Long distance and bad roads

Our plan for today was to get from O’Neill, Nebraska to Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Mission accomplished.  We were on US-20 for most of the day.   The road was bad in spots and really bad in a lot of other spots.  It was like riding an a washboard.  The weather was cool as we started – 66 degrees and overcast.  The sky finally cleared late in the afternoon.  By that time, we had conquered Nebraska and a big  chunk of Iowa.  We had stopped early in the day for a bio-break, then rode for quite a while before we got gas.  Once we had gas we thought we would stop again in about 100 miles or so.  That’s about the limit of my backside on the seat.  That is really the only complaint about the Harley.  At 100 miles I get squirmy and can’t find a comfortable spot.  Anyway after our 100 mile leg, we started looking for a place to stop.  I started out looking for a small café or diner to get an iced tea but there was nothing.  Then I started looking for a café, diner, or gas station.  Still nothing.  Then I added anything inhabited to our list.  It took another 59 miles before we found something, a gas station.  It turns out it is the same station we stopped at about 2 weeks ago on our way west.  We spent some time sitting on something that wasn’t moving or bouncing then headed the last 50 miles to Cedar Rapids.  All in all, we covered almost 400 miles today.  That’s what it takes to get home.

At one point we had to detour slightly due to a bridge closure.  Wouldn’t you know it, we no sooner made the turn onto the detour route when a train showed up to stop traffic.  It was one of those same coal trains that we saw on our way out.  I enjoyed the trains a lot more when we weren’t sitting in the middle of the highway waiting for them to get past the crossing.  In the 15 minutes it took for the train to clear, we met the guy in front of us.  He was coming from a cattle show in Valentine, Nebraska where we had lunch yesterday.  He had his cattle shipped to his ranch about 100 miles north of Cedar Rapids and was sure that this added delay meant the cows would get home before he did.  He was friendly and wished us a safe journey.  There must be money in the cow business.  He travelled about 500 miles or so to buy some new cows.  Maybe Nebraska cows are better looking than Iowa cows.  We ended up following the guy until we stopped for gas.

Chili’s Restaurant is next door to our hotel and the 4 of us went there for dinner.  It’s been a while since we all sat together relaxed and laughed.  The food was good and the company was better.  There are no pictures from today.  This is all territory we covered 2 weeks ago.  That’s a problem with travelling.  You have to get through the familiar areas both going and coming.

The plan for tomorrow is to stop at the National Motorcycle Museum then sleep in our own beds tomorrow night.  That’s a day sooner than the original plan laid out months ago but once that pull to get home starts, it’s hard to resist.  According to my GPS we are exactly 4,773 miles into this adventure.  I wish we had 4 weeks instead of 2 or better yet, no time limit at all.  I’ll start planning the next outing on Sunday while I wash the bugs off the bike.



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