Archive for November, 2009

Monumental Sights

by Betsy Finley

The beauty of the Pine Ridge is now behind me.  It’s sort of sad to leave this area I feel so close to, but the road is calling to me so my trip continues.  It’s a crystal clear morning and I’m now on my way to the Black Hills in South Dakota.  What an awesome site to see these hills from 60 miles away.  

The scenery surrounding me are these rolling sand hills where I imagine pioneers traveling across in their covered wagons.  I guess these thoughts keep coming to me since I am doing somewhat the same type of trip although they didn’t have the convenience of paved roads to travel on.  My mind also travels to those famous monuments in the Black

Hills that I plan on seeing, but I have to admit that nothing can be more awe inspiring than the monumental sights I’m seeing right now.  God has blessed us all with wonderful scenery that differs from state to state.

After 5 days on the road I’ve finally made it to Oelrichs, South Dakota.  It’s a small community and is named after Harry Oelrichs, a rancher in that area.  I couldn’t find out any more information on this guy, but I figured he must have been quite the rancher/land owner to have a town named after him.  You may be wondering why it took me 5 days to go 32 miles.  

Well, in the real world I’m preparing for the Thanksgiving holidays.  I have family coming in from Nebraska and the Thanksgiving meal responsibility is mostly on my shoulders.  But the good news is I’m still biking, maybe not as far, but the motivation to continue biking through these holiday times is there and I’m going to embrace this phenomenon.  I say it’s a phenomenon because in past years if I was doing any exercising, it fell by the way side due to the extra activities that occurred during the holidays.  It would take me 6 months to get started again, but that won’t be happening this year because I’m more disciplined with this imaginary road trip.  I have a goal and I plan on achieving that goal.  And I know that my continued riding will help me get through the added stress of the holidays. 

So for all of you who may are thinking about taking a break from exercising through the holidays, try shortening your time instead of giving it up.  It’s a lot easier to lengthen the time when the holidays are over then it is to get started again.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and let’s keep going the distance.

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Back Where My Idea Started

Chadron State Park

by Betsy Finley

 This whole journey started this past June from an idea from a book while vacationing at Chadron State Park.  Well, I’ve biked back to that place and I must say the fall colors are spectacular.  I didn’t expect to find anyone other than a few employees in the park, but I guess there are still people out there who enjoy fall camping.  And they were all so friendly inviting me to dine with them.  As tempting as that was, I was too exhausted to accept the numerous invites.  

Instead, I rented one of the cabins so I could sleep in a real bed.  It was a nice break from the sleeping bag.  That night I sat out on the porch and listened to the wind blowing through the trees.  The peace and tranquility was like Heaven on earth.

As the evening’s chill settled in I went inside and planned the next leg of my journey in the comfort of a heated cabin.  Tomorrow I’ll be backtracking back into town to start my trip to the Black Hills.  I’m excited to be heading there.  I’ve gone through the Black Hills many times, but never on a bike.  I plan on stopping at Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, Reptile Gardens, and maybe Bear Country.  Well, maybe I won’t do Bear Country since I’m on a bike.  I don’t feel like becoming the bears’ lunch.

After spending about an hour on my trip ticket I ate supper then got ready for bed.  As I lay in my bed I thought about where I had started this trip, where I was headed, but mostly I thought about how thankful I was for all that God has given to me.  

I’ve ridden 506 miles since June 18th which works out to be about 3.56 miles per day.  I guess that’s not a lot of miles per day, but it is 3.56 miles more than I was doing when I started this imaginary journey.  Okay, it wasn’t up and down hills like I would have been doing on a real trip, but I’ve still ridden farther than I’ve ever ridden before.  It feels good to have biked back to where this whole idea was born.  And the memory of that night is still crystal clear in my memory.  I believe God touched upon me that night while lying in the bed in that cabin.  And the benefits of this journey continue to grow.  I can’t say enough how this biking trip has changed my attitude with so many things in my real life.  

My biking has also started influencing others to start some form of exercise.  My sister has begun biking in her own way and I’ve had a few co-workers say they are thinking about doing the same.  Now maybe I can’t take credit for them starting an exercise routine, but in my heart I feel I did touch upon them.  It’s a good feeling knowing that this imaginary ride of mine has influenced some to start exercising.  

I’m thankful I kept my heart open to God’s powerful word and allowed His blessings to touch upon my life.  I pray that we all continue to allow God into our hearts, our souls, and our minds each and every day.  May God bless you all and let’s keep “Going the Distance.”

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The Good Life

Nebraska

by Betsy Finley

Nebraska’s state line signs read “Nebraska, The Good Life”.  Well, I’m back in Nebraska and have just finished eating a portion of my 28 ounce Coffee hamburger at Sioux Sundries in Harrison, Nebraska and I must admit this is truly the good life.  I had the pleasure of talking with an elderly local while waiting for my burger. He shared some interesting stories of the Coffee Ranch and life as it is in Harrison.  His rugged face spoke volumes of the hard work he’d put in while living in this ranching community.  If you listen carefully to stories from the elderly locals and watch the lines on their faces, one  can get a feeling of what life must have been like when this area was first being settled.   It can be a harsh territory, but I truly felt close to God while staying here. 

After a good night’s sleep and a visit to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument which is 28 miles south of Harrison, my trip to Chadron State Park continues.  The next leg of my journey will take me through Fort Robinson State Park.  I’m quite sure I’ll need to spend at least a day there because of all the rich history that surrounds this former Cavalry fort  and then a German POW camp during WWII. And Fort Robinson delivered.  What a neat place Fort Robinson State Park is.  I took many tours through the various buildings that once housed the Cavalry.  I stood on the ground where Crazy Horse was killed.  I rode my bike out to where the WWII POW camp used to be and then out even farther where the Red Cloud Agency was headquartered.  There were times I could almost feel the presence of these soldiers and Indians.  It’s a truly fascinating place.

After spending a day and a half at the Fort, I took an easy 3-mile bike ride into Crawford, Nebraska.  This town, too, has a rich history and is named after a soldier stationed at the Fort.  But to my big delight I found a wonderful quilt store where I was able to buy another stash of fabric for my trip quilt.  The women at this store were very friendly and informative as were the other folks in town.  It made me want to set up home there, but that would mean ending my trip and I’m not nearly ready to do that.  

After a tour through the local winery in Crawford, I ate dinner at the local Dairy Keen which boasts of the best BBQ north of Texas.  I do believe they are correct as I had my fill and still have leftovers for tomorrow.  My time spent in Nebraska so far has truly depicted their state line road sign motto “The Good Life.”  It truly is a good life here and a place I’ll be coming back to.

And after spending the last couple of days in my real life at home due to inclement weather, I ponder on my imaginary biking travels and the time I have actually spent at Fort Robinson and in Crawford.  My biking has been instrumental in making my life more centered, healthier, and happier.  And my memories of actual time spent at Fort Bob and Crawford are fond memories of a quieter life, a life of simplicity where you can walk outside and enjoy what God gives to us each and every day.  I believe it is this same feeling of simplicity I get from riding; a feeling I try to keep in my life so that I, too, can enjoy “The Good Life.”  And, as usual, I hope that all you who are reading this can find “the good life” in your life whatever “the good life” may be to you.  It’s different for all of us, but then we are all different.  May God bless you all and thanks for your continued support.

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