I really believed we were living a charmed trip as I had beaten the weather gods for two days straight, riding long hours in North Dakota with nothing but beautiful weather and amazing serenity. South Dakota would have something else in store, and the weather gods got me back with a vengeance I could hardly fathom. I was thinking about the words I would write to describe my day in South Dakota, and for most of the morning I could only thing of two … Then I started to think about what was really going on. I’ve been in bad weather before, but never in my life have I been around a group of people that will just stay out in it like this, because we had a mission. We are here to honor the centennial posts along the freakin’ American Legion Memorial Highway, and some rain isn’t going to stop this dedicated group of history makers. By “some rain”, I mean that for some portions of the ride I was sure hoping that the visibility of the guy in front of me was much better for him because I could only see his tail light, and I was following wherever he went. My left eye stopped working at one point because the hard cross wind was blowing that little bitty stinging rain described by Forrest Gump right into my eyeball. I’m not sure I can overstate the fact that while driving 60 miles per hour the rain and wind was not blowing over the windshield of my well-equipped motorcycle, but rather it was blowing from left to right with such force it was actually hurting my eye. I eventually started to laugh, again reminding me of the movie “Forrest Gump”, but this time I felt like Lt. Dan, shaking my fist at the skies and daring them to keep it up, and they did.
But we continued. We made it to a post that could facilitate our recovery until we went out in that mess again, this time knowing what we were getting into, but not afraid. I’ve bonded with these riders in a way that could never happen on a nice summer day. The riders on Day Two of the northern route of the Centennial Ride are tested and proven. Team Legacy has a story that none will forget and some might not even believe, but we did that.
We drove right through that storm, and we weathered it. The people of South Dakota are as hospitable and nice as any I’ve ever met, and they too share a sense of the history this ride represents. At the end of this day, we are all tired, and literally put away wet, but we are proud to be a part of American Legion history for one more day.