Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Bike America Day 33: Nebraska? Check.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Day's distance: 63,01 miles
Overall distance: 1,594 miles
According to my rule book, you have to set foot on the ground in a state to consider yourself as having been there. Even though I've been in the Dallas airport on layover, I have not actually been to Texas. Eating a meal in the state, which I've done in all those on my list, just seals the deal. And I plan to set foot in all fifty states someday, sooner rather than later.
So when I realized a few weeks ago how close we'd be to Nebraska on our ride, my parents and I started working on a plan to ride out of the way and cross the state line. We looked closer and saw that we'd be riding a nine mile stretch in South Dakota that was literally hugging the border with Nebraska. At the end of the stretch, we could turn right on Highway 281 and ride across the state line. This would happen on Monday.
We rode away from our motel after 6 with another great view of the sunrise. The winds were bad enough at the beginning that an alternate title for this post could have been "It Blows Part II". Unlike Sunday, though, they were rarely head on and didn't push you to the side as much as those the day before. My butt hurt more than it normally does on a bike seat. It was less surface than most saddle sores and seemed deeper in my bones and nerves. I tried to adjust often and stay as comfortable as possible.
My parents switched at mile 31 and, at mile 42, my dad and I turned south onto 281. We had a mile straight into the wind and yelled about how Nebraska really makes you work for it. We took a picture with the state sign and ate a 10:30am lunch just over the border so I've now set foot on the earth and eaten a meal in the state. I have officially been there.
For some reason entering NE was more exciting than any other state so far. I didn't get engaged there, I didn't ride over my first mountain pass there and I didn't see buffalo and bighorn sheep there. I barely even rode my bike there. It doesn't hold a special place in my heart like Montana, Washington and the others. But the fact that it was an added bonus, a state I can check off my list that I may not have had much reason to go to otherwise, made it super cool. Check!
For the final 12 miles to the Missouri River, the wind had shifted to SSW so they were mostly over our right shoulder and helped us cruise along. Gravity started to pull us downhill and we knew we were close to the water. Then it came into view and the water was beautiful. We were far enough north that crossing it didn't put us in Iowa but we were getting very close with every passing mile.
Camp was just a few miles beyond the River at Randall Dam North Point Recreation Area, our second state park this week. When we rolled into our site, my first words were "this is my heaven". I might have thought otherwise had I known it would be up to 108 degrees later in the afternoon, and still 98 at 9 pm, but it was the most perfect thing I could have imagined. Plenty of shade and right on a swimming area in the cool Missouri River.
We swam, showered and went into town for ice cream. I fell asleep on the table in the ice cream shop and then made my way to the bare bones grocery for dinner provisions. I made myself a giant taco salad with a bag of lettuce, crushed hint of lime chips, tomatoes, cheese, refried beans and salsa. Still no SD beer to be found so we had Shiner Bock which are mildly appropriate given the Big Horn Sheep on their logo.
My dad went for another swim while I foam rolled. I taught my mom and she tried it for a few seconds before rolling over onto my mattress for a nap!
A little frisbee with my dad and then I spent the night sweating bullets in as little clothing as was appropriate with my tent windows open. It had been so windy earlier in the night that my parents tent had collapsed and needed remodeling but I didn't seem to get much ventilation through the night.
Here are some other photos I took on an evening walk by the river.
Also, I have finally updated my path on Jumbl so you can see you can get a sense of the territory we've covered so far. Click on the link below to see for yourself.
LOOK HOW FAR I'VE RIDDEN MY BIKE!