After our longest day on the trip so far (Tim walked over 39 miles, Rebecca biked over 51), we slept-in at the campground in Gothenburg. We also enjoyed a breakfast of leftover marshmallows and graham crackers from the smores. We had a place to stay about 24 miles down the road, in Lexington, so we could afford to leave a little late.
Within minutes on the highway, Rebecca ran into a cyclist heading westbound. His name was Sylvester (Sly) and he was on his third cross country bike trip, to raise awareness about human trafficking. He was biking with a team of three others, and told us to expect two more cyclists throughout the day! He was the most energetic person we’ve met going coast to coast. Rebecca explained our story, that she and Tim had walked from San Francisco to Denver together, and she was sidelined with an injury, so decided to pick up a bike in the Mile High city, and Tim had been walking alone since. Sly said when he would come across Tim walking on the side of the road, he’d give him the biggest hug. And was it ever!
Please follow Sly and his team’s noble cause:
Rebecca and Tim kept close tabs on each other all day, as it was an extremely hot morning. Rebecca bought a delicious turkey sub upon Tim’s request, and even set up a picnic in the shade at the main park’s swimming pool in Cozad. There was at least 50 kids jumping off the diving board on this bright, sunny day. Cozad also has a marker for the 100th Meridian (west).
Tim had the taste for tacos once his sandwich thirst was quenched. He Googled tacos and found a Taco John’s in the day’s final town, Lexington. After, Rebecca texted Tim that our host planned on making us tacos for dinner! It was serendipity. Tim quipped he hoped the host’s name was John (it was Bryan).
Bryan gave us a drive-through tour of the ethanol plant he worked at, and it was such a large facility! We’ve learned a lot about industries in rural America from our short time in The Heartland.
After dinner, Bryan asked if we had a solid time timeline we were following; we said not really. He then offered his place for an additional night! We contemplated taking an unplanned rest day here, and decided we could use the opportunity to run some errands. Not only could we plan our route for the next few days across Nebraska more carefully, but not having to wake up early allowed us to stay up way past our bedtime and watch David Lynch’s Dune on Blu-ray! (We planned on watching it in San Francisco a few nights before we started the walk, but ran out of time). And Tim got a haircut!
We discussed possible routes with Bryan, and he offered to give us another driving tour of the surrounding communities. We first drove to The Archway (recently built landmark, interesting history) outside of Kearney. Next Bryan took us to the Museum of Nebraska Art, where we were blown away by the life works (paintings, sculptures) of famed dancer and proclaimed “Most Beautiful Man In the World” Paul Swan, a Nebraska native. Finally, after BBQ, Bryan took us Disc Golfing for the first time ever! (Thanks for the fun rest day, Bryan!)
Bryan dropped us off south at a campground at the world famous Pioneer Village in Minden. It was not our on direct route, so we added a few miles to see this, and so we could moe directly see the Kool-Aid Museum in Hastings in a few more days.
The next day was filled with lots of construction. There was a two-mile stretch where the road crews had to stop highway traffic and take turns with
a pace car to lead the queue. Rebecca biked past Tim just before this obstacle, and we met halfway under the shade of a farm entrance for a lunch break. This time it was actually fun watching the cars go by.
By the time Tim walked to the east end of the construction zone an hour later, a construction worker asked what exactly we were doing. I told him we were walking (/biking) across the country and had started in San Francisco over 2.5 months ago on April 9th! He could hardly believe it, but the look on his face was priceless.
As the sun wound down on the third day, Tim pulled into a county fairgrounds where primative camping was only $5.50! The campground host was also very excited about our journey, and gave us a state road map of Nebraska, along with two bottles if water. The showers at the fairgrounds were the best $5 showers we’d ever seen!
We slept well knowing the next morning we’d get to go to the museum we’ve looked forward to the most: The Birthplace of Kool-Aid!
Today(s) we walked through:
Tim: 49,331, N/A and 66,571 steps
Rebecca: 58 miles biked
1671 miles finished