I wanted to get up that mountain out of Keystone early, so I left at 6:10 am. There was construction on the road and only one lane on each side for 2 miles, so no one could pass me. I got up over half way and I was able to slip over a little so that the cars could pass. I had rolling hills, and it felt like Johnabilt didn’t have the power, so I adjusted the carburetor again. I’m seeing a number of signs that say to watch for out for mountain sheep crossing the road, but didn’t see any.
I was at the intersection Routes 16 and 385 and I stopped in at a small gas station to get a cup of coffee. A gentleman came over and said he was a veteran and wanted know more about our mission. He signed our book and gave a nice donation. He said, he and his wife were just leaving for church and saw me pull in and he said he had to go over and see this rig.
I kept my eye open for Vernon Zook and family, since they had mentioned they might be coming south on route 385. I was about 20 miles out and was getting tired and hungry. I only had a cup of coffee and bowl cereal this morning, so I decided to stop and get some snacks out of the camper. I was in the camper and around the corner comes Vernon! They said they were watching for me. We chatted for a little while parted ways.
I had quite a number of hills that I had to shift down going up and down. Before I got to SD, I did not shift down for over two and half weeks. I sure made up for it now, and I am ready for flat land.
I was told there is one large mountain I will have to go over before I get to Deadwood, SD. As I am putting up route 358, I see a small store and I needed milk so I pulled in and a car pulled in beside me. A gentleman jumped out and said we passed you in NE, and saw this rig sitting up at Mt Rushmore. He said, “I can’t believe I met up with you today.” He was interested seeing Johnabilt because his father had a JD B and he loved driving it.
As I came out a young man came up to me he had a prosthetic foot and was in the Iraq war. He wanted to know about Operation Second Chance, his name is R. T.. He went on to share with me his battle with PTSD and said he was ready to end his life. He said he was so miserable from all the medication he was taking, that he enrolled in a program and if anything, it made it worse He came back home from this program and just wanted to end his life and his brother hated him so much, that one day he got a shot gun and shot him in the foot that’s how he lost his foot not in the war. We forget sometimes that these kids come from rural America. From bad homes and broken homes. When they come back from war and go back home, they are more than likely going back to those bad situations they left. Their families struggle with how to understand the ‘warfighter’ now that he or she is home and suffering from the trauma of war.
The he found out about Sacred Mountain Retreat Center here in Deadwood, SD, and he said he feels like a new man. He said that they helped, and he was able to get a job at an ATV shop. He’s doing good and recommends them (Sacred Mountain Retreat Center) to anyone with PTSD.
I shared with him how OSC helps and works with Veterans. He asked if he could have number of fliers he would like to share with some of Veterans he served with.
I went in the store which is owned by the same person that owns the ATV shop, and the lady said, “You were talking to R. T. weren’t you? He went through so much and since his treatment at Sacred Mountain Retreat Center he is doing so well. We really like him.
One lady said my son is struggling with PTSD and has a 100% disability rating. They were asking about our mission, she said, “Oh we already looked you up as you drove in. I took a picture and went on your web site we are going to be following you.”
I left there and started up this last steep mountain that I had to cross. It was nice and did have a shoulder, but coming down I had to stop and put it in 4th gear to hold me back.