Happinesss is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.” Zeno
Everyone is ‘wallcome’ at Wall Drug Store/restaurant/ice cream/gift shop in Wall, SD. They put the drugstore on the map. They let you know it’s coming for miles, that there is a western welcome waiting for you, that there is free ice water, strong coffee, homemade donuts and buffalo burgers. In addition to the drugs, gifts, shops, there is a family photo gallery, quite extensive, black and whites over several generations. It’s all good.
The town is built between the Badlands and Grasslands. A lot of these areas are part of Native American reservations. Different towns and highways run through the reservations. You see little of the Indian communities of themselves, besides little casinos scattered around. The Badlands almost look like sand castles with layers of different color sediment. The Grasslands change from green grass to amber waves of grain. There are big rolls of hay laid across the fields for sale. And – there are grasshoppers all along the road, snapping at you, as high as your face and strong enough to feel like they are stinging you. The wind blows across the fields uninterrupted by any hills or trees. That was a tough day of riding.
We ride through many very small towns. These places seem old fashioned since everything closes up by 5 or 6 pm and there is little variety or choices in shopping or people or work. It is a slow, quiet lifestyle that has some appeal for it’s simplicity. It almost feels like a different country than the busy east or west coasts or 24 hour city life. You can see why there would be different voting patterns across the US.
There is still plenty of grit on the roads as we go from one place to another. I just had a flat tire from little stones getting stuck in the tire near the end of the day of riding. It is a luxury to end the day in a hotel instead of camping. It is nice to finish the ride at an earlier part of the day before the heat is too hot and to feel like there is more to your day than just pedaling all day long. It’s a bit like a kidstuff – we are told what hour to get up and get started, what to eat, where to go, where to stay. We pass by and see some new places. I have taken a bunch of pictures. Maybe I can get to organize and send some soon.
It’s been another week and another state, all SD. We went from mountain time to central time. This week we will pass through two states, MN and WI, still flat as we continue eastward.