july 28
day 80
28 miles
total 2,086

back in rushville they told me the farmers might pay me to come back if i brought so much rain.
by chandler they were ready to pay me to leave.
the ground was saturated
plowed fields were washing away
dirt roads had turned into mud pits
cut hay was rotting in the field
because it couldn’t dry out.
there can be too much of a good thing.

my last day in nebraska would be the culmination of a frustrating 430 miles of rain.

i finished my first big climb of the west with lightning flashes lighting the sky
and emerged onto the high plains.
sunrise revealed rainstorms moving rapidly across the open ground.
it was like bullfighting with the sky.
i raced ahead to get out of the path of one storm (succeeding once by less than 100 yards) the next i
slowed to let cross ahead of me.
we could see the tops of huge storms forming to the east below us off the side of the mountain.
it was a sight i will never forget…

not like something of this world.
more like special effects from a science fiction movie.

this continued until a massive wall of cloud, extending as far as we could see engulfed us.
but there was no rain.
we were in the cloud.

the next few hours were surreal.
total silence
the imposing expanses of the high plains illuminated in a strange muted light.
it was cold and windy
and great for making time.

but it couldn’t last forever.
the clouds vanished as quickly as they had appeared
and i was soon reeling in a baking sun.
i blamed the altitude.
since finishing the last 3 grinding miles of my first serious western climb i had been maintaining a steady
effort over relentless hills.
mostly over 5,000 feet.

then the clouds returned.
welcome at first,
because i found out i was suffering from heat not altitude.
then less welcomed as they grew more and more ominous.
when it started raining on me 4 miles from wyoming i knew how the day would end…

and it did.

i have a lot of wet stuff to get dry.
but nothing was going to keep me in nebraska for another day.

for all that
nebraska was beautiful to the very end.
from the windswept high plains
to the fairyland rock formations down the long descent to wyoming
it seemed more like a setting for lord of the rings than some boring corn belt state.

nebraska was amazing.
and here everyone has been telling me “just wait till wyoming “
if wyoming is going to top nebraska it will have to be pretty dam spectacular….

i will be happy if it just doesn’t rain.



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