Day 9 – Tears All Around

When I changed my route after day 3 I decided I would just head straight east across Nebraska.  It is fairly flat and the roads are relatively good for

Road to Papillion

cycling. As I mapped each day I discovered I was heading straight toward Papillion, NE where my dad grew up. I thought how cool it would be to end day 9 at the cemetery where my grandma and grandpa are buried, so the plan was set! I decided to keep my destination a secret and never told my parents.  They had been watching me on my tracker map every day and I thought it would be a fun surprise to have them watch me as I headed toward the cemetery just outside of Papillion.

 

As I rode closer to Lincoln the landscape changed from flat to rolling hills. I was having a blast going up and down hills again.  Working hard pedaling up hill pays off 10 fold as you fly down the other side. One thing that stands out in my mind and I wish I had stopped and took a picture of it was a garage sale sign. I was in the middle of no where and there was a dirt road off the main road.  There was a sign pointing down the dirt road that said: Garage Sale, 4 1/2 miles ahead.  I laughed out loud and thought you have got to really be desperate to go to a garage sale via traveling 9 miles total down a dirt road to look at someone’s junk!

I was in Lincoln, NE and I texted my  mom to asked if my dad was tracking me? She said, yes, that he was crying in the basement. He had figured out my trajectory. The cemetery where my grandma, grandpa and an entire host of relatives are buried is in a rural area of rolling hills outside of Papillion on a dirt road. When I arrived at the cemetery the first thing I did was call my dad, needless to say it was a very emotional conversation.  David and the kids were waiting there when I rode up. They had stopped and purchased a couple of plants for us to place on my grandparents grave.  I walked around and took photos of all

My Grandma & Grandpa’s Grave

my relatives headstones to send to my dad. Unfortunately I was still 4 miles short of my 100 miles needed for the day. I decided I would call my dad and find out the address of where he grew up and just head in that direction until I get my 4 miles in then we could load the bike up and drive the rest of the way so I could get some photos of the house that he grew up in. It is funny how the mind works, my dad cannot remember a conversation from two days ago and yet when asked where his house he grew up in was he rolled off the cross streets like he lived there currently. Some things stay with you forever I guess.  I entered the location into my GPS and immediately got goosebumps and tears in my eyes. The house he grew up in was exactly 4 miles from the cemetery. Sometimes fate is subtle and other times it is so evident it knocks you to your knees in amazement. What a beautiful day this was.

Jackson & Maisie Setting Plants on their Great Grandma & Grandpa’s Grave

I Seriously Rode My Bicycle from Colorado to Papillion, Nebraska!

 

As soon as I started off toward my dad’s old home I noticed my tire was really low.  I was 4 miles away from my 100. Could I make it on the dwindling air I had? You have to understand, when you are only 4 miles from your daily goal, which is a BIG deal when you have ridden 900 miles because it means getting OFF the bike and not getting back on it until the next day, you do NOT want to spend 25 minutes wrangling with a tire but rather spend 15 minutes riding the final 4 miles. I decided to wing it and see if I could just pedal my ass off and beat the flat tire. By the time I got to my dad’s childhood home, it was pretty near where I was not going to be able to ride it another mile.  I WIN!

My Dad’s Childhood Home

Hello Random Little Piece of Metal

As soon as I took pictures of my dad’s house we loaded my bike in the truck and hightailed it back to Sterling, CO. Which mind you, is a 407 miles away and because we were hauling the camper we could only go around 65 MPH. The FINAL day was just hours away. Day 9 was by far my favorite day. Getting back to my family’s roots and doing so by riding my bike all the way across Nebraska – I just cannot find the words to describe this day.

My cup runneth over.

 

One Response to Epic Journey – 1,000 Miles in 10 Days on my Bicycle – Part IV – Day 9

  1. Karen Barber says:

    Fabulous how you get your whole family involved, and let them be a part of your journey while you make it their journey also.

    Thank you so very much!

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