Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 25: Memories on the Road

Thus far, we have not met a single Nebraskan who has complimented their state. During last nights dinner at a local Saloon, even the waitress exclaimed, “just turn around and go back to Colorado as fast as you can.” Not only is Nebraska the most boring state in the Union but it in fact smells the worst as well.

Smiles brimming with enthusiasm, our group arose at the Roadway Inn in Ogallala prepared to bike the 52 miles to North Platte. Farmboy Zane, used to waking up before the sun rises, was the first out the door, as Shane, Sanford, Claire, and Jason all decided to get some extra shuteye. While a sick Kirsten and Mike pushed away in the Mystery Machine, the half-asleep foursome jumped back on to highway 30 for another leg past Nebraskan cornfields, cows, and trains. The always intellectually stimulated Jason, in an attempt to perfect his short-term memory, gave names to all 163-train cars that steamed past the bunch in great American fashion.

Arriving in North Platte just in time for lunch, our tumultuous group decided to take on its biggest task yet: cleaning out the van. From mold to hitch hikers, our van was stuffed to the brim with unnecessary amenities, and the two hours spent thoroughly cleaning each nook and cranny were well spent. Most importantly, after hosing down the van, the group was able to convince Claire that she needed a wash as well – paying the car wash company an additional $20 to send Claire through the much needed foam and bubbles will absolutely prove to be worthwhile use of FACE AIDS stipend.

After sharing pizza for lunch, our group jumped in their shady, unmarked white van and began their rest day with a 6-hour drive to visit Mt. Rushmore. With Mike deciding to stay in North Platte to service his bike and catch up on his movie watching, the remaining six riders were dazzled by the emptiness of Nebraska and South Dakota. Wikipedia said that the Great Plains would be flat, but none had prepared themselves for the miles of American land that lay lifeless before their eyes. 80 miles away, the team could see the Black Hills on the horizon, and with the help of U2, the team flew through the countryside where the streets have no names. After a long day on the road, it wasn’t long before the team had ascended the evergreen covered hills and laughed past the touristy town to see the faces of four American heroes etched in stone. Sitting among almost a thousand American citizens ft. Shane in the open-air auditorium, the team truly enjoyed the presentation by Smoky the Bear. With differing views on the night, the group managed to come together in their mutual desire for a bed and some food. Posing as a boy with family in Mumbai, Shane managed to find relations with the workers at the hotels front desk and the team struck a deal for two rooms at the highly acclaimed President’s View Resort. Mind you that any “Resort” in South Dakota is still a resort in South Dakota, and in opening up the blinds in their cozy rooms, the team chuckled at the picturesque view of a stone wall five feet in front of them.

With a hectic day past them, the inspired/ confused/ frustrated/ patriotic team collapsed on their beds and dreamt of what was to come. Their rest day in South Dakota had lots of promise, and they all swore to not leave the state without first taking a glimpse at the Americas true hero: The North American Bison.

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