Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6, 2013. BRAN. Kearney to Aurora, NE. 75 miles.

It was sunny and bright this morning, Kearney put on a nice breakfast, and we were on the road around 7. Dianne had forgotten to fill her water bottle so we stopped at a gas station-convenience store, and met Gene Snyder, one of the tractor drivers! They are having a grand time riding their farm tractors across Nebraska!

We started out on Hwy 30, but soon enough we were on the secondary roads, where there was little traffic. There was a northwest wind, but we were going east so that was OK. We were on the road that encompasses the old Mormon Trail, the California Trail, the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express (and the BRAN route).

As we entered Shelton (mile 20) we found bikes decorated with welcoming signs. There were cold water and soda, cookies and chips for sale and popsicles for free. It was a nice stop--notice the brick pavement behind the sign. Two block of this old road remain and we rode on it to get to the park.

We rode past the National Crane Sanctuary, but did not stop at the visitors' center. The Platte River runs by this sanctuary where the world's larges population of Sandhill Cranes spends time on its annual migration.

Near the sanctuary we saw this historical marker commemorating two young brothers who were shot through by one arrow and survived. Later in the day we saw more markers for settlers killed by Indians.

At mile 47 we had lunch in Doniphon (population 829). The local school sold us a hot dog, cold drink, chips and cookies for $5. I don't usually eat hot dogs, but after waiting so long for food yesterday we went for it! Jut outside Doniphon we saw that the Sheriff who had been patrolling the road all day had someone pulled over. We had been warned all week to ride single file or we would get a ticket...

Above is Dianne riding past the ubiquitous grain elevator. Every small town has a grain elevator (usually a co-op) and railroad tracks beside it. This one is in Giltner, where Deb came out to welcome us.

After Giltner we turned north into a gusting northwest wind (18 MPH). It was 7 miles of torture after a wonderful day. There even was a warning on an overpass; must be a high wind area...

After the brutal 7 miles we turned east, and the northwest wind was not such a problem any more... We arrived to a warm welcome at Aurora--they even installed bike racks under the bleachers!

We got on a trolley to go to the fairgrounds for dinner, an easy option and much preferable (to me anyway) to the pizza and Chinese food available nearby. After dinner we bought homemade pie and ice cream from the Girl Scouts. Life is good in Aurora, Nebraska.

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