September 4, Day 64 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
Today began looking just like yesterday: wind from the south and hot temperatures. Oh, no! was the first thought. However, every day on a bicycle tour is different. Today’s route, including a rail trail, would ensure that the weather elements would not make this a repeat performance. And most days come with their own unique lesson…that is…if you pay attention. Today’s lesson would be that a change in perspective can do you good.
After following a local’s directions to make our way from the motel and out of town, we cycled on Road K toward the Nebraska City power plant. We had circumvented another power plant yesterday in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We’ve noticed that power plants and other heavy industrial operations tend to be squirreled outside of town with much space around them. On the way, Road K offered beautiful views of the rolling Nebraska hills. We’ve been surprised by the hilly terrain on this side of the Missouri River.
Eventually, we sighted the power plant. Adjacent to it was the beginning of the Steamboat Trace Trail, a reclaimed rail bed running south to another power plant. Long stretches of the rail trail offered us shelter from both the sun and the stiff wind. We also enjoyed cycling without the need to watch for traffic. The trail ran through wooded areas and open fields. Crops were flourishing on the flood plain. In spots, the trail butted up against the Missouri River, providing a sneak preview of the state of Missouri on the other side. We encountered no other cyclists, and only one person on foot. In effect, we had the entire trail to ourselves.
Once we left the trail some 20-odd miles later, we began to realize just how windy and hot it had become. Although the wind was in our face for much of the remainder of the day, it was not as severe as yesterday’s. Heat was the real issue today. Our late lunch stop in Nemaha at a Mennonite country store, which included many goods baked onsite, was a timely break for the mid-90 degree heat.
Despite cold sodas and ice cream and another batch of cold water for the road, and with another 30-plus miles remaining until we reached accommodations for the evening, the heat and wind forced us off course in just seven miles. A bar in Shubert was the only watering hole before Falls City, well worth the extra two miles to get there and back. Their air conditioning revived Debbie, who had really taken a hit from the heat. After cooling down and restocking with ice and water, we enjoyed a better ride into Falls City as the high temperatures began to abate.
Interesting how a short break and a readjustment can totally change one’s perspective. Sometimes, you simply need to stop and catch your breath. We’re certainly glad we did in Shubert today. In baseball, a hitter can sometimes fall into a batting slump. When he changes up something in his routine, or the manager sits him down, he will often snap out of his slump. In our case, our break totally changed our perspective, turning a struggle in brutal heat to a relatively easy and pleasurable ride to end a memorable day.
Falls City welcomed us with a healthy meal at the establishment next to the motel, which revived us all the more. A comfortable bed promised to hit the reset button for another day of adventure. It would come only in a few hours, and it too would come with a fresh perspective.