The day dawned with Mike and I not far behind it. We rose early to put some miles behind us before the day was old. The morning was gorgeous. The first few miles in Nebraska reminded me of farm living. The smell of horses, cattle and newly baled alfalfa hay were too much. The feelings these smells evoked were, of course, mitigated by the smell of composting manure but even that wasn’t all bad. (Something only a veterinarian could say!) Mike and I stuck to main roads today and the picture taking was very sparse. This was necessary though to be able to cover the ground. Before today we’ve been motivated by seeing everything and recording it satisfactorily for our extended family who have been following along on our ride. Today the pictures were taken only when we stopped and that occurred minimally.
Tonight as I sit waiting for the laundry to dry I am stirred by a familiar theme from a few days ago. Mike and I have talked about the rivers we’ve encountered throughout the trip. In most cases, if a river has a name, it has earned it and could be said to deserve it. Today we crossed the Platte River multiple times in two states. The Platte has the dubious distinction of having some old-timer say about it that it is “too dry to swim in and too wet to plow.” (That’s a close approximation of what someone actually said, anyway). The Platte meanders and probes and oozes and eddies. I think the best thing that can be said of it is that it is persistent. If I had to do all this to call myself a river I’d just give up and become a lake. I do give the Nebraskans credit for creativity though. A sign today said, “Platte River Channel.” Usually in a lake or large river or in an ocean harbor the channel marks deep, navigable water. This sign with reference to the Platte means something different. Translated it means, “if there were water here this is where it should be.” As we passed into Kansas we received other river naming surprises. One was called the “Big Blue River.” It was about 15 feet in diameter and muddy brown. You’d have to use your imagination and some of the “wacky weed” the Tingles mentioned in their post from yesterday’s blog to call this body of water big, blue or river! The best and most aptly named for the day was the “Little Sandy.” There was no water but lots of sand. There’s a lot to be said for total honesty.
The last thing I’ll mention today is a new-found occupation of mine on these traveling days. I call it “driving off the map.” I mentioned the other day that I was a little OCD (that’s what people who are OCD say of themselves- “a little.”) It has been very motivating for me to make sure that I cover enough miles to drive off the section I’ve labeled as the day’s goal. After a few days are strung together you find that you actually do drive off the map you are using and have to get out another map. How exhilarating!
Michael and I rode a total of 625 miles today and are fried. Our total miles went over 8000 today also. Great numbers for a goals freak! See you tomorrow.