2017 Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska: Day 3, Weeping Water to North Bend

With the past couple of days being so awfully hot, I was a bit worried about the 70-plus-mile ride ahead of me. I was determined to get on the road before 6 a.m.

I got to the Weeping Water American Legion around 5:15 a.m.  The menu the day before had promised pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and eggs. It turned out there were no eggs. *sad face* BUT, there was peanut butter to schmear on my pancakes for a protein boost.

Bikes were parked all over the place outside the Legion.

bikes parked in downtown weeping water

Immediately after breakfast, to get out of Weeping Water, there was a hill. I’ve no idea of its accuracy, but Strava says the grade ranged from 6-14%. I was so glad I’d practiced my stand-and-pedal technique the day before, and that all my gears were functional. That was a heckuva hill! It sure woke me up!

I got to the first rest stop around 7 a.m. I really, really needed a bathroom. The rest stop was in a church parking lot. Surely there was a bathroom there? I asked the SAG stop volunteer. No bathrooms were planned, but maybe there was a portapotty in the adjacent cemetery.

Nope.

Ugh. I was desperate. This was not a matter of having drunk too much coffee. It was a matter of having eaten something that my digestive tract was not fond of, and it was muttering, “Eject! Eject!”

I tried the back door of the church’s activity hall. It was unlocked! “Hello?” The lights were off. Did they mean to leave the door unlocked? At this point, and contrary to my nature, I didn’t care! There was a kitchen, so clearly there was plumbing. Aha! A bathroom!!!

I sent a slightly belated collections plate donation through the mail. Thank you, Trinity Lutheran Church, for helping me preserve my dignity that day!

the church

The day’s tailwind was lovely. I got to Ashland by 7:45 a.m. Time to check out a couple more Nebraska Passport stops!

The Glacial Till Tasting Room was closed at that time of day, of course, but the Postscript letterpress arts store (with espresso and tea) opened at 8. Or at least, it was supposed to. I waited until five after eight, but no lights came on inside, and I was being tormented by mosquitoes and the sound of a concrete saw operating nearby. I left without being able to peruse the sweet, sweet letterpress art. *sad face* I’m a huge fan of sending cards through the mail, and I love letterpress. It’s probably a good thing I missed the shopportunity – anything I purchased would’ve gotten smashed and soggy in my bike jersey pocket anyhow.

postscript

As I walked my bike along the sidewalk to the corner to rejoin the flow of northbound bicycles, I passed a store window display that made me chuckle. “Highway Baby?” “Highway Buddy?” Clearly a BRAN rider training tool. Ha!

highway baby

Around 9:15 a.m., I hit a SAG stop, 38 or so miles in. The sign was very helpful: 10 miles to lunch in Wahoo, 40 miles to our ultimate destination in North Bend!

sag stop

The wrestling team in Wahoo was hosting a fundraiser lunch for BRAN riders. I knew this because there were several hand-lettered signs along the miles leading into Wahoo. Smart people!

fundraiser sign

The lunch stop in Wahoo at 10 a.m. was none too early. I was hungry! And I totally salute the Wahoo wrestling team – they were one of the few fundraiser meals to offer no-meat options. (Also, they had bathrooms available!)

no meat burritos

One of the best parts about the lunch stop in Wahoo: ice cream! With sprinkles!!

ice cream

I wish I’d felt like I had the time to explore the town. Ever since I heard there was a Wahoo, Nebraska, I’d had the urge to visit. (How could the citizens be anything but enthusiastic?) But with 30 miles to go, I contented myself with a photo of the Wahoo sign, which one of the Wahoo students took for me.  (A quick note to my mom: C. W. Anderson loved drawing horses, and he wrote children’s books!) (And for those of you who don’t remember from science class, George Beadle won a Nobel Prize for his one-gene-one-enzyme hypothesis.)

wahoo sign

About two miles west of Wahoo, I paused by the side of the road. There was another Nebraska Passport stop nearby – about a mile and a half off course, down a gravel road. The gravel looked to be in good shape. I decided to go for it! (I texted my husband, just so someone would know where I’d gone if I disappeared.)

I’d recently been talking to one of my sisters about the enchantment of dilapidated structures, and I found a lovely example on my off-route road:

abandoned house

When I stepped into Our Corner Cottage gift shop, I had a “one of these things is not like the others” moment:  everything in the shop smelled good, except me. One of the gals in the shop was clearly keeping her distance. Oh well. I got my digital passport stamp, bought a piece of chocolate caramel, and headed back to the route.

At about mile 60, we turned north on Highway 79 and began riding the Bohemian Alps. Sweet, sweet tailwind! I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun climbing hills in my life!

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 9.49.34 PM

A sign! Seems friendly . . .

a friendly sign

There were multiple signs indicating that I should stop for a snack in Prague. I’m ever so glad I did, because I got to eat a dumpling on a stick, dipped in a paper cup of meat gravy. Dang, that was good!

dumpling on a stick

North of Prague, there was a field of daisies. I have never seen anything like that outside of a jigsaw puzzle or a calendar page. The panorama photo does not do it any sort of justice.

field of daisies

On the bridge across the Platte River, I heard a violent clatter behind me. My bike light had fallen off, and parts flew everywhere! Luckily, it had come apart at the seams, and it all snapped back together and worked just fine. Since I was already stopped on the bridge, might as well take a panoramic photo.

platte river.jpg

The finish line in North Bend! (Cute how they painted the street brick.)

finish line

First orders of business: find tent, get showered.

Second order of business: find the laundromat.

I had no more clean bike clothes. The helpful young man at the information booth showed me on a map where I needed to go. There was a shuttle I could take to get downtown, but it was taking too long, so I walked. And this is what I found when I arrived at the laundromat:

closed laundromat

D’oh!

*SAD. FACE.*

Being the resourceful person I am, I walked a few more blocks to the hardware store and bought a 5-gallon bucket, and did laundry the old-fashioned way.

laundry bucket

I will tell an embarrassing tale on myself now.

I had a lot of laundry that needed to hang dry – more than what would fit on the laundry line I brought. But no problem – there was lots of chain-link fence at the ball diamond and school where we were camped. Several other cyclists had already hung up their gear to dry on the ballfield fence. I draped my clothes off the first-base line and wandered off to get some food. (Had an outSTANDING Indian taco!)

I soon realized: there was a ball game that night! And there were TV cameras covering the game! And my laundry was hanging behind the first-base line!

*blush*

Oh well. There were other people doing it, and there were a whole bunch of tents beyond the outfield fence, so it’s not like it was a normal day. I’d just wait until the game was over to sneak over and grab my laundry.

I got to talking with my tent neighbors about George Beadle and all things science-geeky, and time flew quickly. I suddenly remembered: Oh! I need to go get my laundry.

There were still guys on the field as I began taking the first pieces of laundry down and stuffing them in my bag. Huh. They like to linger after games, I guess. But then . . . THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER STARTED PLAYING. Egads! A double-header!

I stopped messing with my laundry, took my hat off and stood at attention in front of the remaining clothing dangling from the fence. As soon as the anthem was over, I grabbed the rest of my laundry and hightailed it back to my tent.

Lesson learned: check the game scheduled before you hang laundry on a ballfield fence!

Speaking of double-header – that night game right next to the campsite was not a very fun thing. I was really glad my tent was on the other side of the school building. But the light and the noise didn’t seem to bother the person in the green tent, who was snoring when I took this picture at 9:22 p.m.:

late night game

day 3 stats
81.7 miles
3,266 feet of climb
12.6 mph avg
(weather data from Wahoo)
low temp 62
high temp 84
avg humidity 44%
precip 0
wind 7-15 g 20 SE

Copyright 2017 by Katie Bradshaw

2 thoughts on “2017 Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska: Day 3, Weeping Water to North Bend

  1. Pingback: 2017 Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska: overview and Day 0, Falls City, Kansas and Missouri – Wyobraska Tandem

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