It's a hot day, but the water is COLD!
We swam out to the rock island you see in the picture above. (Remember our mission to re-teach Kristhawee how to swim?)
C'mon in! The water's FINE!
Oh my, underage babe alert
If admiring beautiful girls is a crime, let me be guilty!!
Kristhawee is.... um... doing laundry??
Oh, no, silly me, he's making a weapon!
Ok little dude- let's rumble!
Making friends on the beach- this family, if I recall correctly, was also from Minnesota-
Kristhawee is building a volcano! (Serious work- just look at his face)
We climbed up the rocks next to the beach and you get some nice views of Lake Sylvan-
These would make a nice panorama if I could be arsed to stitch them together ;)
Hike a little further on the rocks and you discover this amazing view that wasn't even visible from the beach-
Even more beautiful with my son in the picture
Father and Son at Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park, Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
Kristhawee's feet are getting tougher!
Having fun scrambling around on the rocks-
We swam some more then quite suddenly black clouds rolled in and we enjoyed a nice afternoon thunderstorm. There was lightening so we took cover.
While we were taking shelter in a little gazebo-like structure in the parking lot a bunch of emergency vehicles showed up along with search and rescue types- apparently an older gentleman had been hiking to the top of Harney Peak (the tallest mountain east of the Rockies) and had collapsed...
It's not a very tough hike, but the pine beetle has killed off most of the trees which means the trail is now very exposed and it was a hot sunny day. Hopefully the gent was just suffering from heat exhaustion and nothing more serious.
We met a single father with two daughters and the younger one was around my son's age. They were getting along great and were kind of playing tag, ducking under the railings of the gazebo when the older daughter misjudged the clearance and ran head first into the concrete rail
She kind of knocked herself out and then came to and had a seizure- I caught her before she hit the ground and the seizure passed very quickly but it was pretty scary and her little sister totally lost it.
Fortunately there were already plenty of medical and emergency personnel on the scene. They checked the girl out and said she was probably ok but that dad ought to take her for an X-ray just to be sure.
Yikes! It's scary how quickly good times can go bad.
I always had that thought in the back of my head on this trip- the "what if" nightmare scenarios of crashing the bike with my son strapped to it. I consider myself a pretty experienced rider, chose one of the safest touring bikes on the planet and didn't take ANY chances but still, no matter how skilled you might be or how much you might prepare, you can never control EVERYTHING.
You never know when a drunk driver might take you out (been there done that) a bison decides to use you as target practice, you blow a tire in a hairpin with no guardrail, etc etc.
Yet on the flip side, LIFE is dangerous. There is RISK in everything we do. I feel like more and more people choose "safety" over common sense, to the point where many people live their lives in fear, obsessed with making everything "safe" and eliminating as much risk as they can and as a result don't really LIVE.
Don't want to go too far off on a tangent, but I've been reading this other thread called "When do you call it quits" (http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=819513
) and many people there have voiced my feelings of concern and malaise better than I can.
Suffice to say, the ride with my son was epic, perfect, couldn't have gone better, and for that I thank my lucky stars. I hope we can do similar rides in the future and that some day, when he's old enough to ride his own bike that we'll get to ride together. I'm certainly not ready to call it quits and I'm pretty sure my son feels the same way. But if his feelings change maybe we'll do it in a car next time, or rent an RV and bring the whole family along.
Born and raised for his first four years in Thailand he grew up on 2 wheels and learned right away that he NEVER gets on a bike without a helmet, so he found it quite surprising and couldn't understand why SO FEW of the bikers we encountered this summer wore helmets.
I moved to Asia in the late 90's and this is the first big road trip I've done in the US in ~15 years. It seems to me that while I was gone a lot more motorcycles have taken to the roads and that a lot LESS people are wearing helmets... No doubt for the folks living in the US it's been a gradual change, but for me being away for 15 year the sudden and noticeable increase in bare headed bikers was quite striking. What happened?
We encountered these bikes at a gas station somewhere west of Sioux Falls, SD and neither wore helmets or had windscreens.
The result was that one took a big bug/beetle in the face, high on the cheek, just below his fashionably small sunglasses at 75mph and now his eye was so swollen he couldn't see out of it anymore... The folks in the parking lot were trying to help decide what to do. Most were telling him to go to the hospital, but the biker chose to continue on with one good eye, no helmet, no windscreen and the same little sunglasses...
All in the name of what? "Freedom"? Looking "cool"? Being "tough"? I just don't get it... I mean, I AM guilty of occasionally going for a spin without a helmet on, so I'm certainly not in a position to preach. It DOES feel good to cruise around a lake or down a main street with the wind in your hair and nothing over your ears, but cruising on an interstate at 75mph with no windscreen and no helmet is NOT my idea of a good time...
And isn't it just WEIRD that 49 of our 50 States have deemed that splitting traffic on a motorcycle is so dangerous it's illegal, yet riding without a helmet is permitted in some ~19 States?! What's up with that?! I just can't understand the logic or rational, if any behind that contradiction.
Ok ok, sorry, really didn't mean to go on like that, but recounting the story of the little girl knocking herself out just brought it all to a head and it feels good to put pen to paper, so to speak, and try to make sense of it all.
On with the ride!!!
Roads were a bit wet so we took it nice and easy- more tunnels and hairpins
We were soon back in the sun and on our way to Deadwood!