Quick Facts: In 1927 Nebraska was named “The Great American Desert” then it was the “Tree Planters State” and finally the “Cornhusker State”. (https://www.50states.com/facts/nebraska.htm ) We can see why it has been named all three of those things. You have the sandhills and desert type soil mixed along with cattle and farmlands as far as the eye can see and the further East you go, the more trees you see. (These are our observations from the Northern part of the state.)
May 13, 2019- Long Pine State Recreation Area, Long Pine, NE
We woke up later than our normal 7 am or earlier time. It took us a little while to pack up camp this morning but Ron an Onyx were able to get on the road a little before 9:30 am. Today, Phoenix turned 8 months old; we have had him since he was a few days over 6 weeks old. We (especially, Meghan) can’t believe how much he has grown and wishes time would slow down just a little. But, isn’t that true for all kids (furry and non)? After Ron rode 11.5 miles, he’s shedding some layers of clothing. It is warming up pretty good. It is 65° and sunny. Onyx gets to get out of the bike trailer and Phoenix has a turn. Around noon, Ron has ridden 24.5 miles. He takes a quick break and switches Phoenix out of the trailer and puts Onyx in. Ron pedals 46.5 miles into Ainsworth, Nebraska. They stop for lunch at Pizza Hut and decide they will ride another 7 plus miles out of town to the Long Pine State Park as there aren’t many options in Ainsworth. After lunch, Ron starts riding and Meghan goes to get fuel for the generator as they know they will be dry camping. She inquires about getting water too as they are starting to get low on their water storage. The woman at the gas station tells Meghan where she can get water but Meghan missed the turn somehow and decided that they would figure it out later. When they arrived at the park. Ron had ridden another 8 miles, making the days total riding 54.5 miles. We also received our weekly Canine Partners for Life update that we have raised $5,405.87! We are excited to see the number go up and hope that it increases even more. We are close to halfway through our journey! When we pulled into our camp spot next to the water, the dogs were super excited. The first thing Onyx did was run down to the water and wade in it up to his belly. Phoenix and Onyx barked for play time. Ron threw sticks and balls for hours with them. Meghan found a water spigot and filled a few jugs of water. Our camp neighbors came over and chatted with us for a little while and even handed us a donation! That evening we built a fire and took our cowboy baths in our tiny collapsible dog pool. The dogs were so tired, they curled up in the grass and slept while we bathed. Onyx ended up moving into the high grass and laid in it like a wild animal. We didn’t need heat for the probably the second time in our entire journey so far but we did need our fan.
May 14, 2019- Carney Park, O’Neill, Nebraska
Today we are headed to O’Neill, Nebraska’s Irish town. We woke up this morning and it is sunny and nice out. By 10 am Ron and Onyx had pedaled into the town of Bassett. We stopped for quick drink at the convenience store and switched Onyx out of the trailer and put Phoenix in. Around 1 pm Ron puts Phoenix in the truck and take Fonyx for the remainder of the ride. Some time in the afternoon while Meghan is waiting around the halfway point for Ron she spots someone flying a bi-plane really low overhead. It is quite entertaining to watch while she waits for Ron. In total Ron ends up riding 60 miles into O’Neill. Just as we were about to enter the town, a man driving a green Chevy Cavalier swerved and drove up the shoulder of the road directly at Ron and Fonyx, running him off the road and into the ditch. The man was laughing hysterically as he intended to run Ron off the road. There has only been a few of these incidents but Ron was very upset by this man’s actions. (And enforces our commitment to keeping the dogs safe and using Fonyx whenever we are uncomfortable with traffic conditions). The traffic is also getting heavy this evening as we head into O’Neill. As Ron is riding into town, he is passed by several tractor trailers carrying windmill blades. We find Carney Park which is just on the south side of Highway 20. It is 75° today and Team Ronyx is feeling it. The temps seemed to jump from cold to hot overnight and our bodies haven’t had time to adjust. We have officially reached our halfway point in our journey. Ron has pedaled 1,627 miles across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska. He has completed 317.5 miles across the state of Nebraska and will soon be in Iowa. Our good friend Kem has sent us a package to O’Neill but it isn’t due to arrive until Thursday so we decide to stay in town 2 nights and grab the package on our way out of town on Thursday morning. Our friends’ Juanita and Harold are still stranded in Table Rock, Wy but they have gotten word that their axle should be in tomorrow and fixed. An insurance appraiser has been out to inspect their trailer damage to see if it can be covered under their insurance policy. We have some laundry that needs washed and could use a break. The park is nice and quiet. We talked to a few people passing through. The park has electrical hookups and water spigots and bathrooms and showers. Team Ronyx is happy to get a real shower again.
May 15, 2019- Carney Park, O’Neill, Nebraska
Team Ronyx hardly slept last night. It was hot, the dogs were panting and begging to go outside in the middle of the night. Ron got up and let them out to do their business. When he crawled back into bed, he felt something crawling on his arm. He tried to sweep it off the bed, him and Meghan both sat straight up and grabbed a light. It took Ron a few moments to find the culprit but he did and he was a black spider about the size of a quarter. Ron smashed him and took the blanket outside. Everybody was all wound up then so no one was able to sleep. Ron laid on the bench that we have in the camper where the dogs normally sleep. Meghan rearranged the bed and tried to read herself tired but it didn’t seem to be working well. Eventually, everybody drifted off to sleep again. It was a good thing that we weren’t going anywhere too far today as we are tired. We get up and take our time gathering laundry and packing up our camp. We go do laundry and meet a very nice trucker there. He brings in his atlas and goes over suggested highway routes with Meghan for their Indiana route. He has lots of information about the different highways and places to avoid the heavy traffic. After our Laundry is done we go and grab lunch in town and then return to Carney Park; after unsuccessfully finding anywhere to swim the dogs. We pick a different camp spot that is in the grass between two nice shade trees. Meghan fills the dog pool for the dogs to get a drink and get wet if they’d like. Onyx, the super water dog does NOT like pools of any size shape or color. He will dive in a river, stream, pond, bay or any other natural body of water but is absolutely unwilling to touch a pool. Phoenix was hesitant at first but then would stand in the pool to drink. Meghan was finally able to assist Onyx with putting his front paws in the pool but that is all he would cooperate with. That afternoon, Meghan spent time reading and cleaning out the camper box. She took all the dog blankets out and hung them on a line to air out. She shook the couch cushion out and left it outside to air out as well and vacuumed all the dog hair up inside. Our tiny home get’s pretty dirty quickly. We heard from Juanita and Harold, they have been repaired and they are on the road to the nearest campground to get showers and do laundry. They have been stranded in their abandoned gas station parking lot for 10 days, from Tuesday, May 7 until today. They haven’t heard from their insurance but they and Team Ronyx hope that their insurance picks up the damage. Now, Juanita and Harold are back on the road and ready to catch up to Team Ronyx. That night it was so hot that Team Ronyx left their tiny home door wide open almost all night. They also had two fans running and they were still hot.
May 16, 2019- Plainview City Park, Plainview, Nebraska
Today Ron starts out around 8:40 am with Fonyx as we aren’t sure how hot it is going to get and the traffic was pretty busy in twn the other day. While Ron is pedaling East, Meghan heads to the post office to see if their package has arrived yet. After she get’s their package from Kem, Meghan picks up a few groceries and then heads out of O’Neill to see how far Ron has gotten. At 16 miles into today’s journey Meghan and Ron meet along highway 20 and Ron decides to switch out the old bike trailer for the new one and puts Onyx in the trailer. It is 75°F out already and it’s only 10:45 am. The weather forecast is calling for temps up to 89°F. It doesn’t seem very windy out today but there is just enough wind to keep Ron working hard for every mile, even the downhills have to be pedaled through. Team Ronyx arrives in Plainview after Ron rode through 48.5 miles through the wind, just before 5 pm. They are camping at the City Park which is across the street from the Klown Doll Museum. Team Ronyx is curious and would like to visit but it doesn’t appear to be open during the evenings on weekdays. With the park being right in the center of town there are people all around us. Several stop to talk to us to comment about our tiny home and our journey. After Ron made the dog’s their supper on our single burner “stove”; Meghan decided to heat up a pot of water for Ron to take a bath. She took the burner outside and plugged it into the power outlet outside and made sure the light was on. She then set the pot of water on it and waited for it to get hot. Ron checked the water a few times and it didn’t seem to be getting hot. He eventually took the pot off the burner and the burner was cold. At first he didn’t think Meghan turned it on but after checking it out, realized our burner had burnt out. No, showers tonight. There are supposed to be shower facilities at this park but since we are here early in the season, the pool isn’t open and that is where the showers are located. They decide they will get showers at the next campground in Laurel, Nebraska. That evening the temperatures began to drop as a cold front was moving in. There were predictions of severe thunderstorms overnight and Team Ronyx was ready for a good storm but hoped it didn’t interfere with Ron’s riding the next day. Earlier in the afternoon, Team Ronxy and James Dworkin announced that Onyx’s Great Adventure would be chronicled in Dworkin’s next children’s book. Callie Kautz, a friend of Team Ronyx’s will be illustrating the book.
May 17, 2019- Laurel City Park, Laurel, Nebraska
The temperature outside this morning has dropped significantly compared to the last few days. At 8:15 Ron and Phoenix headed out on 20 East heading towards Laurel, Nebraska. It is only 38 miles away and the wind doesn’t seem too bad inside the town of Plainview. As Ron heads outside of town, he is hit with the wind again. It seems much stronger than the wind yesterday. As Meghan is pulling out of town to catch up with Ron, the wind hits the truck camper and really puts a drag on it. When Ron reached the 7 mile mark, he switched Phoenix out and puts Fonyx in the trailer. Team Ronyx is estimating that Juanita and Harold will catch up with them sometime tomorrow. After fighting the wind all day Ron arrives in Laurel a little after 4 pm. Meghan had driven a few miles ahead of Ron and found their camp spot at the City Park. The City Park is right on the edge of town. On three sides of the park there are residential houses and the fourth side is a farm. There are bathrooms at the park, a pavilion and electrical hookups for RVs but no showers. Meghan is disappointed but she was able to stop at the Dollar Store in town and found another single burner cook-top to heat their food and water. After Ron arrives, Team Ronyx has dinner and feeds the dogs. They heat up water for baths and got cleaned up. Tomorrow they are planning to get to Iowa but Ron is exhausted from fighting through the wind all day. There are thunderstorm warnings throughout the region for the night with the potential of hail and tornado warnings. Meghan kept an eye on the weather for the evening to make sure that they aren’t in any danger.
May 18, 2019- Laurel City Park, Laurel, Nebraska
After waking up this morning, Team Ronyx decides that they are going to stay in Laurel and let Ron relax and rest up after fighting the wind for 2 days straight. The thunderstorms never hit overnight but the cold weather has officially moved back into the area. They decided to hike around town and stop at some of the stores. They end up grabbing lunch at Subway and taking it back to their campsite. Today is a slow day for Team Ronxy, Meghan realized she hadn’t updated their social media to let everybody know that they had decided to stay another day so she posts a quick message to let everybody know they are ok. Team Ronyx reaches out to Juanita and Harold to let them know where they are. That afternoon, Meghan spends time watching some movies, working on the blog and Ron plays with the dogs and relaxes outside. That evening, Harold and Juanita arrive a little after 4 pm. Everybody has a good evening of sharing trip stories and having dinner. Before everybody goes to bed they go over the map and finalize their route plans for the next day. Tomorrow we will be in Iowa!