Off we go into the wild blue yonder, riding high into the sun- a quest for the treasures of the midwest.
I excelled in art as a youngster; the one area of school no mean boy could make fun. I was overweight and had a bad case of asthma which kept me from joining most organized sports. However, inhaler in hand, I sure did climb those mountains and swim the creek- I was happiest outside.
Most 16 year olds were asking for a set of four wheels and chrome to drive them and their friends to the football game on Friday nights- I on the other hand was set on two spoke wheels and titanium to see my small corner of the world a few MPG slower. No gas here, my legs were the gallons and when they gassed out I was late for supper.
I was determined to lose weight and felt FREE as I coasted the rolling hills and pedaled the farm land. You know what made me pedal faster? Passing the pig farm on a hot day, racing an Amish buggy, out-riding the viscous attack dog on Highway 48 and staying ahead of the thunderstorms.
Every weekday I sped through the door, threw my books down and put on my helmet- a promise I made to my father who wouldn't let me ride without it. I set my goal (a few more miles each day) and pretty soon I was biking for hours, surprising myself. My motivation and determination was greater than any outside vice; it was the drive I had deep in my heart to become healthy and accomplish my goals- I felt good and gained confidence.
When I took my first teaching job in ND, my bicycle went with me. It was only natural to explore the countryside riding my bicycle. I watched the conductor blow his whistle as the train click-clacked down the tracks outside of Sheyenne, I admired the wild horses as they ran the Badlands and used the many sunflower fields as my directional device- the natural sundial. When I passed a gas pump, I smiled knowing my ride was free- I just arrived at my destination a bit more inspired…and tired -nothing like the fresh air to make one sleep like a baby.