Nebraska: Nicest People, Nastiest Roads

On Monday September 1st we traveled through a cold rain (our first day of rain) from Casper to Lusk, Wyoming.  The chilly temps were compounded by wind- but it was finally a tail wind! (at least for the first half of the day)

Pearson and Pete rode mountain bikes for 20 miles on an unpaved gravel road (Tank Farm Road) to avoid the interstate. 

Pearson & Pete off-roading on Tank Farm Road in Wyoming (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Pearson & Pete off-roading on Tank Farm Road in Wyoming (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Just as they turned onto Tank Farm Road Pearson got a flat tire (#9 for those who are counting).  And halfway through the dirt ride Pete was charged by a cow.

Pearson with another flat rear tire (Photo by Julia Wrona)

Pearson with another flat rear tire (Photo by Julia Wrona)

We stopped in Douglas, WY to warm up, eat and wish the rain away (which worked for a while).  P&P made 101 miles (after the long 137 mile day to Casper!) but had to stop 10 miles outside of Lusk because it was too dark to continue. 


On Tuesday September 2nd we began again 10 miles west of Lusk and traveled across the Nebraska border to Chadron, NE. 

Julia filming Pearson & Pete riding into Nebraska. (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Julia filming Pearson & Pete riding into Nebraska. (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

As soon as we crossed the border we were greeted by friendly people: waves from drivers, smiles from strangers and people chatting with us every time we stopped.

We found great hospitality and excitement about our project from Annette and her family at the Bunk House Motel.  She even called the local media for us.  Check out the article from the Chadron Record.

On Wednesday Sept 3rd Meghan, Pearson and I took the day and drove up to South Dakota to briefly explore the Badlands and see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  We had a great time and can’t wait to return to spend more time in the Badlands.

Julia & Pearson in Badlands (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Julia & Pearson in Badlands (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

On Thursday Sept 4th we found a big itinerary snafu.  Chadron to Valentine was listed as a long, but manageable 109 miles, but was actually 139 miles.  To make the day longer and more painful there are large cracks across the road- sometimes unfilled, sometimes covered with loose gravel- every 100th of a mile.  The unrelenting road condition did quite a number on P&P’s wrists, arms and saddles and really hurt Pearson’s back and knee.

Gravel covered cracks on Route 20 in Nebraska (Photo by Julia Wrona)

Gravel covered cracks on Route 20 in Nebraska (Photo by Julia Wrona)

When we arrived in Valentine late in the evening (after crossing into Central Time) we met Howard the super nice and hospitable owner of the Motel Raine who very generously put us up for free!


Somehow Pearson and Pete got up on Friday September 5th and rode 115 miles (which makes 564 miles in 5 days of cycling) to O’Neill, Nebraska. 


Late in the afternoon we passed the halfway point of the country/ trip: Stuart, Nebraska.  We stopped and had a champagne celebration which was bittersweet because while it’s great to make progress, we don’t want to see the trip end.

Pearson & Pete Toasting at Halfway (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Pearson & Pete toasting the halfway mark (Photo by Meghan Sheridan)

Meghan, Julia, Pearson & Pete celebrating halfway!

Meghan, Julia, Pearson & Pete celebrating halfway!

Today we’re traveling to Randolph, Nebraska and unfortunately it will be our last night in Nebraska.  The people here have been so friendly and hospitable and we can’t wait to return and spend more time!

Thank you to everyone for your comments and support!

Best, Julia


10 Responses to “Nebraska: Nicest People, Nastiest Roads”

  1. Papa & Nana says:


    Happy Birthday! There’ll be a surprise (belated) waiting for you when you get home.

    To all: We’re so proud of you! Keep pluggin’ away. Hope to see you in Hamburg, NY.

    Love to all,

    Papa & Nana

  2. Elyse says:

    Happy Birthday Julie!!! And Congratulations to everyone on making it to the half way point!

  3. Yoma says:

    Bonne anniversaire et tous de mon amour ma chere douce!!

    Pearson, Pete, Meghan:
    Congrats on the half-way point and may the rest of the adventure unfold as smoothly!

  4. L and K says:

    Hi all,
    Being from the midwest, it is good to hear that you are being treated well! I’ve heard many times that the midwest has the friendliest people. You still have a few more states in the midwest, so hopefully the hospitality will continue throughout.

    Congratulations on reaching the halfway point!! That is great!!

    Pete, the Syracuse football team is currently losing badly and your friend here is quite upset!


  5. Geoffrey Carlson says:

    Happy Birthday, Julia!!! And congratulations to all of you for reaching the halfway point! Jennifer & I just had a couple of Vanilla Mudslides to celebrate the two occasions. I’m glad you had a chance to make a side trip to the Badlands, and I’m glad the people in Nebraska have been good to you. My bicycling experience in Nebraska was similar, but with me it was more like the nicest people and the nastiest thunderstorms and headwinds. I’m sorry you had to deal with such bad road conditions. I wish I could say things will improve soon, but I’m afraid you’ll have to deal with gravel shoulders all the way across Iowa. If it’s any consolation, the people in Iowa are very nice. Anyway, hang in there – the road quality will improve once you get to Illinois. Take care and good luck with the ride across Iowa, and I look forward to seeing you in New York State in a few weeks!
    Best wishes, Geoffrey

  6. Erin says:

    Ooooh, I LOVE it when you boys put those tights on!! 🙂 Great photos of the half-way mark, thanks so much for sharing!
    See you all on Sunday in CHICAGO!!
    Travel safe!

  7. AM & Pete Milicich says:

    We are watching you all of the way. You all are so inspiring and amazing. I have tears as I read and look at the pictures. We continue to have you in our thoughts always. Be safe.

  8. Karen Hartman says:

    Hi, Pete & all!
    I still shudder at the thought of being on a bike seat for a trip across the country. Erin is stopping in to see “the Lauras” of the midwest before meeting up with you in Chicago. I’ve been practicing the musical instrument Pete so graciously left for me in Maine…… I just about have the theme from the Olympics down and thought it might be appropriate for your entry into the final leg of your trip! What do you think? Chicago may be just a bit more congested than Iowa and Nebraska… be safe! Not sure if I’ll catch you in person in Chicago or not, but we’re looking forward to meeting all of you at the big wedding in NY! Can’t wait! Congrats on being 1/2 way through the trip. Quite an accomplishment!
    (Erin’s aunt from Wisconsin!… Laura’s sister!)

  9. Kevin says:

    Pearson & Julia,

    I, too, am happy that “my people” are treating you well. Nebraska was definitely a better choice than Kansas though, believe me 😉 Thomas is out west with Y33BA, giving Jeremiah a hard time and getting himself into the kind of trouble we all rely on him for. I’ve been working too much, but finding lots of time for music and thinking. I’ll have lots for you to listen to, P, when you get back. You’ll be happy to know I used “the shredder” on my new record. Thanks to you for that. You are both doing such a noble, brave thing. Please know that when I have time to breathe and feel, I remember what you are doing and am emboldened by it. Looking forward to the rest of your journey, K.

  10. Agent Orange and Family says:

    Congrats to you all and making the halfway mark, which by now, you’re beyond. It truly is an astonishing thing that you are doing. I hope you know that I feel that way. We miss you guys, and we’ll see you in a couple weeks. Perhaps I could treat you to the finest at the Tusk? Keep going boys. It’s momumental.