Hank – We got up early so we could cover as many miles as possible before the day got too warm. After breakfast we stopped by a grocery store for bananas and snacks. The five downhill miles coming out of Hot Springs went super fast and we turned south on Hwy 385. Today’s destination was Chadron, NE where our WarmShowers hosts, Cheryl and Steve, we’re awaiting our arrival. The morning warmed and we could feel the humidity in the air. Much of our climbing, although quite gradual, was during the next 10 miles. We were sweating a lot but we got through it.
We took a longer break in Oelrichs, SD, which is the only town we’d pass though and then we’d have 32 more miles to Chadron. We were making pretty good time but our water was running low when we hit the state border. Fortunately there was a casino there and we stopped to test and have a cold drink. Tom and Nancy own and run the place. They have bike travelers pass through on occasion and told us about a couple of them.
The last 22 miles to Chadron passed uneventfully and we got to Cheryl and Steve’s house a little after three. What a pleasure it was to meet these folks. Again, kind and generous people are everywhere. You just have to meet them. They’ve been busy hosts. They had a traveler yesterday, Kathy and me today, and another tourer is due tomorrow. Cheryl and Steve met while they were on their own individual world cycling tours. They also made a living giving presentations about their travels, which meant they had to travel more to have more to present. They settled in Chadron almost 20 years ago. Steve is a carpenter and Cheryl is a school teacher. The current political climate has prompted Cheryl to run for the city council. Good for her and we wish her luck.
We got cleaned up and helped what little we could to get food ready for the summer solstice party being held at a friend’s house. Jack and Kate host a summer and winter solstice party every year. It’s a pot luck so bring food and drinks. If you play an instrument bring that too. I brought my ukulele along and got to jam with many welcoming musicians who weren’t bothered that I didn’t know the key or played the wrong chord occasionally. It was a very fun time and we met some interesting and fun people. Jack and Kate’s house is made of old wooden ammunition boxes. I don’t know the details.
There were too many people to remember, but they were all awesome. Jack is a carpenter and quite the guitar player. Kate lives to cross country ski among other things. She met Jack while passing through the Black Hills on a bike tour. She and her friend decided to skip riding to Mt Rushmore from Deadwood and hitch hike inside. Jack gave them a ride. A connection was made. Resuming her tour with her friend she decided to turn back and go hang out with Jack. They’ve been together ever since. George is a retired newspaper editor and avid mountain biker. He taps out beats on the bongos. Ann is five weeks out of hip surgery and plays a mean cello. She’s a great singer too. John and Jolena play several instruments and she sings. Her voice has a Stevie Nick’s strength and sound. Very powerful. John is an electrician for Burlington Northern and he’s looking forward to retiring in a couple of years. There’s more than a dozen other people whose names escape me right now because I can’t remember them all.
It was a great evening and we were exhausted by the end of it.
Kathy – Today we had a good 60 mile ride with 1,200 feet of elevation. We made it into our 8th state, Nebraska! The weather warmed as the day went on with in capping at 82 degrees upon our arrival to Chadron, Nebraska. The day got even better as we met our Warm Showers host, Cheryl and Steve. These two are in the midst of a major remodel of their home (which included having their bed in their living room) yet they agreed to let us stay with them. Such outstanding people! Hank gave a great recap on our evening, all I can add is it was truly a fun time with fantastic people. Days like today with a good ride, beautiful scenery, and meeting fun and unique people make this trip well worth it. Feeling thankful.