City Hall In the town of Bonesteel SD, I experienced one of the most heartbreaking scenes of my trip. I had stopped in Bonesteel only because of the name. I thought it was going to be a really cool. I didn’t initally write about it because the people I stayed the night with worked for the local newspaper and they knew my name and there was always a chance they would look up the blog and read what I’m about to write. The town was pretty much a dump in the middle of nowhere. I was thinking about treating myself to a motel for the night but the lone motel in town had a be back at 5 o’clock sign in the office window so I started weighing my options and looking for another place to stay. I found a little trailer park that had tent camping with showers and electricity and it was only like 8 bucks! It was still early in the afternoon so i didn’t really want to set up my tent in the trailer park and just sit in the sun. I kept riding around town snapping pics and waiting to talk to the folks at the motel or go set up camp at the TP.(trailer park. not toilet paper) As I was taking pics on a pretty dead main drag (the only main drag), a lady (lets say her name was Linda) came out of a building and asked what I was doing. Linda worked for the town newspaper and wanted to interview me and snapped a picture for an article: I was big news in Bonesteel. I explained about my ride, like I’d done a thousand times, and mentioned I was going to probably spend the night at the TP and she said if I wanted to I could instead set up camp in her backyard and save the 8 bucks. I gladly took her up on her offer, as I had with many other generous folks along my way. She gave me directions to her house by the baseball fields and I cycled over as she followed a few minutes later in her Chevy Camaro.
At the house I met Timmy who was about 3 years old and completely full of energy, but not your typical toddler energy, this was more like an unnatural rambunctiousness. Linda, who was middle age-ish and had an insulated coffee mug with ice and probably some sort of booze, explained to me that Timmy was her daughter Sally’s kiddo and she was taking care of him because Sally was in jail. Sally got caught stealing Nyquil from Wal-Mart after she had already been caught stealing at that same Wally world earlier that year. She got charged with theft and trespassing because she was banned from the store after her last incident. To make matters worse, she had some weed in her purse so she got a drug charge too. And the icing on the cake was she had just turned 18 so she was going to be charged as an adult. I know you’re probably thinking this couldn’t be true, but the people you might see on a daytime tv show like Jerry Springer, do exist. Linda continued to show me around the house smoking a cigarette as she did. The living room and kitchen had all those kitchy decorations you would see at a Cracker barrel or truckstop. The living room was a red, white and blue patriotically-themed nightmare and the kitchen was done up with a more subtle country style, bare wood motif. Linda showed me the bathroom and as she got me a towel as she ashed her ciggy in the bathroom sink. After I cleaned up I went outside and met Linda’s son who lives in a trailer parked in the driveway and looks like a methed out version of Kid Rock. He was excited to hear about my trip and he said “heck, you’re crazy doing all that ridin”! Linda went back to the newspaper and Kid Rock Jr. and I were going to hang out and enjoy the afternoon together. I asked him if he liked beer and he said something like “do I” all excited. I went to the gas station and got a 12er of Budweiser and a sixer of Stella Artois. He asked what the stella was and I explained it was kinda like a fancy Budweiser. Jr and I were enjoying some beer and the afternoon sun when his fiancé came out of the trailer holding a Pepsi and smoking a cigarette. Molly also happened to be pregnant. A few kids came out of the trailer after Molly. They all looked a little dirty and had on clothes that looked like they needed a good wash
AA A few minutes later a car, that you could hear coming from a mile away because the muffler must have fallen off, pulled up in the drive way. I could see kids crawling all around in the car like ants, from front seat to back seat. None of them were in a seatbelt. Sarah, Linda’s oldest daughter and three or four kids all piled out of the car. Sarah was, like Molly, pregnant and just so happened to be smoking a cigarette! All of us adults sat around chatting while the kids played with a little dog that molly called The Devil. Mad dog( it was a real terrorist, I remember it stealing some food from one of the kids and running underneath the trailer to enjoy his snack) I was telling everyone about my bike ride and I mentioned I stopped at a gas station in a small town earlier that day for a Taco Tuesday lunch.Taco Tuesday! Molly, who’s originally from Missouri, responded: “South Dakotas so gay, they ain’t even have a Taco Bell like they do in Missouri!” After a little bit Sarah and a few kids left to go home and Molly and Jr went into the trailer to argue over something. I was left with Timmy and two or three other kids sitting outside with the trouble making dog. One of the kids, let’s call him Luke, said “mister, you sure do drink a lot of beer!” I agreed with him. I was definitely using beer as a security blanket in a pretty strange situation. I gave the kids some gifts of random stuff I had with me from my travels.Tail-lights and outdoor crib ( some extra tail-lights for the boys to play with and I think a couple of pins or buttons for the girl) The kids and I went in to the house to find something to eat because they said they were hungry. They helped themselves to some frozen pizza that Linda made earlier in the day and when they were still hungry, dined on raw ramen noodles and raw hotdogs. They were breaking noodles off the block like a cracker and then chasing it with a little powder from the spice packet. The two older kids from the trailer helped me put Timmy to bed, which involved filling his bottle up with iced tea and putting on the tv, like some sort of bedtime story, until he fell asleep. I’m pretty sure it was a water bed that he was on and I hope it was because Timmy had peed himself and maybe no one would notice that wet stuff or they might think it was just a little leak. Afterwards, Luke showed me his toy car collection and one of the girls went into the trailer to put on her prettiest dress: something like an Easter number with bows and ribbons. I said goodnight to the kids and they went into the trailer and I went into my red shag carpeted room that smelled like an ashtray. After a few minutes, Luke knocked on my door and handed me some quarters he’d been saving. He said he wanted to help me with my bike ride. I told him I couldn’t take them but thanks so much for being such a nice kid. I slept ontop of the sheets in my clothes with all my bags packed, just in case I needed to get out of there in a moments notice. Jr. and Molly were arguing in the trailer and I wasn’t sure if Jr was high on meth or something and might freak out and snap and come beat me up in a meth rage. I slept as well as I could despite the occasional arguing coming from the trailer and thinking about how bad I felt for these poor kids.20130209-204035.jpg In the morning the pregnant ladies and Jr. drove into town for to go to the Drs. The ladies to get their prego checkups ( Molly didn’t know how far along she was) and Jr. probably was going to get some medicine to help with his meth addiction. I pedaled to the café by the gas station and had coffee, in a Nascar cup, and a nice greasy spoon breakfast to fuel me for the day’s ride. After I ate I went back to the house, which was always unlocked. I wanted to see if the kids were back so I could say goodbye. No one was there. But all I could think of was how Luke had asked me yesterday: “mister, are we good kids?” A few minutes later I rolled out of Bonesteel with lots on my mind. Family Portrait