August 31, 2023 – South Dakota – If it weren’t for my new best friends, Jamie, and his wife, Mary Kay, from Illinois, I would have never experienced the Badlands or had a buffalo cross the road in front of me.
It was such a tremendous experience. The bull had such a large head, a regal stride and he definitely commanded the roadway.
The rest of the Badlands was majestic, and vast, and had a topography definitely not found in the Midwest.
Plus my hosts made it fun. I met Jamie and Mary Kay when I knocked on the door of their mobile home at 9:15 p.m. Monday night.
They had an Illinois license plate and my plan was to hitch a ride east; finding someone at the KOA campground had to be safer than choosing a person with a pickup at the gas station by the highway.
Mary Kay did most of the screening. “Who are you and what do you want,” she asked. It was all very polite and, I admitted, it was odd.
I had been knocked off my bike on Sunday, hurt my arm, looking for help going east, and “no I guess I don’t believe in renting a car or jumping on a bus or phoning a friend…. But could you help?”
“Do you want to murder us,” said Jamie… just trying to clear up the elephant in the room.
“I wasn’t planning on it,” I said.
Plus, if you think about it, a mobile home is a terrible getaway vehicle. And Mary Kay was in charge of making sandwiches while we traveled.
So, it was quickly settled… there would be no murdering on this trip.
We chatted a bit more. I went to get ID while Mary Kay Googled me. By the time I returned, she was telling me things about me. “You write a lot of obituaries,” she said.
If that is how someone was going to describe me, I’ll take it. “Yes… the news we post is free and obituaries are well read.”
Mary Kay took my ID with the West Bend Police Chief’s contact and my pastor-brother-in-law’s number.
“I’m 99 percent sure we’ll take you but we’ll call you by 8 a.m. as we’re trying to leave by 9 a.m.,” she said.
Obviously, since you see we toured the Badlands together, it was a go.
“We really do like to pay it forward,” said Mary Kay. “And Megan at the chief’s office and a guy named Paul vouched for you…. He asked if you hit your head and we didn’t think so.”
Oh, we had a good time. Mary Kay and her husband often referenced their daughter who traveled worldwide…. also with few supplies and little planning.
The couple was enjoying retirement, loved the adventure in a mobile home, and both knew how to power up the rig and program the Garmin mapping device. Jamie referred to it as SOM, which stood for Save our Marriage.
A couple that can travel together that well is like finding your mate who can survive with you on a tandem; you have to pull even and be understanding.
So we actually made three adventure stops starting with Wall Drug Store…. where I still didn’t buy anything.
Then on to the Badlands…
Jamie asked if I would have seen the Badlands on my bike and the honest answer was no. I’m learning my limitations… and the positive aspects of being normal and traveling with an engine.
For bikers, the Badlands had absolutely no shade, you had to carry in your entire water supply … and then, there were signs about snakes. No, thank you; opting for a motor home with friends is my No. 1 recommendation.
We ended the day in Mitchell, SD at the famous Corn Palace. It’s still worth the stop. Giant art using corn from the cob. This year’s theme was ‘The Circus.’
After all our running about we stopped for some ice cream therapy and to discuss our next move.
“I’m going to unload my bike in the parking lot and you’re going to drive away,” I told my friends.
“Where will you stay? Do you know where you’re going?” All common questions.
I was going to find a grocery store and look for a church on the way. Hopefully, someone would take me in and I can tuck myself away on a church hall floor and be gone by 7 a.m.
“Call us and let us know,” said Mary Kay with a hug goodbye.
What a perfect day.
-About an hour and 3 churches later I texted Jamie and Mary Kay that the Cornerstone Church had taken me in and now I had to go get groceries.
-I pedaled about 3 miles and have questionable strength in my forearm, the one that hit the pavement. I still can’t shift and would play it by ear the next day. But, at least I’m moving east.. even though it’s not my desired mode of travel.
“Have I not commanded you? … Be strong and courageous. … Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
The 2023 Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s is raises money every year for music programming for seniors at Cedar Community, a 501c3, so all donations are tax-deductible.
Donate via the secure website through Cedar Community. Donations should be marked “Amazing Ride 2023.” Click HERE to make a secure online donation.
Checks may be made payable to “Cedar Community Foundation” with “Judy Bike Ride” in the memo line and mailed to 113 Cedar Ridge Dr., West Bend, WI 53095
Be sure to include the Federal Tax ID Number for the Foundation: 39-1249432
You may also find a downloadable donation form HERE.