A modest 58 miles today over hill and dale, but much more friendly hills and dales than I’ve been following. I think this might be the first day that was all on pavement. At 14 miles in today, I hit 1,000 miles on the trip since leaving August 7.

I had a really restful night in Falls City at the Stanton Lake Campground. I had Shrimp Salad ala Dole Bag, a nice juicy peach, hit the pad and slept until 7:30. The shelter kept things dry so I was all packed up and ready to go by 8:30. I forgot to mention that PH’s front wheel had a slow leak and with water to test the tube, I found and patched that leak before I headed into town last night.

(Skip this paragraph if you aren’t interested in bicycle tire flat causes. 🙂 It was from a SLM — Shoulder Land Mine. SLMs are the too small to see remnants of exploded steel-belt retread tires. There are way too many of those, but they are esp. prevalent on the high speed highways. I witnessed one explode while near a tractor trailer in my car. It’s a very loud boom with lots of shrapnel and scared the bejesus out of me. I hope I never am that close while on a bicycle. The bigger pieces are usually easy to avoid, but the SLMs are invisible at 15 mph. Also, some of the shoulders here, and other places, have grass growing between the cracks — sometimes 6 inches high. So, you have to scan the grassy cracks for little black objects too. The steel wires are like needles and make very small holes that are hard to find without water to dip the tube in. Then you need to remove the sucker which I had trouble doing with my little needle nose pliers and I finally resorted to nippers so I could get a better grip. Anyway, Papa Hobo was ready to be on the road again.

I decided to get a sit-down breakfast and found the One Stop Cafe. I had a 3 egg omlet and a bottomless coffee. The young girl behind the bar (maybe 18 or 19) is definitely not in line for a job in the service industry. She grumpily took orders and got first cups of coffee, but then would sit down with her phone. She even rolled her eyes at another customer who had his 3 year old with him as was asking if he could get some OJ himself, since she was less than attentive (but she did get it for him). On the other hand, the other waitress, a late-thirties/early-forties woman was taking care of the rest of the place, answering the phone, and refilling my coffee twice while moody girl sat. The other waitress and the food made up for her moodiness and I give the place a solid 5. I loaded up on ice and water at Casey’s Quik Stop and headed out.

I stuck to the highways today, and Nebraska highways didn’t disappoint. US 73 out of Falls City had the same 8′ wide shoulders as on the way in. A short time later I turned onto Nebraska 67 and headed toward Auburn, passing the very quaint town of Nemaha. I did a short stop in Auburn and noticed that my back wheel was low. Still at 30lbs, I pumped it up to 50 and started the 16 miles to Nebraska City. In NC (the town banners say “The city so great they named a state after it!”), I checked out a couple of hotels, made calls to RV campgrounds was told “No Tents” and directed to a state park in Iowa about 10 miles east. I decided to head to the bars on an information gathering mission. I met Bow and Blane and they schooled me in the lottery game that was live in the bar, and offered space to camp at their places, but they again were in Iowa. We shared a few stories and after some beer, fries, and cuke salad, I bid my farewells and headed out in search of other places to stay. But, the tire I had pumped up twice from 30lbs was flat. While I was changing that, a bunch of folks from the bar came out to smoke and started asking questions. I was flattered that they thought I was in my 40s or 50s and they were shocked when I told them my real age. John and Laurie, and Jon the Philosopher Wannabe. John and Laurie were really cool and invited me to another bar two blocks down the street. I went there after fixing the tire (it was an earlier patch with a bulge in it — stopping tomorrow to get thicker patches).

There’s more to this story, but it’s late and I need to get to Lincoln tomorrow before the rain hits in the afternoon. Hopping Amtrak to Denver at midnight Saturday.