Day 53, to McCook: Let's hope for more days like this! - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

June 14, 2022

Day 53, to McCook: Let's hope for more days like this!

An old tractor sits in a yellow and green field. Silos stand in the background.
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Tuesday stats

Start: Methodist Cove Campground, Alma, Neb.

End: Economy Inn, McCook, Neb.

The Daily Progress: 78.29 miles

The Ascension: 1,742 feet

Ice cream flavors: I had two milkshakes today (sort of): a "kona mocha" shake at Shirley K's Coffee Shop in Cambridge, and a milkshake porter at the Loop Brewery in McCook. Yum.

Lodging expenses: $56

Food expenses: $35

A row of hay bales sits in the sun in front of a big green field and a bright blue horizon.
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Tuesday highlights

It was very difficult to sleep last night because it was so windy for most of the night. I was glad it didn't rain, and it never felt dangerous, but it was loud and distributive, especially in a hammock-tent. It was nice to be rocked by the wind, though. 

But after that night, I decided to sleep later than I originally planned, so I started late, around 9:45, but once I got rolling, it was smooth all day.

I noticed another cyclist by the bike shop in Alma. He was Richard, one of two guides on an Adventure Cycling Association guided tour. The group was going west, following the Eastern Express, and most of the cyclists passed me this morning while I slept in and had breakfast, etc. I was excited to be around other people doing the same thing I was doing. I noticed two of them at a gas station later this morning, so I stopped to say hi briefly. I met another member of the group a bit further. His name is Lyle.

The pavement was great throughout the ride, and the wind was very light — essentially not a factor, or potentially even a slight help this afternoon. So I made it to Arapahoe, my halfway point for the day, without any trouble, so I stopped into a Subway for a footlong.

Soon after I ordered, Lyle walked in, along with another member of the group, Joe. We grabbed a table and compared our experiences so far. I was eager to hear what it was like to take a guided tour like this, even though I didn't think I'd ever take one myself (if anything, I'd be more inclined to try to lead one). I was a little surprised that the itinerary sounded a little rigid. Of course, they have to keep to a schedule so they everyone knows what to expect any how much time to plan to devote to the trip, but still ... I couldn't imagine sticking to an itinerary like that for 70 days and not deviating for some reason. It's part of the adventure, at least for me.

I pushed onward, putting more miles behind me as if it were my job. I got an angry honk at one point, and another motorist who tried to roll coal on me as I was flashing him a peace sign, but I think he realized what I was doing and he stopped himself. (When a motorist passes me going the same direction, I generally wave or flash a peace sign to them if they leave me plenty of room as they pass or if they got stuck behind me and had to wait for an opportunity to pass.) These interactions are not especially noteworthy except that they made me realize I had not had a negative interaction with a motorist in several weeks. That's excellent.

Upon reaching McCook, I took stock of the food options and settled on a brewery, the Loop, where I enjoyed a delicious porter and a tasty but small pizza. I will probably need a snack before bed. I am constantly reminding myself to eat because it has proven necessary (the consequences being that I start to shut down mentally and just don't feel like riding any more).

Tonight's forecast says to expect thunderstorms and strong wind, so I got myself a motel room. The cyclists I met today are camping at the Arapahoe city park, I think. I met four of them in total, all of retirement age. Thinking about them camping would have made me feel like a wimp a month or two ago, but I'm telling myself there's no contest here about who is the gutsiest cyclist in the land. I wanted a bed so I got myself a bed. I am going to enjoy the hell out of it.

Today's ride: 78 miles (126 km)
Total: 2,051 miles (3,301 km)

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Keith AdamsThe rigid schedule of a led group tour is precisely why I will never do one. Theirs may have to flex and bend to deal with Yellowstone.

What's your plan for that, or is it too soon to say?
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1 month ago
Chris GeorgeYeah, I've still got almost four weeks before reaching Yellowstone because I'll be stopping in Denver for several days. So it's too soon to say. I'm going to try to wait a week before thinking too much about it because it sounds very hard to predict.
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1 month ago