Day 44 – Adventures in Lumpyland

Valentine to South Sioux City NB – 29th July 2021

The motel last night was good and I forgot to mention there is a pool, jacuzzi and sauna. I did get ready and go down there only to find it was overtaken by what seemed to be two very large families. I see that the jacuzzi is full of children with rubber rings and a ball so not bothering to go in there! I did have a short swim, but when two of the men start playing frisbee across the pool I give up and go back to my room; I prefer to have a relaxing swim not be caught up in the middle of a macho competition.

Anyway, this morning is much cooler and I am heading eastwards again towards South Sioux City just on the Stateline with Iowa. Given that the landscape yesterday was pretty empty I am not expecting to see anything of particular note so have already secured my accommodation for tonight at another motel.

As it happens this is clearly the more ‘populated’ side of Nebraska… in fact I am passing through lots of small towns surrounded buy huge cattle ranches. Like Johnstown, a small very ‘one horse’ town, this store even has horse hitching rails still outside

The next largish place is Ainsworth, a very attractive town. I see the old style gas station, still operating, a masonic hall (wouldn’t have thought it was big enough to have a large masonic ‘community’), and a very quirky display at the side of the road that is just a real example of typical Americana

Still on the Historic 20 and into Bassett

another ‘route 66ish’ petrol station. I stop here to post a small parcel of knick-knacks home

Then on to Stuart and Atkinson

But the next town is extra special…

I didn’t know that Nebraska has such a large Irish community… very interesting. The O’Neill’s are a very old family in Ireland and it was indeed Hugh Dubh O’Neill who famously resisted the English invasion led by Oliver Cromwell

The landscape is totally different to yesterday in the Badlands, this is really green and strangely lumpy

Really quite lovely.. and the road goes on

and on

passing through

Riding along in the middle of absolutely nowhere and I just have to turn around to capture this

Horrible and slightly shocking… I say slightly as I have seen many hoardings and other signage supporting Pro-life and anti-abortion in the last few states. There is a group called the Knights of Columbus who seem to be sponsoring/promoting this.

Soon after, heading for the Sioux City Harley dealership called Roosters, I cross over a bridge into Iowa… so Nice ta see ya Nebraska, IO AYO Iowa. I go in to get my poker chip and am engaged in conversation by one of the staff. He’s ex-US military and was based in the UK for a time. Amongst other things including the beer, he tells me how he was sent over to Ireland to help eliminate the terrorists, he even asks me if I know about the IRA, I mean seriously… I don’t rise to it, but, although I don’t believe in violence as a means of resolving issues, my only comments would have been; one persons ‘terrorist’ is anothers ‘freedom fighter’ and how would Americans react to a foreign invader annexing part of their country? Not well I suspect given the super patriotism over here. I really find it difficult to get away from him as he just talks constantly… eventually I am able to make my excuses and get back on the bike.. whew!!

After the dealership I am then re-rerouted back across the same bridge into Nebraska… weirdly Sioux City is in Iowa but South Sioux City, where I am staying, is in Nebraska… how odd.

The motel is good and I get a great vibe from the manager, she is actually from Liverpool originally, so I decide to book an extra night; I need a rest after all that emptiness and excessive heat.

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