As I gaze out at the parking lot from my desk and cringe at the howling February wind and blowing snow, my mind wanders to last summer.
I close my eyes and I’m back on my bike, the wind rushing past my ears, the sun caressing my neck and my daughters arms around my waist as we cruise through the black hills of South Dakota.
As I lean into the tight turns of Needles Highway I glance to the side of the road and see my little girls shadow and my heart sings out, to be here, now, with her is a dream I lived out and how awesome is that.
We spent many days riding around the plains and the valleys, climbing around the granite hills of Mount Rushmore and even got caught in a hail storm entering the Cathedral at the pinnacle of Sylvan Lake Road. There we stopped and stood in awe at the towering spires thrusting skyward through the dense mist.
We enjoyed ice cream in Deadwood, got chased away by a 2,000 pound hungry looking Bison, and fed wild donkeys in Custer State Park.
We spent hours riding ribbons of black road through vast miles of Badlands, hiding from pouring rain under bridges and playing Rummy Five Hundred in the cool, early mornings at a KOA in Rapid City.
We ate canned tuna and wieners on sticks by a camp fire as the sun dove beyond the horizon on our last night in camp. The next day we rode for hundreds of miles home, all the while tears filling my eyes because we are heading back and I have loved this time with my little girl so much.
How lucky am I to have had this time with her, she’s growing up now, becoming a fully fledged woman and I couldn’t be any prouder than I am right now. I’m grateful for that time, thankful for our having the opportunity there to share it with each other.