Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tour de Nebraska

FC to Cbus: 580 miles

After graduating (again) this past semester, I was looking for a way to get out of town, break from the same old, and celebrate life once again. With no school or work, I decided to get gone on another bike tour. In the summer of 2011, in an attempt to learn more about my adopted home state, I did my first Tour de Colorado. I thought next it'd be appropriate for me do learn more about my native home state by attempting the same and biking across Nebraska. The concept was simple, I'd bike from my house (in FC), to my parents house (in Columbus) while taking the scenic route through the sandhills and seeing the parts of the state that I'd never seen before. I figured I'd be hangin out with ranch folks, drinkin at small town taverns, and talkin Husker football. You can bet I did plenty of that.

The other idea of this bike tour was to be completely self-sufficient and to "live on my bike". Last tour, I was burdened by carrying my own water supply endlessly up and down the Rocky Mountains. I got into some pretty dangerous spots back in the mountains where I faced some pretty scary incidents of dehydration. This tour was a little different and I was able to achieve a totally self sustained ride across Nebraska, cooking my own food (JetBoil w/ gas tank), filtering my own water (Katadyn Vario - Thanks Jennifer!), and generating my own electricity (wind up weather radio w/ USB).

On this tour, I only had to stop for scratch tickets, apples, hail, & booze. I pulled all my water out of rain puddles, cattle tanks, windmills, and rivers. I never had more than 2 nalgenes of water to carry at any time (which was great!) and when I saw a windmill on the horizon, I knew I had all the water I would ever need. And there were plenty of windmills. Can't say enough good things about it.

Last but not least, let me just say that I designed this tour to be EASY. Because the wind in Nebraska is out of the NNW 90% of the time, I figured I'd get as far northwest as I wanted and COAST across the state with the wind at my back. Nature had another plan for me. In an unprecedented run of bad luck. I rode every day, every mile, every INCH of this ride into no less than a 20mph headwind. That's right. All day. All night. 6 days in a row. 15mph - 35mph headwinds morning, afternoon, and night. I went back and checked the weather almanac daily history just to make sure. It was a crucible of pain, day in and day out, mentally and physically. So much for coasting back to Columbus. I was averaging 10-12 hour days in the saddle, and just to put things into perspective, one of those days I averaged a whopping 9mph.

Now I'll quit yammering and just get to the photos....

oh, the sights!

One of the countless nuclear missle silos in eastern Wyoming that will bring and end to all mankind!! (Makes for a boring photo though, huh?)

Chimney Rock


The folks in "Big Red's" in Mullen were happy do drink bourbon in the afternoon.

The Road Ahead

The Road Behind

Taylor's Townsfolk

Tankin' the Cedar River (Alumni!)

Ye Olde Pony Express Station: I figure me and these guys have a lot in common: "Riding" across Nebraska

And of course... The Gehring Skate Park!














 oh, the state lines!












oh, the wind!

This was my existence. Day and night. The only north wind I had was when I was heading into it from FC to Cheyenne.

Then it switched to ESE when I got to Alliance. Unreal.
Bit of a headwind

This windmill is indicating a bit of a headwind
The windsock is showing a touch of headwind

This Husker weathervane is a lot like me. Chargin headfirst into the wind. GBR.










oh, the setup!

Fully self-contained

Average dinner with wind-up tunes and water provided by the rain puddle in the background

Wildcat Hills State Park

Spent my evenings here with bourbon and a Rockies game on the wind-up

Once I learned to hang the radio from the ceiling, I was free to drink Coors and play scratch tickets. Who needs TV?

Powering up the Ipod for the next day's GRIND. Thanks to Dan Carlen's Hardcore History for keeping me sane.

Ready for the rain and wind

Typical night's setup. Old truck in a field back there


























My version of "Cattle-Tankin'". Grabbin some fresh water.





oh, the finish line!

First stop: Bo's West to see Uncle Earl

Dad grilled up a fat Nebraska steak for my homecoming dinner

Mom whupped my ass in golf

Nate & Ryan at Bo's West

Jennifer met me in Cbus and caught us a delicious bass!

Jennifer knows a City of Power & Progress when she sees it!

And as always, time to mount up and keep on truckin...

When I got back to Cbus, the hometown paper even did a cool little write up about my ride in the Sunday paper. 

Well, that far from wraps it up, but it's a long enough post that I gotta leave it at that. It was a helluva a trip. Now I just gotta get back onto some single track and straighten out my slice.

Oh yeah.... GBR!

Keep pedalin' you fools.

Zness out