Fremont was only the second time I set up the tent on this trip. I was tired of getting mosquito bit through the hammock. Fremont was the first time that I was fully hydrated. I know this because I had to get up in the morning to pee. The restaurant opened for breakfast at 8 so I got around, packed my gear, and got a shower before going over. It cost me a whole quarter to take a shower (hint to all travelers: carry quarters).
I was not the first to arrive at the restaurant. It must be a usual occurence for the man with the key to arrive when he got around to it. I sat there with an older man, his wife, and their son. They asked me all of the usual questions regarding my sanity and how my mother felt about it all. He was a New Yorker and from what I gather from movies and stereotypes they are blunt, and that he was. Nice, but blunt. Everyone in that place new his name and everyone seemed to like him. I talked more with his son, but for some reason he made the bigger impression.
Breakfast was a stack of pancakes and hashbrown, the kind you get from McDonald’s. This got me checking the map for the closest Waffle House for a real hashbrown and also breakfast burritos. It has only been three weeks but I miss my little pancakes on Saturday.
The ride to Columbus was straight west. It took me no time to get there, and I felt great the whole time. I am pretty sure it was being fully hydrated, or maybe had something to do with the having the wind at my back. Regardless, I got there fast. I stopped at a Walmart and picked up some velcro straps, a new tire, and some carabiners. I thought I would try hanging the tent from the handlebars. Not sure if I like it yet, but it does take some weight off of the back.
Lunch that day was a veggie burger and onion rings from Burger King. I have all but given up the idea of $5/day. It is way more expensive, but I am a lot happier. I sat in the Burger King to finish a blog post and drank I don’t know how many glasses of tea and water and powerade and lemonade. From there I found a local park to rest, charge the devices, and try to attach the tent.
I was welcomed to the park by the local…not really sure, but he lived around there monitored everything that went on. A construction crew was there installing a metal cell tower that resembled a tree. He was there watching them. He talked to me for an hour as I messed with the gear. Nice fella, but I needed some peace and alone time. I asked him for food recommendations and he said go to Hy-Vee, Nebraska’s version of whole foods except without the overpriced health food. There I got an all you can eat salad bar, which I returned for a plate of rice and veggies from the wok. The guys behind the counter were nice and we got along fine. I’m pretty sure the girl appreciated my riding shorts. Maybe 800 miles has done something.
There were a couple of parks in town, but Pawnee Park was the biggest and easiest to find a place not to be seen. It also had a water park. I didn’t go in, but stood outside the fence like a creeper. Unlike a creeper, I was admiring all of that cold water and wishing I was in it. I found a large pavilion with electricity, water, and a bathroom nearby. It was still early when I got there and it was packed with families. One group of kids were playing soccer and I wanted to join them, but everytime one of the kids would wander close to a stranger, the whole pack would come running and yelling, “it isn’t safe, strangers!” I then wanted to find there parents and, well I’m not sure what I would say to them. Those kids were intense.
Everyone started leaving the park around 10, but it didn’t close until midnight. I am always a bit jumpy when camping in a public place. Not because of crime or “strangers”, but of getting kicked out. It hasn’t happened yet, and I hope it never does. After setting up the tent and checking to make sure it couldn’t be seen from the road, I layed down. I got nervous everytime a car would come by. They didn’t just come by, but they would stop and sit right in front of my pavilion. One even pulled in and had his lights shining on me. I’m fairly certain he couldn’t see me, but still. All of this ended around 1 and I was able to get some sleep.