I was however very saddened to find my little companion the bird unable to wake up. He had tagged along with me for a couple hundred miles while I did everything possible to not just feed him and provide the basics but to make him as comfortable as possible. For the voyage I made him a bed fashioned out of a shallow bucket lined with a cottony bed of my socks and underwear which were topped with several layers of toilet paper so if he pooped it wouldn't soil my clothes. On top of that bedding I covered him loosely with another layer of fabric so that cold wouldn't get in. I would place this bucket in the middle of the trailer with the rest of the stuff all around so that the wind and cold would not reach. While I pedaled in misery, I thought, at least the little guy was comfy. At night I fed him as much milk and crackers (and the occasional bit of meat for protein) as he chirped for.
But last night there was no chirping and it seemed he struggled to draw breath. I force fed him some milk which only made his breathing more labored. I placed him back in his bucket and hoped he would have a good night's sleep. He's going to be sleeping from now on.
After checking around a little I wound up at a Best Western and was surprised they had a rate of $50 a night so I decided to give myself the treat of two nights' stay while Nebraska could wind itself out on the plains during my absence. During the weekend I spent a good deal of time patching the tires and letting my leg muscles recover as much as they could.
Monday morning came and it was time to get back to work. After a free breakfast of orange juice and a couple of bagels from the lobby I set out biking. The wind was unfortunately still blowing directly southeast onto my northwest route but the strength of their push had diminished to a more manageable 10mph. It's not too bad to bike into this kind of wind. I averaged only 7mph myself for the first three hours but at least I still had good shoulders and easy grades sloping ever so imperceptibly upwards.
By early afternoon I made it to Lewellen where I had a lunch of fried fish and a couple of baked potatoes (to change from the usual burger). The couple ahead of my table engaged me in conversation and told me that Oshkosh was the last place to find a motel before making it to the Scottsbluff area. I thanked them and at that point knew I didn't have much biking stamina left in me so would be happy to make it to Oshkosh for the night. By the time I wrapped up with lunch the winds had died down enough that I could bike at a more normal 10mph pace and the temps were now in the 60's. It was a near perfect riding day but I didn't feel like taking the risk in making a mad dash for Scottsbluff which was still over 50 miles further. Earlier in the day I got another flat because of the pesky thorns endemic to this region and it took me at least a half hour to get back on the road.
So I arrived in Oshkosh at a little past three and signed in for a room at the local motel. I'm hoping for winds to behave tomorrow and for the thorns to stay out of my way.