Day 38 - Battle Creek to Decatur - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

July 10, 2016

Day 38 - Battle Creek to Decatur

Today was one of the hardest days cycling - ever.

As always, I am up before dawn trying to figure a way to cheat the wind. But the wind blew all night and was already blowing. Had a quiet ride into Norfolk on empty back roads.

Then stopped at the Hy-Vee grocery store for breakfast. When I got out, my cycling gloves had blown away. So I bought some cheap jersey gloves at the hardware store. Went a bit out of my way to see downtown Norfolk - which is tree-lined and very attractive. But can it compete with the bypass?

Downtown Norfolk on a Quiet Sunday Morning
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Then it was east on the highway. Except that the highway leaves the Elkhorn River valley. And there is one goathill after another.

Watching a Farmer Move Hay Bales after Climbing Another Goathill
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And I was beginning to get the distinct feeling - that the NOAA weather folks were lying. They predicted strong south winds which I could live with. But they were shifting to the northeast and getting stronger.

I saw a sign for Pilger and remembered that it had been devastated by a tornado two years ago. So I turned off and discovered that there was no downtown left. They are slowly rebuilding.

The Folks Survived, but Apparently, Didn't Choose to Stay
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I met Ned - who does a little of everything for the town. And I met Panzer the town kitty. The town hall had been flattened, but she survived. She managed to hide under a heavy bookcase.

The Amazing Panzer, the Town Kitty,
who Survived the Total Destruction of the Town Hall
(The New Community Center Is Under Construction in the Background)
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30 mph to 40 mph east wind - great. (Did I mention the tops of flag poles were swaying?) I called NOAA in Omaha - "unexpected outflow". I had lunch, updated my journal, dried my tent. Then i headed out on a dirt road to Wisner - Foolishly thinking that it might have some cover in the valley. Total insanity - killer wind and sandy road. When I finally got to Wisner - all of 7 miles - I hung out at the Subway for two hours.

The Nicest Farmhouse in Nebraska
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Wind-Flattened Corn Field
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I worked up the courage to get out on Highway 51. Highway 51 has 8,427,946 hills - from granny gear to big. Not to mention the state gave me 12 miles of milled pavement. The wind had shifted to SSE - 20 mph - with gusts over 30 mph. Such an easy ride. But I made it to the Missouri River.

The Bridge over the Missouri River at Decatur
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Today's ride: 76 miles (122 km)
Total: 1,931 miles (3,108 km)

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