August 14, Day 43 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
We tackled a huge hill leaving our rustic cabin on the Missouri River this morning. Yet, that was nothing compared to the unrelenting wind we encountered as we headed south and east from the Snake Creek Recreational Area. Give me hills over a headwind any day. I love tailwinds. They push me farther than I thought possible. However, with a headwind, even when I want to move, I can’t. Wind is a humbling foe, or friend, depending on what direction it is blowing.
There were times today when we were on FLAT terrain and I was pushing to go 6 mph. In my twenties and thirties, I could run faster than that. At times, we were riding downhill and we were only able to muster 10 mph. Normally, a downhill ride would get us up to 40 mph. Today was a struggle to say the least. It took us over five hours to bicycle 44 miles.
So, we stopped in Bonesteel, South Dakota, for a break from the wind, and to decide what our journey forward should be for the remainder of the daylight. Many of the towns we bike through on the Adventure Cycling maps are one-or-none-motel-room towns. Bonesteel happened to have a small motel run by a 90-year-old woman. Marge does not take credit or debit cards and rooms go for $30 a night.
We met a pair of sisters who were visiting their 98-year-old mother (who is a friend of the motel proprietor). I hit it off with the two sisters and they highly recommended the motel. The only problem was that Marge was out of town and wouldn’t be back until later. So, Tim and I hung out talking to the sisters and getting some insight into the town of Bonesteel. It seems that everyone is related to someone in town.
The most enjoyable part of traveling through South Dakota is the small-town, friendly communities. People look at you and greet you with a hello or a wave. They seem generally content and relaxed, enjoying life on a day-to-day basis. It is refreshing to be around a slower pace of life. Maybe it is the wind that slows them down, it sure did that to us today. They actually just accept the fact that it is always windy. Maybe I need to do the same, accept the wind, even if it is knocking me back on every turn of my pedals. Fighting the wind just isn’t working. I can’t change the direction of the wind so I might as well not fight it or complain about it.
Such is the case with life. You can wrestle with your uncontrollable circumstances, and wear yourself out with little to show for it. Or, you can accept them and make the most of the situation, or choose to work around it. It’s helpful to recognize those things that you can change and those you can’t. Accepting what you can’t change and working to change what you can will maximize your progress.