Valentine, NE

June 28, 2008

There is a town in NE called Valentine and we are here for the night. It’s in Cherry Co., which¬†is not at all what you would expect – lots of cherry trees dotting the countryside¬†like we do in Door County, Wi. ¬†In fact, there are virtually no trees to be had, cherry or otherwise. It’s mostly rolling sandhills with lots of long grasses on top. I understand these hills cover some 19,000 square miles. The hills are sand dunes –¬†“the largest tract of stabilized dunes in the Western Hemisphere”. Besides the hills, there are thousands of Angus cattle,¬†in herds, hanging out and mostly close to the highway. They wander¬†about on an open range. Can’t imagine how they are ever found when the harsh winters set in.¬†There¬†are more cattle than people with an average of one person per square mile. I looked for signs of life while following the bikers, like some kind of structure but there is nothing like that for as far as you can see, at least not¬†from Hwy 20 – no farms, no houses, no gas stations, no shacks, nothing until you get to¬†the very low populated towns that are many miles apart. It is incredibly beautiful though,¬†for the long grassy sandy hills¬†blow in the wind, especially on a day like today with winds up to 30 miles an hour. You’d think you were on¬†a hilly, sandy beach along Lake Michigan, except there isn’t any water in view, at least not from Hwy 20.¬†

Our friends Gail and Nick biked across the U.S. a few years ago. Gail has been a big help to me in planning my role for this journey. One of the things she said was, ” you’ll be eating more pizza than you can imagine as you go across the country”. I wasn’t sure what she meant at the time but I sure do now. Every small town has some kind of pizza parlor. They may have nothing else but you can always¬†count on¬†pizza. I think we eat it or something like it every other night. Ian is the only one willing to¬†plunge in¬†again and he worked at a pizza place all last year! Oh for a Big Mac!

Others are wanting to write too so will sign off. Surely someone will tell you about our experience at Fort Robinson.

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