Our morning started with the sound of bacon sizzling and eggs frying. Olivia, one of our hosts, was up at 6:30AM preparing a beautiful breakfast spread for us. Eggs, bacon, orange juice, toast, and cinnabuns to help us kick off our day. After noticing that our clothes still smelled after one wash cycle (not surprising), she even had our laundry running a second time so we’d be smelling great when we got rolling.
We said our goodbyes to Matthew, Olivia, and their adorable pup, Vogue, and were riding by 8AM. We rode a handful of miles before making a coffee pitstop at Whole Foods. We struck up good conversation with a few customers and were out by 9:15. Our ride out of Omaha was full of steep hills and was a hefty “warmup” that left us feeling pretty winded. Speaking of winded, we also had a 15mph headwind against us.
We were headed to Lincoln, 55 miles away. It was a pretty straight-forward ride. We rode without incident, just a bit more tired than normal. This was the result of a lack of sleep and a long day of riding the previous day and a headwind the whole way to Lincoln.
Our first destination in Lincoln was Monkey Wrench Cycles. Honestly, this was what we were most excited for in Lincoln. It definitely lived up to the hype. We were warmly greeted by Carl, who made us some coffee and showed us around the shop. The walls of Monkey Wrench are lined with custom built bicycles by some of the industry’s greats. Carl asked us about our route through Nebraska and proceeded to give us some great tips on how to best see Nebraska’s scenery along the way.
Honestly, I hadn’t known Nebraska had so much beautiful and diverse scenery. Carl showed us photos from past tours in Nebraska and I was floored. Gorgeous landscapes unadulterated for centuries. Just as Pittsburgh seemed to be full of amateur historians, everyone in Nebraska seems to be a amateur geologist. It’s been fascinating hearing from so many people about the unique landscape and natural forces that cause it to be so distinct.
We parted ways after the bike shop closed and rode downtown to visit a coffee shop called The Mill, where we had some items to pick up (more about that later). As we turned onto the street where the shop was, a couple shouted to us and waved. Two days earlier, riding out of St. Joseph, MO, we met this very couple at a gas station. We told them about the ride and they were really kind to us and excited about the campaign. Here we were, crossing paths over a hundred miles away, coincidentally visiting the same city at the same time and rounding the same corner. We caught up briefly and laughed about the improbably of seeing them again.
Our reason for visiting The Mill was another crazy story of coincidence. Several days ago, one of Dakota’s water bottle’s was stolen off his bike. A friend heard about this and generously offered to buy him a new one and send it to us along the way. He even went so far as to find a cool coffee shop in Lincoln and send it there so we didn’t have to deal with finding a pickup location. So that was our reason for heading there.
When we were riding out of Corning, MO towards Omaha, G.O. forgot to tie down his tent and it came off near the campsite. Unfortunately, this wasn’t discovered until we were over forty miles away. Amazingly, a former coworker of ours was driving from Springfield into Nebraska that day and would be passing our campsite and then Lincoln later that day. G.O. called him and he very kindly agreed to stop and check for the tent. He ended up finding it and we had him drop it off at The Mill as he passed Lincoln.
We had a laugh at The Mill as we walked in to pick up a tent and a package, a change of pace from their typical order, I’m sure. G.O.’s tent was there, but unfortunately the package containing Dakota’s bottle had not arrived yet. One more problem to solve, I guess.
After resting there for a while, we head towards our host’s home for the evening. Our hosts in Lincoln are the parents of a friend of Dakota’s from college. Without knowing us at all, they kindly welcomed us into their home for the weekend. When we got there, they had towels out for our showers and burgers and dogs on the grill. We had a delicious meal with them and enjoyed talking with them about Nebraska and fun travel experiences we’d each had over the years.
Next stop: Lincoln Rest Day