I know that we’ve been back for more than a week now, but I do have one more disc donation that I’m privileged to report. We gave away our last disc on the day we got back to my good friends, Nick and Katie Pekarek. However, I was asked to wait a few days before publicizing this information. You see, the Pekarek’s are expecting and they wanted to be sure all their family members were notified before the news went viral.
Nick and Katie have been good friends of mine for many years and they called me while we were on the road to share the good news. After some thinking, I decided that it would be cool to donate our final disc to future baby Pekarek. We at The Break Side believe that every kid should have the chance to grow up with a disc in their hands, so we were proud to make it happen for baby Pekarek. The disc was donated in Marie Kragenbring’s name, and I know she will be proud too.
Of course, it’s too early to tell the sex of the baby so I can’t promise that it’s name will be Marie. But I think even if it is a boy, Marie would be a strong middle name. Timothy Marie really rolls off the tongue…but it’s just a suggestion.
Marie and Carol about to enjoy their meal!
If you’ve ever spent any time in South Dakota, you know that apart from a few square miles in the southwest corner, there isn’t much to the place. As such, when we were finished in the Black Hills, we decided just to bite the bullet and high tail it back to Minnesota. After about ten hours on the road, we made it to Darwin around 11 pm to spend the night with my Aunt and Uncle, Carol and Art.
After a few beers when we arrived Friday night, we went to sleep dreaming of the steak stir fry we’d be having for lunch. But before we went to buy the ingredients, we had one more surprise up our sleeves. Yes that’s right, we hide multiple surprises in each of our sleeves. My other Aunt, Marie, has been one of The Break Side’s biggest fans, so we wanted to include her in on our meal. Carol invited her over for lunch, but she had no idea that Chris and I would be there. When I answered the door, she was very shocked and even shed a few happy tears!
Now Darwin’s claim to fame is that it’s home to the largest ball of twine rolled by a single person, but you’ll have a lot more fun if you skip it and just hang out at Dunns Lake for a day. After our meal, Carol and Marie asked us to show off our skills, so we grabbed a few discs and tried to film ourselves laying out off the dock. We were mostly unsuccessful, but a few of the local kids joined in, so we decided to hold a contest to give away Joey Q’s disc.
William and Chance both had their eye on a disc, so I said I would throw it up into the lake and whoever caught it would get to keep it. If neither of them came down with it, we would do it again until someone caught it. It took a few tries (27, more or less) but Chance finally came up with the sick grab over the smaller Will. But, in a move that would make the disc donor, Joey Quintana proud, he gave the disc to Will because “he needs it more.”
After a heated debate, we chose the Badlands over Wall Drug for our last touristy stop on our trip. Schasse somehow convinced me that seeing really cool landscapes would be more fun than a drug store on steroids. He probably wasn’t wrong.
We arrived in the Badlands shortly before sundown so we made camp in the very nice and very free facility there. We fired up the grill for the last time and went to meet our neighbors. We had a tough time understanding them as they were vacationing all the way from Belgium (which is in Europe). However, a flying plastic disc looks majestic in any language, so we became fast friends. Schasse explained our trip to them and was happy to give a disc to their young daughter, Berthe. So, Brother Aaron, I think you’ll be proud to know that your disc will be traveling the furthest to get home.
The next day, we drove through the Badlands, stopping to check out various cool things. At one point, we bumped into Dave, the father of Dane and Grace, who both received discs when we met them at the Wind Caves. He said that he enjoyed reading our post about his kids and wished us luck with the rest of our adventures. It’s good to know that our disc recipients are checking out site and will hopefully spread our story to friends back home!
It’s pretty much a straight shot home from here, but we aren’t done giving away discs just yet! Hopefully we’ll meet a kid along the way that’s as awesome as Marilyn and John Zmuda. Then we’ll know we’ve got the perfect candidate for a disc donation.
After the Wind Caves, we made the short hike (OK, we drove) to Mount Rushmore, where apparently there are four presidents whose heads are carved into the mountain. Furthermore, these heads seem to drive pretty much the entire economy of Southwest South Dakota, so how could we skip Mount Rushmore?
I don’t know a lot about the personal lives of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt or Abe Lincoln, but I’m willing to bet that none of them had as good of a hammer as Chris Schasse. For that reason, we decided to give them, and all the other onlookers, a show in the amphitheater located beneath the statues. It took three tries for Chris to throw it lightly enough to stay in the amphitheater, but I don’t have as big a hammer, so I figured I’d fare a little better.
After watching us boost a few throws back and forth, some members of an adult YMCA program located in LA wanted to try their hand at it. Unfortunately, a park ranger put the kibosh on our fun before anyone else got a chance. We salvaged the moment by tossing a disc around for a bit, and had almost as much fun. Chris decided that we should give the group a disc that they can use for the rest of the trip. Check out John and Lindsay posing with their new disc, courtesy of Clark Anderson.
Mount Rushmore was great to see, but both Chris and I agreed it would be better if they added Bryan Thomson.
Most people go the the Black Hills in South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore, and so did we. Before we made it there, however, we wanted to check out the Wind Caves. I had no idea what the Wind Caves would be like, but a good friend of ours
went there last summer and I thought it sounded like a magical place, so we decided we had to check it out. On our way there, we met some bison
Chris was too lazy to change the settings on his camera
As it turns out, the Wind Caves aren’t very windy, at least once you get inside. But with 140 miles of tunnels, it is the most complex cave system in the world. So that’s pretty neat. We took a guided tour of the caves and made a few friends while we were there. Dane and Grace and their family were vacationing from Minnesota (Go Vikes) and weren’t nearly as scared as Chris when our tour guide turned all the lights off. For that, they earned themselves each a disc, courtesy of a few cats, Porch and Dolly. Tracie, I apologize that you can’t see your nickname written on the disc, but Grace really just wanted to wear it on her head.
Chris was too lazy to put the camera on a tripod
We also met Anderson from Denver, CO within the depths of the Wind Caves. He had on a Colorado Avalanche shirt, but that’s probably just because Colorado doesn’t have a professional Ultimate team yet. My dad, Jeff Wagner, taught me not to like hockey from a young age. I thought it was because he didn’t like hockey, but I found out years later that it was just because he didn’t want to pay for me to play it. Hockey could have been my calling, but I found Ultimate instead, which of course pays WAY better. Anderson, my dad is awesome and I love him for pointing me in the right direction, but if you want, go ahead and play both hockey and Ultimate. You can credit both your dad and your disc donor, Caleb Gerdes, when you become great at both.
Picture compliments of Jame’s phone, which sucks.
Alright, it’s a poor picture; let’s get that out of the way right now. Guess who was operating the camera, ha, ha, ha…
Anyway, Ken Schasse, Michelle Anderson, and Derek Levin, your discs have been donated to Seeger, Julian, and Liam, respectively (cool names, right?). Their family was vacationing from Wisconsin and Julian and Liam both caught the first disc I threw to them and completed the throw back to me. So yeah, they were gonna get themselves some discs. NOTE: I didn’t get the chance to throw one to Seeger, but I didn’t want it to sound like he dropped his.
While no disc is more special than another, I would like to make a special note about Derek’s. His disc is the only one we’ve given away than already has a few scratches from hitting the concrete. It’s also the only one that has allegedly been run over by a moving vehicle. I wasn’t there when the incident occurred, so I can neither confirm nor deny its accuracy. Lastly, it’s the only disc that has been given away on the second attempt. That’s right Derek, someone refused your disc when we were in Seattle. I’m sure the first two interesting facts had nothing to do with the third…
In any case, the fellas have a road disc (everyone needs a disc they can beat up on the road) and two pristine ones to use to perfect their flick hucks upon their return home. Heck guys, if you wanna see if you can throw Derek’s disc into Old Faithful, far be it for me to stop you. You only need one for a three-man_mark_drill anyhow. But seriously, you guys better at least use the other two discs to become some awesome Ultimate players.
We knew that we would only be in Idaho for an hour or so on our way through to Montana, so we had to make our time count. We didn’t want to say that we just passed through Idaho, so we pulled into a rest stop to hopefully give a disc away.
While we were tossing a disc in the parking lot, a van with a Minnesota plate rolled up. A family with two young kids hopped out, so I ran back to the car to grab a few discs that were donated by Minnesotans. I found Jeff Wagner and Lisa Anderson (who both live in Minnesota) and the discs found their way into the hands of Levi and Piper.
As it turns out, the family was actually from Seattle and the van was a rental they were taking to Fargo. But they enjoyed the discs nonetheless. Their dad even taught them to throw a chicken wing and I’m pretty sure Levi could throw it further than either Chris or I. So I didn’t exactly get to meet any Minnesotans, but I think we still made their day!
In any case, Minnesotans are awesome. Especially Neal Hanke. I’m sad that the end of our trip is drawing near, but it’ll be fun to be back!