Bikers and Men in the Mountains. 

On Monday I left Colorado behind, and headed first into Wyoming, but with the end goal of Rapid City, South Dakota. As soon as I crossed the border into South Dakota I realized that something was off. There was just SO many motorcycles on the road all of a sudden, so as I stopped to get gas I had to ask on of the bikers what was happening. I simply got the response “Sturgis” which I had no idea what that was. Apparently it’s a huge motorcycle rally and hundreds of thousands of bikers gather in the city of Sturgis and around the area to do some sightseeing and partying. Guess which town is closest to Sturgis? Yes, that’s right, Rapid City. No wonder it cost a fortune to stay in the area that night…

As I got closer to Mount Rushmore, the motorcycles just got more and more and I was so scared of hitting one of them. I looked both three and four times before switching lanes but they were seriously everywhere. Scary, but I bet it must be so much fun for them riding around with so many other bikers.

  
I got to Mount Rushmore, which was also filled with bikers. It didn’t take too long for me to get in though, I apparently came from the right direction because somehow I managed to kind of skip the line.


  
  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Rosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. 
It was a lot of fun seeing Mount Rushmore,  it was definitely a must on my list! It’s so surreal seeing all those things that I’ve only seen on pictures or film before.


I got a gift from the hotel.

After a good nights sleep I sat down to breakfast next to four bikers who were originally from Brazil. They invited me to come ride with them that day, but I felt like that wasn’t something my parents would really approve of. I don’t mind talking to everyone I meet, but getting on a motorcycle and riding around with four unknown guys for a day doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do. Especially since so few wear helmets around here.

Instead I got in my car and headed back to Wyoming, to go see the Devils Tower. It wasn’t just me that had that idea…
IMG_5471 IMG_5368

The Devils Tower is a big butte. A butte is what we learnt the other day a “an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top”. I walked around and giggled like a 5 year old and said to myself that it is indeed a very big butte. When I got wifi the next time though I googled how butte is pronounced and unfortunately it’s “byoot”, not butt. Oh well.
IMG_5367 IMG_5364
At least I tried to get a jump shot. Didn’t really succeed though. 
IMG_5469
There should be six climbers in this picture. Can you find them all? Crazy people.

After a small hike around it I was back in my car, but as I headed out of the park I saw a sign that said “don’t feed or go near the prairie dogs”. All of a sudden I looked closer at the field I was driving next too and realized that it was just crawling with prairie dogs. So cute! I’ve never seen them before.
IMG_5468 IMG_5363
After Devils Tower I had a long drive to Billings, Montana. The weather is a bit more unstable up here in the north, that’s for sure. Luckily I drove just north of this storm. I was glad to leave most of the motorcycles behind though, although all the bikers were super friendly and nice, it’s scary having them surround you on all sides wherever you go.
IMG_5383
As I got to Billings I decided to go to the jacuzzi at the hotel, and I think that’s when all my neighbors heard a loud “NEEEEEEJ!” as I realized that my bikini was still hanging from a hook behind the bathroom door at the hotel in Rapid City. So annoying. No other choice but to look up the closest mall and get back in the car. I know there are some rivers that I can swim in when I get to Yellowstone, so I needed a swimsuit. Well, it’s the first thing I’ve forgotten in over two months, a pretty good record.

This morning I tried to get an early start but just as I was putting all my luggage in the car I heard someone say “did you really drive all the way from Florida?” which of course sparked a 20 minute conversation. Turns out his grandmother was from Sweden, so we talked about everything from travels here in the US to the Swedish show “Allt för Sverige” where Americans come to Sweden to find out about their ancestors. I love these random meetings.

Anyway, it wasn’t too long until I got to Yellowstone, but I quickly learnt that it’s absolutely huge. I also learnt that the weather can shift in seconds.
IMG_5455
I headed into the park and had to switch from shorts to long pants for the first time since I arrived in the US, over two months ago. I was freezing in 58F/14C. I had planned to go on a hike up to Mount Washmore, but time just seemed to fly by and it was late afternoon before I even got close to the trail. Well, especially since I was stuck in almost the same spot for two hours, when a herd of bison decided to block the entire road. Nothing else to do but wait, so I rolled down my windows and blasted Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woods. It would have been funnier if we had actually been in the woods at that moment though… but I decided that I have plenty of time to do that hike another day, and that I should just enjoy the scenery and the drive, so that’s what I did.
IMG_5449
And here, let’s enjoy some pictures from the amazingly beautiful Yellowstone.

IMG_5432
You know how I said the other day that I had taken my absolute favorite picture? I think this one comes at a very close second place. 
IMG_5435IMG_5426
IMG_5443IMG_5444IMG_5445IMG_5441IMG_5438IMG_5453
So pretty, but smelled so bad. 
IMG_5452IMG_5447IMG_5454IMG_5429IMG_5430mIMG_5431
I think this elk wanted to be fed too. 
IMG_5428
They certainly weren’t scared of people. 
IMG_5427

My first day in Yellowstone was absolutely great, I can’t wait to explore more and go on some hikes too. I know there are grizzly’s here though, so I should definitely see if I can get some bear spray before I go too far away from other people.

And I have something else to talk to you about. I got a pretty rude comment the other day, from a man who felt the need to tell me what he thought about my injury and how I’m feeling. I think that’s so interesting, when people think they know exactly how I’m doing. Well, you can read it here and my answer too if you want, it’s in Swedish though, but I feel the need to address my current situation. My hand is doing much better. I can use it almost without problems, except for when I use the knuckles to much, like when I’m typing. Every single post here takes me hours to write, because I have to pause so often to stretch out and massage my hand to get rid of the pain. But it’s when I’m keeping it still that it really begins to hurt. When I hold on to the steering wheel for more than a few minutes I get shooting pains down to the bones, that sometimes make me groan out loud from the intensity of it. When I walk for a longer period with my hands hanging down the blood gathers in my hands and for some reason that makes it ache too. My new hiking poles really helps with that, as long as I let go of my grip often so it doesn’t hurt too bad because of that. During the evenings is when it hurts the most, after having used it for a full day, but at least it comes and goes, it’s never a constant pain.

IMG_5416
Picture taken earlier today. There is still some slight discoloring to my skin, and a bump right between the two right knuckles. 

It’s been 6,5 weeks since I was hit, and I never expected me to still be in the amount of pain I actually am from time to time. I don’t write about it very often, because I don’t think it’s very interesting for you to read about, isn’t the adventures where I’m having fun much more interesting? But please never, ever judge me or anyone else based on what we can or can’t do. I am fully aware of my own limits, and no one but me can know what I’m capable of. If you for some reason get upset about what I’m doing, please just leave. What’s the point of being here if you’re not supportive of me or interested in what I’m doing?

The other day I was going through all of my photos from the trip, and found this. I have never seen this before, and I have no idea how I managed to take it. It must have been as I was typing Johns number into my phone when he was going to take care of my stuff right after the accident, and somehow the camera went off in my phone, before I was loaded into the ambulance.
IMG_2395
Because that is a picture off my hand, right after I was hit. The yellow part of my glove is super swollen at that point, it’s supposed to be completely flat. Isn’t that freaky, that I just found this now? I think it is… and just an hour later, this is what was happening.
IMG_5138
But no need to dwell on what is in the past, the present is what’s important and the present is GREAT. Life is so damn good. 

Comments

  1. Ingegerd Alvbring says

    Beautiful pictures! You are a good guide to American highlights. The tourist board should be proud. You are a brave girl and have done very well in spite of your unfortunate accident. Keep it up!

  2. Saskia says

    Dear Cecilia,

    the places you visit get better and better.

    About the comments of you not continuing your journey on your bike: as you said, you are the best of all who is aware of what you are capable of and what not. This does not make you any more/less committed to your adventure. To me, you are extraordinary as you did not give up. It probably would be “easier” to say, ok I fly back home. it was not the right time to have this adventure. idk. Maybe this wouldn’t have been easier as well. any decision you would have taken, it would have been incredibly difficult. But truth is – you made a decision. And that’s what makes you so special, great and committed. As you have said plenty of times, life doesn’t always follow the plans you have made, but making the best of every turn is what makes you to someone i look up to.

    of course there are sponsors who agreed on sponsoring you because you wanted to travel the world by bike. but then again, i guess and hope they are as happy as you are, that your injury wasn’t “too bad” so that you would be dead or very bad injured.

    i love following your journey as probably everyone can tell because i comment on (almost) every blog entry you have made so far. i will stick to your side and your adventure all the way, because to me you are an inspiration. you are not afraid of taken roads which are less travelled to expand your horizon and just making the best of every situation you are in.

    And i love your honesty!
    Take good care of yourself.

    • Cecilia says

      Åh, tack!! Gör det, oavsett om det är på cykel eller inte så rekommenderar jag det!! Fast jag var inte avundsjuk på de cyklister jag såg i Yellowstone idag, små små vägar och massa bilar, de såg inte ut att ha kul alltså…

  3. Sandra says

    Jag älskar att läsa vad du skriver och om dina äventyr oavsett hur du tar dig mellan dom. Lev livet och ha kul precis som du gör!! ??

  4. Mamma says

    Testar att skriva från min jobbdator istället :) Jag såg en person som klättrade uppför det där galna berget! Och du är en helt fantastisk och inspirerande tjej! Kram

  5. Anita says

    It’s not too many people who can say that they were in a traffic jam due to a herd of bison jam (I don’t think there are “Sig alerts” for those, but who knows – it’s a nice app for you to get for your phone, especially when you get to California).
    I’m enjoying the reports of your travels no end. I would still enjoy them if you were traveling by foot, bicycle, ox cart, bus… I am so glad you are able to travel after your accident.
    Happy trails…!

Send some encouragement!