|A Guitar Ted Productions series|
Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.
The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more.
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".
|A rare image from the tour of me catching back up with the guys. Image by Troy|
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 bizarre scene, but that would be just the tip of the iceberg of the strange things that we would find in White River.
White River was an odd town not only for the dirt street in the main business area, but for its retail environment as well. We had some things we needed to do, and laundry was at the top of the list. So we asked about a laundromat, got pointed in the right direction, and headed over to an old wooden business front. At first, we thought there must have been some misunderstanding. This was a joke....right?
What we found was a building with broken out windows, lined along three sides and down the middle with washing machines and dryers, and all were filthy beyond imagination. The dirt and litter was actually drifted up in the corners and against the machines, in some places a foot deep! The watch of the bikes fell to Ryan. Troy and I set about finding a clean enough machine to use for washing. We found two that didn't take much to clean out after looking at about twenty absolutely filth ridden machines. We got change at the hair dressers next door and away we went. About this time, Ryan leans his head in through the open window and says, "I need one of you guys to come out here. NOW!" He had an odd tone to his voice. I asked what the deal was, why did I need to come out? Ryan just motioned his head sideways as if to indicate he couldn't speak in the presence of someone and whispered loudly, "NOW!"
The water situation we had in Wood, and for the rest of the day, really, was only the beginning. It also probably was the cause of the bonk, obviously, but also something else. My getting dropped by Troy and Ryan made me feel abandoned. Keep in mind I had just come out of a divorce due to my former wife getting addicted to meth and leaving me. I didn't put two and two together then, but this would foreshadow a big turning point in my life on this tour in the days to come.
The town of White River, a small town, run down, and at that time in obvious disrepair, was another example of what became a very big impression upon me. We need not go to foreign countries to help with "third world" issues. We have them right here. The disgusting laundromat was just the beginning of our experiences regarding this.......
An editorial note- This post has been combined from two separate posts and the remainder will appear next week with some further, new material.
Next Week: The "Race Against Death Tour", stopped at the end of Day Five at White River, South Dakota after a tough 92.14 miles of heat and climbs, continues its weird journey.