
Whet with western wonder
Thickly thwarted by the thunder
The rain’s retort falls down far short
Of this transitory mystique
A cantankerous cow intermittently howls while
Gregarious geese increase squabble and scowl
I’m drowsily adrift
in the stellar firmament
Where my full moon light bulbously wallows
Poem #2 came from a camp site within a wilderness reserve where this one ornery cow in the distance kept unleashing the most nighttime-penetrating MOOOO’s I’d ever heard. At one point after Nick, Evan, and I had laid down to rest, Nick retorted with an impressive gut wrenching cow howl himself, inciting laughter all around. Before the dark blanket of night settled, a group of geese were also raising quite the ruckus at a pond down the hill from us.
Fast forward from Iowa to catch up, and we left off with the back road thrills of the Black Hills into Sturgis, where I soaked up the sun and two-wheel’d culture for a night before moving on to Spearfish, SD. I rolled in around dinner time on a Saturday night, determined to find a church service to attend in the morning. Awaking early, I picked one with little discretion except that of one google review which noted particular praise for how God was active in the small church plant that meets in a cinema.
As I arrived, some college interns were greeting folks at the door. John, one of the interns with a commanding demeanor combined with a comforting smile struck up conversation with me, and after the first service at 8:45, we talked through the entire second service. I was pretty parched for some Christian fellowship and communion at that point, and I dare say God had his hand in leading me to a well at Connection Church.
The small church plant has five college interns for the summer, and after enjoying conversations, John invited me to lunch with the group. I ended up staying another night in Spearfish, and making it north to Belle Fourche with the group, where an additional church plant was sprouting roots. Coincidentally, Belle Fourche happens to be the geographic center of the United States, so of course that felt like a neat check point on my tour. Besides the obvious highlights of community, Spearfish also afforded me a beautiful campsite where a river and stream forked as well as a gripping round of disc golf through Black Hills State University.
Out of Spearfish, I trekked on westward, crossing into Wyoming. The threat of rain drenched my motivation to reach Key Hole State Park, and instead I drifted with the wind through Sundance and up to Reuter Canyon Campground, toward Warren Peak just north west of the city. Now, I learned a serious cycling lesson back in Iowa on the Mississippi: avoid roads with the word “PEAK” in their name. Unfortunately, Warren Peak Road leading to Reuter Canyon Campground was my best option. Really, there wasn’t anything else around. Not only that, but right at that time my bike started giving me some perceived resistance. I was tired and testing equanimity. But, perhaps again God had some role in my hindered roll.
Finally reaching the campground (I was relieved to find that it wasn’t actually all the way up at the peak), I settled into a spot, pitched my tent, and walked back to drop my payment in the deposit box. As I’m walking back to my spot, a couple inhabiting the spot closest to me (though still a stone’s throw away) had just returned and, after inquiring about my trip briefly, offered me a beer. Few gifts at that moment could have perked up my spirit and insulated my throat with such an intoxicating refreshment. I graciously accepted, and was introduced formerly to Mike and Laurie from Casper, WY.
We hit it off quickly. Mike and Laurie were on a well-deserved and at the time, much-needed retreat and respite. I felt kindred in our adventures in that sense. Furthermore, this was one of those encounters in which you really feel like you could be relaxing and chatting with family that you’ve known your whole life. I’m extremely grateful for our encounter, and it is in this formed friendship that I am grateful for the approaching rain and ponderous pedaling which directed me up to Reuter Canyon Campground.
Sorry friends, I’ll have to continue the story later. My computer time is nearing it’s end and I’ve already requested from the library staff for more time. Coming soon: More on Mike and Laurie, my unintended travels to Devil’s Tower, and the camaraderie and companionship of the infamous Cameron Navis.
Be well, everyone!