Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour

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© 2001,

Day 34 - Saturday, July 21, 2001
Oelrichs, SD to Gordon, NE
74 miles

(Yesterday's report was incorrectly labeled as Day 32 instead of Day 33, please forgive the error.)  [I've fixed it now....]

Last night the wind blew really hard, shaking up the tent, and the lightning flashed in the distance, but there was almost no rain. I didn't sleep very well, because I had opted not to set up the sleeping bag and mattress - which I figured wouldn't be much help with that three inch lump I set my tent on.

I got up at first light (around 5 AM) to pack up. I wasn't alone, there were plenty of mosquitoes. I was on the road by 5:30, just before sunrise.

After a few miles I had crossed into Nebraska. The terrain had flattened out a bit, and the weather was still pleasant as I sailed into Chadron, 20 miles away.

On the way downtown I passed by the only "real" restaurant open for breakfast, and I didn't want to backtrack up/down a hill, so it was breakfast at Hardees.  It felt like geezerville - full of older people wearing suspenders and complaining about the government full time! I was almost invisible to them.  They were talking about the weather also - it got up over 100 yesterday, it was expected to do so today also.

When I left Hardees the window washer was warning me to watch out for the lightning - she read in the paper that a bicyclist from Omaha got hit by a lightning bolt right in the head and died instantly. Yikes!

While buying food at Safeway I was talking with a local who owns a plumbing business in town. Sometimes when you stop at these small towns it's hard to get moving again! By the time I left Chadron around 8:30, it had already started getting hot.

When it starts getting hot I make it a point to stop at every town along the way to get something cold to drink. Hay Springs and Rushville were no exception. They also both had libraries with internet access - a great chance to cool off while I checked e-mail in one and updated the progress dots on the website in the other one. It's amazing that every library I've been to - including the towns with double-digit populations - has internet access.  Actually, the access in the smaller towns is better, since the machines have no restrictions compared to the ones in the cities.

After 74 miles I made it into Gordon and decided to call it a day, since the next town would have been another 30 miles away. Good move, because the storms had started coming in to the east. No rain here, but winds strong enough to blow around dust, and the lightning bolts to the east made a good light show.

Tonight I decided to spring the $30 for a hotel, as there weren't any good places to camp while being able to get a shower. The motel lady asked "you didn't cycle all the way from California, did you?" I replied, "no, I cycled all the way from Seattle", which led into an interesting discussion about my trip.

My room was next door to a motorcycle guy I bumped into in town earlier - he saw my bike and asked if I was in a convent!  [Yes, it was a serious question, he wasn't joking!]

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