Monday, June 08, 2009

Week 6 and 7 Are Family Time

I was very pleased to arrive in Lincoln, NE in time to catch a ride with my sister Karen to South Dakota for our family reunion. To say the weather up this way can be fickle would be an understatement, so I pushed myself to get there as soon as possible and arrived on the afternoon of Monday June 1st - just 2 days before she would have had to leave. This left me time to take Larry into the shop to get some badly needed new tires. They didn't have the ones I needed in stock and it would take a week to order them so our trip to South Dakota leaves just enough time to complete that task. The road trip in a motorized vehicle also gives me a chance to scope out some of the roads I'll be riding on when the trip resumes which will help me plan my route through this area much better. I've been following the Adventure Cycling Assoc. maps up to this time but I'm on my own through Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. I'm asking lots of questions from the locals and the good folks on the Adventure Cycling Forums.

I wasn't expecting too much from the reunion because our family on my Mother's side hasn't been together, outside too many funerals, for over 20 years. But the local cousins did an incredible job of organizing, preparing and putting on a fantastic day. We had around 150 people there with lots of good food and entertainment including a wonderful picture slide show with over 500 pictures from the past that ran throughout the day. Mom is from a family of 10 children and our extended family has grown a lot through the years. We took time for each family to update us on which sibling they belonged to and what they are doing in their lives. I'm usually taking lots of pictures during these type of events but since I saw many flash bulbs going off, I decided to just sit back and absorb all the information which I very much enjoyed. I'll collect pictures via Internet when I get back home. Mom has improved a lot but still can't put any weight on her leg so she was unable to attend the reunion, but thanks to the picture slide show that my cousin Dianne put on DVD for me, I was able to show her all the pictures when I got back to Pierre. She very much enjoyed seeing them! The reunion took place in Mobridge, SD by the way.

I had planned my bicycle adventure long before the reunion plans were made and was so happy that the timing worked out so that I could attend. I didn't think too many people in my family knew about my trip and so I was a little surprised to learn that a lot of them had been following my blog and twitter updates along the way. I have to admit that I was a little uncomfortable being such a topic of conversation at a large event, but at the same time I was so happy to have the love and support of such a great family. I even received a lot of generous donations that will help me very much as I continue my tour later this week. I want to say 2 very important "Thank You!" messages. One for everyone in my family who are supporting my trip with donations, prayers, and good wishes. And a second one for the local cousins who made such a wonderful day that I will remember forever. I truly do have a fantastic family!!

As I write this it is Monday, June 8th and I have been resting for a week and even gained a few lost pounds back. With a little luck my sister will be able to get out of work on Friday and we will be able to stay here in Pierre, SD for my Mother's Birthday on the 12th. Then we will drive back to Lincoln, NE on Saturday and Larry and I will begin our trek across the great plains on Sunday, June 14th. I'm thrilled to have had this time to spend with family and also to help give my sister Sharon and Ann (both Angels in my opinion) some time to rest from Mom's care, but I am ready and anxious to resume my trek across the USA. However, as I mentioned early in this post, the weather up this way can be fickle and if ever there was a week or two to not be riding - this was it! We have had gloomy rainy and cold and stormy weather since I arrived in the area. It would have been miserable if not impossible to ride this last week so it was a good time to visit and rest.

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