Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Touring Series: A Game of Hacky-Sack

A Guitar Ted Productions series
 Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale, mostly as it was posted on the blog in 2009. There are some new edits and additions. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 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. Expect about three more weeks worth. 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" is at a campground near Hill City, South Dakota....

With our campground set up, and plenty of day left, we set about doing some much needed laundry, taking showers, and then just kicking back. A bit of discussion was had about what to do at this point. We were not going anywhere down the road, and we didn't have enough money to stay at the campground the rest of the week. It wasn't that expensive, but it cost $20.00 a day, and that would have us tapped out in no time. We'd spent unexpectedly the evening before in Rapid City, what with the Mexican meal and the ice cream afterward.  Touring budgets for each of us was about ten dollars a day. Of course, some days when we couldn't buy anything we didn't spend that much, but by the time we had reached Rafter J Bar Ranch, money was tight.

We talked about what to do as we were sure we'd have another day, at least, of hanging out. But with our money situation, options were few. Finally we decided to see about getting picked up. Ryan thought his Dad might be able to swing it, so he called him. Arrangements were made for us to be picked up in Hill City on Wednesday. Well, that left us the rest of Monday, and all of Tuesday, to hang out.

Our camping receipt from our first day at Rafter J Bar Ranch
This was going to be pretty different. After eight days of working our tails off, we were going to be basically doing next to nothing physically, or so it would seem. We all got into a game of hacky-sack, and let the hours roll by for the remainder of the day. Laughing, joking around, and reminiscing about the past days was fun. Still, there was an air of sadness lingering as well. We knew it was over, and we really weren't quite ready for it to be.

Ryan went into another "Ren and Stimpy" bit right as two lovely young ladies were walking past our site. One of the lasses called out, "Is your friend all right?" Seeing that she was serious, Troy and I busted out laughing, and Ryan's face was about as red as it gets. That was how it was though for the most part. Ryan was the clown of the trip, and really was a great foil for Troy's aggressive and serious nature on the bike.

With a whole day at our disposal for Tuesday, we did a bit of research and found out we were only a few short miles from Sylvan Lake on the Needles Highway, which started not far from the exit to the campground. We also talked about checking out Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monument. Maybe all of it in a day? We weren't sure, but we thought we would explore around anyway. No sense in sitting around all day long in a campground when you are so close to so many attractions, or so we were thinking.

At any rate, this day was over, and it was cooling off in a hurry with the Sun's setting. We made for the tent and had a wonderful nights sleep.

Now the "Race Against Death Tour" felt more like "Summer Vacation" and it was pretty fun, actually. Oddly enough, we shifted gears from nose-to-the-grindstone, hard cycling, hard living touring guys to slumming Summer bums with alarming ease. I recall feeling a million miles away from the World, but also feeling the World's tapping on my shoulder. It was sort of easy to ignore on that Monday afternoon, since Wednesday was, well.......we weren't going there just yet. We were going to savor every last drop of this. No worries, no responsibilities, no knowledge of the World's troubles and issues.

It's interesting to think about it now, so many years and a Universe away from those times. Social media would make what we had experienced then impossible now. You just couldn't do this as easily as we did in 1995. I suppose there are things one can do..... Maybe Tour Divide, but even that has social media posts and well....... No. Doing what we did is simply not possible anymore. I'm so glad I did do that tour back then.

Next week: A Day At Sylvan Lake

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