GLENROCK TO VALENTINE
Tires are holding up well. Despite the miles of hot pavement, miles of gravel roads, dirt roads, despite running over assorted stuff, the tires are holding up well. Enthusiasm is starting to wear thin, though.
I stayed at a campground in Glenrock for a week. I wanted to spend just a couple days, but they had a better rate for a week. And they had a shower and wifi if you were next to the main building. Downtown Glenrock was walking distance, so if I wanted to go to the only grocery store, or the only hardware store, or one of the nearly 7 bars, or 3 restaurants, it was an easy walk.
I was certain that the time off would help renew my excitement for riding. And it did... For the first hour or so. Then the gravel road threw some sand sections at me. Sand is tough because the skinny tires sink in and wash out and generally don't work. It was bad enough that I had to walk several times. That'll take the wind out of your sails. That and record heat.
I have tried to get back to my base; back to being a tourist. That is my comfort zone. And although I really like riding a bike, after 40 days of this tour, riding a bike has become more of an obsession and less of a hobby. That, I think, is the beauty of my van. There I have options. I can stop at a museum, I can go for bicycle ride, a motorcycle ride, or a hike. I have my rock climbing gear, air-conditioning, my own picnic table... It's my home on the road.
That said, when the wind is at my back and the road is flat, riding a bicycle is still one of my favorite ways to spend time, cover the miles, and see the sites. I relish the feeling I get when I'm out of food, out of water, hot, tired, and pedaling into some city limits after a long day. I'll take a highlighter and trace my route on the map, and every inch of the map triggers memories of the miles covered to get there. Riding a bicycle compared to driving the van: it's the difference between reading a book and reading the story summary on the cover. Between watching a movie or watching the previews.
Just writing this is having a medicinal effect on my waning enthusiasm. Today is a day off in Valentine, Nebraska. Tomorrow I'll hit the road again, continuing east to Sioux Center. Miles to go, but I feel like I might be let down when this ride is finished. Time will tell. Lately, while riding, I alternate between planning the next bike ride and planning the sale of all my bicycles. Like you, I can't wait to see how this adventure ends.