MOPAC trail: Louisville SRA to Lincoln
Monday April 29, 2013, 41 miles (65 km) – Total so far: 639 miles (1,028 km)
The US postal system’s General Delivery is an incredibly useful, and free, service. This means at some point, they’ll do away with it, or start charging a fee. For now though, it is a great way to send yourself supplies or items. All that is required is that you address the package to yourself c/o General Delivery. Then you put down the town name, state and zip code, and they will hold it for 6 weeks for you. I write on the bottom of the package “please hold for bicycle tourist” – to satisfy small-town curiosity about why they have received the envelope.
When I go to pick up the package this morning, the post mistress is excited to see who I am. The “hold for bike tourist” bit has had her intrigued for the past 5 days the package has been there. She wants to know all about the trip. I answer the standard six questions – then I answer a bunch more. When I go to mail postcards to Australia, she then starts asking questions about Oz, stating that she was there for World Youth Day (when the Pope came to visit). I turn the tables and start asking HER questions about her trip to Oz and what she liked and didn’t like – just because I don’t think I can answer another question. We introverts are like that!
So 25 minutes later (how can there not be another customer for 25 minutes!!), I get out of there, grab a Subway sandwich for the road, and start heading south.
My plan is to take a series of county roads down to Elmwood. In my pre-trip research, I figured out which county roads to use (based on Google Maps and Street View)and have written down the directions in my notes. Once to Elmwood, I’ll assess the surface of the MOPAC bike trail. If it’s good, I’ll use that to ride into Lincoln. If it’s poor, I’ll just head down to Hwy 34 and take that in. Google Street View shows that 34 does have a shoulder, but it’s not in great condition.
So off I go. The landscape is comprised of a fairly level and high surface after you climb out of the Platte River valley. There are gently rolling hills of glacial till covered by loess. The water, mostly small streams, has dissected the surface, so there are gentle climbs in and out of water courses, as well as bigger, but still gentle, climbs up and down the hills. It is pleasant, and this will be the general topography all the way to Lincoln.
The bike path at Elmwood seems to be in good condition – so I put the day use fee in a rain-wrinkled envelope and push it down the post. I’m wondering how often they check that post!
The surface is good – you just have to avoid the horse hoof imprints where people have ridden on the bike path instead of the horse path that parallels the trail. I’m impressed with the facilities, signage and surface and am able to use this path all the way into Lincoln. In the little town of Eagle, I get off the trail to go get a choc milk – this little town has places to eat if you need it.
By the time I reach the big, grain silos at Walton (where the farm to food system begins), there are plenty of people parking at the trailhead and using the trail. That’s great to see. It also indicates I’m getting close to Lincoln.
I have no troubles connecting to the bike paths in town – but once I need to get off the bike path to get to the motel I’ve booked, Lincoln becomes a bit unfriendlier to bikes. I almost resort to using the sidewalk once! I have “bike routes” shown on a town map, but these are fairly heavily travelled roads, too. It feels good to get to the place I’m staying (New Victorian Inn) and relax after a few miles of traffic that didn’t really appear to be used to driving with cyclists.