I thought maybe it would be good to catch up on the day to day of cycle touring. Tomorrow starts day 24 and it has become a regular cycle. Now to show you a typical day.
This was the night before sunset. I laid on the picnic table at my $5 campsite and admired the Nebraska stars (the same ones as the rest of the world but more visible due to less light pollution)
My alarm goes off every morning at 5:00 a.m. I get up and roll up and pack up everything in the tent before I even get out. This morning there was a hard dew and this fights against an early departure as I have to pack up the tent wet. These hot days I have given up on cooking breakfast. My go-to up to this week has been oatmeal but in the heat I have altered that to a bagel with peanut butter and honey. I drink as much in the evening and the morning as I can to stay ahead of the heat. It would be nice to get on the road before the heat of the day but that would mean a 3:30 a.m. wake up.
This morning I was on the road by 6:30 but by 8:00 it was already in the mid-80’s temperature wise. I stop for my second breakfast (I am a hobbit my wife tells me) at anywhere between the two and three hour time when I hit something that works. McDonald’s has become a go-to because of consistency. Download their app and it has a coupon every day for buy one get one free breakfast sandwich and large unsweet tea totally refillable like four times in 20 minutes is $1. This morning second breakfast was at 9:30. I was 40K into a day that was planned to be around 105k. Google always lies and I have not had a day that is less than they say yet.
In my first hour I hit a few kilometres of Nebraska gravel. It is red and sloppy. More like small pebbles piled up on each other. Average speed on here with the mountain bike and the trailer is only 10k per hour. It just hurts also as sometimes you get bogged down.
Stop two was lunch number one at just shy of noon and I was at 70k into the ride. I found a gas station before I turned south. I had been dreading this turn as the prevailing winds for the last few days have been SSE and I would be right into it at the hottest part of the day. 95 degrees and counting at 12:30 and I had another 38k to go to finish up.
The heat and the wind did not disappoint. One of the books I have used as a mandate for my ride said as follows. ‘When you are cycle touring 10 miles per hour is a perfectly acceptable rate of speed.’ That may be so but in the heat, towing a trailer and riding with 50-60 extra pounds and now into a headwind that gives me an average speed of 12-13k per hour. I stop once an hour at gas stations to fill up with liquids and get a tad cool in the AC. I finally rolled into Hastings Nebraska at 3:15 in the afternoon.
Most of my campgrounds have been cheap and local and this is a perfect example. Camping at the town fairgrounds is $15 including water and electricity. I get settled and catch up with the day. The problem is that you need to start to prepare for the next day before this one is even done. I am doing a seven day stretch right now to try and clear Nebraska. Tomorrow is the hump day and I need to ride, do laundry, find a post office etc. etc. etc. You see it all seems so carefree and lackadaisical until you do it every day, one after the other. I don’t know how to change it when you have a goal to get to. I am loving the lifestyle but there is not as much downtime as there appears to be from the outside.
I have loved Nebraska state road 34 though. It is my ride across the entire state of Nebraska. Look at the shoulder, it is a full 6′ – 8′ the entire way. I am in love. I want one road in Stratford area that gives me anywhere near that amount. Just one please?
Tomorrow in 6.5 hours I get up and start it again.