Posted by: twistsoffeet | July 30, 2011

It would be so easy to…

Today was basically a horrible day. It would be so easy to be totally negative at this point but I will attempt to bring some balance to this post.
I woke at 04:30 in pain from this RA that torments me daily but wanting to ride anyway. The weather didn’t want to cooperate though. My first view outside the tent showed thick fog that would be just plain dangerous to ride in. So I kicked back for a couple of hours hoping it would clear up but it got thicker instead. Finally I decided that if I didn’t get up then I wouldn’t move once the fog did clear so out of my tent I crawled and packed up everything.
At 09:00 there was a slight hint of the fog lifting so I hit the road but feeling in the pit of my stomach that it was a mistake and it was. Soon I was hit with a short lived but strong rain storm. I was already 3 miles into the ride so I just kept going, Thank goodness for fleece. For the next 16 miles I struggled through the pain of my arthritis along with battling a headwind and basically climbing a very shallow grade. Then I got relief just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue. The relief was in the form of an 8 mile shallow grade downhill section with a couple of very short low grade uphills thrown in just to keep me honest. The fact of the matter is that I also had a tailwind for the first time in a very long time and combined with the downhill I reached speeds of 31 mph and except for a couple of quick strokes I didn’t have to pedal for 8 miles.
Then just as suddenly as the tailwind started it turned to a headwind at the same time as the rolling hills started and back to struggling through the pain I was in. I am however very grateful for the 8 miles of no pedaling as I truly question if I could have completed today’s ride without it.
I will say right now that for the most part I have an extreme dislike for Chadron NE. I tried to camp at the city parks but the police said no camping and if I did I would be arrested. They say this is because the Native Americans (not his term) get drunk and pass out in the park and they can not allow that. So now my philosophical question is do I have a right to be upset? and if so who or what should I be upset with? Should I be upset with the Native’s for their inability to handle alcohol or the Europeans who brought them alcohol and who continue to profit from their alcoholism? Should I be upset with the tribes who seem to fail to put enough effort into eradicating this or at least minimizing this scourge amongst it’s people? Or do I put the blame on the Europeans and white Americans who took everything from these people forced them to live in subhuman conditions while taking their religion and all they hold dear and valuable, while continuing to profit from their treatment of the native population? Should I be angry that these people lost all sense of hope and self respect at the hands of the white man and by loosing that hope and self worth and self respect have they no other choice but to become alcoholics?  Did the white man by providing the natives with some land and a monthly tribal check enslave the natives by holding them captive with our money? I think the blame and or responsibility falls on both sides of this fence and it is a far more difficult problem to solve than I am wise enough to resolve. But I do put much of the blame on white America and our policies for the last 200 years.
My ancestors walked the trail of tears (actually it was many trails over several years led by several different army commanders and soldiers) so I may be biased in my compassion for the native Americans and the societal problems they now face. But I believe we each have the ability to make choices and bear responsibility for those choices. So how do we change American policies in regards to the native Americans? And how do we help or teach or guide the native Americans into making more positive choices? These are questions that need to be answered in regards to the rest of society also as we also have our issues.
Now that I have gone on my tirade and put things out there I will describe the next part of my day.  I went to at least 6 churches in Chadron and failed to find a living person at a single church so I couldn’t camp at a church. I tried the local agency in charge of assisting the homeless and less fortunate but guess what? There was nobody home there also. I would have been able to get a hot meal if I had contacted them but that isn’t what I wanted. I just wanted some suggestions on where to camp for the night.
At this point I headed down the road for the next town 25 miles away. But the rain came again and after the rain winds that nearly knocked me off my bike and when I got off the bike they nearly blew me off my feet. I  came to the Eagles Rest RV Park outside of Chadron but nobody was home, just my luck today. But I was able to get behind a building and keep much of the wind off of me. Then the proprietor came back and after some discussion decided I could camp for free but couldn’t  use their shower facilities. At least I had a water faucet to get water that I could use to make myself less offensive to the public. I am grateful for her letting me stay there at all.
|Now I can’t shower and have no electricity to charge my laptop with but I am comfortable inside my tent while the wind blows ferociously outside.


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