Our evening in the tepee was a kick! We had an alarm clock at about 5:30am. I think it was a pheasant from the zoo. It was searching for someone named Leo. Leeoo. Leeeo? Leeooo. Leeeoo. Leeeooo?? I kid you not! It sounded just like a person calling out for Leo, and sadly, never finding him. Then around 7am the entire zoo woke up! You could hear the tigers, ducks, goats, and wolves calling out for breakfast! Definitely a memory keeper!
We set out, again, at 10 o,clock. I am just chuckling that we cannot get on the road any earlier than 10am. We were filled up on water and ready to tackle the heat. We rode through some beautiful farmland for 30 miles and in that time we eyed 2 people outside of their house. Not a soul to even wave to (which I love to do as we ride by people). No businesses of any kind. No water! We were about 15 miles into our ride when the water bottles went bone dry, except for the remnants of our last sips. We decided we would have to stop at a house and ask to use their spigot. The next one where we see someone we would ask. But, no one was coming out of their air conditioned homes. We checked the temperature and it was 102 degrees. We would have to go knock on a door. It was hard to decide what house to visit until we saw a statue of Uncle Sam, and a pallet painted with the American Flag in front of a small cozy home. We tentatively knocked. An older gentleman came to the door and we asked if we could fill our water bottles. His wife was heard saying, “have them come in”. So, amid Covid-19 and stranger-danger attitudes, this older couple welcomed us in and filled our bottles with ice and water. They were happy to help us out and shared tips of what we can expect of the roads ahead, including the ‘road signs’ to watch for at each intersection. Lovely, lovely people.
We left happy to have water with ice. Sure enough, the first ‘road sign’ was up ahead, the Statue of Liberty. Haha!! The couple said turn right at the statue, and Ken and I just looked at each other. But, there she was in all her miniature glory! We turned right and rode on. No one…not even crickets. Our water was getting low again, when we finally saw the next ‘road sign’. An oasis, The Long Branch Saloon. In the middle of nowhere, there it was! I yelled out, “Salooon!” and my legs turned over the pedals so fast, leaving Ken in the dust behind me! Two fellers were watching the whole thing and were ripe for conversation. They asked where we came from, and where we’re going. They too, shared their tips on the road ahead. The hills from here are going to be a bear to ride, they concurred. They come one after another, they said. You shouldn’t try it alone, both nodding in agreement. Ken and I were two deers in the headlight, listening intently and bobbing our heads. I needed a beer to ponder this.
The Long Branch was a bar, restaurant. It had everything one needed in the middle of nowhere. It had a dining room, a friendly bar with a pool table, juke box, and video games. It was a taxidermy home to moose head, deer head, fish, and even a tasmanian devil rubber tire head (It was eating a rubber tire). Outside was a large covered pavillion with a cornhole game and picnic tables. Perfect! We sat at the bar and ordered a beer. Ken and I had ridden 30 miles. We wanted to get to Iron Mountain, which was still another 24 miles. And, yes!, the fellers outside totally freaked us out!! The thought of riding those hills, that shouldn’t be done alone, scared the energy right out of us. We couldn’t go on. Not today.
Ken asked if we could pitch our tent in the back for the night. They were pleased to have us stay! So, we had healthy dinners, and they gave us a bunch of cold water bottles. We played some free pool and used the restrooms. The helpful fellers were glad that we would wait and gather our strength before riding the hills.
That evening in the tent, gave us a taste of the day to come. We awoke around 2am to a hellacious storm. It rained huge, heavy drops. The wind was blowing like a hurricane (and I know hurricanes), whipping and snapping the nylon tent walls in every direction. The lightning was brightening the pitch black sky and making the tent walls intermittently glow. I thought this little 2 man tent can’t withstand the torture, but it was still standing, and we were dry, when we woke in the morning. Our bikes were safe under the pavillion and we were ready to meet the hills.
Just A Beautiful Barn
Lawn Art After Covid-19
The Statue of Liberty
An Oasis – The Long Branch Saloon
Inside The Long Branch Saloon
Can You See Her Staring At Us?