Good morning! We both slept well last night at the Omaha KOA. I (Nate) got a full 11 hours of sleep. Michael got a bit less, but says that the time he did sleep was restful. It’s looking like another sunny day here on the road, as we push past Lincoln, NE today and into Seward, NE. We’ll be following Route 6 and meeting up with Route 34 once we get to Lincoln.
Another bit of good news, Michael and I will be riding together today! I was planning on leaving early again, but upon news that this KOA offered an “all you can eat” breakfast for only $9, I decided to stick around to take full advantage of it. The photo below is the first plate of many.
That’s all for now! I’ll post an update later this evening.
Update (8:00 pm): Up until about 3 miles from our finish today, it was a pretty uneventful ride, and I had no clue what to write about in this update. But that changed. As a precursor to this, it’s good to mention that just this morning, Michael and I were discussing how we haven’t run into another cross-country touring cyclist yet.
The day started around 9 am when we both got on the road. For the first 15 miles, we had minimal headwind, and we’re making good progress. Up to that point we both were averaging 16 mph. We pulled off to refill our waters at a gas station, and when we got back on the road (this was near Lincoln, NE), the wind really started.
We skirted Lincoln, and avoided much of the downtown congestion. There was a small bike path that was rideable, and kept us off the road.
(I would normally insert a photo here, but neither of us took any photos from the actual ride today.)
After a stop at Culver’s for some frozen custard and a sandwhich, we got back on the road, merging onto Route 34 towards our final destination, Seward. This whole time, we were fighting a direct 15 knot headwind and some rolling hills, but we had a wide shoulder, and were able to keep our average pace above 10 mph.
When we rolled into downtown Seward, I pulled over at an intersection to reassess with Michael whether we wanted to explore a bit, or head straight to the motel. Just as we were pulling out a map to see what was around, we saw another cyclist with full racks and bags pull up to the same light heading the other direction. We waved, and he came over to introduce himself.
“Nico,” who we learned is from Paris, displayed the French flag on his handlebar bag. We asked where he was headed, to which he answered: “New York City”. When we asked where he started, he paused to think for a moment, and said something along the lines of: “Well, in the U.S., I started in San Francisco”. Our first cross-country touring cyclist encounter!!
It’s obvious that Nico is in a whole different league of touring cyclists than we are. His bike is decked-out with stickers from his travels; his bags are taped together with everything else loosely tied on top. In essence, he looks like a pro at this, and we look like amateurs. To add to it, his frame broke a few weeks into his U.S. tour, so of course he had it welded. Perfectly ride-able.
Turns out that Nico wasn’t just cycling across the U.S. but the ENTIRE WORLD. He had left his job as a high school history and geography teacher in Paris to do the trip, and has been on the road cycling and touring the world for a year. Some of the places he’s visited include: France, Turkey, Iran, Thailand, Japan, and many more.
Nico suggested we grab a beer, and as we were done for the day we happily obliged. We stopped by the Bottle Rocket Brewing Company, which happened to be only a block away from where we had met Nico. The brewery was housed inside an old seed company, and still had dispensers attached to the ceiling once used to fill trucks. It was a cool little space. We each had a flight of beer, and talked extensively with Nico about his travels and his route over to New York.
One thing we found so cool about Nico’s journeys was where he was sleeping every night. Most nights, he would do the “Warm Showers” website (a forum for touring cyclists and host families), but more recently he has stayed in 7 different fire departments. (We’ve heard this was a thing but hadn’t tried it ourselves.) He said it’s a great place to sleep, and we’re definitely going to try and sleep in one in the coming days.
Before leaving the brewery, I checked out the bathroom, which was one of the coolest I’ve seen. They made the urinal out of a Anheuser-Busch keg (ha!) and the sinks had tap handles on them. Completely worth me taking a photo.
Nico also has a website about his journey, where you can see real-time updates on where he is every night, as well as where he has been. He has some amazing photos from his journey, including the sights he has seen and the people he’s met. It’s definitely worth checking out!
We ventured on to the motel, while still talking about how cool it was to have met Nico. We checked in, and Michael took a look around the outside, where he saw a snake which was around 3 feet long.
After checking under our beds to make sure there weren’t any snakes there, we showered off and headed to Walmart to stock up on some groceries and fruit for our ride tomorrow. After, we visited a local Mexican restaurant which was delicious and every bit authentic.
We’re both looking forward to a full night’s sleep tonight, before a ~67 mile day tomorrow which will put us in Grand Island, Nebraska.
That’s all for today! Check back tomorrow morning for a post from Michael.
Check out today’s Relive ride here!