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05/30/2003 Entry: "O'neil, Nebraska"


If you recall, last I wrote I *distinctly* asked you all to help us out by giving us a tailwind. You failed. We did not have a tailwind coming out of Gordon, or yesterday, or today. We've had pretty much beasty side and headwinds the last three days. I'm disapointed in you, you make the tired Seager cry.

Anyway, I'm sure you're all tired of my ranting and would like me to get to the point. Some of you are probably wondering why I'm doing two entries in a row. It's because I'm here, and they aren't. *nya* The most considerate of you in the bunch, and the ones with the best memories, are most likely wondering if Jesse and Morgan did, in fact, get eaten by a bear the other day.


Well, they didn't. There aren't bears on highway 20 in Nebraska. That's just silly.

As usual, click the more link to get to the part of this entry that isn't completely useless.

Last I wrote we were in Gordon about to start "getting our food on." After we finished that we went over to the Meng family (the nice chaps that let us hang on their lawn with the cool kids) and juggled some for them and the neighborhood kids. Afterwords we were invited in and stunned (no really, stunned) by the artistic ability of Lorri Meng, the mother. You can see some of her art at George Meng (the father) is a music teacher in plays drums in a band. What does this mean? That those are going to be pretty cool and talented kids when they grow up. Friendly and artistic parents = cool kids. We had a lot of fun over there.

Gordon to Valentine
The next morning we awoke to Norm sleeping on the stairs in the Masonic Lodge. He had returned! (cue scary music) He had been away since Hell's Half Acre visiting relatives in Salt Lake City. He got a about an hour of sleep, which was probably not enough sleep to ride a 90 mile day, but we all did anyway.

Nothing else exciting really happened that day. Occasionally herds of cows got scared and ran away from us. That was pretty neat. It was a pretty hard day, however, because our bodies are starting to wear out. We were supposed to hit some really nasty construction near the end of the day that we'd have to hitch hike through, but it turned out to be sweet, sweet blacktop. That was pretty cool. That night we stayed at an Episcopalian church. We ate good food and stayed out of the rain. Yay.

Valentine to Basset
Valentine to Basset. The death march. "This was supposed to be an easy day!" *sigh*

We only planned to ride 60 miles yesterday, so we slept in until 8pm. We needed it. Jesse and Morgan got up and left, but the rest of us kind of stalled a bit cleaning up the church. That, combined with our need for restock on food supplies that morning, made us not leave until around noon. *sigh*

The day turned out to be really hot, windy, and full of rolling hills. Mike and I were having some back of the knee tendon problems so we decided that we needed to go easier that day. Norm and Josh rode off at their own pace, as they tend to do, and Jesse and Morgan were way ahead of us because they left earlier. It was supposed to be an easy 60 miles with a "8 mile an hour slight tailwind". No, it was a 15-20 mph side wind. The Weather ALWAYS lies unless we're being warned about a headwind.

Anyway, I'll cut the rambling. Because we were going slow to nurse joints the 60 miles took forever and we had a lot more on bike time than we had hoped for, and got into town around 7pm. Josh was in much earlier than all of us, however, because his wheel broke 6 spokes and he had to hitch hike into the overnight town. Since he's running a different wheel than us we didn't have any spare spokes for him. Luckily, Cory (Jesse's Girlfriend who was visiting) had some for him in Basset that she brought with her.
That night we discovered (or was discovered by) THE GIANT MOSQUITOS! (tm) Seriously, we killed a bunch of them, they were as long as the diameter of a penny. They were huge. Mike saved some in his journal and Morgan went insane trying to kill them all. "They'll eat us! They're here to eat us!"

It was truly a scary experience.

Basset to O'neil
It was decided in Basset that the planned 90 mile day that was to take place today was a bad idea. All of us, except for Norm, have HUGE saddle sores. The marathon days we've been having are really taking their toll. We decided to go 48 miles to O'neil today and only have 2 days off in Omaha instead of 3. Our bodies needed the break in the pace.

We all woke up early-ish this morning in order to try to beat the heat. Jesse and Morgan took of early as usual, and we (Mark, Mike and I) were going to be out by 8am until I was informed that Josh's wheel hadn't been fully fixed the night before. He had made the honest but wholly frusterating mistake of not informing me of his mechanical problem until this morning. His wheel was the most damaged wheel I've ever touched. I wasn't fixing it, I was rebuilding it. It had 2 humps in it and rubbed on both side of the FRAME... not the brakes, but THE FRAME! Fixing that took a very frusterating two hours and we didn't make it on the rode until about 11. Within 10 feet I had flat. Within a mile Josh's wheel exploded, again. Everything I'd done the past two hours suddenly undid itself. His spokes resembled cooked spaghetti. So, I fixed it, again, and luckilly it held that time.

Due to all the time this took we did not beat the wind or heat today, and actually ended up riding in the hottest and windiest part of the day. Apparently Jesse and Morgon got into O'Neil around 1pm and played in the pool all day. We got in at 5:30. *sigh*

Josh has decided to visit a relative in upper Nebraska and meet us in Omaha so he kept riding today after O'neil and will and up having a 90 mile day today. We're all really hoping his wheel holds out for him.

Tonight we are staying in a Catholic Elementary school, and I'm going to bed. Goodnight.


Replies: Leave us a note! (10)

Keep on keeping on!! We're all proud to know people like you. We'll pray for cooler days. May the wind be always at your back.

Love, Judy

Posted by Favorite Aunt Judy (Mike's Aunt) @ 07/18/2003 12:59 PM CST

Hi Mike,

Sounds like you guys will be in Omaha for a few days rest before RAGBRAI. That'll be great for you. This weekend we're (Scouts and Mary's Swim Team) helping out with the Lactic Edge Triathlon here in Point. I think we'll be directing traffic along part of the route. I'm pretty sure Kenny will be participating.

Mary will be 17 by the next time you see her. Wow !!! That time went fast.

We're looking forward to seeing you at the end of RAGBRAI. Any idea what time of day you'll get into Fort Madison? Looks like a relatively short (only 43.6 miles) ride for you that last day. But we can't see from the RAGRBRAI.ORG website what the relief is like on that part of the trip. Could be lots of hills.

If we pick you and your bike up with the van, we could go as far as Middleton on Saturday, and home Sunday morning. Give us a call OK?

Love, Dad

Posted by Mike's Dad @ 07/16/2003 03:31 PM CST

Hang in there guys - you are almost to Omaha! I went for a one hour walk today & about melted...I can only imagine how challenging each day is!! We are rolling out the 'red carpet' for you guys when you're in Omaha. *Air conditioning * homemade bar b que on Thursday * rest * TV (a BIG thing to Jesse & Morgan's dad!)* Showers! See you soon, be safe... Love, Mom XXOO (Jesse & Morgan's mom)

Posted by Genie @ 07/14/2003 06:10 PM CST

My compliments to your tour guide for selecting your scenic route across Nebraska. As for mosquitos, bears, mountain lions, and our famous prairie weather -- well, just expect the worst. If it doesn't happen, think how great your day will be. Looking forward to seeing you in Omaha. I am with Covert Masonic Lodge, and I have been told that two of your group will be seeking admission into our great brotherhood of Masons. Our Lodge, along with the support of other Omaha area Lodges and the Tangier Shrine, are planning for the honor of bringing you into Nebraska Masonry in August after your great adventure. May fair breeze be to your back, may clear skies be over your head, and good people welcome you at the end of each day. Keep your spokes tight.

Posted by Don @ 07/14/2003 01:10 PM CST

Sadly Josh's wheel did not hold out, but he found some nice people to give him a ride. Hopefully he'll find more nice people today and make it to his aunt's house.
I'm sorry to hear about all your problems, but at least you haven't lost your sense of humor. Even though I currently have yet another throbbing headache this entry made me laugh quite a bit.
I'm really hoping that Josh and I are able to figure out some way for me to meet all you either in Ohio or Boston.


Posted by Amy @ 07/14/2003 12:42 PM CST

I look forward to seeing you when you are in Omaha. Let's plan on getting together.



Posted by The Amazing Arthur @ 07/14/2003 12:31 PM CST

Hey guys!

I'm sorry to hear you are having such a tough time...take it easy on yourselves! You only have a few more days until rest and then you get to start RAGBRAI. You'll be having so much fun there that you will forget about the pains :)

Take care...I wish I could join you!

Posted by Jodi @ 07/14/2003 10:48 AM CST

Hi Mike,

Apparently you inspired your little sister Mary to bike. She and her friends rode about 35 miles to Ilten's cabin near Waupaca last Thursday, and back to Point on Friday. She was so sore she almost didn't go canoeing Saturday.

We had an awesome canoe trip. Eight Scouts, Mary and Laura, me and Kevin. Hard to believe I knew some of those boys when they were babies. :-) The weather was the best I can remember. Mostly sunny with no headwind. We fooled around a little, and went swimming a lot and didn't get off the river 'til 7:00. Mom made spaghetti and sauce for the after canoe trip dinner, and of course Grandma baked donuts and sweet rolls. The boys set up tents on Grandma's lawn. We ate most of what was there.

Sorry to hear your body's starting to send you messages to back off. I sure am glad you guys shortened up your route a little.

I'm looking forward to sharing some things from your journal when you get home - especially seeing those mosquitoes.

We received the package you sent. I can't wait to see you again son.

Love, Dad

Posted by Mike's Dad @ 07/14/2003 10:21 AM CST

moses my bro,

checkin out your page. nice work. we are all proud of you. keep up the bike and let us know where to meet you when you get close. love from the fam and me and anna. don't let the "bears" scare you away. peace and stuff like that. see you soon.

word to my brother

Posted by joe @ 07/13/2003 11:48 PM CST

Hi guys!
I am so sorry to hear about the knee pains, wind and more broken spokes! ;-(
I wish I could have the power to make it all good...well, I would give anything to be back on the bike again...believe it or not!

Take care of yourselves and keep icing those joints!
erin (your PT friend from Idaho)

Posted by erin jobst @ 07/13/2003 11:11 PM CST




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