Weather Says Whither

Today we saw on Jeffrey’s Apple Watch this alert from yesterday. It occurred during the Attack of the Tumbleweeds.

Yesterday’s battery-by-tumbleweed, and the wind blast that flipped us over, on the heels of Monday’s assault on (and by) Rabbit Ears Pass, reminded us that we are not on an amusement park Ride. The Ride takes place in the real world of motorists, pavements, terrain, wind and weather.

We don’t mean to overdramatize. We don’t take risks like the people who flee their country to escape persecution. We keep in perspective the winds that buffeted us, the dust cloud that scared and begritted us.

We wouldn’t trade places with this 1930s Dust Bowl driver. He had one advantage, though: no need to pedal.

Still, this morning, an Oklahoman who works as an oil well safety inspector, said he pulled his truck over to wait out yesterday’s storm. We had nowhere to hide, until Warren pulled over for us.

Today’s NW winds helped more than they hindered, as we pedaled ENE.

Tomorrow we want to pedal 100 miles north and east, to Mullen. The forecast is for dangerous NW wind gusts of 40 mph (64 kph). If the forecast bears out, we’ll choose a safer 55 miles east to North Platte instead.
Today Jeffrey made the 13th annual Ride’s first motel waffle.
No maple trees were tapped to make this all-artificial breakfast.
This federal highway ran parallel to BNSF railroad tracks. This part was OK. Some stretches were much better. Some was badly crumbled and potholed, not fit for cyclists nor for enormous trucks. Taken as a whole, the people of the United States should be ashamed that our country puts its name on infrastructure of such low quality when we can afford better.
BNSF keeps its tracks in better shape than the feds keep their roads. We exchanged waves with track workers in this rail-truck.
A cow (at right) is the City of Crook (pop. 133) welcoming committee.
A Colorado county road to … where?
Ovid, Colorado, was on the Pony Express route. The Pony Express ran between Missouri and California from 1860-61, when it was replaced by the telegraph.
Old farm machinery outside Ovid.
Julesburg (pop. 1300) grain elevator. This is agribusiness country.
Our 45th of the Lower 48 States! I’m lashed to a signpost, facing our Sprint 26.
Nebraska is a cattle state. We saw people wear cowboy hats as they drove trucks.
It’s a farming state too. These are Big Springs grain elevators.
We liked the look of this old hotel.
For over 70 miles today, our route had been flat as a pancake. At Big Springs, we were surprised to find 2 miles of steep hills.
The hills looked to be made of sand. That would mean that this area, over 3500’ (1000 meters) above sea level, once was the bottom of a sea that filled with sand eroding off ancient mountains. The mind reels …

Soon the road leveled off and the hills flattened to look like the Colorado landscape we’d just left.

This sign in Ogallala confirms that we are on the old covered wagon route to California.
Tim gave us a friendly welcome to Ogallala. He asked for details about the Ride. Tim said the same weather system that hit us gave Nebraskans a hard time too.
Parth owns the motel. He was interested in the Ride, took great interest in our vehicle, and wished us well on our journey.

A word to our readers:

We love your comments. They keep us going. We almost never reply; after managing the Ride and writing a photoessay day after day, we don’t have the bandwidth. Know that we’re grateful for your support. We delight in every word.

Where to next? Mullen or North Platte?

Come back tomorrow to find out.