Day 13: I asked my tour “advance man,” Ron Seifert, how he would describe the day we just experienced. His response summed it up beautifully: “emotional tornado.”
Woke up to a cold rain outside the motel room, with talk of snow in the forecast and many miles to pedal to keep to our schedule, but had too many media calls to make to worry about the weather. Started cold-calling the Rapid City media to see what kind of interest we could generate in the ride being in town. That done, rolled the rocket trike down the hall to the motel conference room where I had been asked to speak about the “Tour of Resistance” to the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association. What a privilege it was to address this august body of visionaries. I shared what was in my heart, and felt the heart connection in return. My only regret was having to leave immediately without having a chance to meet everyone one-on-one. Hopefully this can happen at a future date.
The sun poked out of the clouds as I raced down to Rapid City’s beautiful new town square for interviews with FOX News, the Rapid City Journal and South Dakota Public Broadcasting. The interviews went well and some locals had gathered to express their solidarity with the ride, which was very heartening. By now, though, we were a couple hours behind schedule. Then just a few miles out of town I hit a rock lying in the shoulder of the road. The second I hit it, I knew it was bad. The rear tire (the one that’s very difficult to change) was pancake flat. So called roadside bike assistance and got a tow to a bike shop back in Rapid City, where I checked my messages to learn that the flight Harvard Ayers and Paul Bassis had been working on so hard to arrange for Daryl Hannah to join us at a solidarity ride at Pine Ridge had been canceled by the airline. No choice but to put the disappointing news out of my mind and keep moving. By the time the trike was repaired, there were less than two hours of daylight left and I was back to where I started. The good news is I made the 20 miles to Hermosa without incident, where Ron had found an open campground for us to stay. Upon pulling in, checked my messages and learned that Daryl’s flight was back on, so she would be joining us on Thursday after all! Here’s an article describing our upcoming visit to the Pine Ridge and Rosebud tribal communities: http://tinyurl.com/3tejqc8.
So here we are, 15 miles later, happily sitting in our makeshift “office” (a small concrete-floor paddock people must squeeze by to get to the bathrooms and showers) where the campground host gave us permission to throw down our sleeping bags and spend the night, sheltered from the cold, biting wind outside. The tornado has subsided.