BRAN 2015

It's a Full House

What's better than four? Five!

Courtney Johnson


Map35

Wauneta Cambridge Eustis Axtell Clay Center Wilber Syracuse Conestoga (MURRAY)

Welcome to my ride report of Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska 2015.  As always, thank you so much for taking the time to look through this web journal!  I love to hear feedback from you!  I only ask that you keep in mind I am a seventeen year old who thinks she knows everything (just ask my parents) so my writing is meant to be witty, fun, and sarcastic.  

To the squad who put up with me for a week, you guys rock my socks.  Dad for encouraging me to get into shape in three weeks, Julie for always making the ride fun, Natalie for not totally killing me, and Jeff for riding with us for a week without a lot of prep conditioning.  Thanks for making BRAN one of the best bike tours.  To anyone who was a part of the BRAN staff or helped out with the ride in any way, without you, our week long adventure would not have been possible.  A huge shout out also goes to the riders as well, you all make the ride what it is.

And so the adventure begins...

Saturday June 6, 2015

Kansas City to Wauneta

Hello people of the internet, I am back for yet another bike tour.  I believe this tour is my eighteenth week long bike ride.  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!   It's really strange to think that I'll be starting my senior year of high school in just a few months...

Well, this morning was an early start.  And I do mean early.  FIVE AM WAKE UP TIME.  I hate mornings.  I am Grumpy Cat.  I did manage to get up and take a shower before we all got on the road (shout out to Madre for packing my stuff for me because I fell asleep early last night... sorry). The sky looked slightly threatening this morning as we headed north and I was worried there was going to be an "infestation of tornados".

We stopped at McDonald's to grab some breakfast but apparently eating an egg white McMuffin isn't good because it's over $3... well that's interesting.  Even spending a ridiculous amount of time in the van with everyone was bearable because I fell asleep most of the way there; I was totally wiped out.  

Dad even let me drive some but the road was kind of rough and it was very, very windy.  We were going to get Subway for lunch but a sudden "WAIT THERE'S TACO BELL!" derailed the plan so we had tostadas and tacos.  Back in the van, I fell asleep intermittently until we arrived in Wauneta.  I actually really like the shirts this year AND THEY GAVE US BALL CAPS.  I am wayyyyy too excited.  My luggage tags say Courtney the Llama Princess once again.  So yes, I am still obsessed with llamas.

Dinner was (guess where???) at a Mexican Restaurant.  WOO HOO.  The food was alright, a little bland but it was ok.  Dad found a total of three chicken bones in his food.  I didn't find any (thankfully) and we all got deserts of some kind, which did not have any bones I am happy to report.

Everyone got their bags packed and ready for tomorrow once we got back to the motel.  Now off to see the Nebraska countryside... but first, sleep.

 

I'm Batman

Natalie with her selfie stick needs a new hobby

Seeeeee, Dad let me drive!

Natalie double checking our order

When Mom's taking pictures and Dad sneaks up behind you

This is my "Where's my tostada?" face

Check in

Super swaggy hats

Broncos are cool

I'm so cool, look at me

Squad

We take cool pictures

And I'm being obnoxious

The adults

The know it all teenagers

Sunday June 7, 2015

Wauneta to Cambridge

69.64 miles, 18.2 average, 3:49:35 time

It's day one and our wake up time was 5:30am... which meant I didn't actually get out of bed until after six.  It's teenage time, right?  We got everything packed back up and drove the 44 miles to Wauneta to start the ride.  After assembling the bike and putting our luggage on the truck, we were off.  Getting started was different than before on the quad: three people now get on and then Dad and I take off together.  

The first thirty miles were awesome with tailwinds and lightly rolling downhill (we averaged around 21 or so on this stretch).  We flew past sags and towns (and a few riders) while the sky behind us looked rather menacing.  Dark, scary, tornadic clouds of death are not exactly optimal for a nice ride.  Luckily, they broke up throughout the morning and it stayed nice all day.  On a very large uphill, we discovered the wonder of feedlots.  Shout out to the cows for assaulting my nose.  Thankfully, we stopped at a gas station not far away and grabbed some power food before hitting the road again.  The next section of the route had headwinds and crosswinds so the riding was a little more difficult and I know our average went down quite a bit.  The road began to show some signs of wear and tear as indicated by cracks crossing the shoulder and rumble strips lining the edge of the road.  Never fear, we powered on until the town of McCook came up on the horizon.  Approximately 44 miles away from Wauneta, McCook has a total of three Casey's gas stations.  Why is this important?  Because riders stop at the first watering hole they see...even if that watering hole is entirely out of Gatorade and the only food left is bacon jerky.  This means that the other Casey's down the road have food and no lines (yay!)  For lunch Natalie and I split a ham and cheese sandwich but she (being extremely unadventurous) opted for a cold sandwich with only mayonnaise.  Boring!  She wouldn't even let me get pepper jack cheese.  I did put some veggies on mine so it was a compromise.

Back on the road, we kind of just kept going.  Nothing too exciting happened, just a couple of obnoxious trucks and assorted other vehicles passing.  We rolled into town and found our bags fairly quickly.  The town gave out welcome packets with some goodies and cold bottles of water to riders coming in.  Jeff and I supervised while the rest of the team went to find a good place to camp... all the way on the other side of the football field.  The nice gentlemen who helped carry our bags to the middle of nowhere had no idea what they were getting into.  

After pitching our tents and getting shower bags together, I could not for the life of me find the Tide packets Mom had packed for us to wash clothes.  I finally gave up and went to take a shower but Dad later found them so guess who did laundry?  This girl!  I'm so ready for college... lolol no.  

We went into town in search of food and found a bar with pool tables, ice cream, soda, the works.  We weren't able to get three pizzas under the special 2 for $15 so instead we only ordered two.  It was definitely plenty of food.  Dad even let us get ice cream so while Natalie got a blizzard thing I decided I wanted a chocolate malt.  It was average in tastiness.  Winstead's, at home, has so much better malts.  Everyone played a few games of pool and we discovered I am absolutely terrible but Jeff is really good so I've been shown up.  Awesome.

After dinner, Dad contemplated taking a horn off of a bike decorated for the riders to enjoy while strolling town but we deterred him in saying it was probably borrowed.  We made it back to our camp and I was definitely wiped out for the day.  Another 70 mile day tomorrow but hills are promised so I am crashing.  

Breakfast came too early

Setting up

 

He has no idea what he's getting into

 

Open road ahead

 

Dark skies behind

40's car on top of oil canisters

Here we go!

Sag stop number one: Dad ate half of that in one bite

 

Lunch break

Time to get going

Air mattresses are nice

Tent camping is my favorite thing *cries*

Dad is learning the art of the selfie

Dinner

She's been framed

Natalie's really a pool shark

He's cool

And I lost miserably

Contemplating the next shot

Working on the ride report

Writer of all things

Julie's gonna get it

Monday June 8, 2015

Cambridge to Eustis

70.24 miles, 15.13 average, 4:38:32 time

Tent camping apparently does not agree with me because I woke up feeling terrible.  Just how I wanted to start my day.  We packed up our stuff but I was the smart one wearing flip flops in dewy grass.  I was tired, ok?  Breakfast was a complete ordeal.  When we went to see what was being served up in the concession stands we found they were out of everything but pancakes and sausage.  It looked a little questionable.  Jeff and I went ahead and ate a pancake and some sausage but ended up going up to the school with everyone else for actual breakfast.  The lady working even made us yogurt parfaits; they were very good.  

The first part of today was hilly.  As soon as we turned off of the highway parallel to the railroad, I knew we were in trouble.  Just ahead of us there was a very large steep hill but that was only the beginning.  On the upside, there was a downside to every hill so I was able to rest my butt occasionally.  We stopped at the 20 mile mark and got some drinks before continuing on our way.  The scenery was gorgeous but that came with the ups and downs of the road along with the questionable pavement.  We saw some cows grazing a little bit and passed quite a few people.  Eventually, we rolled into a rest stop that had restrooms about 27.6 miles away (I'm totally kidding but it was a really long walk up to the building).  To top it all off, we found out one of our cranks was sliding back and forth some so when the Penske truck drove by, we borrowed a wrench from the driver and we were soon on our way.  

As we rolled up and down the hills, Dad decided to tell us "a Chinese proverb" that says "what goes up, must come down" but apparently the proverb forgot that, on bike tours, what goes down must also go up.  With this being said, our fabulous downhill quickly turned into a nice little hill to go over, with a giant hill just behind.  Awesome.  We had an awesome downhill into town, however.  Natalie saw a sign that advertised brats and fries/chips for $5 but we ended up riding around a little bit to find it.  When we did get the bike parked, there was a commotion across the street and apparently, someone was pulling out of a parking spot while on his cell phone with a rider right behind him.  Just a friendly reminder to motorists: GET OFF OF YOUR PHONE WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING.  Why is that so difficult?  Seriously, it can wait.

Brats and fries actually tasted really good for lunch but we were in town longer than intended due to waiting for our meal.  When we got outside, one member of the team found they left a water bottle in the restaurant so they returned to retrieve the lost item.  We all reapplied sunscreen thanks to the intense sun today.  I ran into the grocery store to ask if they had a red sharpie to fix our license plate and lucky for me, they did have one.  We were back on the road again and stopped once briefly but the hills never diminished.  Up ahead there were signs reading "one lane bridge" and the ride organizers put warnings in spray paint on the asphalt about gravel.  There was even a stoplight at the bottom.  Shout out to the guy who tripped it for us. Dad thanked him as we rode by.

This hill was not fun.  I mean, really not fun.  It was long and incredibly steep and extremely brutal.  It pushed our gearing just a a little bit... like a lot since our large cog has only 25 teeth. At the very top of the demon climb, there was a water stop so we got off for a couple of minutes.  Cold water never tasted so good.  There was this horse at the top of the hill who was kicking her colt like "GET UP COME ON".  It reminded me of my mom during the school week.  "Courtney are you out of bed yet?  If you're not down here by seven you're not driving!" Needless to say, that usually got me out of bed. 

Dad decided we were going to power through the next town and not stop at the gas station because it was going to be "all downhill and tailwind".  Well, it was sort of kind of true.  However, that was four miles too many.  We did happen to see one spectacle on the last jaunt into town.  A truck pulling a trailer, who just HAD to pass us before turning right in short order, flew over this railroad track.  In the process, his ENTIRE trailer came unhitched from the vehicle and the four wheeler golf cart thing (John Deere) flew off the trailer and went rolling off the hill.  So essentially 5 stupid actions in one small time frame.  1) He didn't hook up the hitch correctly 2) No safety chains were used 3) the John Deere golf cart wasn't secured to the trailer 4) he sped up to cut in front of us and in the process wasted a ton of gas to only burn his brakes 5) He went flying over a railroad track.  It was entertaining.

When we got in, I looked a little beat.  While everyone was chatting by the bike, I rounded up all of our bags and took off my riding shoes.  Flip flops are magical.  

While I was sitting on one of the bags, Dad and Jeff walked up with ice cream for all of us.  YASSSSSSS.  My day was totally made and suddenly, everything started feeling much better.  We hauled our luggage all the way to the other side of the football field (deja vu much?) and set up camp for night number two.  I was dying in the heat and so when we went to take showers, I wasn't the least bit excited about hot showers, as advertised by the signs.  When I was back in normal clothing, I did my laundry along with Dad's and Jeff's but accidentally left Julie's mat drain plug thingie on the counter.  I was a little bit out of it so to say.  

We hung up clothes on the fence and took the hay shuttle into town for Mexican food at a restaurant but this business was not officially open so the food served were tacos or nachos and most beverages (of the alcoholic variety) were not available due to not having obtained their liquor license yet.  Instead, we went down to main street and got pizza from the store to eat while sitting outside listening to country music.  I really do not understand how an ok song can go south so quickly.  I'm not much of a country fan myself, as you can tell.  Dad wouldn't even let me get pie *cries*.  In the middle of main street, classic cars were parked in the road for people to look at and enjoy.  Natalie took advantage of this opportunity to take selfies with her selfie stick.  She's only slightly obsessed.  

When we were about ready to head back, someone came up and asked Dad if he would drive this old 50's Studebaker truck back to the high school a few blocks away.  Dad being, well, Dad, said sure and soon we were sitting in this presumably old truck.  Interestingly enough, they completely redid this truck so it was modern on the inside.  It seemed like they took a Chevy truck and just placed an old body on it.  It was really interesting.  

I went to sit in the school to find an outlet to finish typing up the story you're reading now before going to huddle up in my tent.  See y'all tomorrow. 

Looking back from the top of the first hill

Giant motorcycle yard art

REST STOP

The crew



Roadside fix


Shout out to people who send us photos! 

{If you have any photos of us, please email them and they could be featured in the next ride report!}

The demon hill

Construction behind

I made it (barely)

This thing was steep

Still smiling

I need a break

GET UP YOU LAZY TEENAGER *actual picture of Mom and I*

Ice cream at the end makes everything better

You could say we're airing our dirty laundry 
(but it's clean because I did 60% of it)

Selfie stick

Natalie wants this 58 Chevy as her first car 
(get in line after me!)

Dad and Nat with a 61 Ford

Occasionally, we take nice pictures

Dinner (selfie stick at work!)

Highway 21 Garage

 

Julie

Oh yes, this thing was awesome

 

Tuesday June 9, 2015

Eustis to Axtell

55.38 miles, 19.31 average, 2:52:05 time

Despite getting up just a little bit earlier, almost everyone was gone by the time I finally emerged from the tent.  We ate breakfast burritos before we took off... but an SUV would not move over whatsoever as we approached the highway. Why is it so difficult?  We had to stop and get going again, not what we wanted to do on a quint. To start out, we rode over a few hills but nothing that was terrible.  Dad was totally into the whole "let's pass everyone right away" theme so we rode 24 miles before we got off.  Even this early, I was salty like an iguana (Kansas City restaurant reference).  We downed a bunch of water as the heat index was only rising.  Natalie made a new friend with a cat which had been shaved down, presumably due to the heat.  How does one even shave a cat?  Is there a manual?  

The scenery was really interesting until we began riding on a flatter road.  The deteriorating milled road conditions were less than desirable.  We stopped by a gas station a few miles later where we purchased some homemade cookies.  They were so good I wanted to eat like 10 but I feel like that would also be counterproductive to the "let's ride 410ish miles in a week".

We stopped briefly in Holdrege but after resting briefly in the shade we ended up turning around to search for a bathroom.  Shout out to the church who let us use their facilities.  

The last town before our destination was Funk and I know we were all looking forward to shirts that were to be sold reading "Funk U" but the design wasn't exactly what we thought it was so we abstained from purchasing them.  

It was incredibly hot when we rolled into town.  I wasn't feeling the best to say the least.  Nonetheless, I pulled myself together and set up the tent.  I trooped over to the pool not far away and asked about showers for the riders and where they were located but she didn't seem to know.  Not wanting to try to find the school and hunt around for showers, I faced the icy depths of the pool shower.  IT WAS COLD.  Penguins would be scared of that water.  

Dad, Jeff, and I walked up to the school to find Natalie and Julie who went to look for nicer showers.  Already done with laundry, they went back but I stayed up to do my own plus the clothes from the guys.  After feeling a little cleaner, we went up to the convenience store in search of food and ended up getting pizza again.  This is almost rivaling our CANDISC pizza streak.  We went down to the bar to check it out but it seemed dead so we ended up sitting in the air conditioned gym for awhile.  Jeff almost fell asleep on the floor.  

We ended up sitting in the park not far away and ate some pulled pork sandwiches.  Thankfully, there was some shade so it wasn't quite as hot.  Only baked, not Cajun fried.  Dad pointed out there were swings not far away so like the small child I am at heart, I ran off to the playground with Natalie and Jeff trailing behind me.  Swings are fun people and no you can never be too old to enjoy them.

On the way back to camp, we were sidetracked by a retro tandem bicycle I just HAD to take a picture with.  It was very fun.

Side note, the hallways in this school are very nice.  And we showed Jeff the "Steve's Dunk and High DUI".  It's so funny, you should check it out. 

I do believe this is it for tonight.  I'm kind of tired. 

Breakfast

Mountain Dew, never too early for caffeine 

Getting ready to start out

Happy stokers

SEEEE???

Landscape

Super awesome view

Rest stop

Natalie found a friend (no, you cannot take him home)

We had cookies here (Dad's selfie arm)

I have no idea what that is, but it looks alien and could possibly be in a Doctor Who episode

Selfie with the selfie stick

How many people does it take to cut a pizza

Hair flip

I tend to make pictures awkward

Making use of technology.  What a time to be alive.

Watermelon!

I FOUND A SWING SET

$0.25 soda!

A bicycle built for two (me and you)

If this disappears, we didn't take it

Sunset

Wednesday June 10, 2015

Axtell to Clay Center

69.68 miles, 18.36 average, 3:47:40

Good morning campers!  It's going to be a fabulous day today!... probably.  Last night was really rough.  And I'm talking about not getting any sleep.  A deafening rotating siren went off in the middle of the night calling in the volunteer firefighters. We heard the fire truck sirens and not long after 2 or 3 explosions. We later found out the van going to get doughnuts for breakfast burned completely up.  Between that and the trains, I was lucky to get any sleep.  

We started out by maneuvering our way through the high school to find breakfast.  We were pleasantly surprised to find all sorts of food ranging from biscuits and gravy to yogurt to oatmeal to milk.  Basically, if you could think of it, it was there.  

After some minor confusion about which way to leave town, we were on the road and on our way.  This side of the state has some less than friendly drivers it seems as three vehicles in a row passed very closely and we even got our first "GET OFF THE ROAD!!!" today.  So pleasant.  Thank you so much for being a royal jerk.  

We stopped for a few minutes to drink a bunch of water at a gas station before hopping back on to tackle the next part of the ride.  The road was a little bit flatter than the other day and small baby corn plants were growing out of the ground in field by the roadside.  It was getting hot once again and my skin was getting crusty like a crab thanks to the salt that exuded from my body in an attempt to cool me off.  I wasn't feeling so good when we rolled into Roseland for some refreshments.  Sandwiches were a skyrocketing $5, marked down from $7. But I suppose you did get a water and a bag of chips.  I opted for just a cookie instead.  

We made it back on the road again but our tailwind was slowly switching to a crosswind and the heat was continuing to rise.  We made it to a slightly shaded area with a Pepsi machine for some cold sodas but the stupid thing decided to eat $1.25.  WAY TO GO PEPSI.  I did get a Mountain Dew after battling the machine and a well-done sun baked banana from the SAG vehicle parked there.

Mountain Dew does make a difference people.  Turning into a nice tailwind and shaking off a wheel sucker is very motivating.  We flew over that next section with our average at that time reaching approximately 19 mph.  We told Jeff about some of our bike adventures over the years (many of which can be found here).  

One quick water bottle fill up later and we were headed on our merry way into a crosswind next to a feedlot.  Have I ever expressed how much I hate the smell of cow manure?  We took a break down the road in this little town where there were quite a few bikers camped out in the air conditioning.  We all got drinks and while I was drinking Gatorade that was "frosty" Julie went for "fierce".  Gatorade is so motivating.  On the way out of the gas station, someone pulled in to fill up their restored 1931 Ford.  This vehicle was dug out of a river bank 40 years ago and completely redone to look like new.  The workmanship was impeccable.

We made it the last few miles into town with a headwind.  There were some very interesting military ammunition bunker looking things over a few miles probably left from World War Two.  It was quite interesting.

We made it into town and stopped for some water before going up the road to turn around for a picture.  We finally got some food over at the gas station with five of us packed around a two person table.  That was super fun.  

Finding our bags was fairly easy as we were some of the last people to collect their luggage.  The sky began to look ominous and so we quickly set up camp before going over to take showers.  We hoped for the rain to stay away long enough for us to get some dinner at the Legion.  We took the shuttle there but honestly, it would have been faster to walk.  A baked potato bar served as our dinner while a band played music outside.  This town put a lot of work into entertaining bikers and it really showed.  I was able to find wifi at the library a block away and managed to locate a picture of me on the BRAN website.  FAMOUSSSSS!

Some lightning started to show up in the sky as we navigated our way to the school and so we began jogging towards our tents.  We made it as it began sprinkling but we ran into the problem of leaving the water on the bike (parked in a storage room set aside for the bikers).  Jeff and I decided to run up to the school to retrieve the bottles and the rain only began coming down harder.  When we made it back to the tents, it was definitely beginning to rain and the wind picked up.  Not five minutes later, what sounded to be a policeman over a loudspeaker was yelling at the campers out on the field to take shelter in this garage type building nearby (by this time the rain is really coming down) due to a weather warning of some kind.  People, looking very frustrated, began to grab their stuff to either head to the building, or trek up to the school.  We were in the building for another 10ish minutes before someone came down saying the building was unsafe and now all riders were required to go up to the school.  I did manage to grab my tooth brush and retainer along with a pillow but everything else was still in the tent.  

We holed up in one of the hallways and managed to snag some of the left over food from the movie in the gym. Even though there was no weather warning of any kind to be found on the internet, we were informed there was a "sheer wind warning" with 55 to 65 mph winds they claimed to be flying below the radar.  Wonderful, let me tell you.  They began to shut off the lights in the hallway and so I went in search out outlets with Jeff, finding some in the gym.  Around 11:30 someone came by to tell us we could return to our tents if we chose but there was a ton of lightning and it was still raining so we decided to stay in.  

It is currently midnight and I am completely and utterly fried.  Let's hope everything is dry in the tents (cross my fingers).  Wish us luck.

Yard art

There was a line, sorry

Getting ready to take off

Stokers assemble

The squad's all here

Cool bank building

It's really, really hot

Restored car

Go straight to jail, do not pass go

No get out of jail free card?...

...Make a run for it!

Sadly, no pendulum

Bunkers

We found a spot to sit

Selfie on the trolley

Half of the group

Me if I ever got a motorcycle

My back up

He actually wants one

Co-Pilot

Down pour

Our shelter #1

Do I look pumped or what?!

Inside the school but we got food!

Thursday June 11, 2015

Clay Center to Wilber

61.75 miles, 18.18 average, 3:23:51 time

Well, here's the update about last night.  Dad went out to investigate the situation of the tents and in the end, we discovered some things were wet and so we ended up just staying in the school.  We dried off our mini air mattress things (if you could call it that) that dad retrieved in the rain and ended up sleeping on those.  I didn't actually get to sleep for a significant amount of time until around 5 am.  When I woke up, it sort of felt like I had been run over by a herd of llamas... twice.  We packed up our things and headed back to the tents.  It could have been a lot worse weather wise but still it wasn't fun.  After getting most of our stuff in the bags, we trooped back up to the school for breakfast of sausage and pancakes.  That was it.  The forks were very questionable on top of this because while cutting my pancake it decided to snap in half. The same thing happened to everyone else.

We finished getting everything in the bags and got those on the truck.  A pickup dropped its tailgate for us to ride up to the school to save us the block and a half.  Shout out to you guys.  When we started off, the wind was definitely not in our favor and I wasn't feeling so good.  We stopped around 12 miles into the ride and Dad even suggested I ride to the town in a SAG.  That's how bad I was feeling.  I shook it off, though, and we made it to Geneva where we stopped at a Shell for refreshments.  I started feeling a little bit better after drinking a Gatorade but the small quick shop wasn't going to suffice for lunch.  We decided to find the other gas station in town but ran into a Subway in our search.  Unfortunately, there was a sign on the door reading "No cleats".  If you have approximately 400 cyclists coming into town and about half of them want food and some of them will come to your store and inevitably 90% of those who want subs will be wearing cleats, don't you think it would be a good idea to be slightly more welcoming?  If you think about it, these people would have to remove their cycling shoes and walk around in socks or barefoot in a restaurant, which is against health codes.  Did they really not think this through?

We found the Casey's and grabbed some lunch before hitting the road.  The wind switched in our favor!  This hasn't happened in 18 tours...probably.  We decided to tell some stories of rides and camping adventures and animal encounters.  Between the five of us, we could make a movie out of this.  We stopped only a couple of times throughout the last forty miles and rocked and rolled for a long time.  On the very last stretch into town, some hills showed up but nothing too serious.  Someone ended up crashing and we passed them just as an ambulance was arriving.  It didn't look too serious, probably just riding on the two inch wide shoulder and got a little bit off of the road and tried to get back on.

Once we found our bags, I went in search of milk and cookies (as advertised by a sign on the way into town).  The milk was served in these little pouches that you pop a straw through.  Fun fact: apparently, the local penitentiary serves the same type of milk.

We set up our tents and trekked over to the school for showers.  This high school knows how to do locker rooms.  Seriously, this is the school to be camping near.  The walk was a little longer than I would have liked... and up hill but the showers were definitely worth it. 

We walked into town for dinner but found one of the eating establishments completely full so we went to the Czech'rd Flag for pulled pork sandwiches.  Everyone was extremely tired and completely worn out.  I was almost falling asleep on the table.  When we checked the time, it was around 6:45 but it felt like 9 or 10pm.  We sat around for awhile but once outside we found the temperature had dropped significantly.  We made our way back to the tents and I promptly fell asleep.

Ratchet Subway

Really people?

Lunch at Casey's instead (they have good pizza)

Rest stop picture

Coming into town

Dad's good at tenting

NO YOU CAN'T HAVE THE BLANKET BACK

Tank

Interesting

Yeah, I don't even know

Mural

Dinner

 

Friday June 12, 2015

Wilber to Syracuse

62.98 miles, 17.63 average, 3:34:17 time

It was definitely chilly this morning when I woke up.  We packed up our gear and put it on the truck before locating breakfast at the Legion across the park from our campsite.  They served pancakes with eggs and sausage with canned orange juice to drink.  Little itty bitty cans; they were so cute.  We even started our ride off with jackets due to the much lower temperature.  With the wind blowing at a fairly strong pace, we set off for Syracuse.  The first part of the ride was a few hills but nothing terrible.  It was cloudy all over and occasionally misting as we rode down the highway.  I think everyone was slightly sleepy this morning as our conversations to begin with were few and far between.  We rolled up to a sag at a highway intersection and Natalie ate one of the better looking bananas.  

We took off down the road again with the wind switching (maybe?) or at least it didn't seem quite as bad.  We did learn, however, that Nebraska has a thing with stinky farms in some areas.  We went by a farm which sold hogs (according to their sign out front) but I don't know how they could stand the smell to be completely honest.

We stopped in a small town a bit off the road but found the gas station was closed so I went to the grocery store only to be directed to the community center across the street.  It was quite a workout, let me tell you.  We all grabbed some snacks or drink and I had a very strange craving for Twinkies. But the store did not carry this specific Hostess product so I bought the knock off brand "dreamies".  They weren't as good.  

We turned just up the road and met some more hills.  At this point we were about half way through our ride.  There was a sag up on a hill that actually had some super good looking food (they had Snickers) but we hadn't been off the bike long when someone overheard there was a Casey's in the next town.  In the end we decided to go there.  However, before we took off, a family came up to us (a mom with her five daughters) and said they had seen us pass their house a few miles back so they drove up to the sag just so the girls could see our bike up close.  They were super nice and took our picture for us. 

We rolled over a couple more hills before reaching the small town of Bennett but there wasn't a Casey's anywhere in sight.  Natalie announced she needed to use the facilities and so we were just about to pull into a church parking lot to check and see about their bathrooms.  At the time we were pulling in, another tandem told us not to bother as they refused to allow riders (who had gone around 20 miles without restrooms) to use their facilities.  Isn't that a little unchurchlike?  We ended up going next door to the bank where the ladies kindly directed us to the restrooms and told us there was, in fact, a Casey's about 2 miles away at a highway intersection.

We made it to the gas station and grabbed some pizza before heading back on the road once again.  This time, the highway was very busy.  It was Highway 2 (a four lane) and it had a nice shoulder to start out with.  Very quickly, though, the shoulder began to show its true signs of wear and tear with giant cracks crossing our path.  We tried to ride on the actual highway whenever we could to save the wear on our equipment.  I don't think the bike shop following the ride would have the right parts for a quint.  There was a lot of "car back" and "truck back" and "they're in the left lane" or "they're in the right lane and not moving over".  Overall, the drivers were very courteous but, as always, some drivers absolutely refused to move over so we would dive for the shoulder crossing the rough rumble strip.

We made it into town and there were some very nice ladies handing out maps but they were slightly sidetracked by our bicycle so we ended up accidentally riding past our turn and had to turn around to find the tents and bags.  We talked to John, the truck driver (who is awesome by the way) for a little while before finding a nice area next to the school building to grow some roots for the night.  I am sad to say, the showers in this school weren't as nice as the ones from last night but they were warm so I guess that's good.  Jeff bought some kettle corn sold outside on the parking lot before we ended up playing frisbee with the disk that had been thrown in our bag.  

We located the shuttle (a tractor with a trailer) and were warned by other passengers that he wasn't as smooth as some drivers.  Sure enough, we lurched off towards main street.  The Triple D bar was our dinner for the night with over cooked pizza and onion rings that were actually onion chips and pulled apart pieces of onion rather than rings.  They were very good.  On the news, BRAN riders were interviewed but I guess the news station missed us (we never saw them).  The riders in the bar were very happy about that evident by the loud cheering when the segment was shown on TV.

Dad, around this time, began talking about getting up early so we could get to the high school in time for the lunch provided but, to quote Julie, on their plan to serve hot dogs and not brats, "I rode 410 miles and all I get is a wiener?!".  Dad also decided around this time, "we're gonna win BRAN."  Dad, this is not a bike race and no, I don't want to get up at 5am like last year. 

We told Jeff more embarrassing stories about me or bike trips before the two of us went to the school to find easily accessible outlets.  The carpet wasn't exactly comfortable on this floor either.  It sort of digs into your legs.  He was tired out and kind of sort of fell asleep while I typed up today's report.  

Alright y'all.  I am going to sleep because I assume tomorrow is going to be an early start.  

Wind jackets cause it's cold

Rest stop

How to eat off brand Twinkies

We're ready

Rollin rollin rollin, keep those doggies rollin, rollin rollin rollin, Rawhide/

Five is usually better than four

Mural

Shout out to the bank for letting us use their facilities

Giant Nutcracker

I'm really a ninja (and terrible at frisbee)

Padre

He catches all the frisbees

I'll never let go!  (but you did)

Shuttle stop

The shuttle

The things we do

Natalie doesn't like pictures

Wait!  There's three Natalies? Whatttt?

Gangsta

Dad's hair looks nice in a ponytail

The good old boys

Julie, that isn't what you think it is

Signs are cool

Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Saturday June 13, 2015

Syracuse to Murray

20.00 miles, 12.37 average, 1:37:00 time

Good morning campers, it is the last day and as I am packing up my stuff, I look around me and see... no one.  Everyone's already gone.  Usually there's a few people milling around or packing up their tents but NOOOOO everyone has the jitters to get home.  What a giant surprise.  

We got everything packed up for the last time and on the truck before heading out to find breakfast for the morning.  A quick shop loomed on the horizon (in actuality it was just down the street) and so we stopped for some warm breakfast sandwiches.  Well, everyone got theirs but they only had sausage left (I don't like sausage very much for those who don't know) so I asked if they could make up one with bacon instead.  It'll be right out, they said.  Uh huh.  Ok.  So everyone is eating their sandwiches and I'm helping drink a quart of chocolate milk but still, no sandwich appears.  Eventually, Dad got up to ask where it was and much to everyone's surprise *cough* sarcasm *cough*, they had not even begun to cook the bacon or egg.  WONDERFUL.  I told them I could eat pie for breakfast but according to Dad, it lacked nutritional value.  Psssssshhhh.  I ended up grabbing one of those Snickers marathon bars for breakfast.  Now that is some health food right there.

We got going down the road, which had a few roller hills.  Completely and utterly dead last, the sweeper sag truck passed us a couple of times but we eventually saw some riders.  We blew by the SAG before a turn and rolled more hills.  There was a small road which curved its way through a wooded area not far ahead.  It was a nice small road until we made our way through the town and out the other side only to encounter hills.  We were able to get up them mostly but whhyyyyyyy BRAN people on the last day?  *cries at the injustice*

We made it over the hills...to find a SAG one mile from the end.  One mile.  There was someone who just got off the BRAN Van who decided to yell "I'm gonna ride it in!"  So he rode the last mile.  Shout out to you, you go dude!

We pulled into the high school with a lot of people taking pictures.  We even backed the bike up a little bit and got back on after we had already disembarked so the Nebraska Chiropractic Association could get a photo of us riding down the road. 

Finally, I got my much awaited brat from the school.  People, these guys know brats... and I was starving from my lack of breakfast.  We even got showers before we went home!  How awesome is that?

Our mileage totaled to 418.6 miles for the week, low compared to some tours (586 was the max on BAK in 2006 & 2009 over 8 days) but in the end the distance and challenges this year felt just right..

Well folks, that wraps up yet another bike tour with the squad.  Remember, I love to hear your feedback! 

 

I'm a sassy seventeen dancing queen (hahahaha no) who knows everything :) and my writing is meant to be sarcastic and witty, not negative or self absorbed.  Thanks for taking the time to read through my ride report!

Last morning

Hills ahead

On the highway to... Conestoga High School

More hills

Last mile sag

Castle looking building

WE MADE IT!

Nebraska Chiropractic Association

Our Superstar!

Share a Coke with you're better half... better pass that to Jeff

Natalie went for Mountain Dew

Dad's coolio

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