Bran 2014

Courtney Johnson

 Before I start out my tale of riding through Nebraska with the people of Quadzilla once again, I just want to say a couple of things.  Each and every writer has a different style of writing and depending upon the type of writing itself, words can be viewed in many ways.  This is not a fictional novel nor is it a sonnet of beautifully written poetry.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is a journal of what I saw, what I discovered, and how I felt.  This is about the people I've met, the things I have experienced, and a tally of miles I have ridden so far.  My point in saying all of this: you may not like or appreciate my writing and that's ok, everyone has their own opinions.  My writing style has changed considerably over the years from the first grader writing "I saw cows!" to the sassy sixteen (currently seventeen) year old that can tell you she is absolutely, without a doubt, perfect. :)  However, I would ask that if you're leaving me some feedback (I love feedback!) to please recognize the amount of work I have put into this for your enjoyment, and my own, without acting as if I am a stuck up teenager who thinks too highly of herself.  My writing is meant to be sassy, sarcastic, witty, fun, and most importantly, enjoyable to read.  Sure I think I'm always right, that's what teenagers are notorious for.  Have an argument with me, just ask my parents.  I would like to finish my introduction in saying that this was one crazy, hilly, different, awesome experience that I will never forget.  Also, I am a princess.  I have a crown and a luggage tag to prove it.

Happy reading!


Saturday June 7    Rushville

Do you realize how late we left last night?  Super late, like 10:30 pm.  I, personally, was on team STAY UP ALL NIGHT UNTIL WE GET THERE so I read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.  I read all the way to page 177; I'm so proud of myself.  We stayed in a motel that counted every single person as they walked through the door.  After a long day, I was basically exhausted.

    This morning we ate a wimpy breakfast of cereal and toasted PB&J.  We packed up the van under an overhang while it was raining and off we went.  I finished The Fault in Our Stars WITHOUT CRYING (which was a miracle in itself) on the drive before we stopped at our favorite fast food joint, Taco Bell.  I do not understand how people can love their food so much but it's a lot cheaper than some places.

So I was tempted to write in my novel with my sleep deprived but over-thinking brain and a very bumpy road which did not improve my penmanship in the slightest.  Deciding I was very tired, I opted for a nap.  When we stopped at a gas station Dad handed me the keys to his precious van and I drove for the next hour-ish at a lightning fast speed of 55mph (that's 10mph under the speed limit).  The scenery changed as the day went on to rolling hills that I assume we will end up riding on later (or something very similar) and we saw many cows.  

    We rolled into town where we accidentally ended up at the wrong motel (that lady was RUUUUUDE!) so onwards and forwards to the one on the opposite side of the street.  After unloading, changing into jeans, and finding a jacket, plus putting the bike together, we walked down to a bowling alley for dinner.  We ate their salad bar that had chicken strips left after the rest of the riders tore through the food.  Dad spilled water on my journal but I was lightning fast and saved it before any real damage was done.  Thanks, Padre.

    Post-eating, we walked over to the school for our packets and caught the last 10 minutes of the meeting.  We received our items and found the shirt size was very, very wrong but there's nothing we can do about that now.  Upon reading the packet, I have determined I am not a fan of the design.  However, I think their rules and/or suggestions are hilarious; "wear your helmet if it hails" was one of my favorites.  Not even joking.  Oh and my "Courtney Johnson the Llama Princess" luggage tags trump all.  THE END.  This chica is uber tired and going to bed.  So good night.  And let's hope the shadows are nice to us tonight.



Pre Nebraska Ride (Julie's off the back there)

Training ride selfie

Sunday June 8 Rushville to Cody

69.4 Miles, 15 Average, 4:37:34 Time, 34.8 Max

    Thunder can wake the dead and that's essentially how I slept last night.  Rain and more rain with a side of rain with a chance of rain.  We got all of our leg and arm warmers on and drove over to drop the bags off at the truck.  Dad parked next to a flash flood-esque lake on the street and we piled everything on the semi.  We went back to our motel and ate breakfast of honey nut cheerios with a banana.  Mom began to drive home while Dad trash bagged his feet and helmet.  I was taking profound selfies while dad adjusted his poofy helmet.  #SUPAFIERCE

    We finally faced the cold wet and started out.  The first few minutes were cold but my feet were dry.  Slowly encroaching upon my poor feet were water molecules and then droplets and then a nice puddle formed.  What's next, frostbite in June?

    We stopped in Gordon for a Subway sandwich where the few riders there had decided to SAG in.  Wussies.  I have also discovered the wondrous heavenly gift of hand dryers with hot air.  Also hot water is very pleasant.  Back on the road I was slightly teeth chattering-I-can't-feel-anything kind of cold.  The rain subsided mostly but no way would the road dry out.  Onwards and forwards we treaded (that's a word right?) into the cloudy yet scenic land ahead.  My glasses had so many raindrops on them I was amazed I could see at all.  Dad also discovered the more we  rode on the shoulder, the soggier our feet would be thus the proposition to remain on the road shared by motor vehicles.  Also!  The SAG BRAN people will put you on their wall of shame should they see you riding on the road.  I honestly don't even know.  

    In Merriman (30 stinking miles later) we stopped at a gas station for munchies (hot chocolate, chips, and a Snickers bar) but surprisingly enough there weren't all that many people in that town and those that were there wanted to SAG in.  Oh and everyone was at the cafe next door.

    We probably sat too long but once on the road again I wanted to be in Cody really, really bad.  Cold, wet, and tired, I was basically done.  Torturously we made it in and as much as I would like to say the sun came out and we had a tiki party, I cannot.  We found the school (where were the ride arrows?  No one knows) and to our relief, our bags were placed indoors.  I scouted around for an empty-ish classroom for us to camp out in but a very nice wonderful 87 year old lady, Eva, took us in and let us stay in her basement.  We packed up our gear and took nice warm showers.  We must have looked pretty pitiful at the school but none the less we have a dry place to sleep for the night.

    We all piled in Eva's white mini van to go into town for food at the bar.  Burgers, fries, spaghetti, baked potatoes, salad, you name it, they had it.  We munched on food for awhile after finally halfway discovering somewhere to sit.

    We were planning on walking back but caught the last shuttle out for the night.  We also found a phone booth... Cody's version of the TARDIS.  Once back at Eva's we talked to her for awhile and listened to her stories before heading down to go to sleep.  Well, actually, write and do laundry.  Natalie chickened out a lot faster than I did but I'm fried.  So goodnight from someone sitting next to a weird lamp and a bunch of dusty magazines older than I am.

Gearing up for bad weather


Someone's excited???

Natalie looks scared for this


Mirror selfie


Dad's so fierce


Are you ready yet???


Well this is cold and wet


Checking the radar...not that it will tell us anything







Monday June 9    Cody to Springview

89.2 Miles, 15.95 Average, 5:35:34 Time, 48.1 Max

    You don't understand how nice it was to wakeup in a bed and not in a wet tent this morning.  As we were heading out, Eva let us take some cookies for the road.  We dropped our packs on the truck and ate breakfast at the school.  Eggs, pancakes with peanut butter, and some omelet thingie is what I had.  Thankfully, it wasn't raining but I still had on an undershirt and leggings plus a wind jacket.  We got our picture next to the rural TARDIS and took off down the road.  My feet were a little cold but otherwise I was mostly ok.  I have also determined that no one who has not sat on a bike seat for hours can understand just how many nerve endings are in one's butt.  In other words, my booty really was not wanting to get back on the saddle and ride another day.  

    We rode 27 miles before we had to get off and unfortunately, up until that point, any semi-trucks we saw were headed in the opposing direction adding to the unpleasant headwind.  We continued on our merry way to Valentine where we ate at a Mexican restaurant and everyone ordered giant burritos.  I was the exception with tamales.  No one knew the burritos were going to be that big but as profound people have said, "It is what it is."  Dad's water glass determined it wanted to leak all over the table.  Yup, that happened too.

    Getting back on the bike wasn't exactly what someone would call "fun".  We had a very nice little down hill after getting through town when we entered the Niobrara Wildlife Reserve.  This was around two-ish miles until we reached the 0.5 mile hill.  Huge, killer, make your legs scream and beg for mercy hill.  We, however, refused to get off and kept chugging along.  Rolling hills followed but in a headwind so coasting down the hills didn't go quite as planned.  

    We finally got to a flatter part of the ride when we stopped for a Coke or Mountain Dew.  Overall, we only stopped one other time before we made it to Springview.  From Sparks, the soda convenience store, we had approximately 20 more miles to go but those last five felt as long as the previous fifteen.  We were definitely done.  When we arrived, we found our bags but a local newspaper wanted our picture so we climbed back on the bike and rode up and down the block a few times.

    Post photo shoot, I really, really wanted a shower.  The shower truck, however, charged $6 per person.  Instead we trooped down to the girls shower room where the water was hot (thankfully) but on a high power-blast-your-skin-off-mode.  After our shower and tent set up, we walked into town but first two police officers were talking to Dad about the bike.  I conveniently took a picture and sent it to Mom with a caption "Dad got bustttteeedddd"  It was pretty funny.

    Anyway, we went into a bar on main street and ordered Shirley Temples that came in cute little glasses.  They were only $1 so that was awesome.  We also ordered BLTs and Natalie went for a chicken salad.  Chasing pigs and frying bacon sure took forever.  My cherry pie arrived first (I shared this with Julie because I'm a nice person)

    In total, we switched places three times (four different spots) and I'm sure people were getting irritated but when I wait 45 minutes for a cold BLT I can do what I want.  I'm a princess, case closed.

    Dad and Natalie played pool while Julie and I watched.  A lady sitting close to us told me it was really neat to see someone writing in a journal rather than seeing someone glued to their phone.  Score One for Courtney.  After that I basically went to bed.  The end.  Can you tell it's been a really, really, really, really, (did I mention really?) long day.




TARDIS!!!!! (but not really)


Bridges to Butts... I mean buttEs


We can find Mexican food anywhere


Mural in brick


Going towards the Niobrara River


That hill was not fun


Hills ahead




The two off the back (yes, they're pedaling)


Setting up camp


Unpacking all of the things




Dad is learning the art of selfie taking




Got one!


Fierce... sort of


Even in the middle of Nebraska on a bike tour, we can't outrun the cell phone craze.


Tuesday June 10    Springview to Atkinson

62.3 Miles, 15.91 Average, 3:55:00 Time, 43.8 Max

    Sleeping in tents apparently makes me puff up.  Ok, thank you wonderful face.  

    We ate breakfast at the school and I chose a breakfast sandwich which had eggs, sausage, and cheese on a croissant.  We got going and had some really awesome down hills...followed by some major up hills.  We hit around 43.8 mph on one of the down runs.  At the top of the second killer up hill, we stopped at a SAG where I found some granola bars provided by the ride.  Onwards we rode into a south-south-west wind... and we were headed south east.  UGGGGHHHH.  

    We actually stopped quite a few times overall: after the hill, when we turned onto another highway, and then at a quick shop or mini pizzas.  The ride got going some after lunch but mostly it was uneventful.  Sorry, Captain America didn't come flying out of the sky to say hello.  I have learned to appreciate the Nebraska scenery, however.

    Just before we got into town... and I'm talking three miles outside of town... we had a flat.  It was just a slow leak so we aired it back up again and pressed on the last three miles into civilization.  We found our bags and packed up the backpacks before heading over to the motel exactly one mile away.  While everyone took turns rotating through the shower, Dad and I got the bike in the room somehow.  Thank you, large hallways.  We were also able to find the leak in the tube and patch it so two successes following the ride.

    Our motel staff was AMAZING.  They voluntarily did ALL of our laundry for us.  Who is that cool?  They are.

    Per recommendation, we went down to the Somewhere Else Bar for pizza.  It was beyond good so we ordered a second one.  I played Natalie at pool and lost...then I played Dad and lost again.  

    We walked back to the motel but stopped at the gas station for chocolate milk, packaged cookies, and other assorted munchie foods.  

    There was also a very cool hay sculpture next to our motel in the shape of a bicycle.  After taking a picture, we made it back to the motel where I worked on my journal before crashing for the night.

Doughnuts in the morning


Truck on a cheeseblock


Dad made us go back for a picture of this sign


On the road again


Fixing the flat


Dad is a super mechanic


We bow before we play pool


Super nifty old car


Ringing bells


Hay sculpture


Wednesday June 11    Atkinson to Verdigre

69.4 Miles, 15 Average, 4:27:56 Time, 51.8 Max

    Windy, windy, windy, it was today!  We loaded up all of the backpacks and dropped them at the truck at exactly 7:56am, four minutes before the door would have been slammed in our faces.  (I don't know if that would be metaphorically or not).  After ditching the infamous bags, we ate our complimentary breakfast at the motel where I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to stop the toaster from frying my toast.  (If you know me, I like LIGHTLY toasted bread, not blaze-your-face-off-burned-out toast).  You think you're a smart AP/Honors student who can figure anything out until you try and stop a toaster.

    Getting started, there was definitely a crosswind and we had to stop twice in the first mile because of shifting issues and then because of the intercom system's sass.  Twenty miles of uninterrupted crazy cross wind with zero help from the traffic, there was a Casey's in O'Neil where we all grabbed some fuel food.  Up until that point, the riding was very flat (we're talking pancake here) and only a few windbreaks were available.  At the gas station I got a Peace Tea and a blueberry Greek yogurt.  Yummmmmm.  There was also another rider with a few mechanical issues at the station.  After checking with them to make sure they were alright, we went on back onto the road.  Up ahead, once we were off the main highway, we saw two of the younger riders (teenage guys) had crashed and were ok but they just seemed irritated with themselves (one probably bumped the other's wheel drafting).  The road became slightly more rolling but with the nasty crosswind, it sure was not easy.  A much needed SAG was 15 miles down the road.

    Next up, some huge hills.  Like big.  If hills had the capacity to kill, these would have.  We prevailed up these evil doers and made it to the lunch stop.  Turkey sandwiches, chips, cookies, and water all sitting gloriously at the crest of a hill waiting for our arrival.  Get off the bike.  Take off the gloves.  Un-strap the helmet and put your headset inside---WAIT!  I DIDN"T GET YOUR PICTURE YET!!!!  Let me explain something very important.  We love getting our picture taken.  No, we don't mind if you take a picture of the quad.  However, when we have just climbed a GARGANTUAN hill, I am not going to be thrilled when someone decides they want us to pick the bike back up and pose for a picture.  Sorry, at some point in the adventure, I do need food.

    I had a sandwich and cookies and quickly realized Dad would lose a job as a Subway employee.  This aha moment was brought to you by Dad "helping" to put mustard on my sandwich once he finally got the stupid package open.  I had more mustard on the Ziploc than on my actual sandwich.

    The next part of the ride forced our bodies into a state of exhaustion but those awful hills eventually melted back into the scenic picture behind us.  Right before our first break, Dad grabbed a banana at a SAG while Natalie found pudding.  Yes, pudding.  Award for best SAG?  I think, yes.

    Our three miles of tailwind until we reached Winnetoon was fantastic until we turned.  The Paketa tandem team we talked to yesterday was slightly ahead of us but on yet another hill.  We gained a lot of distance on them in the crosswind.  

    Finally, the best part of the ride started: 9.7 miles of tailwind into town.  Hilly, yes, but with a 20 mph tailwind, we flattened those suckers and dropped the Paketa team on one of the up hills (after they latched onto our wheel).   We hit 51.8 mph going down one of the hills and on the last down hill we got stuck behind three moronic cars that wouldn't pass riders even though there were no cars coming.  Annnnnnd... Dad was the face... right above his eye...

    We rolled into town and packed up the bags while Dad found a place for us to stay (all while holding a cup of ice to his face).  The motel/guest house was full already but the owner let us stay in her elderly aunt's home (she had recently moved into an assisted living home).  Natalie and Julie took the shuttle to the house while Dad and I rode the bike.  Once we started putting our backpacks in the house, Dad tried to ride the bike up a gravel alleyway and completely crashed thanks to some loose sand when the back wheel slid out.  So he had a bee sting, sliced his finger, and bent both the crank and the chain ring, and (as we found out) left his flash light in Atkinson.  The very kind people there are shipping that back home (we owe you one).

    Thankfully, Dad was able to get everything rideable once again.  Natalie took a very cold shower and we found out that the hot water heater had not been running after Natalie's proclamation of "Did they wire the plumbing wrong?"

    Dad, Julie, and I all had warm showers after that (with a little bit of faucet trouble) and we all made our way down to Misty's Saloon for dinner.  After two pepperoni pizzas, a Squirt, and a lot of questions regarding Dad's eye condition, Dad and I waked around some before going back to see Natalie shoot at the 8 ball and miss (the cue ball went into the pocket) not once, not twice, not three times, and on the fourth try she missed everything all together.  

    On the way back to the house, Natalie rang the bell in front of a church when were were just a block away.  

    A very tired me went to sleep easy.  Buenas noches, my dear chicken wings.

Where do we go next?


We got our picture taken!


The crazy road behind after a very loooooong hill




This is what a tailwind looks like




Dad was harassed by a bee


Well that escalated quickly


Now that is just scary


Journal the initial writing was in (I copied this entire thing, no joke)  Thanks to my bestie for the journal :)


Natalie working on her journal


They're still fierce


Trying to get her hair to cooperate


In the bar


Another phone booth!

Very interesting sculptures in an alley


Dad admiring a lawn mower next to a garden alley


Natalie and pool


Thursday June 12    Verdigre to Laurel

66.8 Miles, 15.75 Average, 4:14:32 Time, 42.5 Max

    Beds are so nice in the morning, have you noticed that?  We put the bed sheets in the washing machine and started a load of laundry for our very kind hostess.  Dad's eye condition this morning... not as great as any of us had hoped.  After dropping the bags off on the truck, we went to the grocery store for Benadryl and an antihistamine cream.  

    Breakfast was at the Cozy Corner Cafe.  Everyone ordered their traditional breakfast meal of eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns while I was elected moocher.  We found out later that Dad left his water bottle on the table.  Well, there goes that one.  

    Going out of town was interesting to say the least.  The hill up to the road was small but once on the Nebraska 84 Highway, I knew it was not going to be an easy ride.  Many a colorful phrase was uttered as we began up the hill. (We had just started the ride, can we get a break?  Apparently not.)  Due to Dad's poor eye condition (on his mirror side no less) I was the rear view traffic camera I suppose.  Hills continued throughout the day but 10 miles later we were able to stop in a small town for a banana from a SAG vehicle.

    We got rolling again but more hills continued and even on a quad moving down hill at a rapid pace, the upside was not exactly flattened.  Someone last year complained of a flat route and so the directors went crazy and sent us through all of the steep long hills.  Ouch.  When it looked like we might actually get a break Natalie announced she believed we would have to turn left to go up yet another hill.  She was right.  Ugh.  I hate that.

    We stopped in Bloomington where a super duper awesome sauce SAG was located.  They had all kinds of food: muffins, brats, drinks, anything and everything.  We sat in the sun on the side of the building away from the wind... sort of... and ate our food which happened to include pumpkin bars.  Yes, I have a thing for pumpkin items like 99% of teenage girls.

    From there the hills were slightly less, well, hilly, but my legs were aching none the less.  We stopped at an intersection where one of the support vehicles was warning bikers about a dangerous intersection.  The lady had given one of the truck drivers a banana and every time he drove through there he honked at her.  I was slightly surprised at first but once she explained it was definitely one of those "OOOOOhhhhhhh" moments.  

    More hills.  Today was the day of hills and I don't think my legs are going to forgive me for it.  Going up, my quads were quacking and just when we crested a hill, another was waiting not far away.  

    We stopped at a Casey's where I had a Gatorade and Dad was talking to people about his bee sting.  We had only 20 more miles to go after that and the last 13 miles was tailwind.  The seven miles was long but I reminded myself about the tailwind to come.  The hills were long and grinding but not necessarily steep at this point (similar to the Kansas Flint Hills).  The town had made some signs to line the road for the very last stretch of the ride.  I just missed getting a picture of one sign reading "Shut up legs!" on one of the hills.  

    Just before we reached the town, there was a racer (or at least a more pro looking rider who we determined was probably not on BRAN).  He tried to keep a gap between us but that didn't exactly work.

    When we made it to the city limits, there was a hay bale with a bike and a pair of boots sticking out as if someone had ridden into the bale of hay.  It was pretty amusing after a long day of riding.  Our motel was across the street from a pizza place, next door to a gas station, and two blocks away from the school.  We gathered our bags and got the bike carefully into a storage room by maneuvering some corners; very tricky business.

    We all showered and Natalie still wouldn't share her pumpkin bar/cake/thingie.  Evil.

    Dinner was across the street with really bad service with eh pizza that took F O R E V E R to get to us.  On the upside, they had glasses made of mason jars... the problem was the restaurant was called the Mason TIN.  Does anyone else see why this is a problem?

    We rode the hay wagon into town to see the different bikes decorated for our arrival.  There were some really interestingly decorated bikes but most of the partying had died out by the time we got there.  Most people were already back in their tents so they could get a decent night's sleep before getting up at the crack of dawn.  To those morning people, I commend you.  I don't know how you do it.

    We rode back to the motel and set up for the next day.  I'm wiped out.

The start of the day


Pretty scenery


That is a nice downhill


Barn Natalie wanted a picture of


This stuffed guy was on the side of the road into town... a bad omen???


SAG truck!!!! Thanks to all the volunteers, you guys rock!


This is perfect.  Marty, you are fantastic.



That's a jar, not a tin




Look how normal they are...

...Now look at us...


Double trike


Chiropractor humor




Yes, when I die, Cutter gets everything 


Boots sticking out of hay, welcome to Laurel


Friday June 13    Laurel to Lyons

70.8 Miles, 13.99 Average, 5:03:41 Time, 42.5 Max

    We should have known something was going to go wrong today.  It's Friday the 13th.  It's a very scary day for riders; you never know, you could be eaten by a rabid cow at a SAG.  Seriously, we woke up 20 minutes before the truck was leaving and therefore getting ready was a very rushed process.  When we ran to get everything on the truck, the driver helped me throw one of the bags in the back and he saw my luggage tag.  I was addressed as Llama Princess.  #Recognized  (That is a hashtag, not a pound sign.  It's a teenager thing)

'    We decided to eat at the Mason Tin for breakfast which was weird to say the least.  The sausage was so bad we had to order hash browns instead.  Annnnnd they tried to charge us for both.  

    When we got going, it was windy but as the day wore on, it only picked up speed.  There were many hills and even with a truck sitting on a cheese block (the really steep impending doom hill signs with a truck, you know the highway signs warning of 8% grades as an example), we didn't get the greatest down hill run.  Unfortunately we had to turn at the bottom of the hill.  This turn was not marked well at all and we about missed it.  

    We stopped a couple of times throughout the day but mainly we were going through more hills.  These were not as bad as yesterdays (thankfully) but they were still quite long.  It was one of those "grind" days where you never really get a break until you're completely off of the bike.  

    Lunch was at a Subway after a particularly long stretch but to find it we had to ask some people in a gas station.  Another newspaper journalist took our picture as we began our two block journey to the land of sandwiches.  I did not know Subway stopped serving their breakfast combos after 10 am so instead I had a 6 inch sub.  

    The next 10 miles were terrible.  Awful.  Brutal.  It was so flat it was all we could do to keep going past the flat rows of corn.  My legs have found their vocal cords this week.  

    By the next stop I was beyond toast.  Everything hurt but they convinced me I needed some sugar so I opted for a Pepsi while everyone else had a Coke.  I'm such a rebel.  

    We were almost stopped by a train on the way into town but we made it just before it arrived.  Up a hill and then we turned straight south to Lyons.  When we rolled into town, an SUV kept getting in our way (like passed us way too close and then stopped in front of us, we went around him and then he passed us again).  We missed the turn to the school but found it and discovered we had turned down the wrong street for the luggage.  It's been a really long day.  We turned around to find some guy yelling out of his SUV that "the one on the back's not pedaling!"  Ok, I'm gonna learn you a thing right here.  THE ONE ON THE BACK PEDALS.  Seriously.  Thank you.

    Anyway, the three stokers on the back of the quad thought we had a motel for the night.  Hahahahahahahahaha. No.   The three very disappointed stokers then had to set up tents and then off to the showers.  Thankfully, the water was warm and we got kettle corn before going over to the fire house for dinner.  Pulled pork, beans, chips, lemonade, and music were all available to us.  Natalie doesn't think I can sing.  I can... just not well.  That's why I'm in orchestra and not choir.  

    We were able to find wifi to check the scary impending weather forecast for tomorrow.  And then onto a bar with karaoke night.  We went back to our camp and went to bed because Dad wants to get up early tomorrow to beat the weather.  High winds and rain were to roll in. Oh boy.

Good morning


People on the ends of those and the wind is crazy!


Interesting cropping


Coke product people


Train we missed




Working on the journal...Julie stealing extra glances


Natalie likes popcorn


Old fire engine 1


Old fire engine 2


I'm tired, can you tell?






Look at Natalie standing by the cat...


...but why stand by the cat...


...when you can RIDE the cat?


Saturday June 14    Lyons to Waterloo

57.9 Miles, 12.41 Average, 4:39:50 Time, 39.8 Max

    They got me up at 5am.  FIVE IN THE MORNING.  Do you realize how early that is?  Quite frankly, I'm amazed they got me out of bed that early.  

    We got up, in our pjs, and went to breakfast.  It was five am so judging me right now is not a good idea, alright?  I had some eggs but mainly a muffin and some yogurt.  

    We went back to the tents and packed our bags, dumped them on the truck, and got going on the road.  It was beyond windy to start out with but we got going and down the road saw some little wooden horses on light poles in the Swedish town we passed through.  Only a few miles out we moved over to the shoulder so traffic could pass us and we ended up with a flat.  Oh boy, problem number one.  We changed it and flagged down the SAG truck when it went by for an adequate pump.  We passed a town and a SAG and didn't stop but we thought there would have been another SAG soon.  We were wrong.  Instead, we were met by hills.  And I do mean hills with a nasty crosswind.  Home after home had major tree and building damage from some monster tornado that swept through not long ago. For awhile I was wondering how far we had gone, or actually how few miles we had covered, when a SAG was parked on the side of the road ahead.  Unfortunately, there was next to no food and we had passed the majority of riders on the road for the day.  We ate what little they could give us (apples which 2 out of 4 riders in our group could not eat because of braces) and continued on.  We turned south directly into the wind gusting over 40 mph. The hills were still insanely painful with this much wind and even on a quad it seemed we were barely moving.  Riders on the road were all over the place, zig zagging across the road trying to get up the hills.  There were many people sagging in because 1) it wasn't fun at all 2) they wouldn't get any of the end of the ride food (they were shutting down at noon no exceptions and starting at the crack of dawn did not leave enough time to finish in time unless your name was Lance).  

    The next SAG was 10 miles away and had a little more food but not a lot.  The next 6 miles was terrible until we got off the bike where the road was blocked off due to construction on the railroad.  At this point in time, we found a Johnny on the Spot and everyone took off running for it (there was literally no food and no places for restroom breaks up until this point and we probably weren't even supposed to use that). 

    There was only one more stop before Waterloo and with time running short for the lunch cutoff time, Dad decided to bypass it.  You could literally feel the exasperation from the stokers.  The last few miles into town were not as bad as I had expected and we had some wind shelter thanks to the trees. 

    You have no idea how nice it was to see the Waterloo city sign.  Sheeeeeesh it was a long day.  I've completed 2 bike tours a year with my family from the time I was going into first grade up to the present and never have we had a day or tour that was so physically demanding and exhausting (and that's counting some doozies).  Even though it was our shortest day, we spent more time on the bike than three of the others.  We met up with Mom, packed up the bike, grabbed some food and headed out.  I promptly fell asleep in the car.

Morning sunrise






What ever shall we do?


Torndado damage (one of many, mile after mile)


Road block


Welcome to Waterloo

BLANK SPACE!!!!!!!!!!! (Not the song)

So thanks for taking the time to look over my ride report/journal/thing!  I really appreciate it!  Sorry it took so long, taking five AP/Honors courses out of seven class times can take it out of someone. 

I would love to hear your feedback! 

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