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Saturday 11 June 2011

Day 33 - Angry Birds

Todays mileage: 63
Total mileage: 1,597
End point: Oshkosh, NE

I woke up knowing I would not be in a good mood. Last night I had eaten the last of the cherry pop tarts which I try to keep in stock. The asian noodle bowl had not been enough and the wagon centre was charging $23 for steak which I felt was unjustified given my recent and expensive purchases. Brunch would be a 15 mile rideaway.

I did have a very cunning planning for riding through Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma which was as follows. Given a northerly or easterly wind, I would cycle south - given a southerly or westerly I would cycle east and therefore at no point would have to face a head wind. There was only one thing which could screw me up; a south easterly.. and so it was. In fact it feels like the wind has been blowing against me in perpetuity. In addition to this problem my inner digestive system is still not 100% and I made a brief promise to myself to make a concious effort to eat whole grain bread and stop eating white.

I cycled passed chimney rock, which is one of the state symbols and very grand it is. I'm not sure though it can justify a visitor centre which it has. Maybe there is loads of cool stuff in there, I guess I will never know. I arrived in Bridgeport eager to get fed and find some wifi to send yesterdays blog. This I did at subway, careful to avoid the $5 sub, and purposefully upgrading myself to the $6. The lady had problem with my pronounciation of tomato, whilst I am happy to use american words the alteration of accent is a step too far.

I left Bridgeport on a quiet route to Broadwater, which should have been pleasant enough cycling next to the river. The shoulder was wide and yet this has to be one of the worst 10 miles or so I have cycled. For when they laid the shoulder they left big gaps between the 10 metre odd slabs, a couple of inches. This meant every 5 to 10 seconds I was hit with a small but strong bump. Under normal circumstances this would have been fine, but with my stomach as it is, each on of these felt like a form of torture. In my mind I began drafting a letter to the Governor of Nebraska informing him of the error made by his transportation department, by the end of this road I had inserted several expletives into the letter.

The other perhaps more horrifying thing about today has been the dead birds. I must have seen at least 100. Just lying motionless on the shoulder. I haven't seen anything like this, its like a bad horror movie. I'm wondering if they have some sort of extermination policy here, or maybe the cornhuskers have created a genetically modified super crop which is harmless to humans but downs birds immediately. Whilst we are on the subject of GM crops, I think it is time for some praise to the US. The European Union continues to ban GM crops - ridiculous. The US has had them for 10 years with no side effects, and whilst I agree caution is no bad thing the current approach to GM crops in europe is of treating the whole subject as if it was witchcraft rather than 21st century science. I do not want my food ruled by the scaremongering of greenpeace and prince charles - rant over.

A more happy part of today was the waving, pretty much every car I passed waved! This would please Pam. One of the things she loves about England is language of please and thankyou woven into the negotiation of junctions and parked cars when driving. It appears such politeness can be found also in america, although you do need to come to nebraska to find it!

The last stretch of my ride was a barren 30 miles the only thing of note a small town called Lisco, I was pretty thirsty and hoping for a small shop but it was 50:50 with towns this small. From a distance I saw a coke sign and thought I was in luck. Approaching the shop was a big sign, 'this is NOT a shop, we do not sell drinks, food, gas, cigarettes...'
Now I can just about understand the sign saying they weren't a shop, but then listing the things they don't sell? Really? Fortunately for me they did have a vending maching which sold the one thing I wanted. And popular it was too, in the time I was there 2 other people popped by to get drinks.

I was now on the home straigh to Oshkkosh, which would be my favourite name for a town if just down the road there wasn't a town called Ogallala. After 8 miles I realised something strange, a cool feeling on my head - aggghhh - I had cycled off and left my helmet at the vending machine. With a storm approaching I peddled forward. I have had this helmet for over 10 years, and whenever it rains water coming through the helmet stings my eyes. Its lost is no bad thing although I would prefer it was under my control. I will have to get a new one whenever I can next.

And please before anyone continues - no more wishes of riding safely - I ride safe all the time. You please drive safely! There is a massive storm here now and I need to plan my next few days. I'm desperate for laundry and a rest...


  1. Finally got round to posting a comment, we've been following your progress and pleased to see you battling on!

    Keep peddling...

    Love Sue and Kev

  2. sorry "pedalling"