North to Alaska

Day 13


“You are fools to make yourselves slaves to a piece of fat bacon, some hard-tack, and a little sugar and coffee.” – Sitting Bull


“….to Christianize and civilize the Indian and to train him in the arts of peace.” – President Ulysses S. Grant


Another battlefield – The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.  I find myself wondering if “christianize” is a synonym for slaughter.


There is nothing particularly spectacular about today – mainly because the whole day is spectacular.  In light of last week’s accident, it is nothing short of miraculous that I am riding West instead of flying East.


Repacking the bike and trailer takes a little time after two days in the hospital and six days in the same hotel room.


It’s a beautiful 57-degree morning as I ride downtown to see the doctor – he’s going to tell me if I’m O.K. to ride – or to start making plans to fly home.  After reading the x-rays, he tells me that the ribs are already starting to knit back together – and there’s no medical reason I shouldn’t continue my trip to Alaska.  I want to hug him – but instead we talk flying for a couple of minutes – Doc, I sure hope you enjoy your Saratoga as much as I enjoy my Valkyrie.


Most would say the Interstate between Rapid City, SD and Billings, MT is a pretty boring ride – but not to me – not today.  I understand that I lost a whole week of my trip, but I am grateful that I have the remaining four weeks.


The Little Bighorn truly represents a clash of cultures.  The nomadic and spirit-filled life of our indigenous peoples could not survive the onslaught of greed to retrieve the Black Hills gold.  Clearly then, as now, the tectonic plates of different cultures grind and groan until the killing starts all over again.


I look at the stars wishing for reasonable people, a sweat lodge and a pipe.


So to you and Iowa Sioux and Sue, German Shepherd, Boston, MA – I say goodnight from Billings, MT – once again riding North to Alaska.