The "Race Against Death Tour" moves on from Wood, South Dakota on an extremely brutal, hot day....
Leaving Wood, we encountered some big rolling hills. The combination of the days heat and miles was taking it's toll on me. Well, that and the fact that there wasn't any water in Wood. I ran out of water somewhere on this last stretch of the day's road. I thought I was really done for. This is where one of the enduring phrases describing myself arose from. Right from this moment on this very day.
I was "Barney-ing".
I am pretty sure it was Ryan that coined the term. He saw my face as I toiled up a climb he and Troy were waiting for me at the top of. Ryan exclaimed, "He looks like Barney Fife when he had that long face, ya know? He's "Barney-ing"!" Troy saw the resemblance, I guess, and laughed. The term was forever cemented in my mind as what I looked like when I was bonking. Barney Fife. I suppose I could look worse.
Troy said something about the fact that we were all about out of water, but that White River was just up the road, and that we probably should cut the day short, wash clothes, re-supply, and hit it hard the next day. We all agreed to that, then just like that, Troy and Ryan were gone, leaving me to toil up the big rollers in the incessant heat.
I reached the turn off to White River and I could see Troy and Ryan up the road. I was angry, and I suppose the adrenaline helped get me the rest of the way into town. I was going to be really glad to get into a town of a reasonable size, the first since we left Winner, and get something to eat and drink. What I didn't know was that I would never forget White River for other reasons, but at this point, I just wanted this day to come to a merciful end.
As we reached the outskirts of the town we pulled off the highway to the business section of town and found that there wasn't a street. Well.......they had a street, it was just torn up. It was as if they had been doing construction, but the cars were just driving through the dirt. There were no "Road Construction" signs, just some orange netting and some sawhorses with blinking lights here and there. It was a bizzarre scene, but that would be just the tip of the iceberg of the strange things that we would find in White River.
Next Week: White River Weirdness