7/12/12 Chadron to Gordon, NE – 48 miles
As we were leaving the Grand Western Motel after breakfast, we saw Frank approaching from the campground and joined him for the ride to Gordon. He told us that the trashmaniacs had been introduced to the Bangladeshi professor at the local college, who had picked them up and taken them to his home for the evening. Plus, the trashmaniacs had already told me at Walmart that the owner of the campground had been to Bangladesh and shared his experiences with them. So, I think they must have had a good time in Chadron connecting with these folks.
The ride to Gordon was very pleasant. No major wind effect and, though it was warm, the breeze/air was comfortable and not hot. The road was fairly flat, with occasional moderate inclines – for the most part just a pleasant ride. The road had a very nice, wide, smooth shoulder. I saw more and more corn fields, though the scenery was still of the brownish grassland variety. Frank, Randy and I rode along at a leisurely pace.
We stopped for a break at the Rushville city park, which had a lush lawn and beautiful shade trees. Almost all of these small towns have lovely city parks, and will often allow bikers to camp there for free.
As we resumed the ride towards Gordon, I had one of the most bizarre experiences ever. There was this relatively good sized herd of cows loosely huddled around a common area and/or grazing near one another. These were very pretty red and white cows. Often animals will kind of look up at you as you ride by, but this time there were 2-3 that I noticed were really looking at me in the eye. So, I waved at them and yelled “hello,” acknowledging that I saw them too. All of a sudden, one of the big cows pivoted away from the group and started walking, then trotting alongside the fence parallel to us as we rode on. Then, the most extraordinary thing happened! This big cow broke into a dead RUN as if she was trying to race us. I have never in my life seen a cow run, and was absolutely blown away. The cow continued to race along beside us at 10 mph or so for probably 20-30 yards until she ran out of path on her side of the fence. The guys were just behind me and saw all this happen. We just cracked up. I mean, it is one thing to have an antelope or deer glide along beside you in a magical, mystical, light footed kind of way – but a cow? I later told Randy at dinner that between the WNBA photos in the bathroom and cows racing us we must be entering a new realm of “the absurd” on this phase of the trip. I’m not complaining as it certainly makes things interesting.
Also along the way to Gordon, we met 2 bikers coming from the opposite direction and stopped to chat. We rarely see other bikers since we are currently off the Adventure Cycling route. This young couple left New York City approx 1 month ago and are on their way to Seattle as their ultimate destination. We compared notes and made suggestions to one another as usual.
During the final 8 miles or so , the road condition changed and became more rough and bumpy. I had become spoiled by the smooth asphalt.
We reached Gordon very early in the afternoon, and I found one of those reasonable locally owned motels. The cat in the lobby sealed the deal – he was a dead ringer for Sassy’s brother Cosmo, whom we lost a few years ago. The clerk told me his name was originally Bear, but had evolved into CareBear.
Gordon was a larger town than some – it has a Dollar General Store. I found the “Mane Attraction” and got my hair cut by this wonderful woman named Marvi. She did an excellent job and we had a nice visit. She told me that her 18 year old daughter was getting ready to take a trip to Italy to visit, and they were a little concerned. She asked what I thought. Since the daughter would be staying with a former exchange student they knew that had been in Nebraska, and owing to my own adventurous spirit, I encouraged her to be as supportive as she could be and recognize what a great opportunity this was for her daughter. I offered a few other pearls of wisdom and, as I left, she seemed relieved and maybe even a little more excited about her daughter’s prospects.
Tomorrow will be a fairly long 56 mile ride to Cody. Still looking for that strong tailwind, although I will be happy with no wind factor and a good road.