Friday, July 20, 2012

Bike America Day 34: Tomato Beer

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day's distance: 44.89 miles
Overall distance: 1,765 miles

The details of Tuesday's ride have escaped me. It was our shortest day, at under 45 miles. We left early and my parents split the riding. It was uneventful and we were finished by noon so I'm going to focus this blog post on the non-biking events of the day. Because it's not all about biking. It's also about the food and drink, the towns, and the people you meet in them.

When we rolled into Tyndall, South Dakota at noon, my mom and I were starving for lunch. Since we've gotten used to starting our rides between 6 and 7am, noon is a pretty late lunch hour. My dad ducked into the local barber shop to get his hair cut for the first time since May. We didn't really think he could pull of the Doc Brown look from back to the future. 

While he was in there, a scary siren sounded throughout the town. My mom poked her head in to ask the barber what was going on. He called the siren "the noon whistle" and explained that it was a signal to all shopkeepers to head home for lunch. Everything shut down for an hour and they'd be back to open up shop at 1pm. My mom called it a throwback because she remembered the same tradition from her grandparent's town of Minona, Iowa. Her grandpa worked at a bank in town and he'd drive the six blocks home to lunch each day to eat the plentiful "supper" her grandma had cooked for him, complete with a freshly baked pie every single day. That's small town America for you.

After his haircut, my dad met my mom and I in the Corner Bar where we were eating lunch. Luckily the bar didn't close down at lunch time. A local suggested the place to us and was puzzled when my mom asked him where it was. His response was, "It's on the corner!" DUH! I ordered a pizza burger which cost all of $3.50 and my parents ordered fish sandwiches which cost about the same. I drank a lemon shandy while my dad drank a landshark. The woman serving us was a cute old lady who was petite and very with it. We learned from the other woman working that our server was over 90 and came in to work at the bar every single day. We talked about our bike ride and the festivities in town. She told us about local favorites like danish pastries and tomato beer. We were unfamiliar with the tomato beer phenomenon so she offered us one on the house. It was a draft light beer, with a splash (size of splash completely varies depending on personal preference) of tomato juice. We passed it around and were quickly refreshed by the thing. She threw some olives in and it was reminiscent of a bloody mary, which I love. Later, when I told Josh about it, he suggested that I count this as my South Dakota beer since I haven't been able to find one actually brewed in the state. Since this was a tradition in the southeast region of South Dakota, it sounded like a marvelous idea!

After lunch, we headed to the city park where we'd be spending the night. It was conveniently located next to the municipal pool so we went for a quick swim which was incredibly refreshing. Next stop was the city library where my dad used the sole public computer, my mom used the laptop to read up on Ragbrai and I blogged from my phone.

We debated whether to picnic by our tent or stop into another local food place for dinner. Given the 104 degree temperature at 5pm when the library closed, we opted for a dinner in air conditioning. Around the corner, there was an old bank building converted into a restaurant. The owner, also our server, was from Arizona and had named her restaurant Sedona.

My mom and I split the steak wrap and fajita wrap and we consumed many beverages. Some wine and very much water. Back at camp, I got in my tent early and spent another night soaking my air mattress with sweat. I talked to Nathan, my brother, for a while about his bike trip that day. It was an 8 mile ride inspired by my blog and he called it "#nathanbikescentralpark". Having just gotten internet set up in his new apartment, he is a little behind on my blog and said that he's most envious of the people we're meeting but doesn't envy the bike riding at all. He said he's jealous that we saw snow and, in saying goodbye, he told me "to be careful of the bears". I assured him that 1. the snow is long gone and 2. we're out of bear country and surrounded by cornfields so I think we're in the clear.

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