Hank – I forgot to mention that Mike, the Plainview city administrator, stopped by to check on us last night. It’s wonderful to see people who have so much pride in their community. Mike was very welcoming and he appreciated our thanks for the free showers at the swimming pool. We also expressed our thanks for the city providing camping spots in their park. That has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of touring through Nebraska.
Again we woke early to get a jump on the heat, which was slated to be even higher today. The winds were really blowing, coming from the south. The forecast called for 20-25 mph winds with 30+ gusts for the next two days. Instead of riding east to Sioux City, IA at a 70-degree angle leaning against the crosswinds, Kathy and I decided to head north to Yankton, SD today and let the wind push us there. We grabbed a couple of snacks at the nearby gas station. While we were outside, Troy Goetz rolled up on his Trek 520. Troy lives in Plainview, NE and works a few miles east of town at an ethanol plant. He was going to go on a long ride but decided against it after fighting the wind for a few miles. He was going to eat a quick breakfast and offered to ride with us. Chugging along as slow as we are it didn’t take him long to catch up. He and I talk about cycling–of course–and that helped make the 10 miles to Osmond pass quickly. I got into a groove and eventually noticed we were dropping Kathy, So I slowed down to let her catch up. She told me later we were cruising along at 14 mph. At Osmond Troy said goodbye and we wished him well.
We stopped in the Osmond City Park–Have I mentioned Nebraska city parks rule?–which also provides camp sites. As with just about every other small town there’s some sort of homage paid to the glory of the railroad days.
After 20 miles of riding sideways we finally hit Hwy 81 and turned north. Wow, what a difference that wind makes, especially pushing me up the gradual climbs. I could almost always keep it on the big chain ring. The return of investment I was getting on the effort I was putting out was phenomenal. Although we were sweating a lot from the heat and humidity, I wasn’t really working that hard. I mentioned that to Kathy and she said she was working hard. Regardless, we gobbled up the miles, stopping once at a farm house to refill our water bottles, and the next thing you know we are coasting into Yankton.
Since we were super hot and sweaty and it wasn’t going to cool down at all tonight, we opted for a hotel night. After eating a well-deserved late lunch we stopped by the Ace bike shop. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a full service bike shop inside an Ace Hardware Store. It’s the only bike shop in town and they’re open every day. We dropped the bikes off for a tune-up and were going to call a taxi to haul us and our bags to the hotel. But two people Kathy met in the store, Kevin and Monica McMahon of Flandreau, SD offered to give us a ride in their pickup truck. They are camping with friends at one of the many campgrounds in the recreational area along the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark Lake. Wow, here we are getting hit with another random act of kindness. We learned they have friends in Washington and we let them know they have a place to stay any time they come through Spokane. We hope we get to see them again.
After showers and laundry–dang, I forgot to wash my gloves again–we had a quiet dinner in the restaurant. After all, it’s our 38th wedding anniversary. It’s a special day as is every day I get to spend with Kathy. For those who don’t know the story, I knew the moment I saw her that Kathy was the one. For me it was love at first sight. It took her several sights. But then she was the one who told me she was going to marry me. Nobody thought it would last and here we are 38 years later, mostly due to Kathy’s work on my poor communication skills, which have improved slightly on some days. 🙂
Kathy – Today we rode a total of 64 miles with 1,100 feet of elevation. Our first 20 miles we fought a fierce crosswind, then we turned out of the wind and had a totally awesome tailwind for the remaining miles. Those remaining miles were clocked in at 15 – 17 mph, which is fantastic timing for all the weight on the bikes. The winds were blowing 20 – 25 mph sustained winds with 30 mph gusts. Even though we left early, the temperature rose quickly to 95 degrees and the wonderful Midwest humidity contributed to the heat index registering in at 100 – 105 degrees. It was a very hot day! I was very happy with Hank’s suggestion this morning to divert from our original plan and go to Yankton, South Dakota instead.
Upon our arrival, we got cold drinks and a bite to eat before stopping by the local bike shop. When we arrived at the bike shop Monica and Kevin stopped to ask me about our bikes and our trip. We had a good conversation and once they found out that the bike shop wanted our bikes now (rather than tomorrow), they offered to give us a ride (and all our bags) to the hotel about three miles away. That was so nice of them! We were thrilled that we didn’t have to ride the last few miles in the heat. Total strangers being so kind to us. We are truly blessed by the generosity of the wonderful people we are meeting. Thank you so much Monica and Kevin!! You’re ROCK STARS!
Another note, today is our 38th Anniversary. I must say it hasn’t been one where we are pampering each other with gifts, fancy dinners, or anything truly phenomenal. We rode 64 miles in windy and hot conditions. We arrived at the hotel dirty, gritty, hot, sweaty and exhausted. A good scrubbing was first on our agenda along with turning the air conditioner up full blast to help cool us down. Now we are clean and tired. Rest is our friend now. We ‘celebrated’ with dinner and a drink at the hotel restaurant before crashing for the night. It may not be what some think as a good anniversary, but it was good. Think about it, I got to spend the entire day with Hank and we get to enjoy this bike trip together. And, regardless of the crummy weather we had a good time together today. Another year with my best friend, lucky me!
We have been on the bikes for eight weeks now, so I thought I would share a few stats…
- Total Mileage – 1,880 Miles!
- Total Elevation Gain – 52,430 Feet
- Days with a Headwind – 46
- Off Days (No Riding) – 10
- Lodging Info – Camping: 26 Days, Hotels: 18 Days, Family/Friends: 8 Days, and Warm Showers: 5 Days
- Flat Tires – Kathy: 4 flats (2 front/2 back) Hank: 0 flats
- Jars of Peanut Butter Consumed – 2
- States Visited – 8
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