Today’s ride took us from North Platte, through Hershey, then Paxton, and then through the unincorporated (not governed by it’s own local municipal corporation, but rather part of another larger administrative division such as a township, parish, borough, county, city, etc) village of Roscoe, (yes…we called it Roscooooooeeee Peee Coaltraaaiiiin!) before our destination of Ogalalla (pop: 5124). The ride was one of our shorter ones at only 55.4 miles and had an elevation change of only about 500 ft (2800 ft to 3200 ft),so the miles passed quickly…8, 9, 10…29, 30, 31….53, 54, 55 . As a point of reference, Fargo is at roughly 900 ft above sea level, and Denver (The Mile High City) is around 5280 ft, so we are at just over 1/2 of the total elevation change we’ll experience on this route. With a wide shoulder and the sun at our back, it was dual shadows and steady peddling.
Our first stop when we got to Ogallala was 801 North Spruce Street – Colleen’s (Michael’s mom) childhood home. Her father ran the implement dealership here before selling it and relocating to Denver in the early 50’s. Hunger being our next priority, We stopped some locals on the street to see where the hot spots were. Without hesitation, they said, “The Lampstand, a nice coffee shop, lunch place, and Christian-run to boot”. So this was our second stop for a delicious Chicken and Fruit salad and 1/2 Barbecue Beef Brisket sandwich each, and to get a good hard look at these “Christians”. Ha Ha. They were great, and we’d definitely recommend this as a great place to eat. Don’t expect to get the recipe for the Almond-Cream salad dressing though, definitely a key ingredient to their menu’s goodness. Then it was off to our home / bicycle shop / office / for the night, the Super 8. We have now crossed over into Mountain Time, and will be grateful for the extra hour of zzzz’s in the morning.
While we were at the laundromat in North Platte, a local businessman, and owner of the laundromat suggested that we stop at Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse and Lounge in Paxton. It was the “Do not miss” place along today’s route. As we came into Paxton, sure enough, there it was. Although we weren’t ready to eat lunch yet, we did swing by to visit with someone who was putting the final touches on the sidewalk and entrance, as they prepared for the day’s business. She shared a bit of history about Ole’s, the stuffed animals inside, and the amazing hunter he (Ole) was back in the day. She also shared a bit about her growing up years of sliding down Boot Hill in Ogallala, before moving to Paxton. It’s always interesting to hear the stories of the locals and get the background on how they came to live where they do.
While the little town of Paxton certainly had it’s own charm, nothing could have topped what we ran into at Paxton’s Grill and Pit Stop. Her name was Sebina. As MIchael shopped around for a snack, I started to tell our story, complete with the part about our goal to raise money for backpacks. She listened and then asked, “So, people give you money?”. I said yes, and shared more about how our customers can choose to donate a number of backpacks at checkout upon purchasing our products, and how our ride has a goal to provide 2000 additional backpacks as a result of the 18 day ride. She was genuinely interested and we continued to visit. She became less interested in the store tasks she was doing (I won’t tell the store owner), and more interested in the discussion we were having. As we were preparing to check out, she handed Michael a generous donation, saying, “It isn’t much”. We were really so honored that she took time to hear our story and support our cause, and explained that any donation is such a kind gift that has direct impact on a child. As we typically do when we meet donors along the way, we requested that she take her picture with us. She immediately said (laughing), “Oh no! If I had known that, I wouldn’t have given you any money. I don’t like getting my picture taken.” We insisted, and as I reached for 3 pair of florescent glasses that were for sale on the rack, and let her choose which one she could wear for the picture, before Michael I I chose ours, the task seemed to get easier. We had some fun laughs as another customer took time out of his day to snap the photo for us. With more “thank you’s” and “goodbye’s”, we were off and peddling again.
As I thought about what had just happened, it was another reinforcement of the great people who are are out there, and I mean everywhere! Sebina, who, along with her husband, is raising four children of her own, is the face of kind and generous America! How ironic, and humbling, that she wouldn’t want to show the world that beautiful, kind, and generous face. It got me thinking even more about the goodness that is at the core of each of us. When we peel our veil away and stop caring about who does what for a living, who’s is the one true God, and how many likes on Facebook make us feel like we matter (hint: you only need one “like” and that’s the mirror), our true center of helping humankind is naked, exposed and ready. My veil: I’m the VP of Human Resources. Michael’s veil: He is the CEO. Big hairy deal! What’s really important isn’t the title that hangs on a door or what seems to mean something in the boardroom, but rather a title that we live, through what our heart is telling us to follow, in creating just a little bit better world. Which of your veils needs to be lifted? Where are your “Sabina’s?
Tonight, we went to the Front Street Steakhouse and Crystal Palace Saloon for dinner at 6:00, and a “shootout” on the street at 7:15, before the show started at 7:30. This is their 50th consecutive season, and it was the last week of the show for the summer, so we were lucky to stumble upon this little gem. It was a great show, incorporating humor, singing, and Nebraska history. Somehow, Michael just can’t help but make his way on stage at these sort of thing. He got in a little trouble with the law in this scene for stealing all the girls from the resident cowpokes.
Michael’s stage appearance on Front Street
Tomorrow, we’re off to Sydney NE, a cool 67 miles West on Hwy 30.