Monday, July 29, 2013

Mid-Way...Week 6.5

Rulo, Nebraska

2600 miles total...101,385 feet climb total...July 29/30, 102013
In some ways, the first mile of the second half is more crucial because it's the one that propels the traveler down the slope of endurance to destination. (The River Horse, William Least-Heat Moon)

[This is an update with photos.]

Awoke this morning July 29 to rain. Packed up the gear and sat reading. As I finished, so did the rain. Leaving Weston Bend SP I took a walk along the bluff that overlooks the Missouri River into Kansas. Packed, dense clayey soil. There was a paved bike trail down by the river that took me into the charming village of Weston, childhood home of Buffalo Bill Cody, and breakfast at Subway since the local restaurants are closed on Monday mornings...another traveling point to remember. It commences to lightly rain again.

Looking out across the Missouri River
[Weston, the childhood home of Buffalo Bill Cody. I'm posting this on 8-18-13 as I sit in Cody, WY and after visiting the museum bearing his name.]

My celebratory day is going to be a wet one...but will not dampen my spirits. It's interesting how I have been anticipating this point for several days. It's like reaching the top of a long climb and anticipating the thrill of a long descent. Of course it also means that I have just as far as I have come to yet complete and I have no expectation that I will be able to coast.

Rainy days can only mean one thing...flats. Mine came after two hours on the road as I approach the crossing of the Missouri River into Kansas. This time the culprit is a metal wire staple. It takes 30 minutes to change the front the rain, since the barn I sighted as a covered refuge was in a state of collapse.

I'm pretty wet after bending over in the rain for 30 minutes. The next town, just over the bridge in Kansas, is Atchison, KS. Mexican for lunch, and lots of hot coffee.

Entering Kansas, the cornfields celebrate our halfway accomplishment with the applause of their green leaves thrashing in the wind. Confetti in the form of water droplets is cast in our direction from the waving stalks.

Very soon open arrival in Kansas the topography flattens..mostly due to the road hugging the Missouri River flood plain. Later when there are hills, I climb them at 9 mph, but only descend at 24. This compares to the Pennsylvania and Missouri hills where I climbed with effort at 4 mph and descended at 35.

Wet Kansas
Perceptions change with the landscape. I have been trying to judge distances. East of the big rivers I would guess one mile and it would actually only be 0.75 mile. Now in the beginning of the plains, I estimate the distant peak of a hill as 1.5 miles and it takes 2 miles of pedaling to arrive there.

A break in the rain comes late in the afternoon as we enter the pitiful little town of White Cloud...but it has two parks that welcome overnight campers. The great benefit of these city parks over stealth camping is the public restroom available...though very rustic. I am graciously helped to confirm the camping status with a call to the Madame Mayor by a local native...a true native. I do not know his tribe. Federal authorities moved the Kansa tribes to Indiana, and then we name the territory and state after them...go figure. There are Fox and Sac tribal reservations nearby. My new friend works at the casino on one of the reservations.

Industrial castle
The hearty bicycling trio doesn't actually make the 2600 mile mark until early Tuesday morning, 8:15 just to the north of Rulo, Nebraska. We stop and do a little jig on the yellow centerline stripe.

A very small town but it does have a library
Rulo, NE...mid way
Blackie celebrates
What a saddle looks like after many miles
What the legs look like after 2600 miles



Lou, Blackie, and I have been on the road now for 45 days out of a 90 day adventure, and have just passed the 2600 mil point of a 5200 mile ride. It might be an appropriate time to summarize a typical excursion day...

  • 6:30 wake up, dress, pack gear
  • 7:00 strike tent and load bike
  • 7:30-8:00 depart camp
  • Ride 20-30 miles to town for breakfast, unless I had a big dinner the previous night; figure out where I'm going for the day
  • Ride 20-40 miles to lunch
  • Ride 20-40 miles to camp; restaurant dinner perhaps, or grocery stop; my favorite snack is fresh, cold, sliced watermelon and cold chocolate milk.
  • 6:00 to 8:00 set camp, shower if available, camp dinner maybe
  • 10:00 sleep
  • During the day there may be a point of interest, a historic site, historic markers, an interesting side road, a river to look at, someone to meet and talk too, a photo to take that enliven the day.
This routine gets broken almost weekly when I stay with a friend, meet family, take advantage of WarmShower hosts, or give in to a motel. Rain, very long days, difficult detours, weariness, lack of accommodating options shape the end-of-day events.

After 45 days I have taken ten off days (including those days I rode less than 24 miles). This means my average ride day had been 74 miles. The shortest at 40 miles, the longest at 115. I have broken 100 mile days three times. I have climbed an incredible 101,385 accumulative feet...3.5 Mt. Everests...and without the aid of supplemental oxygen.

There have been seven days of rain...only three days where I wear my rain jacket for more than two hours.

There have not been as many other bicyclists on the road as I expected. I have meet riders from Australia, Sweden, Baltimore, San Francisco.

I have taken to always having English muffins (which are essentially already squished), peanut or almond butter, canned sardines, mackerel, or tuna, and a constant bag of gorp for my emergency meal stash. This gets supplemented with a bag of sliced turkey and ripe avacado for a dinner sandwich, with fruit and yogurt, and occasionally some cheese.



  1. I love your posts Robbie. Mondays find me waiting for the next update and I get antsy when they're late! Glad to live vicariously through your great posts. Humorous and informative. Glad you're keeping the spirits up. Struggle? Any struggle out there? Hope the smile stays and I'll look forward to your next post!
    Best wishes for fun and safe passage,

  2. Congratulations on your progress, Robbie, glad to hear you're still cranking along. You're smart to take some time off and have some shorter days -- it's supposed to be fun, not work! Keep rolling! Calviin

  3. The Asheville Citizen Times national weather map says that it is "Pleasant" in your current neighborhood. Is that true? I think maybe you have lucked out on the temperatures. When you get home I will fix you some real food.



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