Day 37 - Giants in the Land
Today I rode with Dan Hepp again. Dan and Cindy Hepp are a wonderful couple from Ohio and Dan and I share a number of things in common. (Other than being bonkers enough to do this ride!) Dan and I are about the same age (21ish!) and both of us left our employment in order to undertake this bike adventure across the United States. Dan is the more experienced cyclist and has undertaken other Fuller Center bike adventures but he is now fulfilling a long held dream to to ride across his country. 2019 will see this achieved. Cindy is part of the support team and is such a great encourager. She is the official team cheerleader and has the pompoms and cow bells to demonstrate this fact. She is always ready to hoot and holler her support and is much appreciated by everyone on the team.
The ride today was not the most spectacular in terms of scenery but we nearly had to divert our ride due to some days of torrential rain in Nebraska, which fortunately we did not get caught in! A couple of days back a large part of the centre of Kearney, our destination, had to be evacuated due to flooding! Many of the fields we passed still had standing water and the river levels were extremely high as evidence to the deluge that had taken place.
As Dan and I rode today, for the majority of time, we had a rail tracks to our right and massive fields of corn to our left. However, I was very much taken in by the gigantic grain stores that loomed large on the horizon and act as a conduit for feeding the country. These massive concrete monoliths stand like sentinels over the town that they are located in and can be seen for miles. They are located by the railtrack so that food can be tranferred into the freight trains that rumble along the rails. There appeared to be relatively few farm houses but the landscape was littered with smaller metalic silos, that look rather like beehives, so that farmers can harvest and store the nectar of food products they produce. Eventually, some the contents of these smaller silos are then transferred to the giant ones so that the needs of the nation are satisfied. A clear picture of a 'joined-up' transport strategy!
As we cycle along the road, we often play a game with the freight trains that incessantly trundle along beside us as we try to get the engine driver to sound his horn on the train as they pass us by. These freight trains are enormous and can stretch towards a mile long with so many trucks it is impossible to count. The trucks vary in size and shape but the numbers just keep going on and on and on and on.
Regrettably, since I started my ride, the only racoons and skunks I have seen have been roadkill victims and together with blown out tyres and debris from vehicles you do need to concentrate on where you are cycling. As you can imagine, this together with the physical effort of riding is extremely tiring. As my wife will confirm, my conversations with her after one of my rides are punctuated by yawns.
Talking of which, I need to go to sleee........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!