- Miles ridden according to GPS: 65.8
- Time pedaling: 6 hours, 58 minutes
- Time standing: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Average moving speed: 9.5 MPH
We thought we'd leave Shenandoah and hit the road at 7:00am, but with what typically happens, we were delayed due to sleeping in and extra time spent packing. The continental breakfast was yummy and also helped provide snacks, as we prepared some bagels and PB&J to eat on the trail.
The Saturday morning was glorious, but chilly with temperatures in the upper 20s to lower 30s. The sun was out, the wind was slight, but when it did gust, it was at our backs. Once we left the asphalt and hit gravel, we noticed right away that the day and a half of sun helped dry out the trail. Trail conditions make all the difference in the world on how easily we could cycle. When the trail was even a little damp, the extra resistance felt like someone was grabbing on and holding the rear wheel.
It didn't seem like we had as many problems with downed trees on the way back. Perhaps someone moved a few more over Friday. There were still a few that required dismount, and a few that could be dodged by careful shoulder riding.
By the time we hit Malvern, it was already quite warm out. Roxanne had completely changed clothes and was into her shorts and lightweight shirt. We stopped for a break at C&M's and had fries and sodas. There was a part of brightly colored cyclists eating there. They had lots of water bottles on their road bikes, but no luggage. I assume they were from Omaha or CB out on a day ride.
Once back on the trail toward CB, we started seeing many cyclists, runners and hikers. My guess is that the stretch between CB and Mineola is the highest trafficked stretch. We even passed a Boy Scout patrol out for a hike, uniformed and carrying full packs. It was fun seeing full families out on bikes, maybe for the first time this year.
We stopped at the trailhead in Council Bluffs and had a light bite to eat from our provisions. We then set out for the Blue Line Coffee Shop in downtown Omaha for our final hurrah. At this point I noticed that my left knee was really aching. I was able to compensate with my right leg, thanks to the technology of clipless pedals. Is knee pain like this normal on long rides?
The Blue Line would be our last bit of vacation before returning to normal life Saturday evening, so we wanted a nice bite to eat and final drinks. At the Blue Line I had the pleasure of introducing my wife to Brady, of steel-cut fame. Brady was out for a run and happened to be enjoying a soda when we arrived. I'd told Roxanne about Brady and Brady about Roxanne, so it was fun to introduce them to each other.
Finally we left the Blue Line and started home. We changed clothes and went to the in-law's house to pick up our daughter and return to being just ordinary Mom and Dad rather than the adventurous Cycle Touring Duo.
- It's nice to relax and not be so worried about keeping a schedule. I'd still prefer to leave earlier and experience sunrise on the trail.
- Bring hub wrenches; Roxanne's front hub is a bit wobbly, and a problem like that could really wreck a tour.
- A front rack would have helped with weight distribution. When I started shedding layers into my rear bags on the warm Saturday, plus carrying our food, souvenirs and Roxanne's tools, I had a hard time with the weight on the back rack on the damp parts. I think moving some weight to the front wheel would help considerably.
- I'm so glad each of us have racks. I can't imagine a trip like this with a backpack.
- The 700Cx35 tires were probably the minimum width I'd recommend for riding soft gravel and damp earth. I think a wider tire would have helped to carry the load more easily
- Technical fabricclothing (or old fashioned wool) should be used to replace Roxanne's sweatshirts. She got a little cold on the way out, due to perspiration clinging to her shirts.
- The security of packing lots of trail mix, cereal bars and the like was comforting, especially not knowing what the trail had in store for us. However, when we were hungry and needed a break, it was no problem to stop into the next town for food. Maybe we didn't need to pack so much to eat. On the other hand, had an emergency arisen and we needed to stay overnight on the trail, we would have been well prepared.
- Replace the grocery panniers with bags than can be closed. I lost a Tupperware lid and a sports drink bottle. I found the bottle on the way back. Roxanne's stowed sweatshirt bounced out once, but I saw it and picked it up.
- My Garmin eTrex Vista did very well on battery save mode. I was amazed that I was able to get both legs of the trip on to a single pair of high powered Energizer E2 batteries. You don't need a GPS to ride the Wabash, but it was nice tracking distances and times into the towns.
- An iPhone gets incredible battery life when not attached to any data network: wifi, 3G, or even Edge, and email fetching turned off.
I obtained a simple Kodak EasyShare camera for this trip. I hoped to use a less expensive camera over my Olympus so that I wouldn't worry so much about dropping it on the trail. I also wanted a simple camera that could fit in my pocket so I could snap some pics while riding.
Pictures leaving Omaha
Pictures leaving Shenandoah
I recorded a couple of short videos using the Kodak camera. The quality is low, but the camera made it easy to record the clips.