Tuesday, July 21, 2009


In Iowa, it seemed every single day the headwind got stronger. When I left Galva, it was particularly nasty, and it started getting hilly again. I came back out onto Highway 20, and slowly made my way to Sioux City, often getting off the bike to walk. I reached Sioux City by late afternoon, and met Kevin and Mary, who let me take a shower, get online, and have a bed to sleep in.

These were truly my kind of people, who had run business after business from their own home. Kevin had even run a mortgage business, something I couldn't imagine dealing with. Because Kevin enjoyed remodeling so much, the house was constantly being remodeled, and I observed some very impressive additions in progress.

The next morning, Kevin and Mary left for Kansas City, leaving me at the house. There's really no danger of having anything stolen by me; the absolute last thing I need is extra weight. And I wasn't alone, anyway. Their son Riley would come by pretty regularly with his friends, and then there was Yeonji, a student from South Korea who had been living with them for the better part of a year.

I spent most of the time sleeping. On my last day, after Kevin and Mary returned and made some amazing chicken on the grill, Yeonji convinced me to actually get up and go outside (I hadn't been outdoors for days) to hang out with some of her friends, who first gave me the idea that if I'm in desperate need of a lantern and have a jar, I can catch a bunch of lightning bugs out here, and as long as I make holes in the lid so they have air, they will light up every time I shake the jar.


The next morning I left, hoping to maybe cover the 125 miles or so to Inman, NE. However, while I was still riding through Sioux City, it started to rain. And the rain got stronger. Fast. By the time I was crossing the Missouri River, I was soaked.

I managed to get to Nebraska, but barely. No matter how nice I managed to make it look in the photos, it was getting really nasty out.

I still rode for a while, but I quickly gave up. I dove under an awning, turned on my phone, and checked the yellow pages for a motel. I found one for $40/night. That's a day of work right there, and sometimes more, but there was no way I was staying out in this weather. I started heading over.

"Excuse me, sir!"

It was a woman in an official-looking fluorescent yellow reflecting jacket. I assumed I was in trouble for whatever reason and, without thinking, stopped short and jumped off my bike. Laden with luggage as it was, it started to fall over, and she helped me catch it.

"Sorry about that," she said.

I still assumed she wanted to cite me for biking on the sidewalk, on the left side of the road, or through a red light, all of which I had done. "What's up?"

"I'm a bicyclist too. What are you doing about the rain?"

Weird, I didn't see a bike. "Just heading to a motel right now."

"How much is it?"


She paused only for a fraction of a second. "Want to split a room?"

I didn't pause at all. "Sure."

As it turns out, we both had the exact same thought go through our heads: Well, that was easy.

She was riding from South Dakota to Vermont, and this was her first day, on which she had swung south to see a bit of Nebraska. The last thing she could have on her mind was citing me, as she had accidentally ridden on Interstate 129 earlier in the day. Her bike was at the library, so we hung out there for a while discussing other potential options. We checked the weather, and the rain was definitely not going away or getting any lighter. We got completely soaked just getting to a motel.

After taking a hot shower and jumping onto a real mattress, something I hadn't expected for possibly over a week, I watched with pleasure as it poured all night. And here I was, in safety and warmth, for $20. Exploring "real" Nebraska would wait until the next day.

1 comment:

  1. the adventure continues!
    happy encounters in the pouring rain.
    glad you slept dry and glad you passed through cf earlier--be sure to stop by lampost if you do again:)
    if you want a road trip pen pal, email me: krystal.halvorson@gmail.com.
    peace & blessings...