Day 52 (14th zero day), in Alma: Learning to be patient and present - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

June 13, 2022

Day 52 (14th zero day), in Alma: Learning to be patient and present

Be advised: I don't know what I want to say in this blog entry yet, but I know that writing is usually a good way for me to try to sort through the conflicting, scattered thoughts bouncing around in my head and to be grateful for the things worth being grateful for. But it takes me a bit of processing and sometimes circular thinking, and I wouldn't foist it upon anyone else. The primary intended audience of this journal is myself, so I'm using it however I feel like on any given day. Everyone else is absolutely invited — but never expected — to follow along, but know that you do so at the risk. (The risk is primarily that you'll be supremely bored or potentially confused by my incoherence.) Okay, you've been warned.

Monday stats

Start and end: Methodist Cove Campground in Alma, Neb.

Ice cream flavors: Mint chocolate chip

Food expenses: $14, including a dollar for the boys selling "ice cold water!" in front of the grocery store.

Lodging expenses: $0. The person at the pay booth wouldn't let me pay. I wanted my presence known by the authorities so that they had an accurate accounting of how many people use this park, but I also figured paying isn't going to tell the people running this park the message I really want to send, which is: This campsite is along the Eastern Express of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, so please expect to get more cyclists in the years ahead! But there's really nothing that needs to be done to make this more accommodating for cyclists, so I'm not sure why that message would matter.

Here's my new campsite for the night. On the left, my hammock hangs in the middle of a group of trees. To the right, Blue leans against a picnic table. My panniers sit on the picnic table bench. Harlan County Lake is just visible in the background, through the trees.
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Monday mood

Maybe I did too much yesterday. There wasn't much left for me to do in town to draw me out from my little nest here by the lake. With intense heat and intense wind, today offered a good opportunity to rest and try to get a shave at a barber shop. Plus I'd need to go into town for food because I was not content to eat only from my food bag, which contained oatmeal, granola bars, granola and fruit snacks. But the oatmeal was great for breakfast.

I had a really hard time sitting still today. Well, actually, I sat very still for the first half of the day, reading and planning, but I wasn't feeling content with it. It got warm and very windy in the afternoon, and I kept looking at the wind forecast and plotting out different ways to take advantage of it. For example: Ooh, the wind will be almost perfect — 20 miles per hour from the southeast — at about 3 a.m. So I should wake up at 2 and pack up and leave in the middle of the night! Ugh, that sounds miserable. Ooh, I might get a break tonight; I could leave at 8 and try to get to Arapahoe (39 miles away) by 11:30 before that chance of rain hits. 

What the heck am I thinking? I finally accepted that I was not going to try to take advantage of the slightly favorable winds that pop up in the middle of the night. The wind tomorrow will not be horrifically strong, so even though it might slow me down a little, at least it's not head-on. I'll deal with it. 

The wind at the lake this afternoon was intense, though. And it would be intense overnight, too. So I moved all my stuff to another spot a little further from the lake, thinking that should help. It certainly didn't hurt. 

I went into town. I went to two hair places  to get a shave but the two places I stopped at were by appointment only or closed today. Ice cream shop closed today. Mexican restaurant closed today. Pizza shop closed today. A bar was open but kitchen not open for another hour. Forget it, I'm going to the grocery store. Got myself a sandwich and an apple. Scarfed them down, bought a cold bottle of water from the boys selling ice cold water on the sidewalk, and then went back into the store and bought a half-gallon of ice cream because none of the pint flavors appealed to me. Rushed back to camp and hopped in my hammock to pig out. Don't worry, I did not eat the whole thing, nor did I expect to. I don't like wasting food, but this was clearly the best option. Today was hot. Perfect day for my mint chocolate chip.

Finally, time for a cool shower. It's amazing how refreshing a shower can be, physically and psychologically. I probably could have appreciated this day more, but I'm glad I stayed put and gave my legs a rest, and I'm very happy to be here now. The sun is finally set and the breeze feels nice now rather than an assault. It's supposed to pick up again overnight, but there's no thunderstorms in the forecast. I think my hammock and I can withstand the wind. Let's hope for some gentle rocking. 

The ride will probably be a little challenging tomorrow because of wind and intense sun, but I think it will feel good. Let's get some sleep.

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