Another great day on the Ride - with a couple of deviations. We spent some time touring and learning about the Battle of Little Big Horn and the events that led up to it, and followed it. National cemeteries are always somber places ... and when you can spend time learning about history, then go walk through the fields where soldiers and Indians died, it brings it home in a whole new way.
Then we stopped by the Rapid City Harley dealer. Sturgis Rally is in full swing (it's the first official day, but the vendors have been setting up for a week, and everywhere you go, there are lots and lots of motorcycles. I believe Sturgis is bigger than Daytona - it certainly feels like it is, even though we never even went downtown. Trying to get bikes and a truck through that traffic would have been a nightmare.
We also got to connect with several of the Sioux City posse, and picked up another Rider (or two?) for the next leg of the trip.
On a personal note, our sons dropped in on Susan (my wife) over the weekend. They live in Columbus and Canton, Georgia (outside Atlanta), so the round trip made the visit kind of a big deal. Susan's been missing me - maybe even more than usual - this trip, and the boys helped her get through a water heater leak that left 2 inches of water in the garage ... and they laughed, ate, watched movies, and laughed some more.
I was thinking about that a lot on the ride yesterday and today. Susan and I are blessed to have great sons, and frankly, they've been blessed to have parents who love them and each other.
Not every kid is so lucky. What happens in a child's life when they can't trust their parents? Who do they turn to when challenges come up that more-experienced people can simply handle, but that leave a child in a quandary? How do you grow up to be a healthy, functioning member of society? That's what Our House help kids work through - equipping them to figure out situations and make decisions, and helping families get to the point where they can rely on each other, and work together to solve problems.
Susan and I started telling the boys when they were about 10 that we weren't raising children - we were raising men. Now the boys are men - living on their own, paying their own bills, finding their own routes through life. But they'll always be our little boys. And when they get separated from the path we'd like them to be on - whether through the circumstances of life, or through decisions that our experience has taught us can lead down a wrong road - we still need to be there for them. And sometimes, even though they lack a lifetime of experience, it's nice know they are there for us. Sure, Susan could have handled all the stuff that goes with cleaning up after a spill, calling the plumber, staying up late to make sure the job was done right. But I'm grateful our young (to us) men were around to help keep things on track. They may be making their own way, but they're still watching us to see that we're OK. It's a bit of a role reversal at times, but it's all part of being a family.
I'm grateful that while my life will be back to "normal" in a few days. I'm also grateful that there are men on the road, and families, employers, sponsors, and friends back home who are pitching in to help the kids at Carpenter's Way and Arabella get some of the same support and love some of us sometimes take for granted.