June 11, 2004

6/11/04 Pollock SD

0 miles (1435 total)

Last night late, Ron and Joyce finally arrived with their son, Tom, his wife, Candice, and their three kids, Micala (8), Gabe (5), and Riley (3). Seemed they brought even harder rains with them. The local weather had totals of over 2” of rain. But this morning, the sun is shinning brightly.

The Gerhardt clan

It was so good to visit with Ron and his family. While they packed (they were headed for the Black Hills of South Dakota), I feasted on some of Candice's great banana bread. The kids were great especially Micala. Tom is a TV reporter and Candice is a teacher. Ron and Joyce are avid bike riders and happened on my website by accident. It's only my bad luck that I reached Pollock at the time of their only scheduled vacation. Ron was so looking forward to riding with me into Bismark. I guess I have another place I need to return to in the future.

So, today, I'm just relaxing. I envy Barb, Rob and Bruce their ride today from Mobridge to Pollock. I imagine the views are simply fantastic in this great weather. They're going to met me at Ron's house later today.

Pollock is a small town, about 300 people, that survives on fishing during the summer and hunting in the fall. But with the lake down thirty feet and predictions of loosing another ten feet, the fishing business is all but gone. A lot of boat access is closed because of the low water levels. Which all doesn't make sense because both the river and all the lakes I've passed downstream were at normal to high levels. The town was moved here in the 60's when they built the lake. But, like many small towns, it's barely surviving. Both the store and cafe have 'for sale' signs out front. Almost all of the other businesses cater to out-of-town fishermen and hunters. There are four or five bar restaurants for those gentlemen.

Sometimes, being out on the road insulates or at least delays access to world events. I think I found out about Ronald Reagan's death a day or two late. Today, the post office is closed because of Reagan's funeral. Guess I'll never get these letters mailed.

Already making plans for post-Lewis & Clark. After Mike gets here on the 28th, we'll be taking the shortcut from Great Falls, MT to Missoula, cutting off a week of travel. Going to get off the bike at Fort Clatsop near Astoria. I'll ship the bike home from my great-aunt Kathy's in Salem, OR. Then I'll take the train up to stay with friends, Ed and Sandi, for a few days in Seattle, then I'll fly home.

Out here on the road, away from the hustle and bustle of my 'normal' life, I really get a chance to see things in a different light. For example, I still see Spanish as a top priority. With the foundation laid with my trip to Spain, I think I can really progress farther this time with full immersion. Since I spoke absolutely no Spanish the first time, I seemed to speak or write English any time I could. If I go back, I think I'll be able to do a 'total' immersion, using no English. Instead of journal writing, I will try more drawing. The other coin of my priorities is music. As soon as I'm back home, I will start violin lessons immediately. I have no reason to wait, and every reason to get started. It would feel incredible if I could do a tune with all my brothers, especially Tom. So the paths are in front of me, I just have to step on them when the time comes.

The gang arrived later in the afternoon, parking the RV out front. Barb let the boys have the whole day out on the road and they said it was fantastic. Me, I just relaxed and tried to soak up some sun.