We are in Cow Country!

May 9, 2019- Merriman, Nebraska

We have a few errands to run this morning, first stop-The post office. We need to get our Mother’s Day cards out to all of our moms (will explain later). Then we hit the market for a few items for the next few days as we aren’t sure what and if there will be any grocery stores for a few more towns. We are heading to Merriman, Nebraska today. It is bitter cold out and raining. Since Ron rode yesterday to bank some miles, we are going to drive out of town that far this morning. We clock his mileage and it ends up being 13 miles. We drive that far and then Ron gets on his bicycle and starts towing Fonyx East on Highway 20. It is currently 40° and overcast. The northern part of Nebraska is mainly flat but has some hilly parts as well. We have pastures on both sides of the highway and lots of ranches. We enter the Sandhills area of Nebraska. There are huge rolling hills of sand with grass growing on them. Ron pedals 17.5 miles by 2 pm. The mind is rough and keeping him at about 5 mph. A woman name Tria buys him a sandwich, water, chips and cookie from Subway. Ron is excited to tell Meghan when they meet up again; and asks her to thank her on social media. He ends up pedaling 32 miles into Merriman and arrives at 3:45 pm. As he is pedaling into town, he rides right past Tria’s house and she invites Team Ronyx to park in her driveway for the night. Ron rides up to where Meghan is parked and waiting for him and tells her that they are going to camp at Tria’s tonight. Once we got to her house, Onyx and Phoenix got to meet Mika. She is a black lab too! We also met Tria’s mom and neighbor too. That evening, Ron played with all 3 dogs and Meghan and Tria chatted. We have met another great friend on this journey.

Two month Road Recap

Team Ronyx has been on the road for 2 months. We have spent 61 days away from our beach, friends and family. We have had several challenges and experienced a lot of things. We love camping out in the middle of nowhere but we also enjoy our showers and hot running water. We have learned how to be very conservative with water and electricity. Meghan is glad that she purchased several small power banks and one large power bank. Ron jokes and says that all the wires and cords make it look like a mad scientist lab. We have had the opportunity to stay in 3 hotels during our trip and found that we actually sleep better in our tiny home bed but hot breakfasts are a nice commodity.

Ron’s take on the trip so far. He says that the ride has been grueling at times, through the sleet, snow and high elevations but he is loving every minute of it. He loves a challenge and getting to see all the sites that he has. He is motivated by the people we see along the way that could benefit by having a service dog and those who are so generous even when they don’t have much to give. Although we aren’t where we’d like to be with our fundraising goal, Ron is still happy with the overall trip and progress that we have made. Every new person that we meet and every new follower on social media gives him more motivation to keep going.

Meghan’s take on the trip so far. She’s ready for warmer weather! She is impressed by the progress Ron has made so far as some of the roads have been very challenging. Meghan has often remarked to Ron that she is glad it is him and not her. She misses he kids but get’s to talk with them often and video chat with them. Meghan is thankful for all of the people who have made suggestions and who continually share their (Onyx’s Great Adventure) posts on social media. She is also thankful that when Team Ronyx decides to stay in an area for more than one night, that she gets to get out and get exercise as she often feels cooped up in the truck (although she has started to do some exercises along the road to break up the time spend in the truck).

Overall, after two months on the road, Team Ronyx is almost halfway to their destination of Cochranville, PA. Their goal of raising at least $30,000 is still in their sights even though they have only raised just over $5,000. The adventure is still worth all the effort, money and time spent on it; as we have met some of the most kind people along the way. The media often depicts the world in such a negative light that it takes something like this to open your eyes to goodness that is still left in others.

If you’d like to donate please click here.

May 10, 2019- Cody City Park, Cody, Nebraska

Phoenix is sick, it’s early and Meghan is woken up to the sound of Phoenix getting sick in their tiny home. She gets up and lets him outside and cleans up the mess. She isn’t quite sure why he has an upset stomach but has an idea it could be from sneaking cat food. Everybody attempts to go back to sleep but is kept up by Phoenix’s constant upset stomach. Finally everybody is up and moving. Meghan’s phone is confused. It keeps changing times on her. Tria told them that when they get to Kilgore, they will be in Central Time, so Meghan assumes it’s from that. Team Ronyx is ready to head down the road around 8 am. Tria has places to be too. Everybody chats a little bit and then we all head off. Ron and Onyx head out on 20E towards Cody, Nebraska. Ron does not think he will make it the whole way to Valentine (61 miles) in the wind so we decide we will camp in Cody then head to Valentine. We arrived in Cody just before 11 am. Ron pedaled 24.5 miles to get here. About 10 miles from town he switched Onyx out and put Phoenix in for the remainder of the ride. They went to the Circle C Market in Cody. It’s the only grocery store for the area. Most people have to travel 30 or more miles to the next nearest grocery store. The store is run by the high school students and was built off of a grant. It wasn’t very big but it has a little bit of everything that you could need. We grabbed some milk, eggs, bread and the essential Milky Way and Hershey Bar. Then we headed over to the Huskers Bar for lunch. We had a wait a little while since it didn’t open until 11 am. We both had bacon burgers and they were delicious. Then we parked at the City Park and walked around town. You are definitely out in the middle of nowhere here. Meghan and Ron wandered over to the livestock store. It had your typical livestock supplies and then a little gift shop area with some really nice stuff from dishes, to jewelry to leather wallets and toys. Ron had sneakily purchased a cowgirl necklace for Meghan. When they left the store, Ron surprised Meghan with the necklace since he knows she loves horses and thought she would like a keepsake from the mid-west. That afternoon, Ron decided to bike with Onyx. The day turned out beautiful and sunny around 50°. He biked out to the next town of Nenzel and back which added up to 15 miles that they could use towards heading to Valentine the next day.

May 11, 2019- Valentine City Park, Valentine, Nebraska

7 am and Team Ronyx is up. They refill their water jugs and hit the road as it’s raining this morning. They drive to the 15 mile mark that Ron rode yesterday and unloaded the bike gear. Ron decided he would take Fonyx since we weren’t sure how the weather would hold up. Ron pedaled 10 miles before Meghan caught up to him. The skies were clearing up and it is 41°. When we were about halfway between Cody and Valentine, Team Ronyx entered the Central Time zone. We are now 2 hours ahead of the West Coast and 1 hour behind the East Coast. Another sign that we are almost halfway across the country. Ron rides into Valentine around 1 pm. We stop for fuel, lunch at Subway and some groceries; then we head 3 miles out of town. Meghan has found a free campsite out there but it was gated off. They decided to drive a little further and park at the Nebraska Rail Trail and take the dogs for a walk. Team Ronyx and the dogs walked to the old railroad bridge and back to the truck. They decided to go back into town to the Valentine City Park to camp. It’s $5 and right along the water. As soon as we found our spot for the night and let the dogs out, they jumped into the water for big drink and splash. Ron throws balls and sticks with them in the water for over an hour. Soon the dogs are worn out a little.

May 12, 2019- Valentine City Park, Valentine, Nebraska

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there. Whether you are a fur mom, birth mom stepmom, aunt, or mom at heart, we wish you a day filled with love and togetherness. Team Ronyx isn’t biking today. Meghan wants to explore the Wildlife Refuge just outside of town because there is a waterfall and bison there! We take our time getting up today, then we head into town to see what’s there, then we go back out of town to the Wildlife Refuge. As soon as we pulled into the Refuge we saw a whole herd of bison. There was probably around 8-10 with little calves. Meghan was so excited. Then we drove out to the hiking trail that goes by the waterfall. We hiked with the dogs for over 2 hours and then we took pictures of the prairie dogs and bison and headed back into town for lunch. We ate at the Bunkhouse Restaurant. It was a good meal. After lunch we decided to go back to the Valentine City Park to camp even though the restrooms and showers weren’t available. We decided we would take our “cowboy” baths. We played with the dogs for several hours, heated our water up over the grill and then hung out for the evening. We had several visitors stop by our set up and comment on how much they liked our tiny house. Overall – even though we couldn’t be with our families today, we enjoyed it. The world of technology helps us feel a little closer anyway.

3 Down, on to the 4th

May 5, 2019- Eagles Rest RV Park, Chadron, Nebraska

I’m ready dad!

We wake up and discuss where to go today and decide we will head into Crawford further and potentially go on to the next town of Chadron. We are officially in our fourth state. It’s overcast and cold today. Team Ronyx needs to get their laundry done. Ron is out on the road by 8:30 am with Phoenix. They make a quick stop right at the Crawford sign and pick up drinks at the convenience store. Meghan sits at the store for awhile while Ron rides through town. There is a breeze today and some inclines in the road, there is no ability to coast because there is enough of sideways wind to require Ron to pedal for every forward movement. Meghan catches up with Ron around 8 miles into today’s journey. He switched Phoenix out of the bike trailer and puts Onyx in. Onyx isn’t really digging the trailer so Ron has to physically carry him to the trailer. Team Ronyx makes it to Chadron, WY a little after 1 pm. They decide to go find lunch and a laundromat and then they will decide if they want to camp at the RV park just before you get into town or at the truck stop in town. They decide to eat lunch at Helen’s Pancake and Steak House. Ron orders a burger and Meghan get’ a chicken wrap. While they are sitting there waiting to order a man and two teenagers start asking Team Ronyx what they are doing. They think it’s really cool what we are doing and they are already on our Facebook, following our Journey. Their mom ends up being our waitress and she does a wonderful job. After lunch we go and do laundry, then we decided to go back to the campground that was just outside of town. Once we got there, we set up camp. We do dry camping so that we can get a discounted rate and still get showers. The place is pretty muddy but it works for what we need. Meghan is having a really off- day, she’s tired and irritable. (She calls it “peopled-out”) She’s hoping an early bedtime will help. Ron tells her to take a break and they will stay put in the morning if she still needs some time.

May 6, 2019- Eagles Rest RV Park, Chadron, Nebraska

Team Ronyx wakes up early but Meghan is still moving pretty slow. They decide to take the day to run some errands and give Meghan a break. Being tied to Social Media almost around the clock is draining Meghan, she loves what she is doing but she needs to give herself time off. They head into town back to Helen’s for brunch, Ron orders his burger again because he liked it so much, Meghan orders eggs and toast. After brunch, they pick up dog food and head over to Walmart to get a few things. They go back the the original campground after exploring around town for a little while. Meghan get’s the updated amount of funds they have raised for Canine Partners for Life. They have raised $5,274 dollars so far. Team Ronyx isn’t quite where they want to be with donations but they will continue working to get to $30,000 which is the cost of one service dog. Meghan figures out that it took Ron 9 bicycling days and 7 networking or resting days to ride across the state of Wyoming. That gave him an average of 48 miles ridden each day. Early in the evening Tean Ronyx meets one of their camp neighbors and talk to him for awhile and learn that he is part of a motorcycle club that raises money for kids who were burn victims to go to a special camp. Meghan picked up some steaks at Walmart and tonight they are going to have Ron’s famous grilled steaks. Ron fires up their tiny home wood stove and starts cooking their steaks. Meghan prepares mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. Again, this cooking thing takes multiple pans and a single burner as they are using the cook top on the wood stove. Once the steaks are done, Meghan cooks the mashed potatoes, and makes the brown gravy. She has run out of pans though to cook their corn. She remembers she has a small loaf pan in their bin of kitchen items and pours the corn in there and cooks it alongside their gravy on the cook top. Cooking everything this way helps them save fuel by not firing up the generator. They keep the woodstove going late into the night and fire up up the generator right before bed. They decide Ron will ride to Rushville, Nebraska in the morning.

May 7, 2019- Rushville, NE

Ron and Fonyx pushing through

Meghan is the first one up today, she takes the dogs out, and then grabs a quick shower. The bath house at this campground is kind of awkward. There is a door from the exterior to go in the ladies room and a door in the interior that goes into the laundry room, which has another door directly into the men’s bathroom. The first night here, Meghan went in to use the facilities and could hear a group of men talking. The doors to both the ladies room and men’s room from the laundry room were wide open. She decided to skip having a shower than night as she wasn’t sure if she was alllowed to shut the door or not. She had decided in the morning that she would shut the door regardless if it was supposed to be open or not. Ron heads out on 20E around 8 am with Onyx. It’s overcast and 38° out. This isn’t very nice riding conditions but Ron is determined to move forward. Meghan heads into town with Phoenix to refuel the truck and gas can. Then she heads over to the Bean Broker Coffee House and Pub for a little pick-me-up for herself. She is surprised when she walks into the rather large establishment in the very charming old building. The building was originally a bank built in the 1900’s. When the banks went under this building became a mariad of other business until the previous owner turned it into a coffee house and pub. There were 3 seperate areas on the main floor. One was the coffee house, the other the bar and the third a small dining room. The space was perfect for small gathers. The new owner heard Meghan talking to the baristas and came out to talk to her about Onyx’s Great Adventure. He asked Meghan if she would pull her truck up in front of the building so he could share their story on social media. She agreed and went out to move the truck. Once she got situated in front of the building, Meghan, Phoenix and the two baristas got their picture taken. Then, Meghan got a tour of the building. She then dismissed herself and hurried out of town to catch up to Ron and Onyx. By now, it was raining pretty hard, at the 8 mile mark, Ron took Onyx out of the trailer and put Fonyx (Fake Onyx) in so Onyx didn’t have to sit in the trailer and get soaking wet all day. It took Ron almost 6 hours to get to Rushville, Wy due to the wind and rain. He pedaled 33.5 miles to town. They stop at the Pump and Pantry to see about parking there overnight as there aren’t any RV parks or rest stops nearby. The attendant in the store said they could park there but there wasn’t much room and it was right on the road. Meghan made a few phone calls and figured out there was a small RV park just on the other side of town. They drove out there and contacted the owner. This spot was formerly a mobile home park and they are fixing it up to become an RV park. They have water, sewer and electric hook ups but not bathroom facilities but there is a market next door. Once they find their spot, Ron plays with the dogs and Meghan works on finding their next camping spot and the distance to the next town. They determine they want to get to Merriman next and it’s 47 miles away.

May 8, 2019- Rushville, NE

I don’t care if the grass is wet.

It’s pouring down rain this morning and still 38°. Ron and Meghan discuss whether they want to continue forward or not. Ron suggests he ride around and bank miles today and they sit tight. This way Meghan can catch up on invoicing and updating their blog for the trip. It’s a good thing for Meghan because she is worried about their friends’ Juanita and Harold. Remember when they came to Arco, Idaho to visit us? Well, when they went home, they purchased a camper and decided to drive out to wherever we are along our journey and join our road trip! They left on Sunday, May 5 from Oregon and had driven through Oregon, through Idaho and as of yesterday they were making their way through Wyoming on Interstate 80. They were flagged downabout 70 miles before Rawlins, WY and told they were missing a tire on their camper. Upon inspection, they realized their whole tire and rim were missing along with the brake housing and it had caused a flat tire in the rear tandem axle. They ended up being able to put their spare tire on the rear axle and limp the trailer 6 miles up the road to an abandoned gas station and slept their overnight. They have been waiting all day for a tow or repair service to help them. Meghan decided around lunch time to start calling some tow and repair companies herself to see what the issue was with getting them towed because she was worried about her friends sitting along the highway in an abandoned gas station for who knows how long. Finally after calls all day and lots of waiting, Harold and Juanita have a company who will come and help them tomorrow. Hooray! The disappointing news is that they will have to replace their axle and it might take weeks to get one in but they are safe and will be getting help tomorrow. Tonight, Ron and Meghan feel less anxious for their friends, knowing they will get somewhere tomorrow. Ron starts up the wood stove and Meghan does the dishes then makes dinner of Chicken Alfredo from a pre-made frozen mix. That night, Ron heated up a pot of water to take his cowboy bath and Meghan continued to play catch up with the blog and updates.

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.