Day Twenty

Austin to Root Trail


In the morning we awoke to a very wet day. Pools of water covered much of the concrete floor of the shelter. It was raining lightly. We were slow to get started. Every thing was damp. We decided early to find a Laundromat. We asked directions and got some very sketchy answers, but eventually found one. We spent the next hour drying our clothes and eating breakfast.

Having dry clothes was a luxury. Yet it was still raining lightly and we knew that we had no choice but to head out into the wet conditions. The rain was intermittent and allowed us to make good time once out of town. We had asked directions only to get very lousy information. Eventually we were established on rt. 3 and spent several hours pedaling miles beneath our wheels.

At one point we stopped at a restaurant/souvenir shop near the Interstate 90. We took a break, pondered the map and tried to figure how far we might go. Our navigation plan took us toward the town of Fountain. We were growing tired as we approached town. We had stocked up in Ostrander for dinner. It was time to be looking for a place for the night. As we entered Fountain we looked for parks or camping. Somehow we blundered onto the Root Trail. We did not know about this ahead of time. It was one of the most serendipitous moments of the trip.

All of a sudden we found ourselves on a converted rail way. The single hiker/biker lane was paved and accommodating. Now out of town we simply decided to ride until dark, pull to the side and camp. Yet more luck was with us. About the time we were ready to pack it in, we came upon a rest area. The narrow trail widened to an open grassy spot with a nice log shelter and picnic table. There was water. We were in heaven.

It was one of those moments that seemed to redeem all of the headwinds and struggle of Nebraska. Gone for this evening were all the astringent people who had been jerks at previous campgrounds. There was no one at all. We had a private, quiet and peaceful place to plunk down and enjoy the remaining moments of daylight. We munched, drank our daily beer, smoked and settled into the joy that had descended upon us.