A day of trains

Trip Start Mar 20, 2011
Trip End Jun 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Nebraska
Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Rawlins (Wyoming)to Cozad(Nebraska)

Today I planned to stay on interstate 80 and make a dash for Omaha which was well over 500 miles away, however that was not to be!!

After freezing to bits out on the road yesterday, I just could not get the heat back into my body. I went to bed freezing and woke up just as cold despite the having the heater on all night long.

I went outside to check the bike over and found it was just as cold as yesterday and a very strong Easterly wind was blowing. For the first time in months I was having to wear all my winter gear. Thermals, winter gloves, jacket liners, neck warmers the lot. It just seemed so strange that only a few days ago I was wearing short sleeved T shirts and throwing water over myself as I went just to try and stay cool, now its the complete opposite and the temp is just about down to freezing and I'm trying to stay warm!! What is going on with mother nature??

As I left the motel at 8am, my first job was to find somewhere to get some breakfast. With nowhere to be seen in town I headed onto highway 80 and headed East towards Chicago.

It was mighty cold and loads of snow was to be seen alongside the road and in the distant hills of Wyoming. I kept finding myself hugging onto the bike and trying to get as much heat from the engine as possible just to stay warm. About 100 miles down the road I saw a sign for "Wendy's" and decided its time for breakfast!!

Sure enough, a big breakfast was to be had with a massive cup of American coffee. It was wonderfully warm inside the restaurant but despite me being all dressed up in my winter bike gear I just could not get warm.

I left again in the cold but after a hour or so it seemed to have warmed up slightly and I was feeling much better. Either the temperature had risen or perhaps just giving my body some food might have been the answer!! Somehow I think the 2nd answer is more to the truth!!

The wind was sure mighty strong but the good thing was it was just about blowing in the same direction as I was travelling so I did not feel it too much. At times the highway would turn and head slightly north or South and it was then that I really would feel the wind. It was so strong that even the large trucks were having to slow right down on North or Southbound sections.

As I headed further East towards Nebraska on interstate 80 the sky ahead did not look good at all. One massive grey cloud and loads of lightning etc. I knew I was going to get soaked. Before it started I stopped at the side of the road and put on my rain gear and prepared myself for the worst.

Sure enough a mile or so down the road it started to rain but despite all the storm clouds etc it never came to much other than a bit of drizzle.

Now that the hot weather was gone so was my thirst for coke!! It was now coffee to warm myself up instead of the coke to cool down. My caffeine intake was way down on what it has been these last few weeks and by 3am today I was starting to feel rather tired and so stopped at one of the local service stations and parked up on the grass for a half hour snooze!! Its amazing what just half a hour sleep can do and soon after that I was wide awake and on my way again.

Being on the highway meant I was making good time and so I thought I will easily make my goal of Omaha today but that was until I saw a sign saying North Platte!! Somehow that name rang a bell in my head and looking back it was a place my friend David mentioned to me a few days ago and said it was not to be missed!!

I took the off ramp and took a drive into town and finally stopped on a bridge heading over a railway. One train after another was coming under the bridge but there was no sign of anything special. I took a road alongside the railway for a while and soon discovered the biggest rail yard I have ever seen in my life. The trains that were arriving were at least 2 miles long and must have consisted of about 200 very large wagons.

David had told me about a visitors centre and so I drove up to a office block where I asked two gentlemen for directions. It turned out these two chaps were train drivers and so we got chatting about our jobs as train drivers etc.

I then went up into the yard watch tower and could see the whole massive yard from the sky. It was just amazing. Seeing these massive trains moving along with what looked like 3 tiny locomotives (two at front and one at rear) on each is incredible!! Seeing them in the distance makes them look more like snakes in the desert!!

After my trip to the tower I headed off to a museum where I found even more steam locomotives. These were located inside a wonderful animal park and so of course I got delayed even further. Finally I headed off and headed up route 30 in search for somewhere to stay for the night. This road was much better for me as it ran right next to the railway with train after train coming past.

Being on the old route 30 I thought there would be many hotels and motels at the roadside but somehow I was wrong and so at each town I had to head back towards the highway and look for accommodation at the off ramps. These places were full of truckers and charged a fortune. One motel in Gothenburg wanted to charge me $130 just for a room!! No ways was I paying that just to have somewhere to sleep and so I pressed on and finally found a very nice room at the "Rodeway Inn" in Cozad.

For those interested, I got a text from Caroline (tour organizer) telling me that there is a story about our hijacking in Mexico in this weeks MCN (Motorcycle News) newspaper on page 34. Also for some reason since I entered Nebraska my mobile has stopped working and so now I am unable to make any contact with anyone!! Hopefully this is just a temporary problem!

And that's another day of my biking adventure. There is now less than 2000 miles to go until I reach my final destination of New York. I really am looking forward to a good rest as 17000 miles in 9 weeks is a lot of miles in any vehicle never mind a motorcycle. My body at first did not even mind in the slightest but now my upper back is starting to get rather painful. On the long winding mountain roads its not so bad as your controlling the bike and moving from side to side etc but on the highway one is simply sitting there in the same position for hour after hour and that in the long run seems to be harder work than on the winding roads. The other problem on the highway I find is the amount of wind noise from the higher speed. This is where ear plugs come in great!!

I'm hoping to reach Chicago by tomorrow evening but that we will just have to wait and see if I'm up to it or not!! With me having so many interests one simply does not know what I will find along the roads on my travels!!
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tom allan on

Hi again Ricky ,I hope your mobile is working again,is the battery ok.Glad to see you're making good progress and finding time to see the sights.Bon voyage mate as they say in France.Cheers,Tom

David Black on

Hi Rich, Glad you enjoyed Bailey Yard. US 30 is a great road for watching UP trains. Take care, enjoy the rest of your trip. David

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