Day 6 – Hiawatha, KS to Council Bluffs, IA

Av – 14.2 mph
Dis – 118.9 miles
Tm – 08:20 hrs
Asc – 2979 ft.

I haven’t been as in tune with this tour as I was the last one. I’m not talking efficiency or distances. I’m talking location. Most of the time, I really don’t know where I’m at. I passed through KS and NE in a day, something I only did once last year, through ID.

I’m finally caught up though. It was a 99 mile stretch from where I should have started, Falls City, NE to Council Bluffs, but with the extra distance to Hiawatha, it turned into almost 120. It’s my new record.

So now I’ve got two consecutive 100+ mile days under my belt, and I have no intention of trying for a third (but I’ve said that before). The next leg is 67 miles to Onawa and I’m going to sleep in, get some good chow in my stomach, and take my time.

The heat was almost unbearable today. My direction of travel was primarily due north, with a few east/west jaunts from time to time, and the wind was with me.

The tailwind was constant at about 20 mph. I know because my flag wouldn’t flutter at that speed. It looked like I was standing still. Because of that vacuum affect, there was no breeze to cool my skin. Even my Under Armour Skull Cap was no match for the quarts of sweat running down my face. It was just me and the sun, and my Casio Pathfinder watch thermometer registered 112 degrees.

In the last 43 miles to Council Bluffs, I was drinking water every minute or two and paying very close attention to my body’s performance in the heat. The sun wrapped around my skin like a glove. I kept thinking of Iraq, and that impossible heat. Somehow, it made me feel better.

I passed the Council Bluffs city limits at about 1900, 15 minutes slower than ZI estimated, due to a flat tire. It was a justified flat. Some sort of galvanized nail about tow inches long and with a broad head. At first, it looked like a tack, but I couldn’t pull it out with my fingers and had to use my leatherman. I was shocked to see it.

I had been riding on the shoulder of I-29 since entering Iowa, and it was the worst one I’ve ever experienced. Full of seams, valleys, peaks, vegetation, trash, and loose chunks of asphalt, my back end took the kind of beating you’d see in a prison gang bang with the new bitch in block C.

I was concerned about picking up some stray nail or something, especially with my unprotected trailer tire, but I knew I was making great time. I knew something was horribly wrong when I lost all control in the rear and had to pull over. KIA: 1 slime tube. The nail had pushed right between two other patches (from the only pinch flat I had last tour) and couldn’t be patched. I tucked it under the bungee cord on my trailer to throw away later.

The first exit into Council Bluffs was good enough for me. It had four motels, Best Buy, and a Wal-Mart with plenty of restaurants within walking distance. I struck out with the first two motels I tried, but a call was made to the Motel 6 and they had an available room on the bottom deck. What more could I possibly want? A damn military discount. Turn s out Motel 6 doesn’t offer military discounts for some reason. I harassed the communist employee, who had only been working there 3 weeks, and finally gave into getting a room for lack of options.

I hurriedly showered and cut my hair and hoofed over to Best Buy for a digital voice recorder. I intended on using it on the trip for note taking, story ideas, conversations, and audio journal entries.

From Best Buy I went to the Wal-Mart Supercenter where I promptly got lost looking for a basket. I picked up some Gold Bond medicated powder, deodorant, toothpaste, and diaper rash cream out of the travel el section. I can feel the rash cream working its magic.

And now I’m in Applebee’s with an All-You-Can-Eat Riblets Platter in front of me and two local girls giving me the greasy eyeball.

Ahh, the local girls…

Second 100+ mile day

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