Day 35: Flat Tires and Then Some

Start/End: Grand Island/Holdrege, NE
Mileage: 70.7+
Weather: Cloudy with sprinkles in the morning, warm and sunny in the afternoon

Today we started our day at the Salvation Army Community Church which had generously allowed us to stay at their facility and use cots to sleep on. It was amazing to sleep on them. We were also provided a great breakfast consisting of oatmeal, toast, some donuts and juice/milk. It was a bigger than usual breakfast, but it was a great replenishment from yesterday.

We rolled out a little later than usual, but we knew that would be ok since we “only” had about 70 miles. It is so strange to think that yesterday we did 40 miles more than what we did today, and that is just mind blowing. Our morning was definitely more eventful than we would have wanted in terms of riders getting flat tires. Strangely, the team total for flat tires was 9 flats. This is ridiculously high and was just a lot of bad luck. The shoulder/road that we were on was not too bad but had some occasional holes and rocks which likely caused some of the issues. The morning also brought some on and off drizzled rain and was cool, but it was refreshing.

It has been amazing the last few days to see all of the freight train traffic through Nebraska. The train conductors are often very friendly and wave at us! But watching all of the coal and other materials that are shipped via freight train is just incredible. Also, trains are loud….

This morning our first rest stop in Shelton was a very nice stop. We met several amazing people who were very supportive our our cause. We met some survivors and even learned that there was a program in Shelton that helps provide gas cards to anyone who needs to travel long distances to receive chemotherapy treatment or surgery. Additionally, we met a local reporter who took a picture of the group and spoke to some riders. They were very excited that we were passing through their town, so that was super cool.

The rest of the day was very nice. When we stopped for lunch, the clouds parted and it warmed up and the sun came out. We met a few more folks who were enthusiastic about the cause. Many riders also discovered a local pizza place in Kearney that reportedly had some of the best pizza. Leaving the town, we just had about 30 miles left and we caught a tailwind a lot of the way, which meant we just had a very quick rest of the day. We had an optional rest stop midway through that way to refill water and take a break. It was fun getting to see the tall grasses that had grown between the road and the fields that was just rolling like waves on the ocean in the wind. It was beautiful to watch how the light caught the grass at different angles.

Arriving at our stayover was great. We have a nice, cool area to sleep and spread out. Additionally, the church partnered with a church in the neighboring town of Funk to provide an amazing selection of casseroles and pasta dishes, in addition to watermelon. It felt nice eating dinner on real plates…. Sometimes this summer it is nice to appreciate the small things! Oh. Also because we got in so early, most people took some really long naps, still recovering a little from yesterday. I didn’t realize that I was so tired! We also had access to showers at the local pool arranged by our awesome stayover, so thank you!

Apart from the flat tires, it was a good day and we are all in pretty good spirits. Looking forward to our next rest day which is still a while away, but we are sticking together. I am sure it will be an early night to go to bed for most of us as we will get up and do this all again tomorrow!
-LAH

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