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Holabird Advocate

Providing all the news we see fit to print since 2002!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
VOL. V Issue 7O
South Dakota Week of Prayer
Day 3- Drying up Fast
It's cooler than it has been, but no more rain since yesterday morning. The weatherman says we could be in for 115 degree temps in central South Dakota in the next few days. It won't take long at this rate for the Garden of Eden to turn into hell.
The Holabird Advocate is looking for a Government official, either elected or appointed, federal or state, to step forward for a "10 questions with..." Segment concerning the drought. We would ask Bonnie Nickleson, but she has been picked on enough already.
Mary Hinkle in the Pink
After having a couple days where she was feeling punky, Mary Hinkle has improved a great deal. Her doctor could find nothing wrong with Mary at her appointment yesterday. Mary even claims to be feeling better today. That is being put to the test as she is babysitting Shelby and Justin Hinkle this afternoon.
Here are three more guesses for the Mystery Tour that she and husband, Harold Hinkle will be on this coming weekend. The International Peace Gardens, the North Dakota State Fair in beautiful downtown Minot, North Dakota, or the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Biker Blows Through Hyde County
Amahia Mallea, Cyclex customer and Mizzou graduate student, is heading home to Minnesota for the summer. The catch....She's doing it by bike. This student of river ecology is following the Lewis and Clark route north to Mandan, ND before heading east into her home state. Self-supported touring at it's purest.
She spent a couple days in the Hyde Couty area. Here is the story of those days:
Day Twenty-Two
Day 22 16 June 2003
Fort Thompson >> Highmore, SD
Days of Indecision
This morning I toured Big Bend Dam which is one of the smaller (if not the smallest) dams on the Missouri River and it creates Lake Sharpe which also is small in comparison to the behemoth lakes above it. I think Big Bend was also the last of the mainstem dams built. Much of the earth for the dam was mined from the bluffs and river bottoms nearby so I assume the scars on the hills are from mining and not slumping (although slumping is a problem).
The Corps of Engineers ranger that gave the tour to me and six people from Tennessee said that he wasn't an engineer. At first he talked (as if from script) about volume, capacity and weight. But as the tour went on, I suspected that he had ecological training. Big Bend Dam employs 12 people and the Corps employs another 15 people who (like our tour guide) work with the tribes, on environmental management projects, and in the recreation areas.
At the beginning of the tour, we stood watching the dam spit the river out from three of the eight turbines. Big Bend does not continuously release water and doesn't use the spillway. Because it is a smaller dam in-between other dams, its primary function is the creation of hydroelectricity on demand. The horn blows and one of the turbines comes on-line, taking in water when power on the grid is needed. The water swirls madly at the dam wall. A drowned swallow floating face down, wings out, was being dragged into one eddy after another. Three fish hugging the dam wall chased the dead bird when it whirled past them. Not far past the whooshing of water at the wall, cormorants dove for stunned or dead fish that have passed through the turbines. Upriver, something has happened to the shad population so the walleye are "skinny," the ranger said, and without the shad the large seagull population usually found around the dam is also absent. The shad make easy prey after passing through the dam. Listening to the dam's rumble and watching the water with the circling swallow made me feel sick to my stomach.
In the dam we toured four different levels, going a full 105 feet below the water surface. These turbines are just huge. The inside of the dam is very noisy and vibrates with the force. Its also a very wet place; water leaks down the walls and into gutters. I pressed my palm to the side of a turbine and felt the river pounding through the steel.
I was tickled to see how employees get around inside the dam. The dam is a big place with smooth concrete floors so they ride bicycles with little carts attached to carry things. Inside the dam I felt lightheaded because there is no fresh air, no breeze; air exchangers circulate oxygen or it would run out.
The ranger characterized the current political climate in South Dakota as unfriendly toward the Corps. The Corps is losing its control over many of the recreation areas as they are turned over to the state or to tribes. There are problems of jurisdiction. For example, the Tailwaters campground that I stayed in is currently to the east of the dam, which would put it in the jurisdiction of the Crow Creek Reservation. However, the campground is historically to the west of the free-flowing Missouri River, which would put it in the jurisdiction of the Lower Brule Reservation. I found it interesting how the ranger sidestepped political issues involving the Corps. At first he seemed a Corps apologist to me, but by the end I thought he was savvier about his thoughts on the future of the river. Several times the ranger said, "These dams could never be built today" which prompted the other folks on the tour to question why. They clearly were not feeling like they had just entered the belly of a beast. The ranger answered that "groups" wouldn't allow it and that public sentiment has changed since the WWII dam building era.
After the dam tour, I mounted the bike and climbed out of the bluffs. (How many times have I said that?) it was already noon and in the 90s. I rode 15 miles and stopped for lunch at Mac's Corner, where highways 34 and 47 meet. For three days now I've been really indecisive about what to do. I need a rest day, but its hard to stay put. The strawberry imperative and the growing desire to be on the farm now have me thinking of the trip in terms of "how many days left?" I got input from the cashier about the possible routes ahead of me. I am on my way upriver to Pierre but learned there was road construction and high traffic areas that is after I get past the 47 miles of hilly nothingness on this hot day. I could also go a short distance north with a side wind to Highmore and let an abbreviated day replace a rest day. That would get me home sooner but would take me away from the river. I sat on the bench at Mac's Corner and weighed the pros and cons.
Finally, I announced to the cashier: I'm off to Pierre! When I got to the intersection, for some reason, I went north to Highmore. But I reconsidered, returned to the intersection and turned west to Pierre. I fought the headwind, noted the increased traffic and the lack of a paved shoulder, but I was committed to staying close to the river. Until I saw that little blue sign: "Next services 46 miles." I returned to the intersection and went to Highmore, South Dakota.
As the name indicates, Highmore is a town on the high prairie. I am 500 feet higher than I was yesterday. With storms moving across the hills, the contrasts are stupendous. The sunny sage and golden colors of the pastures meet the dark, blue-gray clouds at the horizon. This is cattle country and sometimes no farms or trees are visible. I barely beat a thunderstorm into town and the tornado siren went off. I found a park shelter to stay dry in. Later, I learned the siren was for the fire department. If it keeps raining, I might sleep in the shelter.
35 miles logged today.
Day Twenty-Three
Day 23
17 June 2003
Highmore >> Hoven, South Dakota
Rationing Water
A frustrating day with a headwind that kept me at an 8mph average. Temperatures in the 90s and a ride without services had me rationing water.
I ended up sleeping on the picnic table in the shelter last night. Not comfortable, but sure made for ease and speed packing up in the morning. At breakfast I talked to a couple farmers at the convenience store/cafe (bad combination but I go anyway because I've learned cafes are great places to meet people). The farmers told me about wind generators going in near Highmore and they talked about the drought. Irrigation is expensive and only those within two miles of the river can afford to irrigate. For most farmers, the cost of pumping water is prohibitive. Even though I'm 33 miles away from the river right now, it is always with me. The glass of water I had with breakfast came from the Missouri River. The rural water supply for all this area seen in towers across the plains is the river. "They add a little chlorine, but I got used to it and it tastes okay," the farmer said.
I fought the wind all day. So far, on this trip, nothing has brought me closer to tears than headwinds. I can't accept them as a normal and expected part of the trip. Nothing has frustrated me more and a day with a headwind ends up feeling like a "bad" day. The road went straight for 37 miles so I had no respite from the fierce wind. My spirits were lifted a little when I passed a construction crew who made conversation and refilled a water bottle. After 42 miles I came into Seneca, a little town whose only "services" were a pop machine. I got water from the senior community center and went to the park. A woman in a truck drove up she had already seen me out on the highway and waved. Vicki and I talked a long time about life in small towns. Vicki is from Seneca but she splits her time between there and Los Angeles and this gives her more perspective on both places. She works in the faith community and gives time to her church in both her communities. When she was a girl, her parents warned her about the river: always watch where you step and watch your back because the river can change on you. As a young girl, it frightened her that she might walk out to a sandbar, and then the river would sneak up behind her and leave her stranded. This was, of course, the river before it was dammed. She reminded me of my mother and it was uplifting to meet her on a day that I felt so demoralized by the wind.
Seneca has four sirens everyday: 7am, noon, 1pm and 6pm. People need the sirens, Vicki said. They give direction. Sure enough, when the 6pm siren sounded myself, Vicki and the other person who had stopped to chat all jumped into motion. I had to get on my way and they had things to do. I continued north against the wind through wetland areas full of waterfowl. I passed the German town of Tolstoy and from up on the hill could see the spires of the Cathedral of the Plains in Hoven, another German community. As I came into Hoven, I met Joanne and Linda who were out taking a walk. Linda happens to be studying up on Lewis and Clark so she can teach it in the classroom. In about two minutes they were playing matchmaker for me: "Oh, he's single," they would say as someone drove by. They directed me to the city park, commenting that I could probably jump the fence and go for a swim in the pool if I wanted. "It's been done before," they said, laughing.
Miles today: 69
UBS Has Offical Bank
The UBS Network has decided to mag ING Financial Services our official bank. We had thought of making Wells Fargo our official bank, but they've fallen far short of grace. ING on the other hand, has been recently brought to our attention to be a bank which fits the courageous, dynamic model of greatness that we expect to find in everything these days. Best of all, they have an office in beautiful downtown Minot, North Dakota. That's all we need to see for us to say, "Hello ING, goodbye Wells!"

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