We decided to go to McCook because we could not get connected with the previous town. In spite of it being last minute, McCook Fire has been selfless and accommodating. McCook Fire has two paid members at the station for 24 hours so they only need two beds. Both members, without asking or hesitation, set up the couch for themselves and offered us their beds. For those of you that don’t know how the fire service works, that is the fire service. You don’t offer, you give it. It’s back to the rubber meets the road. They did not offer and wait for us to turn them down. They said, “This is where you sleep.” Ahh, but I’m a salty dog, and a trained investigator to boot. I could see what they were doing. I stayed in the TV chair, I just can’t bring myself to take anything else from these fine men.
Full moon, 3 am………. Alarm……Police responding to a fight, knife involved. After three other calls that night the boys responded to, and transported a couple of guys that could not pour water out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel. The guys were all riled up after almost having to fight their way out of the scene. I got up and listened to the tales. If these guys keep this up, I’ll never get any sleep. So being the salty dog I am I exclaimed to the fire gods, “Wow, sounds fun out there, I’m going with you guys on your next call.” Next call never came, everyone knows about the curse of the ride along. We slept the rest of the night.
Today was another long windy day. Oh ya and its Sunday. It appears my mood is proportionate to my appetite. When I am hungry, I am not very happy. The problem lately is I’m always hungry. I do not have any stores built up, so I get hungry fast. After cycling 30 miles and passing several closed business I finally came across a cafe. Ok, I’m sure it’s closed Sunday, or gone out of business, or closed for the summer. I try the door and to my surprise its open….yay. I go in and sit down. “What will you have to drink”. “Coffee,” I answer. After I drink half of it the waitress tells me, “We are not serving breakfast”. I politely ask her if she has a rope so I can hang myself. She did not answer. “So what do you serve?” I ask. We are starting the buffet in 30 minutes. I can be in the next town in 30 minuntes. “What do I owe you for the coffee?” “One dollar,” she replies. Nice, she offers me a drink, waits until I’m half way through it before she tells me the cafe is not serving food for 30 min and still charges me for the coffee.
So I make 30 miles and ride into po dunk USA for food. I stumble into Mo Joes, Good Food they advertise. I open the door and the whole town is there. I may as well been standing there naked. It was worse, I was standing there in spandex pants. The whole place is staring at me. Then some little kid comes up to me and says, ” Mr. what are you riding?” So I answer the kid and look around. There is a bunch of railroad guys looking at me like what the hell is he wearing? I’m starving and willing to fight the whole town for some food. The good news is they had a buffet and I did not have to fight anyone. The food was the best I have had in the whole state.
The rest of the ride was long, windy, and hilly. I was running out of food and water all day.
I’m about 7 miles from Axtell and I hear a loud pop from my front tire. Oh man, not another flat. I look at the tire and it still had air. Oh no. I wish it was a flat. I lost a spoke! Now my wheel is all wobbly and I still have seven miles to go. I keep riding, thud thud thud thud for seven miles. Now what? The nearest bike shop is 17 more miles away in Kearney. I true (straightened) the wheel the best I could and risked riding the 17 miles before it got dark. I made it to Econo Lodge for the night. I hope to get it fixed in the morning. But for now I’m stuck high in dry in Nebraska.