Sober in Nebraska

Sunday being a rest day, and this week being the closest we will get to Nebraska, this seems like the time for another musical plug. One of my favorite bands is Free Hot Lunch. (Even their website seems to have retired, or at least be on hiatus.) While they broke up years ago, they periodically show up for a reunion concert. Back  in the day, driving from Wisconsin to Colorado seemed like The Thing To Do. Some people did it to buy Coors beer back when it was not available outside of the west. Scarcity seems to equal desirability to some.

(True confession: the trip which resulted in my ankle injury was one such trip, though the injury didn’t occur until we headed south to New Mexico to escape the cold in Colorado. We dashed to our tent in a storm, leaving our dinner dishes out. When we awoke in the morning to find the dishes full of ice, we decided it was time to move on.)

Anyway, the drive was a long one and Free Hot Lunch commemorated it in song:

While we won’t ride across Nebraska, and everything looks different at 20 mph than at 70 mph, and I am crossing the plains not just to get somewhere else, I still offer this.

The song was written by John Corning, who also taught me that, while a pregnant woman is eating for two, her partner is drinking for three. If you like Dan Hicks, you’ll like Free Hot Lunch. If you like his sense of humor, you’ll like John Corning.

Next week will probably look a lot like Nebraska. Today (Saturday) was a precursor. It is now 96 degrees in Pierre, SD. We rode 91 miles today and the winds are still out of the southeast at 15-20 mph. We had one blessed interlude of tailwind when we turned north, but it was mostly a headwind or crosswind from the right.

Crosswinds take a lot out of you. They require concentration as at times you have to lean into the wind to stay upright, and then it will slack off and you have to stop leaning.

The wind seems to suck the moisture out of you – I probably drank more today than any day so far. My skin was coated in salt; I could have been a salt lick.

We also frequently ride in the space between the rumble strips and the edge of the shoulder – that space is maybe 18 inches wide at best and shrinks without warning.

The last 30 miles were on brand-new asphalt – so new the lines hadn’t yet been painted. It almost made up for the wind.

Mile 77 – refilled my water bottle with ice water.

Mile 80 – ice is just a memory.

Mile 83 – neither cold nor hot.

Mile 86 – ready to make tea.

Before the trip, people called me crazy for doing this; maybe they were right.

We surpassed 2000 miles today, entered our third time zone, and crossed the Missouri River for the last time. It is much wider than the last time we crossed it. This is the end of week four. We will start week six by crossing the Mississippi.

 

Aaahhh! (Aaarrgh!)

This post was 429 words, 2 video links, and 6 pictures a few minutes ago. Now when I look, it is only a title. None of my saved versions survived. I guess this is all you get today.

(Four hours later)…I just found a Wi-Fi network that might work so maybe I will try to repost.

At sunset Saturday the van rolled in to our campground carrying all the riders who are staying at a hotel 9 miles down the road in town.We are camped right at the foot of Devil’s Tower.

As they disembarked the party began. The staff had spent the afternoon preparing margaritas and bean dip, and they strung glow sticks around the bar, which was the open back of one of the cargo trailers. Greg’s Cantina was open for business. Live entertainment followed shortly.

(Fast forward to 26:15 for “Reba’s Cantina”)

Robin, one of the British riders, was in an uncommonly good mood, as he had ridden out early Saturday morning to watch England defeat Sweden in their World Cup match in a pub 40 miles down the road.

He sat down and immediately asked all at the table to name our favorite movie. A lively discussion ensued. He was impressed that some of us Yanks knew the film “The Loneliness  of the Long Distance  Runner”, and were aware of the actor Tom Courtenay.

As the party wound down, I made my way to the outdoor seating area behind the camp store to watch the climactic scenes of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

When the film ended I found myself in more complete darkness than I have seen in quite some time. I was guided back to my tent by the North Star. Scorpio was visible on the western horizon.

Being up so late, I planned on sleeping in. I was awakened by a barking dog at 6 AM. I guess that counts as sleeping in these days.

I did laundry before breakfast, took advantage of the hot sun to recharge my back up battery with the solar charger, and took advantage of the shade and breeze to recharge myself.

Next week we head across South Dakota, including  the Black Hills and the Badlands. Had we been traveling as the crow flies, we would be in the middle of Wisconsin by now. We are following the route of the drunken crow.3CEED3E9-726D-419F-A486-3CD09643C6C9