TRIP 2001

Update #19 - July 05th
Milford, Nebraska - 4051 miles (6481 KM)

My last full day in Oakland (Sunday, July 1st) went okay. Pastor Welch wanted me to ride T-bolt all loaded up to the church and put it up front in the sanctuary. My helmet was placed on the Communion Table. There was probably 50 people at the service, which was a good turn-out at the Oakland Christian Church. I spoke for about twenty minutes giving my testimony, talking about my ministry, and challenging the congregation to put "their faith into action". Pastor Welch had a love offering for me and it came to around $100. After the service, we went out to a local restaurant and I spent most of the rest of the day getting T-bolt all packed up.

Monday (July 2nd) started out pretty overcast. There was a fifty percent chance that I would get caught in thundershowers between Oakland and Council Bluffs and I did. I had to wait out the storm for about a half hour at a small Methodist church about 10 miles west Council Bluffs. I got into Council Bluffs a little after 1 pm and found my way over to the Habitat affiliate office. The affiliate had moved into their new facilities right after Memorial Day. When I rode through Council Bluffs last July, I had helped bring in boxes of floor tile into the building. Before I got on the road, a reporter came by the affiliate office to interview me.

From the affiliate office in downtown Council Bluffs, I had about a six mile ride to the South Omaha Bridge over the Missouri River on IA 92. I crossed into Nebraska around 3 p.m. I stayed on NB 92 through South Omaha instead of heading a bout 5 miles north into downtown Omaha.

I had to change my route some to get back on US 6 outside of Gretna because of road construction. I got into Gretna a little after 6 pm. I wasn't able to get in contact with one of the local ministers but I did connect with a sheriff deputy who gave me permission to camp out in one of the town's parks. I didn't stay long in the park because the local kids were shooting off fireworks.

I had to make a quick 4.5 mile dash right after dusk to the nearby KOA campground. I was really floored when I had to fork over $19 to pitch my tent. Since my tent is getting old, I got permission to camp out in the picnic shelter because they were talking about thunderstorms in the early morning hours. I didn't get much sleep because of the constant roar of semi-trucks from I-80 that was less than a mile south of the campground. A thunderstorm also came through the area around 3:30 a.m. The wind was so strong that it almost collapsed my tent.

I got on the road from the campground around 8 a.m. and was planning just to go to Lincoln and connect with the affiliate there. I got into Lincoln around 2:30 p.m. There was a new executive director at the affiliate and she offered to get me a room at a nearby motel. The affiliate was in the process of building 14 homes this year with families moving into three of them pretty soon. The executive director told me that I should make a detour to nearby Seward.

Seward had been a chapter of the Lincoln affiliate but they broke off and became officially an affiliate July 1st. Seward is also known as "Nebraska's 4th of July City" (designated by the governor in 1973). The city has pretty well sponsored a 4th of July Celebration without much interruption since 1868 (the town was founded in 1858).

The ride from Lincoln to Seward went pretty well the morning of July 4th. They had just finished a wide shoulder along NB 34. Along the way, I met a lot of cyclists out for the day including a couple on a tandem recumbent. I had lunch with a family in Seward before heading south to Milford where I would be spending the night with one of the board members. He told me that they would be working on the affiliate's sixth house today (July 5th) so I decided to stay over.

This morning, I helped get the fill sand leveled out in the basement so that they could pour concrete for the basement floor real soon. I also dug out the hole for the basement window sill. Nebraska clay is not as hard as Georgia red clay and I used a three-tined pitch fork. I also shoveled a lot of sand and pea gravel. My upper body is a little sore since I don't use my arms as much as my legs while cycling. Also, I got interviewed by the local weekly newspaper.

Tomorrow, I will be riding to Beatrice. Saturday, I will be crossing into Kansas. My first stop in Kansas will be Topeka. After that, I will be riding to Wichita where I should be the latter half of next week.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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