Laundromat conversations: Chadron State Park to Fort Robinson State Park
Saturday May 11, 2013, 40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 1,154 miles (1,857 km)
The post office in Chadron has unusual Saturday hours: 10.30am-1pm. This does give me time to go do laundry, however, before the post office opens.
There are a couple laundromats in Chadron. I use the first one you come across on the way into town from the west. It has clean bathrooms, plenty of washers and dryers that work well, change machine, detergent machine, free wifi and small, individual TVs (though I don’t know if they work). Very nice!
While laundering, I talk to a truck driver/road construction worker, a local seamstress and a Native American man who is there with the whole family. The kids are pushing each other around in the laundry carts, though no one seems to mind. Each of the conversations is interesting – it underscores that there are many different ways to live a life and many different ways to find yourself happy or unhappy. The bike is such a magnet for people – even an introvert like me can’t get away from conversation.
I pick up my package from the post office. Again, a 5-10 minute conversation ensues with the postal worker about the ride. She’s been curious about who was going to pick up the package and where they were headed. My mom is so sweet. Included with my re-issued US credit card are two bags of chocolate-coated almonds and cashews.
I eat lunch at a Taco Johns – a first for me. But the Super Burrito and two crispy tacos fuel me the rest of the day, so I can’t complain for about $5. I have yet another conversation about the bike – this time with an attractive young guy who’s done “Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska” and would like to do a solo tour some day. I urge him to just do it, because he won’t regret it.
I’m all talked out now, so I just enjoy riding up and down the gentle hills on my way to Crawford. To the south, Trunk Butte is a prominent landmark for quite a few miles – it’s a resistant layer of limestone underlain by silt sediments.
Not long after the turn-off to the Treaty Tree, where the Sioux refused to sell the Black Hills area to the white men in 1875, my rear tire goes squishy. Not again! This will be my fourth flat in less than a week. I pump it back up, repeating the process about every 5 miles until I get to Fort Robinson State Park west of Crawford.
The tent sites here are sorta defined by where the picnic tables and fire grates are located. This area, set away from the two RV campgrounds, lies along Soldier Creek and next to the old fort cemetery. Showers are available in the closest RV campground.
I don’t need to eat dinner today, the burrito is still providing energy, so I set about fixing the rear flat. Piece of glass. I absolutely cannot get another flat in the next few days. I have so much trouble getting the tires back on the rims, there is no way my thumbs are going to agree to it again.
As the sun sets, the coyotes in the distance begin to howl, yip and bark. All else is quiet and peaceful. None of the cemetery residents disturb my sleep through the night, either.