Yesterday was a long day battling the wind and we hoped that today would be easier and we might be able to get to North Platte and get back on schedule. Unfortunately as soon as Highway 26 turned east, we knew we would be fighting the wind all day. Physically the wind makes it so that your legs are constantly spinning and never get to rest, even going downhill. Mentally, the wind is a constant pressure on your skin and constant loud whooshing sound in your ears. Further, the slower speed means we will be staring at the uniform landscape for very long uninterrupted times.
We crawled along, passing through Broadwater and finally arriving in Lisco. Here we hit up the one business in town, a restaurant that opened a few minutes early for us to eat. We ordered sandwiches and swatted away the flies as we ate them. With nothing else to do in Lisco, we crossed the train tracks and headed on to Oshkosh.
I continued my games with train car serial numbers and we both listened to music to deprive our ears of the rushing sound of wind (we're in denial that Eastern Nebraska is able to blow this much air at us). Jonathan discovered that he can listen to NPR discussions on TED and nearly forget that we are pedaling on bikes for over 8 hours. When I say 8 hours, I mean that is how long our wheels are moving for, the time we are traveling from door to door is even somehow longer.
The train conductors became our friends on the road as they blew their horns and waved at us. We ate at a gas station in Oshkosh and met a man who told us that there were too many people and trees where we are from. Even though he was completely wrong, we had a polite conversation.
Approaching Lewellen we found another construction zone, this time with a flagger and pilot car that we had to follow through the milling operation. Through another construction area we sat down to cool off for the last time at Lewellen's convenience store/bar. Here we met the local drinking crew that when told of our plan to bike down to Ogallala, warned us of a massive 6 mile long hill, one which we would not get to go downhill from. We were told of a more scenic route along Lake McConaughy. This route was said to be "less hilly" but our maps showed it added at least an extra 6 miles. We decided that Nebraska did not have hills like the Rockies and opted for the shorter route.
Sure enough the hill was a manageable 2.5 miles long. Unfortunately, the wind on top of the bluff was intense. We fought hard but made little headway. The sunlight was fading and soon we were once again biking in the dark. The temperature was cooling, and traffic was slower making this a nice ride. Reaching Ogallala, we found a well paved road, street lights and a nice downhill to reach a 24 hour Denny's restaurant.
Photos by Jonathan Kobles