Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 4 Wednesday, June 29, 2011

North Sioux City, South Dakota to Pierre, South Dakota
Miles Traveled Today: 349.0
Total Miles: 1497.6

Today started out much better than yesterday. We headed back across the river to Sioux City and visited the Sgt. Floyd Monument. He was the only individual to die on the original expedition. We believe today that he died from appendicitis, and at that time he could not have been saved no matter where he would have been, even Washington, D.C.

To think that all the rest of the Corps of Discovery made it back is unbelieveable. "All the stars aligned for them," is how Jeff put it today. "If another group had tried to do that, they would have been killed by the Indians." The best part of the 100 foot obelisk monument was on a plaque. It stated simply, "Graves of such men are pilgrim shrines, shrines to no class or creed confined ." God bless our troops.

The ride that followed was long and hot. By the time we reached Pierre the heat index was 101 degrees, so we all got some sun today. All along the Missouri we saw more flooding, including the Nebraska/South Dakota border near Yankton. They had all the spillways open, and a number of homes were at risk of flooding.

Bikers know that part of the ride is the scenery, but another thing that we seem to notice is the smell. Being on a bike allows the pleasant, and unpleasant, odors to reach the nose immediately. From the skunks, garbage trucks, and livestock to fresh cut hay, clover, lilacs, and all those smells near the water, we ran the gamut the last two days. Being out in nature allows for so much discovery, good or bad.

Some of the views were pretty spectacular. Looking down from the hills around Chamberlain, SD, we ran alongside the Missouri for a number of miles. Then we drove away from the river, and the land became desolate, but still beautiful. Sometimes we would see a herd of cattle and realize that 200 years ago there were no fences, and those animals would have been bison. That would have been quite a sight.

We'll finish with a little humor today, very little. There was a huge bull standing in the corner of a field near SD 34. The rest of the herd was on the other end of the field a few hundred yards away. It looked odd, as if  he had been placed there because he had done something wrong. As teachers, it looked like he had been put in a timeout, probably because he was being a bull-y. You may groan now.

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