6/24/20 – Nebraska – Solo vs. Duo
The first thousand miles of Sunride I rode solo. I enjoyed the solitude of spending the day with my thoughts, communing with nature one on one, and delighting in the chance meeting of strangers, glimpsing their life in a place new to me. There was a challenge in making it to the end of the day, to obtain food and water and a safe place to sleep, and a reward for succeeding.
This trip I’m traveling with my wife, Judy. Bless her brave soul for offering to join me, launching into the unknown, a stretch for someone happiest when at home in a familiar daily routine. It’s nice to have company, and I still get the sense of solitude when I’m riding for several hours each day.
Typically I set out while she enjoys a second cup of coffee and a leisurely morning like she’s accustomed to having at home. At some point, she starts driving the planned route for the day. When she spots me on my bike up ahead she issues a series of short beeps of the horn, our signal that she’s caught up with me. I signal back a “thumbs up” indicating all is well, I don’t need anything. She carries on to the next town where we might meet up for lunch, or go all the way to the designated campsite for the night.
She likes coming up with side trips, points of interest like Chimney Rock in Nebraska by which early cross country settlers navigated and celebrated having reached the half-way point in their arduous journey. Our journey, going back the other way, is far less demanding. We have a travel trailer instead of a covered wagon. We can speed along at 60 miles per hour instead of the three or four by horse or by foot.
Traveling duo there’s still the chance meetings. Yesterday on our way to Sterling, Colorado we took a side trip to Potter, Nebraska, the home of the original tin roof sundae, so called because the 100 year old building in which it was first created had a tin roof. We shared a Reuben sandwich, which I must say as a connoisseur was quite good, although Goose Hollow Tavern in Portland is still # 1. Eagerly we anticipated the main event: dessert. Judy ordered the medium size tin roof sundae, which came out a mountain of ice cream overflowing the pedestal sundae dish, with chocolate and marshmallow syrup spilling over the sides flowing down into the saucer below. It looked like a haystack, with the dish well hidden within. She’d need help eating this bad boy, and I was the guy to do it. In my own right, I had ordered warm peach rhubarb pie a la mode. Mine came with four scoops of ice cream covering the entire piece of pie. Ice cream is the perfect dessert to follow a Reuben. I don’t know how, but we ate the entire thing. Judy stopped at a sensible time. I pressed on getting a second and third wind. I was eating the spillage in the saucer and scraping the outside of the dish. It was that good. Best sundae ever!
When we entered the establishment we were the only customers. By the time we finished the Reuben, a kind, friendly gentleman who identified himself as Reverend Cico, a retired Methodist minister, bussed our table even though he was not employed by the restaurant. He stood near our table cheering us on as we ate dessert and offered to show us the old “duck pin bowling alley” next door. We accepted his offer and to our delight I found myself rolling a wooden ball about the size of a grapefruit down an alley toward hand set pins.
It turns out duck pin bowling was Babe Ruth’s favorite sport besides baseball. It took me three tries to knock down six pins.