|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.
NOTE: This entry did not appear in the original series, and this and the next post will be largely new, or rewritten to better reflect the importance this part of the story holds in my life. Today's entry will be a reflection back upon what has been happening in 1995 and on the tour so far.......
The tour was about to embark upon, what was for me, the most pivotal moments of the tour, and a major shift in my life. I've been alluding all along to things which were contributing to my situation as this tale unfolded, but I want to take a moment before we get back to the story to really underscore this, because it was really very important to who I became in later years.
Of course, you probably remember my mentioning that I had gotten divorced from my first wife, the final divorce proceedings occurring less than one month prior to this tour. My first wife had gotten tied up in the methamphetamine trade and became addicted to that drug along the way. This all unbeknownst to me until late 1994 when, as they say, the excrement hit the rotating wind machine. My life was in a shambles for many months.
This settled down into something of a more routine, "normal" lifestyle by the Summer of 1995, but by no means was I "back to normal". Of course, when you are in the midst of such upheaval, you think you are fine, but I was really just making do. My friends were a bit more keen and tuned in to what was going on which was expressed at times as worry and concern. This tour, in many ways, was Troy and Ryan's way of "helping me out". Getting me away from what was going on was their idea of helping me cope. No harm in any of that, and in retrospect, I owe them a lot, because of where they helped me get to on Day Seven of this tour.
That all included my nearly wiping myself out due to heat exhaustion on Day 2, constant stress from riding very hard everyday for eight to nine hours a day in extreme heat. Bonking nearly daily, and for several days being severely dehydrated, as water became precious on the Great Plains. It was a miracle I hadn't "cracked" yet. Keep in mind that I was only one year removed from doing my first big days in the saddle on the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour", and I hadn't been doing any long rides since that tour ended a year before this one. Essentially, I went into this untrained.
Of course, you remember every oddball thing we'd experienced so far as well, which contributed to what was about to happen. The "spiritual darkness" we experienced in White River and all throughout the Pine Ridge Reservation was still fresh in my mind then, as well as witnessing the man "rise from the dead" in Scenic, which was described in the last post.
So, all the stage was set. I was none the wiser. But as I set off from Scenic on the hot, clear, calm Summer day, I had no idea what was going to happen that would change my life forever. The experiences encapsulated within the next 44 miles into Rapid City would be so bizarre, so memorable, and so unbelievable, you'd be forgiven if you thought I made it all up. That is was a dream. But it wasn't. It was all too real.
Next: I Give Up!