2012-10-12 / Community

Shevy’s Ride For JD Reaches South Dakota

Commentary By Ed ‘Shevy’ Shevlin

Shevy at Black Hills in South Dakota. Shevy at Black Hills in South Dakota. 9/26/12 Sioux Falls, South Dakota - Rapid City, South Dakota

Well it was bound to catch up with me sooner or later, it was just a question of when. I’ve been pushing kind of hard for three days and it is time to catch up on a few things like rest and errands. I am feeling fresh and upbeat in terms of emotion but physically I must take a little break.

In the hurry to pack and get on the road I forgot a key piece of equipment, my night riding glasses. My buddy Joe graciously loaned me his pair of glasses that he uses for riding at night but Joe has better eyesight than I do and I need my prescription. So I was off to the local Pearle Vision for an eye exam and a new pair of spectacles. As it turns out my eyesight has improved a little since my last examination which brings a smile to my face. That smile was short lived. My new glasses are awesome, specifically made for motorcycling and worth about five hundred bucks! I paid three hundred and thirty so I saved one hundred and seventy. As I processed that bit of wisdom my smile went south. But on with the ride, let’s go west!

Two nights and a full day in Sioux Falls was enough. It was a nice town but it was one of those places that has been sanitized by strip malls and chain stores. If you relocated it to California or Long Island it would go totally unnoticed in its new location. I came out here for the old west, for scenery and for the wide open spaces. As I headed due west the landscape started to change. The flat earth yielded to hills, the Black Hills, the sacred ground of the Sioux people. So precious was this land to the Lakota that they fought with every fiber of their being to keep it, alas they were overwhelmed. There are two stories about what happened in these places, the one that is propagated by the victors and the one that belongs to the vanquished. As I pass over these sacred hills I try to maintain a sense of respect, and it comes easy.

My day’s journey ended in Rapid City, a really cool little town with life size sculptures of our presidents on the streets in some of the most unusual places. It is somewhat dusty traveling the roads out west and this was one cowboy who needed a shower, shave and a ceegar! So it was off to Madame Lilly’s Hotel for some pampering! Only kidding, it was the Best Western. The following morning I was off to look at another piece of sculpture.

Mount Rushmore is just a few miles from Rapid City in the heart of the Black Hills. Begun in 1927 and completed in 1941, Gudson Borglum’s massive sculpture of our presidents Washington, Jefferson, TR and Lincoln, boggles the mind with its enormity. As Americans we have grown up with this image, it is a part of our psyche, it is the embodiment of our ambition as a country, it is how we do things, bigger, better, with permanence. Not all Americans share our affection for this stupendous monument. The Native American people see this sculpture as a desecration of their sacred ground. They see it as a bully’s perpetual slap in the face. Point taken. For them it is analogous to carving Mount Sinai into a bust of Hitler. In response, an artist was commissioned to create a bust of the great Sioux warrior chief Crazy Horse twenty miles to the south. Crazy Horse is depicted as pointing with his finger, it too is a glorious, imposing figure. The only problem is that the Lakota don’t point with their finger, that is considered rude. They point with their chin. The sculptor, a talented, gifted artist, just didn’t do his homework. I can’t help but feel sorry for the Indians, even when they commission an artist to create a work of their greatest leader they get screwed! As I throw my leg over my motorcycle and start her up I think about my immediate future. By the end of the day I will be in Red Lodge, Montana, the starting point for one of my most anticipated rides, the Beartooth Highway! Google it, you will be impressed too! Happy Trails, Shevy

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