|Left Trailrace Campground, SD|
It was my last night on the road without family. I wanted to drive about halfway across South Dakota, and picked the campground because it was a state park and not too far off the freeway.
It turned out to be a beautiful little spot. As I pulled in, there was a guy standing there, signing up for his camp site.
He told me I looked familiar. I said, "probably not".
He asked if I was going into town later. I said, "no".
He took a look at my bike, and said, "Marin. Nice." I said, "you know how to fix a front derailleur?"
He said, "yup, used to work on bikes all the time." I said, "you may get into town after all."
So, we went back to the camp sites, and he took a look at the bike. The derailleur had frozen because I hadn't been riding the bike enough. He oiled it some, had me work it back and forth while he went to take a shower, put it back on and tada! Worked like a charm. I took him to town to pick up a six pack and some OJ. Fair's fair.
We came back and started talking. Bill turned out to be a fascinating fellow. He's a self-proclaimed narcissist, seventy years old, and when we met, had been on the water for three months, canoeing his way down the Missouri river. (I asked how far he intended to go, he said he had no idea...) The day we met, he'd traveled over 25 miles down river - to go .6 miles by land. He gets up in the morning around 5, canoes until shortly after noon, then stops for the night - in a campground if one is available; on the riverbanks if it's not.
I don't think I could do it - he's lived for three months with the stuff he can fit into a good-sized waterproof rucksack. Which might not be so bad if one didn't have to fit the tent and sleeping bag into the thing. Talk about traveling light; makes my camper van seem downright spacious.
I had to admire him for taking on the journey. What an adventure!