A Welcoming Small Town

Hank – We broke camp early in Gordon and went to the Antelope Creek Cafe where an insistent bell rang every time the door opened and closed. I washed a pair of my bike shorts in bathroom. There was hot water, soap, time before my breakfast showed up, and the price was right. I talked Kathy into doing the same because we were camping in Cody and wouldn’t have laundry until the hotel in Valentine on Sunday and we needed clean shorts.

When we left the cafe Kathy put on her patriotic sunglasses she picked up in Deadwood. It brought memories of the movie Easy Rider. The ride to Merriman was pretty much nondescript. Just up and down road. We stopped in Merriman hoping to eat. The cafe doesn’t open until 4:00 pm. The gas station had packaged ham and cheese sandwiches. I grabbed one of those and a lemonade. Kathy had 1 1/2 bags of potato chips and a cheese stick. We eat so good. I got to meet Sheena. She’s an old sweet dog who just wanted some love.

While riding from Merriman to Cody our phones changed time ahead one hour. There was no sign for the time zone change on the road so that was confusing. Kathy switched glasses to send a text and forgot to put the sunglasses back on. Consequently, they fell off her bike while she was ripping down a hill and lost one lense. No more Easy Rider.

We got through the 24 remaining miles to Cody. As usual Google Maps was deceptive. It called for 300 feet of climbing and 400 feet of descent on the way to Cody. We climbed well over 309 feet. Coming in to town we hit the Circle C student-run grocery store and picked up some food items since everything is closed tomorrow. The building is made if straw bales. Pretty cool.

We got to the Husker Hub a bit late for food but they went ahead and grilled some burgers for us. Dusty brought beer and Mike’s Hard over. We were invited to come back for drinks after setting up camp. While in the bar my phone switched back to mountain time. I checked with Dusty and she confirmed that was right. We’ll switch to central when somewhere around Kilgore east of here. Kathy’s phone is still off.

The bar was quiet and we hung out with Dusty, Wynette, and John. Wynette is moving to Rhame, ND to be with her boyfriend. “She’s in looooove,” said Dusty. Wynette asked us to sign the “retirement business cards” Kathy has printed that advertise our web site. I told her it costs $5.00 for my signature. She laughed like I was kidding so I let it go.  😉 John works for a company that builds bridges all over the country.

The city park is free for tenters and $20 for an RV hookup. They have bathrooms but no showers, which is fine for us. We washed up and changed clothes. A thunderstorm was moving in. I headed for the bar and Kathy decided to stay in the tent. I had the New York Strip steak special and a couple of Jack and Cokes. Very relaxing.

Kathy – Today’s 57-mile ride was predicted by Google Maps to be mainly downhill with only 500 feet of climbing. As Hank noted, obviously that is wrong. We had climbing in the first 20 miles but we still managed to clock 14 mph overall pace. Then things changed as we had constant rolling hills the remainder of the ride. I kept waiting for those 1,000 feet of downhill the Google predicted but we didn’t see that much of it. Regardless, it was a good ride. The temp was 82 degrees and sunny. With the heat we reapplied our suntan lotion to our funny looking tan lines often.

So in Merriman, Nebraska (30 miles into our day) we didn’t meet any merry men. We met three big old guys (that all looked pretty unkempt) at the gas station were we grabbed the only food available in town. We still had another 25 miles or so to go, so we couldn’t be picky with the choices available. One of the three old men never spoke. He just looked forward out the window while slowly nibbling on a heated up frozen burrito. The other two guys spoke a small amount, but not much.

We sat at the only table in the place which was dirty and dusty just like the entire place. Sometimes it’s hard to eat at these places because they are so dirty. Maybe it’s the nurse in me, but I’m not a big fan of dirty germy places. So we put some more crappy food into our bodies to fuel them. We didn’t get sick so all is well. There was a sign on the wall at the gas station advertising a BBQ, dancing, and live band in the town of Merriman tonight. Maybe the merry men will be there because they sure weren’t at the gas station.

We completed our ride to Cody, Nebraska and had a great burger at the Huskers Hub while meeting some really nice people. After setting up the tent we cleaned up in the park bathrooms. Which also meant washing my hair in the bathroom sink with cold water. I was hot so it felt good at first. Washing my bike shorts this morning in the restaurant bathroom then hanging them off the back of my bike to dry as we rode today, and then washing my hair in the park bathroom…how my life has dramatically changed in the past few months!! What have I gotten myself in to!! 😄

Tomorrow we arrive in Valentine, Nebraska which is where we will probably take a day off since it will be seven continuous days of riding then. I’m a little tired today. A day off from riding will be good. It’s also a hotel night! Looking forward to a bed, a warm shower and a hair dryer for this crazy hair of mine. It’s the little/basic things that are important now.

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  1. I always find it interesting how one small town can be so different to the next. Enjoy your trip!


    1. Thank you, Nick.


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