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Monday, 13 June 2011

Day 35 - Half Way?

For the last couple of hours I have been watched a dramatic storm across the horizon. Lightening bolts have been slashing the sky, occassionally penatrating downwards and generally causing mischeive. It was a briliant display which now unfortunately has moved overhead and I have had to move into a small rest area which the campsite has; a table and chairs with a few basic exercise machines, most importantly under cover and out of the rain. The forecast here always seems to present a risk of isolated thunderstorms, with chance weighted towards the latter hours of the day.

I have today made a few crucial and excellent purchases which I am most happy with. Both of these purchases have been from the dollar store, and I would have been more than happy to have filled an entire trolley (cart) with random, yet useful items had weight not been such a pressing issue. The first of my purchases was a pair of flip flops, costing, you guessed it, $1. Essentially some foam with a blue and red pattern accompanied by a bit of cheap plastic - these will be will be better for the hotter climates than my spare pair of trainers, which now have such a pong that even I am considering that it could be time for disposal - if the EPA doesn't nab them first. The second purchase of which I am even prouder is a small but long extension lead. I have thought of this over the past few weeks but had parked the idea after thinking that this would be far to bulky to port around. What I found for $2 was basically a simple cable with 3 slots on the end, approximately 9 foot long, yet packing down to a minimal size; it allows me to run edison's magic into my tent. I can now use my new tablet, charge batteries and my electric toothbrush all from the comfort of my sleeping bag: genius!

Today I have done very little, one of my main thoughts is that I chose the wrong campground. In fact these thoughts commenced last night when I tried to put up my tent. The ground in the camping area is as hard as rock and I was only able to erect my tent after borrowing 4 steel pegs and a hammer from a kind gentlemen from south carolina. I think  he probably wanted the pegs back but his wife told him otherwise. In addition to the hard ground, the campsite has no swimming pool and is covered with goats heads which I will come to shortly. I have only myself to blame for this tragedy as I wasn't even meant to camp here. I wanted to camp at country view, and just to mock me I can actually see the sign of country view about a quarter of a mile south in the distance. I think my weary legs and arms directed my to the first campground in Ogallala magnetically, after seeing a sign for camping. The campground has reedemed itself very marginally with the discovery of this dry, safe and cosy room protecting me from the storm.

This morning I finished chatting to both pam and my phone insurance company at around 10.15am, with the aim of making mcdonalds breakfast, I didn't make it due to a goats head; little twin headed, tiny spikes, which litter verges and rough ground here. This is my first front tyre puncture and upon close inspection I had about 10 goats heads in the tyre, the kevlar magic can only with stand so much. I made it mcds, but breakfast was gone :( In addition I have now had a chinese meal for dinner, drunk 3 beers and watched the Republican Primary Debates mixed up with long periods of relaxation and procrastination.

So to the pressing issue of the day - am I half way? Well firstly many thanks to you who have congratulated me for this. The question of course can only be answered by knowing your total distance. Vince (Pam's dad) has informed me that using a ruler I am substantially more inches from Jacksonville Beach than I am from Seattle - thanks for the confidence building. This was expected however, and whilst I haven't been to Yellowstone, my route through Teton was certainly not the most direct and neither were my first few days roaming around the Cascade mountains. Let these miles rest, they cannot be unrode. What is important is the amount of miles in total. Approximate calculations as follows, broken down into smaller segments:

1. Ogallala, NE to Wichita, KS - 415 miles (to see the Hansons)
2. Wichita, KS to Little Rock, AR - 441 miles (to cycle with Tim, Sarah and meet the Gillums)
3. Little Rock, AR to Jacksonville Beach, FL - 803 miles (the end)

The total mileage still to complete is therefore 1,659 and thus theoretically I am not half way! Although I did do myself a diservice, my ride is to Jacksonville Beach, not Jacksonville and this adds on another 10 miles to the trip (which is included in the above calculations). Also those miles above do not account for stupidity, wrong turns and diversions.

So moving forward my target is North Platte tomorrow (with winds from the west predicted). Get to Ethan's for a week on Tuesday, 21st July and make it to Tulsa for the weekend of 25th July. Cycle with the Gillums and Tim at the very start of July to make it to Little Rock for the 4th of July. Then the home straight. I am possibly tempted to add a few miles on and head south from little rock so I can tick off louisiana and then hit the gulf coast. I can't think of anything better than a dip in the sea after a hard days cycling. These plans are still up in the air and pragmatism is king!

P.s. I have inclued a few more photos of yesterday as with the exception of the campground shot I didn't take any today. I would have loved to get a lightening shot, but that is more than difficult with the camera on this tablet! the last photo is of lake mcconaughy which looks great from the tourist photos, with some great beaches. It is also nebraska's largest lake.

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