Nebraska. Aaron and I have both gone back and forth across this long state a few times and it never gets any easier. It’s the lack of anything interesting that kills us… no offense to any Nebraskans (but I’m sure you know what I mean). Hours and hours of flat, somewhat yellowy expanse. In our wisdom, we entered on route 80 at 10pm thinking we could reach Colorado by the time light broke. Instead, we reached some awful fog that dampened our clothes and spirits and Aaron ran out of gas literally within a football field’s length of the gas station (funny now, but at the time there was a good deal of shouting and finger pointing).
By 3am, we had to stop and reassess our choice at a truck stop. We decided, first off, to buy this cool little device that claims to be both air pump and liquid siphon. I’ve not tried the siphon part, but it works acceptably well as an air pump, provided you don’t mind it falling apart under heavier pressures. On an earlier trip Aaron had to siphon gas from my tank manually (sucking on a hose) and he got pretty sick from all the gas he drank.
Secondly, we decided to drive to the next truck stop for something to eat and postpone making any further decisions until we had food in our stomachs.
Then, after the second truck stop, being cold, wet, disheartened, and well fed, we went to where all the trucks were parked and sleeping for the night and put a tarp down next to a shed. We pulled the sleeping bags out, left our boots on, and slept/waited until morning. No one approached us during those 2-3 hours we spent there, but judging by body language, the people working there noticed us.
We got up at about 6, jumped on the bikes and we were off. We were still cold, but after about an hour it began to warm up. Then about 2 hours after that, it got even warmer. Then, after that, it got to be 97F and very, very dry. It was like riding a motorcycle directly into a giant hair dryer. We stopped only long enough fill up the tanks, consume energy drinks, and shatter my iPod on the ground at a rest area.
It became apparent at this point Aaron’s bike was losing oil through the oil cooler and that mine was losing oil through some kind of voodoo that I’m still a bit worried about. Whatever the case, we were buying oil about every third gas stop.
We made it through Nebraska without any major mechanical breakdowns. Our physical and mental well-beings, however, were not as when they entered.