DAY 48


May 1, 1999

I stopped in McCook, Nebraska. I was looking for the Chamber of Commerce to get a free state map. While in the downtown area, I was stopped by a couple of young guys wearing suits and name tags. Before they got close enough for me to see the name tags, I already knew they were Mormons. I wanted to look on my back to see if someone had put a sticker there saying "Help me, I need saved." Both of them were very nice and about 20-23 years old. They asked about where I was headed and all the usual questions most people ask. It seemed important to them that I carry a Mormon Bible with me so I accepted their offer. Inside the cover one guy wrote their names, phone numbers, and what I should read. Adding to the end, "Read, Ponder, Pray". Both of the "Elders" wished me luck and told me to call if I wanted to talk about anything.

Giving up on the Chamber of Commerce, I decided to go to Wal-Mart for 1-hour photo finishing. Dropping my film off at the counter, I walked around the store with the usual stares I get. I was wearing my green, white, and black, bike shirt and my shoes made some noise as I walked-with my bike shoe wearin’ gait pattern. Finding the powerbars, balance bars, and Tiger’s Milk bars, I loaded my arms up. Those are great to eat while on the bike. Sitting on the bench near the photo counter, people walked by and either stared or pretended not to notice me. I smiled but many probably don’t know what to think of me. At the photo counter the girl was really nice and also interested in my trip so I gave her the web site address. There was another lady there that called the local paper for a story. Unfortunately, it was a busy Saturday for the paper and no one was available to come out. She was told that someone might drive up 83 to look for me along the road. I thanked her for her efforts and headed out with photos and food bars in hand.

Continuing north on 83 there was still nothing much to see apart from the rolling hills and occasionally, a few trees. Then about 40 miles north of McCook I see "Wellfleet Pop. 63". There was one small café by the road, the "Country Inn Café". I went inside for a glass of tea and a roll to satisfy by bread craving. Did I ever mention I like bread? :-)  On one wall there were numerous newspaper and magazine articles with stories about some maker of fine chocolates. There was a glass display case filled with carefully placed chocolate candies. I noticed many shapes and designs to these chocolates. The display reminded me of the display I saw at the Godiva Chocolate Store in North Park Mall, Dallas. So why does this little hole-in-wall café’, out in the middle of nowhere, harbor such elegantly made fine chocolates? Well it ends up that Jerry’s (the owner) wife, Debbie, has found a passion for making chocolate candies. In fact she is now shipping orders to other parts of the world. They are now at a point where they are working on a move to the big city of Chicago. From there they will be expanding the business of "Debbie’s Delights". This was very hard for me to imagine. Both of them were down-to-earth and seemed to fit in this rural setting very well. Jerry looked more like a farmer or a truck driver, not a big city entrupreneur. He was indeed a good-hearted, sincere man and we talked a bit about my current adventure. There were two other gentlemen, sitting in a booth, that appeared to be regulars and friends of Jerry’s. The four of us talked about other things as well, like the cattle drive that went through there from Texas several years ago. They also told me about a guy that skated through there on in-line skates going across the country. It was a nice break and I felt right at home there. I went to pay for my tea and roll but Jerry said, "It’s on me". Then he gave me a big piece of caramel and told me about how carefully the candies are made with no preservatives or artificial ingredients.

The rest of the ride into North Platte was hilly and void of buildings or trees, well maybe a couple of small trees. Arriving in North Platte I saw the "Buffalo Bill Cody Museum" and was instantly reminded of when I was here as a child. The memory had been long since lost and now I was flooded with images of the place through a childs eyes. It had been 22 or 23 years ago and things were smaller than what I remembered. Wow, this was weird, I’ve been here before and didn’t even know it until I got here. Seeing the Subway sign, I popped in for a Vegi-Max sub. As I was leaving, it beginning to sprinkle and heavy thunderstorms for tonight and tomorrow was in the forecast. There were many motels around but Motel 6 advertised "$31.99 Single". So that’s where I went and paid $35.51 with the tax.

Today - 86.29 miles in Nebraska (total for the day 99.26 miles)
Total - 2537  miles
Avg. Speed - 14.0mph


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