Land of Dreams and Fantasies (A collage of word pictures from Teddy Tour 2000)
By: Tamela Friesen, first published in Freewheelin‘ 2000
My First Impression . . .Theodore Roosevelt National Park, an expanse of land and sky etched with endless stories, sprawls as far as the eye can see as we break over the crest of the hill after several hours in the car. It’s desert-like, barren and stark, with BIG sky. My jaw drops in awe of the artistry of nature.
It’s Quite Not Like Cycling the Prairie . . . Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling. I reach for my gear lever. No more gears. Miles more hill. Humph. Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling.
The Pinnacle . . . Ahhhh, the pinnacle – time for a rest. There’s a wood shelter here, overlooking the drying river valley. I scramble up onto the roof because I can. It’s warm and windy. I spread my arms, close my eyes, and let my mind soar. The wind blows me back in time to when I was five years old. I dream that I am a great, young brave from 400 years ago. I am on a spiritual pilgrimage to adulthood and have been wandering alone for days. Here I stand, on the pinnacle, in the summer wind. Before me are the badlands, the sky, and the buffalo. Let the journey begin.
It’s Quite Not Like Cycling the Prairie Part II . . . Fear of God stirs in my heart. Winding, narrow, empty road. Screaming fifteen-minute downhill. 40, 50, 60, 65 . . . faster and faster I speed. Carving the corners as aggressively as I dare. “What if I loose traction, scrape my skin off on the pavement, and hurl off the edge into a crevasse of cactus?” “Tamela, this is not the time to visualize that.” New visualization: YEEEHAAAAAH with a GREAT, BIG grin!
Campground Imaginations . ..Stars. Black sky and millions of stars. The cool air caresses my ears. An end-of-the-long-hot-day-of-cycling sigh escapes. What a glorious way to top it off – a lonely walk on a warm, summer night. Suddenly I freeze. I squint and as the sight before me refuses to come into focus, reality blurs and I feel like I’m six. I fear that there are monsters lurking in the dark of this campground! Wait! “I’m an adult,” I remind myself, “I need not let my imagination run so wild.” It’s people, just one happy person with a bounce in their step, carrying a flashlight. I continue my dreamy walk. Hang on – are their two people? I wonder why they don’t get closer as they walk toward me? I hear the grass. Are they coming?
“Are you . . . people?” I venture tentatively.
No response. Unusually unfriendly, I surmise. I edge forward a little more, squinting into the darkness, guiding my eyes with my light. Behold the hulking outline of a 3000-lb buffalo between me and my beloved biffy! I decide I can wait and return to my trusty cycling mates. I wish I were six again.
Stats on the Teddy Tour:
- Who: The Wascana Freewheeler’s Bicycle Club
- What: Car camping with bikes, summer gear and winter gear – hotels available
- Where: Spectacular Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota
- When: Annually on Easter Weekend
- Why: Tonnes of fun with friends, whether riding bike or coming along for a weekend of relaxation and sight-seeing in the Badlands.