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A mural in downtown Hastings.

I forgot to mention yesterday about the one-way streets in downtown Hastings. I have heard tourists in NYC complain about all the one-way streets, but never really understood what the problem was. Yesterday, while trying to navigate downtown Hastings, which is all one-way streets, I began to understand. If you are not familiar with the city, seeing a bunch of one-way streets that all seem to point the opposite direction from where you want to go can get into your head. After a while, it can be frustrating.

I stayed in a motel last night. I’m not sure what detergent they use to wash their sheets, but my skin had a terrible allergic reaction to it. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like there was a chemical reaction going on all over my skin, kind of a tingling and burning sensation. I pulled my sleeping bag out and lay on top of it for the rest of the night, but it was too late. I itched terribly last night and that has continued all day today.

This morning, I took a closer look at my rear tire. Every time I saw something that looked like a little crack, I pinched the tire to open up the crack and see if it had a little gift for me. Fortunately, the little pebbles, no bigger than a grain of sand, where a light color and stuck out against the black tire. I pulled at least four stones out of the tire. I don’t think they had penetrated yet, but I didn’t want to give any of them a chance. I should probably do the same thing with my front tire before I head out tomorrow. At any rate, I didn’t have any flats today.

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It was a great day for riding, partly sunny and cool with a slight breeze. It has, however, become apparent that taking a week off has had a slight impact on my endurance.

As I rode south toward Red Cloud, NE, the scenery began to change, gradually becoming more like the prairie I remember from my teen years. The corn and soybean fields are slowly giving way to wheat and pastures. The flat Platte Valley is beginning to undulate with the short, steep hills that have been carved into the plains by so many thousands of now dry streams. It is absolutely gorgeous. I am not sure why I like the plains so much; I have never quite been able to put it into words. It really doesn’t lend itself to photographs, but I experimented with the panorama function of my camera in an attempt to try to capture it.

. . . that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep. – Willa Cather

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I guess the people of Red Cloud are looking for illegal aliens.

3 thoughts on “Changing Landscape (August 8)

  1. Great blog, Brad. I, too, love the prairie. It has a subtle beauty that is as beautiful as any scenery anyplace. Hope you don’t get into the “detergent” thing again. That can’t be good.

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  2. Brad, I have always loved prairies full of long, undulating wild grasses. I wish I could see them as they were 200 years ago. Of course, I’m not volunteering to live as a pioneer in those prairies! That would be like being stranded in the ocean.
    About the hotel, they must not be rinsing their sheets well enough. It must have been pretty discouraging to pay for a night out of the tent and then get no sleep! I hope you asked for a refund or at least let them know about the problem.

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  3. Brad, because of your blog I just added Willa Cather to my list of authors for he Talking Books I listen too. I love her books and haven’t read one in years.

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