Yesterday officially marked that we are 1/3 of the way through our trip, 370+ miles from the start. Today was our first rest day, and we spent it at the crossroads of the Missouri River and I-90, in Chamberlain, SD (pop: 2387 in 2010). We considered it a luxury to be able to sleep in until 7:20AM, without the sound of an alarm to wake up to. Apparently, we had gotten used to the jet-engine sound of the air conditioner. Being in no hurry, we wandered down to see what this morning’s continental breakfast offered. The choices were pretty easy, and much like the first 6 days. A bowl of raisin bran, add some dry oatmeal and milk, and enjoy. Make sure to snag a couple of apples for mid-morning snack. This mornings guilty pleasure…peanut butter for our apples!
After breakfast, I was looking through the local Visitor’s Guide and noticed that the South Dakota Hall of Fame just across the street (est: 1974) , advertised Caribou Coffee!! What?!?! I instantly decided I was interested in the famous folks of South Dakota, so I slipped into my thongs…er…flip flops, and headed over. It probably was a little too obvious when I walked in and asked about the coffee immediately, that I wasn’t really looking to get up to speed on South Dakota’s famous folks. I was informed that they no longer had the Caribou Coffee due to lack of traffic requesting it. They did have a couple bags of decaffeinated beans in the gift shop, but I opted not to bother with the “why bother” kind of coffee, and decided to take a look around at what most people stop in for. It was pretty interesting to see that South Dakota boasts ownership of such famous and influential folks as Mary Hart, Terry Redlin, Tom Brokaw, Crazy Horse, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and others, who lived a portion of their life in this state. The rich Native American History was also interesting to see. Go Bison! has a whole new meaning when you see what they’ve been used for.
Feeling a little more cultured, I decided it was time to head back to the room to get some work done, and prepare for a meeting. As I was walking back, and as I always do, I was looking for happenstance “treasures” along the roadside,. Budweiser can, check. McDonald’s bag, check. Bolt, check. Rose Colored Glasses, check. Wait! Rose Colored Glasses?!!? No way! Upon closer inspection now that they were in my hands, I could see that these were not just any rose colored glasses. These were special for a few reasons. They were clearly picked out as a very special pair of glasses by someone in the past, quite some time in the past in fact. At one time, they had some very smart looking black accents and were big enough so everything could be in full view. I would imagine that they provided the the perfect exclamation point to someone dressed to the nine’s, and ready for sun, even if there wasn’t any. Now, they were lost, discarded on the side of the road, no longer had bows to hold them securely on, and had been driven over, rained on, and beat up in many different ways. Still…they were rose colored. As I put them on my face, they stayed on, without the bows, as if to say, “Finally, someone sees my worth, and needs me again”. It was my choice to decide what could be seen through these glasses now. Looking through the ugliness of the glasses themselves, I began to see the sad, and then smiling faces of children who were learning that they had food for the weekend. I saw the South Dakota Hall of Fame building in a new light – one that shows that people want to make a positive difference in the wake that they leave as they pass through this world. I chose to see the world just as clearly as I had before, except now, I looked at it through the wisdom of something once beautiful and helpful, but now worn, but still “beautiful” and with an amazing story to tell. I’m not sure what the male equivalent of a Polly-Anna is, but let me give this a run. Useless roadside trash, may be anything but. Give it a chance. Circumstance can build character. Let it. “I can’t be of use to anyone anymore”, makes way for the reality that, “You can!”. “What if” is the first question towards the reality of “I will”. And lastly, when you’re looking up to the heaven’s for answers, don’t forget to look down…to find your rose colored glasses.
Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we’re back in the saddle (a bicycle seat is usually called a saddle) and headed for our next stop in Winner, SD. With no easy back-highway route, a portion of the ride will be on I-90 along with the motor homes, trucks, and of course all of the Harley’s headed for the Sturgis Rally (estimated at 600,000 riders this week and 1.2M next year for the 75th anniversary…imagine that for a moment!). With a predicted low of 63 degrees and a high of 79, we’re hoping for another great day of riding, and maybe even more road-side finds.