Good bye Iowa!

Morgan Creek Campground

Our final days in our fifth state

May 28, 2019- Morgan Creek Campground, Palo, IA

This morning we woke up to threats of storms and rain throughout the day. Ron suggests we drive towards our next camp spot to see how the shoulders and traffic are on 30 E after he rides some miles on the rail trail with Juanita. This gives Meghan some time to catch up on “office work”. As suspected, once they start driving; there is little to no shoulder and the road is pretty busy so we end up driving the 64 miles to the Morgan Creek Campground. Along their route they see the effects of all of the flooding that has been happening in the state. Corn fields look like ponds, including ducks swimming in the water. The rivers have crested the banks and are into the low lying areas surrounding them. Team Ronyx arrive first and find two secluded spots in the campground loop that was right next to the creek where Onyx and Phoenix headed to as soon as we parked. After the Carey’s arrived, we discussed our plans for the next camp spot and when we wanted to travel. We decided that we all wanted to stay another night in Morgan Creek to look at alternative routes to get off of 30 E and get to Illinois in a few days. Meghan finishes another blog post and works on finding a new route. She has bicycle maps out, google maps and an atlas. It definitely looks like a modern day “Lewis and Clark” expedition. Harold likes to joke and call Meghan and Ron, Lewis and Clark. Tonight’s dinner is Cream Chipped Beef over biscuits made by Meghan. Juanita and Harold have never had it so it is something new for them. It turned out great but it was very salty. Meghan believes it was the type of dried beef she purchased. She typically gets the dried beef in a pouch but out here in Iowa she could only find it in a jar in the canned meat isle. Everybody enjoyed the meal. That night the fireflies were out in masses. It was drizzling but it didn’t stop them from lighting up the night. Juanita has never seen them so she thought it was the coolest thing! That night as the sun set, the air was quite cool; which was very pleasant.

May 29, 2019- Morgan Creek Campground, Palo, IA

Ron and Juanita head out for a bike ride this morning. While they are gone, Meghan works on looking ahead to their next camping spots. We should be in Illinois by the first if not before. We will head south east tomorrow towards Iowa City and camp at Sugar Bottom Campground. Meghan is curious as to how the drive will be surrounding the campground as it is right next to the Iowa River. After Juanita and Ron return to the campground, Ron takes the dogs to swim in the water. Meghan and Juanita take Juanita’s dogs for a walk around the park area. They walk 1.5 miles and then turn back to the campground as the Carey’s dogs are older and can’t walk too far. After they bring the dogs back, Meghan and Juanita head out to the arboretum and butterfly gardens. As they walked around the park they came upon a pond with turtles out all over sunbathing but they couldn’t get too close as the turtles would quickly slide under the water to hide. Ron rode more miles in the neighborhood, he began tucking our business cards into mailboxes and business slots as he rode around. Once he was done riding, he and Meghan headed into Cedar Rapids to the post office to pick up their package of extra neon t-shirts for Ron to wear on the roadways. That evening, they planned to have grilled chicken that Harold marinated. Meghan rode the bike towing the empty trailer up to the camp host spot to purchase some wood. She filled up two ricks of wood and that filled the entire bike trailer. She then rode the bike back to the camp site. Harold built a fire and Ron grilled the chicken. We also enjoyed scalloped potatoes and salad with our meal. While they were eating dinner, alerts started popping up on their cell phones and the tornado sirens started to blare. They quickly packed up camp in anticipation of high winds and the possibility of having to seek shelter in the shower house. Everybody patiently watched and waited out the storm. We had heavy rain for a short time and the radar showed the potential for a tornado very close to us. After about 1.5 hours of threats, the warning for our area was lifted. That evening we waited for the fireflies to come out again. There weren’t as many as the first night and as soon as it got completely dark, they were all gone.

May 30, 2019- Sugar Bottom Campground, Solon, IA

Meghan and Ron set out in the am for highway 30 E. They think Ron can ride the 6 miles until he exits off hwy 30 E to get on Ely Street towards the town of Ely. They park the truck on the entrance ramp and Ron gets to riding; Meghan drives ahead and quickly realizes that Ron is going to have a hard time pedaling through the traffic and all of the exit and entrance ramps onto the highway. Ron checks in twice and makes his way through the heavy traffic. He exits the highway heads toward the town of Ely. They are making good time and the roads are much nicer than 30 E. Once they get to Ely they make a pit stop at the convenience store in town and talk to some people there. They head out once again and get to the traffic circle intersection of Ely Road and Hwy 382. Meghan pulls the truck over to wait for Ron to navigate through the traffic circle. He only has 2 more miles to ride until he has to make his next turn. After Ron rides out of site, Meghan goes to start the truck and it stalls out. She tries again, it stalls again. She groans, “not the fuel pump again!”. She tries to call Ron, but he doesn’t answer, she tries again, and again. He still isn’t answering. She remembers his phone was on silent. So she continues to call hoping that it will interupt his music and he will stop to see why. As Meghan is calling Ron over and over again, she attempts to flag down a motorist to ask them to tell the guy on the bicycle to come back to his driver, but no one stops. After about the 6th attempt a young man pulls over, and after about the 9th call, Ron answers his phone. The young man isn’t sure how to help Meghan and she thanks him and tells him that her bicyclist is returning and she will be ok. Ron has pedaled 21 miles so far. Once Ron returns, they try to troubleshoot a few things, with no success in getting the truck to start. Then they discuss how they are going to get the truck towed with this house on it. Meghan suggests asking the farmer across the street if we can offload the camper box there and then return to get it since we can’t offload it on the shoulder of the road. Meghan calls AAA and gets a service truck arranged. While she is on the phone, a gentleman pulls up in a car and Ron explains our predicament. He leaves and comes back with a truck. Shortly after that, The Carey’s pull up and we discuss potential plans. The Carey’s may go ahead to their camp spot and set up and then unhook the truck to come get Meghan and Ron if the garage is going to work on Meghan’s truck. The gentleman that had returned with his truck told Ron that he could borrow his brother-in-laws shop and tools just 4 miles down the road. Scott from the Danny Mac’s tow service showed up and told Ron to turn the key, while Ron turn the key in the truck Scott beat on the fuel tank (which Ron had done earlier too) and bam, the truck fired up! We didn’t want to take any chances though so we went to the garage following the tow truck in case the fuel pump died again. We all arrive at the garage, and Ron decides Meghan should go to the camp ground with the dogs and the Carey’s for the night and he will return once he gets the truck fixed or spend the night with the truck. The Carey’s offered to return at any time if Ron should need anything. Meghan, the Carey’s and all 4 dogs went ahead to the camp ground. It was almost 4 pm by the time they got the camp site set up and settled. Meghan took Onyx and Phoenix for a walk around the campground to check it out. She ended up talking to a really nice couple who had built their own custom camper out of an enclosed trailer. Around 5 pm, Ron calls Meghan to let her know that he is done working on the truck and needs directions to the campground. Meghan is surprised that the truck is fixed already and is grateful that Ron was able to do it. She gives him the directions and he is there within a few minutes as it was only 8 miles from the garage. They pay for their spot, enjoy dinner and get ready for bed.

May 30, 2019- Sugar Bottom Campground, Solon, IA

Ron wakes up with a headache today and he’s worried about the fuel pump in the truck. Even though he put a brand new fuel pump in it, he is concerned that the wiring may be faulty as the new pump almost didn’t start too. We decide we will spend the day at the campground and regroup. The day is spent planning the next day’s route to Illinois and exploring the area. Because of the flooding, some of the lower level camp ground loops are completely under water. The only way you can tell there are sites out there are the electrical boxes sticking out of the water. That evening, Team Ronyx discusses trying to get more free camp spots to help save their budget.

That’s WY!

May 1, 2019- Ramada Plaza, Casper, Wy

Phoenix playing in the snow

We woke up to more snow! Ron wants to stay another night so today is going to be a relaxing day for Team Ronyx. We have to move rooms due to extending our stay. The next room is much smaller, but we don’t mind at all. Meghan is having some pain in her hip due to their cold hike yesterday (and the fact that Phoenix likes to play tug of war with the leash). She spends the day walking, stretching and resting. Ron rides 20 miles around the exterior of the hotel in the morning. They walk to get lunch and return to the hotel. They have met so many wonderful people here. They even made a friend from Massachusetts. They often run into her and Ron likes to give her a hard time about being a Patriots fan. After lunch, Ron goes out to bike more miles. While he is riding, a woman flagged him down. She is from the East Coast and has traveled out West to find doctors to get her sight back. She had seen Team Ronyx on the news and wanted to thank him for what he was doing. She said she didn’t have much and gave him a $5 bill. Ron thanked her and continued to pedal around the hotel. He was so excited to share the news with Meghan. These are the moments that give Ron the drive to do more. We ended the evening with another flat tire on the bicycle trailer. This time from a shard of glass in the parking lot.

May 2, 2019- Bixby Access Area, Douglas, WY

First stop, Tire Repair

Team Ronyx is up early today. They head down for their last breakfast at the hotel. Then it’s time to load their gear. Since we have put so much money into all of our gear, we typically take it all with us when we are not sleeping in the camper box. So that means, a bicycle, 2 trailers, generator, backpack, Fonyx, the jacks for the camper, electronics, the dogs, their dishes and whatever clothes and toiletries we need, go inside. It tends to fill up the room quick and it takes many trips to load and unload. We head out of the hotel a few minutes before 9 am. We have to go back to the Crazy Pedaler bike shop to get this tire repaired. After that’s completed, Ron get’s on the road with Onyx. He ends up calling Meghan a few minutes later to confirm directions. Meghan says she will head out to meet up with him. She calls him when she gets to where he should be and he isn’t there. He had missed his turn. They meet up and get back on track. Once Ron is back on the main road, Meghan sits and waits for him to pedal ahead. He pedals to the gas station just as you are leaving town and tells Meghan to meet him there. Meghan catches up with him and they go inside to get some beverages and discuss the rest of the route. The cashier told them she had the bill covered, no charge for their drinks! Thank you! We really do like how friendly Wyoming has been. Ron switches Onyx out for Fonyx as the road is busy and the shoulder is narrow. He pedals 24.5 miles and arrives in Glenrock, WY and decides he wants to keep riding to Douglas, WY. The road they had to take to bypass I25 goes by the Dave Johnston Power Plant and the Alvah H Unthank memorial site. After a few short miles, Tank Farm Road turns to gravel. At first Ron is able to ride on the packed down stones, then after about 2 miles, the gravel is loose. Ron is concerned that he is going to mess up his newly replaced tires or worse bend his rim by the weight of the trailer. We load up the truck and dive the 4.5 miles to the Bixby Access Area. There is a pit toilet and a lovely stream that runs through this area. The resident cattle herd is very curious about our tiny dog house and the barking frisky “mini-cows” (Onyx and Phoenix). Ron plays with the dogs for hours since they were cooped up for a few days in a hotel (even though we did take them on several walks). These access areas are great for off grid camping.

May 3, 2019- Outpost Truck Stop, Lusk, WY

On 93 South

We wake up early this morning and decide we will drive the remaining 10 miles out to the paved highway of 93S to get into the town of Douglas, WY. The road is rough but the scenery is beautiful. There are lots of cattle, horse farms and antelope along their journey. Once they get out to 93S around 8 am, Ron hops on his bike and tows Onyx into the town of Douglas where they intersect with 18/20E. They take a short break at the Douglas Fairgrounds and discuss how much further they want to go. They aim to get to the town of Lost Springs but they aren’t sure there is going to be many options there for them. Ron swaps out Onyx for Phoenix and continues out on 20 E which turns into E Antelope Rd. When Meghan and Ron meet up again, Ron informs Meghan that a passerby told him that E. Antelope Road gets pretty rough and that a group of cyclists turned around and came back to Douglas because of it. They decided to continue on, Ron had pedaled about 10 miles at this point. Little did they know in 5 more miles their road would turn to gravel again. Ron decided to see how far he could continue on the road. With his determination he was able to pedal through 14 miles of gravel road. Halfway through pedaling on the gravel road, he switches Phoenix out of the cart and puts Onyx back in. The sun is shining today and it’s 45°. They are off the gravel road around 12:30 pm, Ron switches, Onyx out of the trailer and puts Phoenix in. Then they are back on 18/20E. Team Ronyx goes through the town of Shawnee and then reaches the town of Lost Springs and their population is 4! The town literally consists of a antique store/shop, bar, parks and recreation building and park with a pavilion and very old playground equipment. There isn’t anywhere to camp so Ron says he will continue pedaling to Lusk, WY. When they were 7 miles from Lusk, Team Ronyx took a break at the 3 Sisters Rest Stop in Manville. Ron was getting hungry and was thinking they could grab something to eat there. When they went inside they talked with an elderly man who inquired about their trip. He was from Ohio and he had moved out to Wyoming 30 some years ago. He suggested Team Ronyx eat at the Outpost in Lusk. Ron decides he will stave of his hunger a little longer and pedal on. They arrive in Lusk around 4 pm, Ron has ridden 52.5 miles to get here plus we drove 10, so in total we have traveled 62.5 miles today. They find the Outpost and enjoy their meal. Before they left the restaurant a sweet couple approached them, they wanted to to know if Team Ronyx were on a work crew or something because of their neon yellow hoodies. After Ron and Meghan explained to them what they were up to the couple handed them a very generous donation and asked to be kept anonymous, the only thing Team Ronyx knew was that they were from Minnesota and on vacation out in Wyoming. Tonight’s sleeping spot is determined by the fact that the local RV park isn’t open yet and the truck stop is close by and showers are $5. They park behind the Outpost Truck Stop/Convenience store and settle in for the evening. Tomorrow they shall arrive in Nebraska!

May 4, 2019- Fort Robinson, Crawford, Nebraska

Hello Nebraska!

Today is the day that Team Ronyx will cross another state line. Along their route this morning a truck drive name Brett pulled over to talk to them in Van Tassell, WY. He shared his story with Team Ronyx about how he has walked across the US twice, for overdose awareness after losing his sister to an overdose. Ron talked with him for a few minutes and then took off with Onyx. Meghan continued to talk with Brett for a few more minutes and got information about his non-profit that he has started in Georgia. He is currently driving truck to save up money to continue his good deeds of helping people overcome addiction. If you’d like to learn more, check out his website here.
Ron pedals 23 miles to the Nebraska line. In total Ron has bicycled 433.5 total miles across Wyoming to Nebraska for Canine Partners for Life. Meghan snaps a bunch of pictures. Ron decides he wants to use his monkey skills and climb the Nebraska sign. Meghan snaps a few pictures and hopes that Ron doesn’t injure himself on the way back down. They continue on, their goal is to make it to Crawford, Nebraska. They find a historical park call the Fort Robinson State Park. They decide they will pay the daily park fee and the overnight fee and stay here for the evening. Ron has pedaled 56 miles and he’s hungry and needs a break. It’s also sunny and 69° outside, something Team Ronyx hasn’t seen this whole trip yet. Meghan goes to the park office and makes their arrangements. After they set up camp, Meghan decides to make spaghetti for dinner. It’s not often that she gets to cook but since they have electric hookups and the ingredients she sets out to make dinner. This is no easy feat though, we only have one burner to cook on so it’s a timing thing, she boils the noodles and then puts their strainer on a bowl, she then pours the noodles and boiling water into the strainer and bowl, the hot water keeps the noodles moist and hot. Then she browns the burger in the same pot, once the burger is browned, she adds a few spices and the spaghetti sauce. Nothing fancy. She thinks it would be great if they had garlic bread. She takes a few slices of white bread, smears them with butter, adds garlic and Italian seasonings, then right before the sauce is finished cooking, she throws the garlic bread into the toaster oven. Wa-la! Dinner is done! While Meghan was cooking dinner, the dogs were tied out. She noticed that Phoenix was shaking his paw and chewing on it. She check his paw and sure enough he had a goat head thorn in his pad. (Yep! We are dealing with them still!!) Apparently our site is riddled with them as Phoenix acquired several more through the evening and they were even tracked into our camper. After supper was eaten and the dogs fed, Team Ronyx explored the campground and the history that it held. That evening, Ron took a shower and upon his return he took the dogs down to the stream to see if they could spot any fish. When they returned, Meghan went and took her shower. Everything is done in turns so that one of us is with the dogs almost all of the time. The outside temps started to drop quickly as the sun set and Team Ronyx headed off to bed.