23 Riders in Shorts!by Ron Keall
Both Velda and Marion tell me I can’t relate any of the ‘horror stories’, but heck, they’re the best ones! Besides, I ain’t afraid of Velda and Marion! So here they come!
Hmmm…can’t quite recall too many this year – no buffalo gorings, no cliff-jumping,no freezing bodies in the campground and no snowstorms raging across the badlands.
Hey, this can’t be good! No one wants to read about boring stuff like listening to Queen’s “Bicycle” song in the newly re-named Juniper campground or being served chocolate Easter eggs by Kristen, showering in the bush or being lucky enough to spy the wild mustangs twice! Do they?
Well, why not? We did have a near-freezing experience when John Allen forgot his sleeping bags and Joy did have a bison give her an evil look and a threatening gesture, and we did encounter more than 100 bison on the roads this year. So there was some excitement and action, right?
Actually this was one of the best Teddy Tours I’ve had the pleasure to attend. Twenty-one cyclists joined in the fun this year and a record-breaking three-quarters of them actually camped!! There were several non-Freewheeler campers, and we were spread out a bit more than normal, but the Easter Bunny managed to find us all.
The St. Goddard site was a busy meeting place Jerry was kept occupied brewing coffee, and Tyier’s and Michael’s colossal sleeping pad bore a strange resemblance to the giant bag of marshmallows they devoured.
Velda, long the repository of many club traditions started a couple of new ones this year. We were not only visited by the Easter Chicken who brought with her a unique collection of eggs bearing the names of all the club rides, but we also experienced the wonder of Buttershots on morning pancakes!
We started the North Loop at 2 PM, and by the time that first little hill was mastered, the sound of riders shamelessly bragging about ‘climbing that hill in my middle chainring’ was almost drowned out by the wheezing of those who hadn’t actually kept in shape over the winter!.
We stopped several times to admire the view. The newer, less experienced riders were encouraged to practice the buffalo-chasing techniques mastered by the veterans, but Auntie B kept Tim in check, and we once again resorted to the classic ‘waiting’ master plan. John Sutton and Ron managed to have their cycling partners ‘volunteer’ to take the outside lane, but only to afford them a better view of the spectacle..
Our tour of the South Unit was punctuated with one bison stop, a lengthy and complicated picture-taking session at Scoria Point, and the traditional lunch at the summit of Buck Hill. Very few riders felt the need to take shelter in the usual protected spot. Was that due to the very mild weather conditions or the lunch of Limburger cream cheese and kippered herrings consumed there by one of the riders?
After invading the shower facilities of the non-camping hotel guests (many thanks folks!!) we headed to Sergio’s for supper only to discover that it had closed. Appleby’s proved a good replacement..
Most riders chose an early departure on Sunday, but some did stay to enjoy a ride/hike trip to the Ridge Line trail. A new Sunday trip option was also discovered in the Sully Creek State Park..
This 14th trip to Teddy proved to be just as enjoyable as all the others and a superb start to the cycling season. Please do make plans to join us next year. You won’t be sorry! The mysterious new cement pad in the Cottonwood Campground was later identified as the start of a new group camping site that should be ready for next year, and there will be the option of following the newly-formed Maah-Daah-Hey Trail between the North and South units of the park.
Article by Ron Keall (originally published in Freewheelin’ June 1998)