DAY 53

May 6, 1999

Whoa! I woke up out of a really bad dream.   Many of the people I met on this trip were on a cruise ship.  Then the ship sank very quickly and I found myself under water trying to save them.  The water was dark and a girl told me to save myself and swim up to the surface with her.  Both of us swam up out of the water.  Many died and I regretted not being able to find the young daughter of someone I know.  Searching among the survivors, I found her mother but the young girl had drowned.  I was very sad and had a helpless feeling.   Other people were mad at another girl that took a long time to save an old lady with senile dementia.  Not only save her, but took the time to change her clothes while they were still under water.  Many people thought she should have saved a young child, not an old lady. 

Coming out of the unusual dream, I heard the ferocious wind outside.  The wind is supposed to be even stronger today as the front continues east.  I don’t ever want to re-live a day like yesterday.  Nope, I’m not going anywhere! The wind is supposed to die down in a day or two, followed by rain. I think I’d rather cycle in the rain than those horrible winds.

I headed to the motel restaurant and ordered a vegetable egg-white omelet and toast. When I was in Hyannis, I predicted I would be eating breakfast near Rapid City today. Well if things don’t work out for me to make it to my destination before the early Alaskan snow, it won’t bother me too much. This really isn’t about a destination; it’s more about the journey. I guess it’s much like life in general. In life it’s not about the destination, which would be death, but the journey along the way. My path in life has changed many times and taken me in many directions, as I’ve been influenced by my environment and my thoughts. This bike route has already changed several times as I’m influenced by the world around me. There are many parallels I’m beginning to see between this bike journey and my journey through life. Let’s just hope that the end of this journey doesn’t mean the end of my life journey. I could think of much better places for me to die than Prudhoe Bay :-)

Back at the motel room, I called the local paper to see if they might be interested in my story. Speaking to Barb, She said she would very much like to do a story. She drove over to interview me since I was dead set against cycling in this "howling wind from hell". After the interview she gave me a ride into downtown so I could look around.

The first stop was to introduce me to Kim, she’s the only physical therapist in the area and owns an outpatient center. We talked in great length about the many problems in healthcare right now. It is so frustrating when you want to give quality care under these limitations. In talking to Kim, I could tell that she is a very good therapist with a sincere interest in the care of her patients. These are the therapists that are the most frustrated. The mediocre therapists that were only in it because it was a good paying job are only upset because their income was drastically reduced or they lost their jobs. These people will hopefully move on to another profession. I believe Kim had some of the same beliefs as me. It isn’t about the money; it’s about being a good clinician. Some of the things she talked about reminded me of my friend Kathleen in Florida (days 10-12). When Kim talked about her interest in prevention and especially with osteoporosis, I was again reminded of the project Kathleen had just finished on early intervention for osteoporosis, so I told her I would contact information for Kathleen. One thing I noticed was how tense I felt when we talked about the problems in healthcare. I don’t know if I want to go back into that kind of environment. The government is really screwing up the system and it just makes me too upset to think about it.

Leaving the physical therapy clinic, I walked to the "Ad-Pad". Inside, they sell some books and miscellaneous items as well as housing a small museum-like area dedicated to Mari Sandoz. On my ride to Gordon, I passed the gravesite for Mari Sandoz and the Mari Sandoz rest area. Although he rest area consists of nothing more than a picnic table, a home made outhouse that empties directly on the ground surface, and an empty building that used to contain some of Mari Sandoz’s things. Since the place is so far out and away from everything, it was hard to maintain and the place had been vandalized. The lady inside the Ad-Pad gave me a brief history about Mari Sandoz. She published 22 books and a few of the popular titles "Old Jules", "Crazy Horse", and "There Were Sioux". She was a historian so she wrote with exacting detail of how things were. "Crazy Horse" is the most accurate book ever written about the early American Indian. Several of her books have been translated into different languages. The lady in the store said that they’ve had people come from other countries to see the places she wrote about. After reading a few excerpts, I was beginning to get drawn into her culture. This place has a lot of history around it, which is not unlike many of the places I’ve been through. There just isn’t enough time to learn too much detail about any one place. If anyone is even reading this stuff I write and is interested in knowing more about Mari Sandoz, or wants to order any of her books, just send an email to: msbooks@gpcom.net They are currently working on a website.

From there I stopped by the towns small police department, behind City Hall. Ron was there and he gave me advice on the best route to Mt. Rushmore. He gave me some detailed maps and pointed out scenic areas, points of interest, and places with historical significance. While we were looking at the maps, he had to leave because of a complaint about some drunk guys loitering and panhandling. When he returned I tried to take his picture but had a problem the motor that raises the flash. I am very lucky it works at all with all the vibration it gets in my handlebar bag. The filters always vibrate loose and manage to twist themselves off the lenses. When I mentioned this problem and the need to pad the bottom of my bag, Ron came to the rescue. He got a large piece of foam rubber and let me cut out what I needed. Cool! Now, hopefully, my camera will survive the rest of the trip :-)

Going to the public library next, I asked about Internet access. They said I could use it for twenty minutes, until the person that had it reserved arrived. I tried to type a journal entry to email but couldn’t finish it in time. So I was able to reserve it for an hour later. During that hour, I waked to the grocery store (granola bars, cereal bars, and deodorant), to Radio Shack (2 spare camera batteries), and then back to the motel room. By that time the hour was almost up so I hopped on my bike and rode to the library. I was able to finish the journal entry and type another. Then all I would have to do was type in yesterday’s and all would be up to date. I decided to check for new email at my email account first. Before the page even opened the Librarian walked over to me, I could see her out of the corner of my eye as she walked briskly and with purpose. I turned to look and she said, "You have 5 minutes", holding up the 5 fingers on her left hand. The way she said it made me feel like some elementary school kid. Her voice had very little inflection as she stated it boldly, to get her point across that I need to get off the computer. Is it too difficult to say it nicely and smile? Geeez, I felt like I was committing a crime. I read one e-mail, someone asking about my Bob trailer and the weight of my gear. There wasn’t enough time to reply so it will have to wait, sorry :-(   As I was leaving, I smiled at the librarian and gave her a sincere "thank you" as she sat at her computer terminal behind the desk. Of course it went unacknowledged as I walked out the door. The librarian I’d talked to earlier wasn’t overly nice but at least she didn’t seem so cold.

Back at the motel I decided that I’d enjoyed last nights good and inexpensive meal so much that I was going to go back for more. This time I ended up eating too much at the salad bar. Oh, my stomach is going to burst! Before I could go to sleep I had to put my earplugs in because of the loud noises from the pipes. They kept making these loud pops and cracks. At least the sounds came from around the sink and bathroom. I remember hearing it last night but I was so tired I fell right to sleep and slept through the night.

Wind - Even worse than it was yesterday!

Today - 0 miles
Total - 2739 miles

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I was contacted by Jean Curry from the Ad Pad after my ride was over.  The website for Mari Sandoz has been completed and more information about her can be found at:
www.sandozlit.com