Crossing half the Country

We left Madison on Tuesday morning – the car so filled with necessities that we couldn’t see out of the back window. We have our bicycles on the back on a Saris rack and we wound up stopping to make sure they were secure. They were – but they bounced so much that I kept having horrible images of one of them flying off and causing an accident along the way.

The southern route – 80 all the way across – is my least favorite way to get here to Boulder. I love the northern route. Beyond Minneapolis the road opens up, the sky changes shape and things begin to feel distinctly western. The southern route, through Iowa and Nebraska has its beauties as long as you are still in Iowa but oh my – Nebraska is a big, flat, tedious state. Two things happened though – so what it lacks in geographical beauty it might make up for in the kindness of stangers.

Thos bikes … kept bouncing along and though we checked them frequently there was a point when I swore I saw a big shift and thought I could see my entire bicycle sticking out on the passenger side of the car. We took the next exit and stopped along the highway to figure something out. A young man in a pick up pulled onto the exit, stopped about 50 yards away and casually strolled up to us asking if we needed help. “I’ve got socket wrenches in my truck if you need them.” We told him we were alright and he responded, “Didn’t want you to be out here any longer than you needed to be.” Okay, how sweet was that? We did figure out that if we put my bicycle on first – the heavier one, things would balance better and be more stable. Problem solved – no harm done.

We got to Kearney, Nebraska and stopped for gas. As we pulled out of the gas station our break light went on. On occasion if you use the emergency break you have to jiggle it a little to make sure it’s undone. No amount of jiggling worked this time.

It’s good to understand my disaster mentality before I continue. I do, under stress tend to go to the worst case scenario. It drives R. mad but first generation immigrant daughter of war survivors – well you perhaps get the picture. Anyway, I immediately begin to think of the disaster this could be in terms of getting to our hotel, me to the conference, etc., etc., etc. R is hunkering down for the hail of invective he is sure will begin.

BUT instead of losing it, I went into the gas station to ask if they knew of a service station that might help us. A woman eating the biggest baked potatoe I have ever seen, thought for a moment and asked, “What kind of car do you have?” She thought for a moment and gave me directions (11th street and make a right) to Precision Imports. We got there without running over anything and a white haired, bearded man about our age, told us that when “the guys” got back from lunch they would take a look at it. We sat around in the service station office – not a female draped car or tool calendar in sight – and talked with him about his motorcycle rides around the country with his friends. I picked up the last 39 stitches on R’s sweater that has been in process for four years – and enjoyed listening to the stories. The guys (turned out to be his sons) took a look and found that the set screw on the break we had replaced on Monday hadn’t been tightened and we’d been losing break fluid across the country.
They tightened the screw, replaced the break fluid and voila! we were on our way.
My conclusion – while the landscape leaves something to be desired, the people are pretty spectacular.

The conference … was interesting. I became a Rolfer because I saw how Rolfers interacted with the world, how they managed to make life for people better and I liked that. Though I have to say, how they interact with each other can be a little … confusing.

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