Day 7


Hay pile to Nebraska


The day dawned bright and clear. There were no remnants of the previous day’s effort to soak us. Our sleep was OK although it was musty and we both felt slightly congested from the dust and mildew of the hay. We rallied early and split. We felt slightly nervous about poaching someone’s hay even though it is hard to image that anyone would deny this father/son shelter from the storm.

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Previous night's dwelling

We hit the road feeling pretty good. We were hungry. We had burned huge calories in the past six days. We hit the road riding on highway 6. The road was level and mildly entertaining. We past ranches and farms. Many were in decline. We pedaled with increasing appetite to Sterling. There we found a restaurant and Mac’d on a calorie-laden breakfast. We slathered generous portions of butter and syrup on things.

Feeling stuffed we headed out. We now had the feeling of going to work. We had traveled several hundred miles and knew what we needed to accomplish each day. The math still worked out to be a lot of work. We hoped for the big mile days and this one had the potential. We traveled mostly on Highway 6. It paralleled I-76 and had little traffic. As the morning wore on, the winds began to blow slightly at our backs. This was great news. We would be able to maintain reasonably high speeds for extended periods of time. The sky was clear and the sun was intense.

We pedaled hard all afternoon. We stopped only to take short breaks, eat a Clif Bar and press on. We road for hours. Finally towards the late afternoon, we arrived in Julesburg CO and stopped for our lunch. We ate bagels, avocado and cheese. We munched on kibbles and other snacks. After lunch we were dead tired. We had covered over eighty miles. Austin took a nap while I took photos of the numerous trains that passed by the gazebo.

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Austin, down for the count

Eventually we began to rally, though the day was growing long and evening near. We took an unusually long time to pack up and get riding. We had hoped for days of over 100 miles and this one had the possibility, yet we were wasted. We pedaled for another twelve miles. We crossed the Colorado, Nebraska state line. This was a huge boost psychologically, but it didn’t restore any energy. We began to look for a place to pitch the tents. We finally saw a spot near the railroad tracks in a group of trees that was just fine. It appeared to us that the main line of the railroad had split from the one we were camped. No trains passed at all. Up to this point we had seen trains constantly. The sun mercifully began to settle towards and finally over the western horizon.

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Austin rallies for the first big milestone

I stayed up as long as I could, so as not to interrupt my scheduled ways. Finally when it was dark I retired. In the distance I heard a train. I thought it was likely to be on the other tracks that ran in the distance. The noise became louder and louder. My tent became lit with the powerful beam of the train. The noise passed beyond loud and became thunderous. The ground shook. It seemed to pass for ever. Finally the ground became still and the noise slowly receded into the night. For a period of time it was amazingly quiet. A dozen trains would pass in the night.

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Sleep train a-coming