After our late arrival and we had a slow departure again. Leaving well after the sun had risen, the air was already quite warm when we left our room. The wind was light and not a factor and we cruised through the rest of Torrington before needing to repair a flat on Jonathan's rear wheel. Flat patched and we headed off towards the Nebraska border. The "Welcome to Nebraska" sign informed us that Nebraska is home of the "good life". I guess we'll see how true that is over the next several days.
A few rolling hills greeted us but in general we were out in the flatness that is the beginning of our Midwest adventure. We were excited to see some deciduous trees, and most importantly, some of them were overhanging the road and providing shade. With the exception of Grand Teton/Yellowstone, we've had close to zero shady rest spots along the roads since the first days of Oregon.
With Nebraska came more freight trains that I have ever seen. Interestingly, most of them are 100 cars or so long, and carrying only coal eastbound and returning empty westbound. As the train car count increased, so did the headwinds.
For the first time since California we were averaging under 10mph and pedaling our best, all to go barely anywhere. Slowly we crept along, amazed by how far we were able to see ahead of us. This fact and our slow speed led us to often stare at some taller landmarks for over an hour. It was clear that Nebraska was going to become more of a mental challenge than we had seen previously on this trip.
Soon we were staring at Chimney Rock. Stopping in at a combination RV park/café/gift shop we learned that Chimney Rock was the most often mentioned landmark in the writings of westbound emigrants on the Oregon Trail. We spent a while in this shop talking with the owner as we looked for any excuse to not go out and fight the wind again. After packing 8 pounds of ice into everything we owned, we headed back out to the wind/heat. My boredom grew and I devised games to play with the passing train car serial numbers. For those that are wondering, the numbers are 4 to 6 digits long, and on about 30% of trains there will be two consecutively numbered cars next to one another. Thrilling.
It became obvious that we weren't going to get past Bridgeport today. As we got closer, hills were added to the fun we were having with the wind. Getting to the top of the hills was tiring, slow work. Once there we had the "opportunity" to see even further in the distance, not exactly what we wanted.
Finally we got to Bridgeport. The motel had a unique self service check-in system. Following local advice we headed down to a local bar/restaurant and gorged on pasta. Going to bed we hoped the wind in the morning would be kinder to us than what we had just experienced.
Photos by Jonathan Kobles