Day 6: First Mechanical Problems, Nearly Dead Turkey, Nebraska Zen, O’Neill, Nebraska’s Irish Capital.


Left early from Osceola amid threatening thunderstorms and a 20-25 mph wind out of the south to south east. Things were fine when I was heading north but when I had to go east or west the wind was pushing and punching me, driving me toward either the side of the road or toward incoming traffic. All bikers have to deal with this. You carefully tack in the direction of the wind, adjusting to the on and off gusts. 18 wheelers going past either cause no disturbance or the wind hits like a wave blasting you. You have to just relax, not over react or over control the bike.
There was road construction and I came to a stop on the highway. I looked down to my right and saw a meandering stream, flanked by willow trees. The field beside it had just been plowed and the contoured plow lines nestled up against the trees. It looked like a Japanese Zen garden.
I saw a tall, thin man in a field standing up riding a plow being pulled by four horses.
I stopped for gas and checked my map. O’Neill, the Irish Capitol of Nebraska, would be a good place to stop. Nice omen. A woman came up and talked with me. She was a biker too. I told her about my route and she suggested I take scenic highway 12. We chatted for a while and then I took off. A few miles down the road I saw a sign for highway 12 so I took it. Omen, and all that. I went about 10 miles and then realized I had never really looked at the map and at how I get back to the road I needed to be on. So I pulled into a gas station to consult my map. Okay, now I knew how to get back to Highway 20. Went to crank the bike up and there was no power. Tried a few times, no luck. Fortunately, I had a similar problem like this before when my battery cables had come loose. So, I unpacked all my stuff, unscrewed one of the saddlebags and took it off, wrenched off the bolt holding the bike seat strap on, unscrewed the screw holding the seat and took the seat off revealing the battery. I tightened up the cables and she cranked right up. Put everything back. So now, do I take this as a bad omen and backtrack to my old route or keep going? I kept going. Turned out the road I was on was the historic Lewis and Clark route and it was nice but the road was an old one and it bounced just like sections of the old route 66 that I was on last year. Sometimes the road less taken was less taken for a reason. I imagine this road was much nicer and smoother when Lewis and Clark travelled on it years ago. (Ha, ha!).
Anyway, I got back to Highway 20 and suddenly a wild turkey tried to cross the road in front of me. Why, I do not know. He backed up and I headed on to finally get to O’Neill, Nebraska. Good night and God/Universe bless you!

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