Range Roaming – Reflections on Illinois and Iowa

Here is the email update I sent to family and friends from Lincoln, Nebraska:

So I’m waiting out an unusual and ‘historic’ (read record-breaking) winter storm in Lincoln, Nebraska. After record flooding in Illinois and record low temps in Iowa, 4 inches of snow just seems par for the course. Spring is waaaaay late this year – not an ideal start to a bike tour! Read more

Range Roaming – Nebraska 2013 – Day 14

Waiting for the geology book: Louisville SRA to Louisville SRA

Sunday April 28, 2013

Before leaving Indiana, I packed up two envelopes for my parents to send me on the road. Each package contained geology books, maps and notes. The first package, covering Nebraska and South Dakota, was sent for me to pick up in Louisville. The second package covering Wyoming will be sent to Spearfish, SD. Read more

Range Roaming – Nebraska 2013 – Day 15

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. Read more

Range Roaming – Nebraska 2013 – Day 16

The nerd goes to see the elephants: Lincoln to Lincoln

Tuesday April 30, 2013

Today I unleash the nerd on Lincoln. First, I drop off the bike at a shop so it can be pampered with a new chain and rear brake pads. Then it’s off to be touristy.

My first, and most highly anticipated stop, is the University of Nebraska State Museum – my introduction to the natural history of Nebraska. I cram everything in in four hours, but you could spend the whole day here marveling at the exhibits which range from rocks and minerals to evolution to how genes and DNA determine who and what you are. Read more

Range Roaming – Nebraska 2013 – Days 17/18

Stuck in Lincoln waiting out record snow: May 1- May 2

Wednesday May 1, 2013

May 1.

The next big cold front has arrived. Old man winter will just not let go this year. The rain began overnight. At 7am, it is raining and in the 40s F. The radar and the forecast indicate that this is going to last all day, and the wind is going to pick up. Yep, I’m not going anywhere today. Read more

Range Roaming – Nebraska 2013 – Day 20

*#&@*!!! Waiting out 35mph crosswinds: York to York

Saturday May 4, 2013

The weather forecast last night included a wind advisory for today.

Yes, there were a few angry words thrown around in my head when I heard that. But I didn’t give up hope – I took the “we’ll just see what it’s like in the morning” approach.

Well, what we see from the window this morning are traffic lights being held out at a steep angle with the wind. The trees are all bent over to the south. I say a few things to myself. Curse word. Curse word. Curse word. Read more

Range Roaming – Nebraska 2013 – Day 21

The day comes good about mile 40: York to Loup City

Sunday May 5, 2013, 97 miles (156 km) – Total so far: 797 miles (1,283 km)

It’s a day that starts out sluggish but ends with nearly 100 miles completed. Kermit, the mental health counselor, has a lot to do with my attitude readjustment today.

We start out under cold and windy conditions again. The northerly wind is only around 10 mph, though, so forward progress is somewhat slowed but achievable. The landscape is pretty flat and barren – 10 miles west of York we reach the limits of glacial till in Nebraska, though I have trouble picking out any terminal moraine. I guess 2.5 million years of erosion make detection of such things a bit more difficult. Read more

Range Roaming – Nebraska 2013 – Day 23

The best philly chicken cheesesteak ever: Taylor to Thedford

Tuesday May 7, 2013, 74 miles (119 km) – Total so far: 939 miles (1,511 km)

Normally, a flat tire is not how you want to start the day. But the flat tire saves me from getting absolutely soaked first thing, so I see it as a blessing.

Of course, I had not detected the tire was flat until I had the whole bike loaded and ready to go. Seeing that rain is imminent, I just roll the bike down two blocks to the city park so I can fix it under a picnic shelter. Read more