DAY 47

April 30, 1999

Cool! This was an excellent day! Actually, it started out as a crappy day, literally!! Yesterday I wasn’t feeling 100 percent as I reached town. I tried to ignore it and hoped whatever it was would go away. This morning my body decided to purge itself of everything inside me. I sat on the toilet for an hour with bad diarrhea. Just when I thought I was done, Bam, there’s more. Geeezz, how could all that be inside me? Finally, I checked out at 9:15am with the sun shining but still cold, about 50 degrees. The wind was blowing to the west as I headed north giving me a crosswind. When I reached 9, I headed west. Wooo hooo! The 10-15 mph winds were now giving me a tail wind! At the small town of Gaylord, I debated if they would have any type of café or restaurant. It looked like a small nothing town. There was a sign that said "Business District". It led me down a dirt road and the 4 roads that comprised the town were dirt. There really wasn’t much of a business district but I did find the "Gaylord Inn". It is a very old building, like the others, and inside there were three old-timers sitting at one of the round tables. One of the ladies at the table, Fern, talked to me quite a bit about my trip. No one knew for sure how many people lived in this town, somewhere less than 100. But they all did agree that it was getting much smaller as people moved away.

After I finished eating, I continued west on 9, then north on 183 to 36. At 36 I turned west into downtown Phillipsburg. By this time I was hungry again so I stopped at the "Third Street Bakery and Sandwich Shop". It was mediocre food and mediocre hospitality. I was advised to go to a café called "Sally Ann’s" or something like that. But I saw this first and stopped for a grilled chicken sandwich and iced tea. By now it was 65 degrees and a bright, sunny day. On 36 west, continuing towards Norton and my destination, Prairie Dog State Park, I had strong tail winds. I reached Norton and was hungry again. This time I got a chicken salad sandwich at a convenience store. Then, at 95 miles, I reached Prairie Dog State Park. I was feeling great and did not want to stop. Days like this have been rare lately so I wanted to make it last and enjoy it as long as I could. The day was perfect for riding and I felt I could go another 100 miles. So I passed up my opportunity to camp to relish every moment I could on the bike. Oberlin will be my final destination and there’s no camping there. It was a choice between my love of camping in nice weather or my love of cycling on such a perfect day.

After passing the park there was a sign along the road that stated "Caution Strong Wind Currents". I was going to stop and take a photo but at this point I was zipping along at 23mph and decided to keep going. The winds were gusting by now and I was very glad to have it as a tailwind. There was a whistle as the wind passed through the power lines. I could see the fast moving waves the wind made across the green prairies. This was a day I didn’t want to end… Man, I felt invincible flying down the road. What an incredible sight across the prairies. It was like ocean waves, over and over, as the awesome power of the wind moved over them.

Reaching Oberlin, I had gone 120 miles and the next town, (McCook, Nebraska) was 30 miles north. That would have made 150 miles for the day but I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it before dark. There would be heavy crosswinds blowing me into the road. It was 6:45pm and with my speed now averaging 18-19mph I could have made it before the 8:40pm sunset if it was due west. I stopped at the Oberlin Inn ($29.15) and decided to go north tomorrow.

Sitting in a hot bath, I started to feel tired. My lower legs had also begun to bother me some during the last 20 miles. It was some muscle aches but also periosteal pain. Basically, "shin splints"…Geeezz! I would’ve thought after 2400 miles I’d be over aches like that. After my hot bath I was really feeling tired so I decided to indulge in a Coke to help keep me awake while I watched the weather channel. I put on a T-shirt and my sandals, then started to head for the soda machine outside. Doh! All I have on is a T-shirt and sandals! Good thing I noticed before I opened the door and exposed myself! My mind really doesn’t function well at the end of a day cycling.

Today - 121.38 miles
Total - 2438 miles
Avg. Speed - 15.0 mph

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