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It’s not that I like the state. Don’t get me wrong; Nebraska is a beautiful state with friendly and helpful people. I just don’t seem to be able to get into any kind of rhythm or make any distance. First, there was the unscheduled day off in Hastings caused by the frequent flat tires.

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Free honey

Today, about 8 miles east of Alma, NE, I heard a very loud noise, like a firecracker going off. My rear tire immediately went flat . . . again. I found my way to an entrance to a pasture so I could change the tube a little away from traffic. With such a loud noise and with the air going out so quickly, I inspected the tread of the tire closely. I thought I may have run over a nail or large piece of glass, but I didn’t see any indication of something like that. I put in a new tube and loaded everything back onto the bike. That’s when I saw it. There was a large tear in the tire where it meets the rim. It is possible that all the Hastings flats may have weakened that part of the tire.

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My view while fixing my bicycle.

In my toolkit, I had some “boots” just in case of a situation like this. It is supposed to reinforce a tear or split long enough to get to the next bike shop. I have never used them and don’t know anyone who has, so I really didn’t know how well it would work, but I was in the middle of nowhere and needed to get to the next town. Hopefully, I would be able to buy at least a cheap tire in Alma. I figured if I got within a couple of miles, I could either walk or hitch a ride the rest of the way.

As it turns out, the boot worked remarkably well. I easily made it to Alma and was able to ride around town a little bit. I stopped at a hardware store, figuring that may be my best chance of finding a tire. They had tubes, but no tires. They recommended a small store across the street. The owner does bicycle repairs.

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The store, called Joe Camera, had a lot going on. They had film, film processing, a coffee shop and apparently also did bicycle repairs. I spoke to the woman behind the counter. She said they did have tires, but she didn’t know what sizes and I would have to wait for her husband to return after 5:00. I was a little surprised and pleased that they had a tire the exact size I was looking for. It is not a good a quality of my old tire, but should at least get me to the more populated area along the east side of the Rockies where I can get a better quality tire to last the rest of the journey.

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I left Central City five days ago and have gone less than 150 miles. It’s a bit frustrating, but hopefully I can get back into the rhythm I had before Central City soon.

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This is the first of three section of the base of a wind turbine. The "trailer" has 32 wheels. It is massive.
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All three sections (the upper two are smaller than the first) along with a sort of cap for the top of the base.

5 thoughts on “I May Never Leave Nebraska (August 10)

  1. Your pictures are incredible, Brad. Replacing your camera was a wise decision. At least judging from the quality of your photos. Such an interesting bicycle shop. Wish you’d get more photos of the people you encounter. e.g. the bicycle shop owner and his wife.

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  2. Brad, I went on line to see what, exactly a bike tire, ” boot”, is. I found a video at one site that showed you can use a folded dollar bill as a makeshift ,”boot”, until you can get a new tire. Because money is woven it will hold where paper won’t. Interesting.

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  3. Our Brad spent the last eight months working as an intern at Trail King in Mitchell, S.D. That company makes massive trailers like the one you pictured hauling the wind turbine components. After visiting Brad and the huge Trail King workshop, I have been seeing large trailers everywhere. I couldn’t see it the one you pictured was a Trail King; they have identifying triangular cut-outs in the metal.
    I, too, really enjoy your photography and commentary. Aunt Virginia is right — I should have done the same when I was overseas.

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  4. Hey, I’ve been reading along since you passed close by our home in Connecticut. Sounds like a fun trip. Take a close look at your rear rim. It looks to me like you might have some stress fractures starting at the eyelets – you can see what looks to be the beginnings of cracks at the spoke hole to the left of the valve stem in the picture above. Could also just be dirt or other gunk, so take a look. If it does appear to be a crack you still have some good miles left in the rim – but keep your eye on them. You might consider replacing the wheel or respoking the rim before hauling down the west side of the rockies.

    Also, a dollar bill, cliff bar wrapper, even a granola bar wrapper will work as a fine temporary boot.

    Safe travels! Bob

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