Riding out of Broken Bow this morning I stopped by the post office to mail a few post cards and noticed many of the neighborhood streets were made of red bricks. I’d seen this same thing in a few other towns and regarded it as a genuine luxury. Homes and streets constructed of bricks seem to be the norm in many places but not in the Pacific Northwest; we’re a bunch of tree farmers and that means homes are made of wood and streets are paved with asphalt. Bricks, for whatever reason are expensive and rarely used for anything other than an accent trim on our homes. Why is that I wonder?
I arrived in North Platte mid-morning ready to visit the North Platte Canteen or whatever was left of it. Not knowing where it was located I popped into the main library and soon had two elderly ladies busy bringing me up to date on it. They told me its building had been torn down more than 20 years ago as it was on railroad property and no one had wanted to save it as a landmark. How sad that is but at least many of the original fixtures were saved and are now part of a diorama depicting the canteen as it was in the 40’s during WWII. Located in the Lincoln County Historical Museum, it shares space with hundreds of artifacts garnered from all over the area ranging from arrowhead collections to automobiles, farm equipment, livestock dioramas, restored homes, cabins, barns, a church, one-room school house, barber shop; even a railroad station complete with caboose. All of this took most of my morning to see but it was worth it, especially the Canteen.
After a quick lunch at Burger King (groan) I set out for my next destination, Lusk, Wyoming. I chose Lusk because it’s located on highway 20 allows me to ride at a bit more leisurely pace. Today’s afternoon ride was mainly on US 80 with its 75mph speed limit. As you might expect most travelers up the ante by 5-10mph and after a hundred miles at that rate I was more than ready for a slower pace. Highway 385 runs north from Sydney through Bridgeport to Alliance and the reduced speed limit of 65mph was a welcome change. The traffic volume on 385 also fell way off which made for a much more relaxing ride.
I stopped for photos in a couple of places, one a grain elevator system and a few miles after that I noticed the sky to the west had turned an ugly black. I pulled off the road to watch the cloud activity in the distance and it looked like there might be tornado funnels beginning to form. Just what I need I thought and since there was nowhere for me to hole up I scooted out of there in a big hurry. With a total disregard for the posted speed limit I might add, and in another hour I was well beyond the nastier looking thunderheads. Rain had started to fall in a couple of places but when I looked directly up I could see I was on the outer fringe of the clouds so I rode on without stopping to put Big Red on. Besides it was too damn hot and I’d rather be wet from a little rain than sweltering inside the suit.
BTW, if you look directly up while traveling 80mph on a motorcycle your butt sends weird messages to your brain. Sort of the same thing as hanging partially out of a 6th story window; very strange how that works. But I digress; this may be more observational material than you wish to know so I’ll move on.
The miles passed quickly and I arrived in Alliance where I decided to spend the night. Another Days Inn with a Chinese Buffet place within two blocks fulfilled my basic requirements making me a happy camper. Once again I’m stuffed to the gizzard with Chinese grub and feeling bloated. I wonder how much adjustment is left in Big Red’s waist line…