Posts tagged Road Trip

Taking the Plunge

by Betsy Finley

My biking has slowed down some and I’d like to say it’s because the Black Hills are so beautiful to look at.  As I ride into Hot Springs, SD my mind wanders back to that trip my family took through the Black Hills years ago when I was about 10 years old.  We’d stopped at a gas station to fill up and I wondered what it would be like to live in a tourist town.  It would be many years later that I would experience that type of life when I moved to Aspen, CO.  But for today, I’m looking at the beauty of the red rocks and Fall River which runs through Hot Springs.  I can almost hear the voices of those people who settled here so very many years ago.  The Sioux and Cheyenne came here for the warm springs.  It wasn’t long before the European settlers discovered the benefits of these  warm spring waters.  Soon after arriving, these settlers made Hot Springs their new home renaming it in 1882 from Minnekahta to Hot Springs.  

It was from these warm spring waters that Evans Plunge was established.  The Sioux and Cheyenne fought fierce battles trying to lay claim to the ownership of these springs.  The Sioux emerged victorious, but in 1876, Colonel W.J. Thornby discovered the source of the warm creek.  He traded his spring to Joe Petty for a horse.  In 1890 Evans Plunge was built by Fred Evans.  Originally it was used as a health cure for many illnesses, but today it’s enjoyed by tourists from all over the world.  

After a quick breakfast at Fall River Bakery, I head down the street to take the plunge at Evans Plunge.  The water was refreshing and I did feel rejuvenated.  I also took in Mammoth Site, did some shopping at the numerous antique and art shops in town, and then decided to head to Wind Cave for a tour there.  

Wind Cave still fascinates me.  I can’t imagine the first people who explored these caves on their own.  Being slightly claustrophobic, I’m always grateful for the tour guide’s ability to get us into the cave and back out of the cave.  Years ago I thought it would have been fun to do a little spelunking, but now I’ll just take the open road on my bike as opposed to crawling around in a cave. Tomorrow I’ll plunge deeper into the Black Hills.  My next destination is Pringle, SD. 

I’ve been through Pringle several times in my life, but I honestly can’t say I know much about this town.  I had an uncle who lived there for some time and had a lumber business while there, but other than that Pringle will just be a rest stop on my way to Custer, SD.

And, as always, I end my blog about my imaginary trip with a bit of realism.  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.  I didn’t get as much riding in as I had hoped, but I did manage to get a couple of riding days in.  My family was impressed with my trip and commented on the weight I’d taken off.  I think it’s more that I’m toning my body as opposed to dropping a lot of weight.  I do know that my biking helped me through the hectic Thanksgiving week and I’m happy to be on schedule again.  I hope to be in Spearfish, SD by Christmas.  So may the coming holidays bless you with the courage to go the distance and take a plunge into a new adventure, what ever that may be.  God bless you all.


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Imaginary or Real, It’s All Good

small town

by Betsy Finley

Whew!! I’m glad to have left the Interstate. It seems the back roads are an easier ride from the information on my trip-ticket; the next few towns being a little closer

together. I should be able to make it from town to town for the next few days although, according to my research, the next few towns are barely towns.

My first stop after leaving I-25 was Shawnee, Wyoming, a small unincorporated town. It made for a good rest stop, though. Town number 2 was superb. I spent the night at the

mayor’s home in Lost Springs, Wyoming. You may be wondering how it came to be that I spent the night at the mayor’s house. Well, Lost Springs is a town of 1, the mayor, and is known as the smallest incorporated town in the U.S.

As I rode into Lost Springs I noticed that the only business open was the “Lost Bar”. To my surprise, the mayor was there and was gracious enough to give me a tour of the town which is pretty much the Town Hall, an antique store where I was able to buy a trinket or two, the “Lost Bar”, an outhouse, the old jail, and a few dilapidated buildings that are standing only by the grace of God. It was nice to have spent the night in a real bed and the mayor was a great cook. What a pleasure to have come through this little town of one. Actually a few other people live there, but they were not included in the last census.

With each passing town I meet more and more people who add a little zest to my life. Some give me great history of the surrounding area, stories one would never read in a history book like those stories I heard in Van Tassell, Wyoming where it’s known as a ghost town although people still live there. Others give me tips on where to eat, places to avoid, and will often give me some home cooked food to take with me on my travels.

This is the way to see the United States. There are those people who are suspicious of the stranger in town, that crazy lady riding a bike across the U.S., but for the most part people are great. You just have to open your heart and mind and do a lot of listening. It helps that I’ve researched most towns I go through prior to getting to them. That research helps open those doors in towns where everyone knows everyone.

By next week I should be in Nebraska and will partake in the largest burger in the U.S. at Sioux Sundries in Harrison, Nebraska. I’m sure I’ll need to take a day off from riding after attempting to eat a 28 ounce hamburger. I think I’ll be eating leftovers for a couple of days.

And, as usual, I remind myself that this is my imaginary trip, but allowing my mind to visualize such adventures surely makes the miles fly by on what would have been a boring exercise routine; a routine that would have long been stopped had I not added a little imagination. I feel like a kid again playing imaginary games with imaginary friends. Watch a child play some imaginary game and you’ll see that in their mind it’s all real. Don’t allow the pressures of life drag you down, keep the child in you alive.

You, too, will see a change in your energy, work performance, relationships, and all other facets of life.

May God bless you all and let’s keep going the distance.

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