Day 32

We awoke to the singing of birds and rumbling thunder from a nearby storm cloud that had planted itself just south of us since 2:00 am. Anna and Shiqi got the camping stove going to boil the water for oatmeal. We somehow got out of the campsite by our regular 7:15 time, packing tents and cleaning up with speedy teamwork. However, it took around 10 minutes to walk down the rough gravel/sand path to route 20. This is the same road we have ridden on for the past 4 days. You might be wondering how we can stand to ride on one road for hundreds of miles. The answer is teamwork, and scenery. Fortunately, this particular highway has a great, wide shoulder so we can ride in pairs and have conversations. Although we hate accidentally riding over the rumble strip, it has the benefit of keeping us safe from cars too. We have recently developed this great game called “hot-seat,” in which there will be a 20-mile stretch (known as “Grace hour,” for example) during which the person tells their life story, then proceeds to answer any and all questions asked by the team. Anything is fair game.

The ride today was dedicated to Josh’s uncle who passed away from cancer several years ago. Josh hasn’t camped since his uncle died, so it seemed fitting for the ride to be in his memory. The day was windy and hot, but fortunately the last 20 miles were a pleasant surprise. A strong tailwind combined with mostly downhill and we were flying. It’s a wonderful feeling to shift into high gear even while riding on level ground! It helped even more that the beautiful countryside was scattered with gorgeous purple and yellow flowers! After 78 miles, we arrived in Chadron, Nebraska, at Grace Episcopal Church. Reverend Russ drove us in his bus “the holy limo” to showers at Chadron State College. Then the church made us a delicious dinner of sloppy joes, beans, and dessert. We had the opportunity to meet some community members and we are so grateful to them for making us food! Christy’s parents met us in town, bringing goodies to stock up the van for the rest of the week! We ended the evening by watching a storm roll by and Pitch Perfect.

Team Gingerswap: somehow in the tent situation this morning, Kevin and Tyler grabbed each other's shoes...

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