As of today we’ll have 9 states behind us, half the days counted, and half the calculated miles travelled–at about 1,725 miles!*
Nate is well underway, into Omaha for a breakfast stop. Michael was busy trying to rescue a dog.
It’s a noticeably cooler morning after storms passed through last night. Our campground was lit up with lightning bugs while actual lightning crackled across the sky–but we didn’t get the rain.
Michael will pass through Chautauqua, IA, en route to the KOA we’re at tonight. (Nate may have done the same?) Curious to see if anything is similar to the western New York (or Colorado) Chautauquas!
*The midpoint on our original plotted route is in St. Paul, NE, about 100 miles west of our stop tonight. But we will have surpassed the same mileage (~1,725) within today’s ride. We’re now tracking along Routes 30/34, and won’t pass through St. Paul.
Update (Mid-ride): It started to rain as Michael left camp, but didn’t get up to more than a light sprinkle before stopping a couple miles down the road. The ride has been overcast, though, making it the first in a week without requiring sunscreen!
A man just outside of Council Bluffs greeted Michael with the Iowan handshake, “Getting ready for RAGBRAI?” Maybe in 2023.
Michael stopped at the same breakfast spot, The Diner, as Nate, and ordered “The Mega Meal,” which looks a lot like the “The Big Meal” he had a few states ago. Delicious. (Nate had the same, except opted for pancakes over French toast.) The Diner is in the Old Market district of Omaha, among stores and cafes and restaurants.
Crossing into Nebraska, Michael detoured to a bike path that took him across a cool pedestrian bridge, and along the river to Lewis and Clark’s Landing. (Nate crossed the bridge, too!)
Check back for updates at end of day…
Update (Day’s end): Nate found a cool bike shop in the same area as The Diner. The guy who runs the shop is an old-school tech and specializes in custom builds–with some innovative engineering to create one-of-a-kind bikes. (Michael is disappointed he didn’t get to see the classic Bridgestone and Bianchi bikes in the shop!)
Meanwhile, Michael found a couple really nice bike trails that allowed him to bypass much of the city area after leaving the Old Market. (Unfortunately, that didn’t quite make the rest of the ride easy…more on that below.)
After the bike trail, Michael stopped for a cup of cold calories at Culver’s. Had the ride ended there, it would have made the Top 5, at least.
Instead, he pedaled into a hellish five miles: The traffic southwest of Omaha was as bad as a Boston commute. The roadway doesn’t have a shoulder; It has a high curb that limits how close cyclists can pedal. And at regular interval, a sewer drain slants down under the sidewalk from about three feet out into the lane. All together, the conditions made for nerve-wracking riding. But, worse, drivers were not happy having a bike (and rider) in their lane. Michael (and Nate reports he, too) got yelled at several times. One driver threw a bottle at Michael, who, having ducked it, then had to dodge broken glass. Another driver threw a metal spike–something like a nail setter–which hit Michael’s panniers. In all, not a friendly welcome to Nebraska!
But, Michael and Nate made it to the KOA southwest of Omaha unharmed and in good spirits. We drank some beer, ate, cleaned-up, walked around camp checking-out RVs, and made plans for the next two days’ rides.
Each campground has been a unique experience. This KOA is smaller, and the sites are most tightly grouped together. We’re at the edge of a small cabin village of sorts, with a volleyball court behind us, and other tent campers next to us and across the drive. As such, we’re getting a lot of foot traffic (mostly kids) passing through our site to get to and from camp amenities; That hasn’t happened before. There’s also a tornado bunker within 20 feet of our site, just in case!
One neighbor is a rabid Oregon State “Beavers” fan: He placed a banner out on front of his Winnebago; His VW bug is orange, and has a Beavers logo on the door; And of course he’s wearing his team’s garb.
And that’s the story from Nebraska…
Check-out the Relive video–complete with re-routing to get out of that traffic mess!