Our ride today started a little later than normal, primarily because we wanted to take advantage of the “deluxe” breakfast that we’d seen promoted on the billboards as we rolled into Valentine. It’s really fun how little things like breakfast become a bigger deal on a trip like this. Sure enough, it didn’t disappoint…it was more than Raisin Bran and included some fresh fruit which was a welcome site so we were happy and well fueled cyclists.
On our way out of the hotel a family from Omaha offered us some of their bottled water and we struck up a conversation. They had made the trip to Valentine to enjoy some time on the river. The terrain in northern Nebraska is really interesting and seems to be an oasis in the sand hills. We shared the details of the Backpack program and our route to Thedford (pop. 211) and before parting they generously donated to the Bike for Backpacks cause.
Now, it may just be that yesterday’s route was really, really challenging but Nebraska highway 83 was a little slice of heaven! The entire 65 miles to Thedford was well maintained and had a nice wide shoulder. The sand hills of northern Nebraska are vast and we could see how it would not be a great place to be stranded in a storm. In place of any sort of small town on today’s route, there were several windmills (invented in New England in 1854 as a powered way to bring water to the surface, and in common use in Nebraska by the 1870s) peppered throughout the rolling hills, many of them fully in tact with the mill blades still turning.
Fortunately, we had beautiful weather and even a brisk tail wind that helped push us into our destination “town”…this is by far the smallest community that we’ve stayed. Upon arriving we had “the best burger in town” at the Arrowhead Lodge and Cafe…based on our options for lunch I’d venture say it was the only burger in town. Our charming waitress Theresa explained that she had moved here from Anchorage Alaska to help her friend with the business.
We welcomed a quiet Sunday afternoon to relax and get ready for our final week on the road!
Tomorrow we continue to head south on 83 into North Platte, NE before we make a turn west on Tuesday morning.
Any takers for joining us for the last couple of days into Denver?