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The Fourth Letter From the Road

Greetings from Lusk, Wyoming, high on the plateau on the eastern side of the state. I have done South Dakota. Or Perhaps South Dakota has done me. Not sure which. I traversed most of SD on Interstate 90, along with thousands and thousands of Harleys convering on Sturgis for their annual do. Actually, it was rather fun and very social, and they were all interested in me and MY bike. But is was also very stressful. There was not a lot of traffic on the highway until the last day into Rapid City (where I went to get new tires); but the accelerated pace was stressful, and I rode faster on the I. than on the surface roads. In addition, it is now VERY hot, which means starting my day at 5:30. That's ON THE ROAD at 5:30, to be done by noon. This plays hell with eating timetables, and therefore with energy levels. And I am now deeply, seriously tired.

Today is a day of rest, and I can already feel my legs turning to mush. I may have to drive the rest. SD was an eye-opener. I found the best food there...lots of salad bars, and fruit at the quickstops. In addition, there was more overt availability of books for sale than the entire rest of the trip combined (except for Stillwater). Book spinner racks in the quick stops, in the motel lobbies, in the truck stops. VERY unexpected. But, of course, the defining element of SD (and of Wyoming) was exposure. Heat rash on arms and legs meant riding covered up, which added to fatigue and heat. Each day I would wonder how much of the day I would get done before sticking out my thumb; but that has not happened so far.

At this point I need to change my trajectory, because my planned path has far too long an empty stretch, and I will not camp alone by the roadside or under a bridge. From here, I will probably head south to Cheyenne, where I did not intend to be. I have a respite invitation there which I think I ought to take. Only problem is that from there I have no choice but several more long interstate days. That does not excite me, but it's better than isolation. I also fantasize about several scenarios: 1) renting a car in Cheyenne and DRIVING to Pocatello and blowing off Wyoming entirely; 2) leaving the bike unlocked everywhere in hopes someone will steal it; 3) flagging down a semi and paying the driver to very thoroughly drive over the bike and then dump me at a bus depot; 4) etc. I AM TIRED. I have NOT taken regular rest days as I should have been doing. And between all the area fires and the 50,000 Harleys in the area, carbon monoxide and particulate levels in the air are sky-high. And I feel it all. Sunrises (which I see every day) are flaming RED. So all in all, it ain't prime time right now. But today should help. And each day gets done by itself.

Tomorrow, Lusk to Glendo; then Glendo to Chugwater; then to Cheyenne. Unless I change my mind again, which I've done about 10 times in the last three days. Decisions from Cheyenne are too many days ahead to contemplate. So that's it. I'm being bumped here. More from a better frame of mind...

© 2000 BFZ

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