The day of our crossing over to Nebraska was a hot one. So hot indeed that an older lady and I had the following interaction.
–So, where are you headed?
–Well, we’ll try to make it to Norfolk, ma’am.
–You know it’s going to be a hot one today, don’t you? We have a nice park over here too.
–Yeah, but we’ll take it easy and drink a lot.
–We have a nice park over here. Just saying.
She looked at me with the mix of disbelief and amusement only a person who knows better can pull off.
But we were set on main it to Norfolk, even though the day was going to be a hot one. And a long one. The sole reason for this was that Kaisa had found a notice on the Happy Cow website that a restaurant that served vegan sushi was operating there. One that would be open until 9.30 PM. Sometimes motivation finds you.
Our start wasn’t spectacular. We had been told that Eastern Nebraska would be as flat as Iowa. Whoever said that had never taken the road from Onawa to Norfolk. This hills were long and there were plenty of them to go around. And the day turned out to be even hotter than we had anticipated. But we were on a mission.
But even the strong fail at times, and during a snack break I fell asleep for almost an hour in the shade some agricultural equipment. (Kaisa on the other hand got to sample the most weird delicacy we’ve encountered to date – frozen pickle juice. A gift from the shopkeeper. The frozen pickle juice was later categorized under the headline ”a supposedly cool thing we’ll never try again”.)
But after my nap we valiantly continued. As did the hills. But little by little we pushed onward. Always setting our goal to reach the next gas station where there would be cold drinks.
During the day we drank orange juice, lemonade, Gatorade, water, ice tea, coconut water, virgin pina coladas and probably something else. Yet we still ended up quite dehydrated. You drink a gallon and sweat two, seemed to be the Nebraska way.
But as all tragedies end at one point, so did this. Suddenly the landscape opened up in front of us, and we rolled into town. With little time to spare and very anxious whether or not we would be getting our reward. Our past bad experiences with restaurants have come to haunt us – they don’t really close at closing time, but instead the kitchen closes sometimes even an hour earlier.
We call this cheating!
But our choice for the night was of a different caliber, and they very graciously brought us everything we requested. The problem was, we enjoyed it so much there, that the sun began to set. Which was even a bigger problem, us having no lights on our bikes., as we had vowed not to ride in the dark.
But the campground lay still a full three miles ahead and we had to make it there somehow. Upon exiting the premises our situation revealed itself to being even worse than expected, as a storm of biblical proportions was making its way toward us. Taking away all the little light that was left in the evening sky.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was scared. Really scared. But Kaisa, so happy to have a full belly, wasn’t deterred in the least. Instead she pedaled forward as if she had no worries in the world. Amid a ton of cars on busy roads. (”They’ll see us – I’m wearing my yellow jacket!”)
I was praying for my dear life, she was coasting along. Usually it goes the other way around, but this night I got the short end of the stick.
Long story short, we made it to the camp ground, safe and sound. Much to Kaisa’s amusement.
This episode was also the starting point for our next leg. We would now be joining the much talked about Cowboy Trail.
A bit worried about how it would treat us with the memory of all the hills still fresh in our legs we decided it was better to sleep instead of think.