7/17/12 Ainsworth to O’Neill, NE – 65 miles
Got up early and was on the road by 7:00 am in hopes of beating the heat at least a little. It was smooth riding pretty much all the way – flat and essentially no inclines to speak of, smooth asphalt with a wide smooth shoulder, and very little traffic. Wind was a non-factor. More and larger trees dotting the landscape. We probably averaged 15-18 mph most of the way, and made good time, just taking one real rest stop in Atkinson to snack and get off the bike for a few minutes. This town was like a ghost town. Quite a few houses, retail looking business buildings, and a pretty sizeable main street, but no one around. It felt dead.
We made such good time that we arrived in our destination city, O’Neill, around 12:30 pm. By then, it was very hot – well on its way to the 103 degree high of the day- and we were ready to stop. We found an exceptionally nice reasonably priced locally owned motel called The Elms Motel, aptly named because of the large shady elm trees out on the front lawn. There was this cute gazebo and picnic tables on the front lawn reminiscent of the Motel Raines.
Later in the afternoon, we took a ride around town. That took all of about 5 minutes. They did have a lovely city park and swimming pool. We learned from a historical marker that the Irish were instrumental in starting the town and very influential. Seeking the spirit of the Irish and, more importantly, some Irish food, we stopped at The Blarney Stone Cafe on Main Street. Not a single Irish dish on the menu and they looked at us like we were crazy when we asked. No, this was typical middle American fare, and not very good at that. In order to help soothe our disappointment, we stopped for ice cream at the Dairy Queen on the way back home. Ah..there are some things you can rely on in this life like basic soft serve ice cream at the DQ. So, a rather low key day. I guess the highlight was a friendly dog staying at the motel that kept coming up to me.
Tomorrow we will ride approx 60 miles, and aim for arrival the following day in Sioux City, IA.