Day 54 - ending at Decatur, NE: Stopping, for now - Tri-points on the Tri-speed - CycleBlaze

July 6, 2013

Day 54 - ending at Decatur, NE: Stopping, for now

Posted via email Sun Jul 7 22:01:07 2013 PDT

Woke up at 5:15am to a cloudy morning. Checked the weather radar using the BlackBerry, and saw a line of rain west of Norfolk slowly moving this way. Decided I'd better get the dry tent down while I had the chance, find a picnic shelter for the bike and me, then work on yesterday's report. With inspiration to hurry, I was leaving my camping area on the bike at 6:30am. At first, I was going to find a shelter in River Park, but then remembered passing a Wisner community park (Central Park) last night on my way to River Park. That place would be better, I thought.

Arrived at Central Park at 6:46am. Found they had a working AC outlet, so plugged in my extension cord and the BlackBerry's AC charger as I wrote. The sun came out as I typed, so I checked the radar again. The line of rain to the west was dissipating. I don't mind that! I was just about done with the report when the phone on this BlackBerry rang. That was unusual, and the number was my home phone. It was my wife calling. She had sad news for me: my Dad had passed away last night in the care facility he'd been in for about a week. His health had been poor for quite a while, but I hadn't expected this. Now I needed to get back home quicker than my bike could get me there. Through several emails and phone calls, it was decided that my friends George and Kris would drive over and get me - a near eight-hour (one-way) trip for them. I'd make my way today to Decatur, Nebraska, to get me closer to them. First, I needed some breakfast. Sent off yesterday's report and left the park at 10:10am.

Not finding any other restaurants open for breakfast, I ended up back at Dairy Keen. I'm glad I did, because they make a very good breakfast. Left at 11:20am. To get to Decatur, I would ride east on NE-51. To save backtracking northwest, I worked my way northeast through town. This town has steep hills. I had to walk up for two blocks. Came to Dinklage Park and stopped to call my friend Jim, and let him know about my Dad. Jim had an idea I hadn't thought of: rent a car to get home. By the time I threw that idea out, George and Kris were gearing up for the trip.

Continuing on to 9th Street N, I had to walk the bike down one block - it was too steep to ride down and stop at the bottom. I saw several "Dangerous Intersection" signs in town. Made it to NE-51 at 12:12pm, after breaking out in a sweat. It would have been a hot day, if not for the strong south wind on this hazy-sunny day. A few hills ahead, and I'll be coasting down on my way to the Missouri River. Wrong! Some days it's good to not know what lies ahead. Today was one of those days. Hill after hill after hill. The hope I have with each hill is that, at the top, I'll see the end of them. But instead, there was another hill. But the hope is always there, new with each hill.

At 1:46pm, I took a break to eat a snack bar. Crossed NE-51's intersection with NE-9 at 2:09pm. Arrived at the road to Bancroft at 3:15pm. My PN-60 GPS indicated that there was a park in Bancroft. I could use a break in the shade, especially if I had a soda. Turned north toward town. Uh-oh, this is going downhill. Oh, what's one more hill today? When I was all the way downtown, I found a soda machine, but it wouldn't take my money. Oh well, I'll just go to the park, which I did. Arrived at 3:37pm, took a nap, and left at 4:15pm.

East of Bancroft the road was downhill, then flat. Here's what I was looking for! Not so fast. Arrived at NE-51's intersection with US-77 at 5:11pm. After that, it was hills again. These hills were even tougher than this morning's - or I was just getting tired. Stopped to eat a bag of peanuts at 6:19pm. In fact, I made lots of stops today. Finally crested the last hill before Decatur and coasted down to the city limits at 7:09pm.

I had planned on camping at Beck Memorial Park by the river. Now I would just wait there instead. First I'd get supper. I rode the highway into town, looking for food. Stopped at the corner of 4th Avenue and West 7th Street to see where the BlackBerry's Poynt program said food was. Just then a fellow stepped out onto his front porch to ask about my trip. I asked about where to get supper. He said, "Right there." pointing down the road to a green-roofed building. "Or you could go down by the river to the marina, where there's a place to eat." We talked about the town and my trip for a while. Then I headed for the green-roofed building, which is The Green Lantern Steakhouse. They were very busy, with people waiting. I decided to come back later, and headed to Beck Memorial Park, stopping first at the Shell station for a PowerAde.

I walked the bike across a foot bridge and found a picnic table by the river. Took pictures of Decatur's toll booth and bridge. Also took a picture showing the wear on my rear tire. The orange protection under-layer is showing where the tread is completely gone. Over two-thousand miles on these tires. I'm pleased with them.

Headed back to The Green Lantern Steakhouse just before 9:00pm. Got right in and went with the Prime Rib Steak Special, selecting hash browns with onions and cheese for the side dish. Outside after dinner I talked with a gentleman who said he'd passed me on the road, and later saw my silhouette cresting the last hill coming into town. He asked about the trip. My wife phoned me just then (I was leaving my phone on today), and asked who I was talking to, after she overheard us. I said a Nebraskan. He said to tell her, "A local".

I headed back to the river, and got to thinking it wasn't going to be easy for George and Kris to find me here. So I went back downtown, to a small park with a gazebo on Broadway, located just behind the Shell station. Called George and Kris with my new easy-to-find location. They were getting close to Decatur, and did find me at 11:25pm. It was good to see my friends, including their malamute Tank. George and I loaded his Dodge extended-cab truck with my loaded bike. I figured with the gear all tied down on the bike, nothing would blow away.

Kris had brought along all sorts of goodies - cookies, candy, pretzels, soda, and coffee, so we were good-to-go. George paid another dollar to the toll booth attendant as we made it into Iowa at midnight. An all-night drive (I-29, I-680, I-80, and I-74) delivered me and my bike to my driveway in Morton, Illinois, at 8:10am Sunday morning.

My trip was over, for now anyway. I kissed my wife as she left for church, then took a shower. Later went to Old Smokey's BBQ in town with our younger son, to catch up on what he's been doing. Walked over to visit with my friend Jim. Then, keeping with my normal at-home Sunday afternoon routine, I took a nap.

I hope to finish this trip someday. We'll see.

Jeff

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Spent: $9.63 plus $2 (breakfast) + $1.99 (PowerAde) + $22.10 plus $5 (supper) = $40.72.

+ plus signs indicate pictures added after returning home from the trip +

+ a selfie (before I knew this was called a selfie) on my last day (before I knew this was my last day) +
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+ 6:30am - ready to go! +
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+ Central Park - Wisner, NE +
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+ Dinklage Park - Wisner, NE +
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+ spring-loaded guard rail - Cuming County, NE +
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+ NE-51 - Cuming County, NE +
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+ an old balcony - Bancroft, NE +
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+ nap time - Bancroft, NE +
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+ interesting history - Bancroft, NE +
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+ making green stuff - Burt County, NE +
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+ I think I'll take the low road. +
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+ Beck Memorial Park - Decatur, NE +
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+ toll bridge across Missouri River seen from Beck Memorial Park - Decatur, NE +
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breakfast Sunday morning at Old Smokey's - Morton, IL
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Today's ride: 38 miles (61 km)
Total: 2,241 miles (3,607 km)

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