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July 12


Thursday, July 12           Chamberlain, S.D.     to     Mitchell, S.D.        71 miles


          Hooray!   What a great day!  We got a much needed break today from the high winds, hills and heat.   It was pretty cloudy all day and the cross wind was not too bad and it was about 15 degrees cooler.  A very enjoyable easy ride of 71 miles.  For me, the day was one of feeling I was in familiar territory and a day of recalling my days growing up just north of here in Southeastern North Dakota.  I passed things today that reminded me most of the Dakota’s.  Saw the well groomed farm yards, the crops were familiar too.  Field corn, soy beans, hay and small grains. It sure looked like home to me, when I saw the big poultry barns.  The long chicken and turkey barns just like dad had on his land around Wahpeton, N.D.  I thought often of my father-in-law, Andy, many times today when we were sheltered from the wind by the tree shelter belts.  He spent many years working for the soil conservation district planting thousands of trees that grow up and become these shelter belts.  We traveled very quiet country roads, old highways.  I came right through the small towns of White Lake and Plankington and knew these were the places that Paul’s maternal grandparents,  uncles and aunts once lived.   I saw something else that looked so familiar to me.  Coming in to the edge of town was a big International Harvester implement dealer with all the huge farming equipment sitting outdoors on display.  It reminded me of my home town.


          It was such a nice ride with the winds much calmer, I could enjoy looking around and as we rolled along we visited more with each other.  It wasn’t so mentally and physically demanding today.


          Mitchell is known for the Corn Palace.  Several from the group went over there to see it.  On the outside is motifs of different corn.  The birds come to feed on the corn.


          It sure has worked out well rooming with my two nice roommates.  Nancy G. from Illinois, a librarian, has been my roommate from the beginning.  After Lee S. left us in Boise, Idaho, Christine from Connecticut, a school counselor, joined us and the three of us will be together to the finish.  Our rooms have been adequate.  Even with two pieces of luggage and a bicycle with each of us, we don’t seem to be bumping into each other.  Really, we are in these rooms such a short time each day/evening and we don’t care where our head touches the pillow.


          It has been fun watching the change in Will.  He is the youngest rider.  He is 15 years old and is with his dad on this ride across the country.  He has opened up so much and is always smiling and now he can really peel off the miles in good time. What an experience for this teenager to see the USA and part of Canada like this.  This will certainly make geography and US history classes far more interesting when he gets back in school.


          I visited a medical place this afternoon to have the saddle sore examined.  I’ve been doing the right thing using Neosporin.  It is healing now and was not uncomfortable today.  Glad it isn’t infected.  Saddle sores are the number one cause of stopping a biker from riding.  There are a couple of riders right now that have had to take a few days off to heal.


          Since I got in so early today, I rode around town and went to the public library.  Thanks everyone for your e-mails.  They mean a lot to me.


We are all looking forward to a short 70 mile ride tomorrow and then a rest day.  We are headed to Sioux Falls.


          As I was riding along today, I thought how fun it is to get up every day and get on my bicycle.  We all love to ride, no matter what the day brings.  If it is a difficult day, with nature throwing curve balls at us, we still manage to pedal on through to the end.  Then we have great stories to share at dinner hour.


Paul:  I called Mon & Dad tonight.  They were really concerned about me.  I asked if they have been reading the journal.  Dad says he can’t get it.  Maybe if you e-mailed him the URL and ask him to try and “click” on it, maybe he can bring it up.  Tell him to click on the “My ride journal” and then click on the “date”.