Stage 42: Ainsworth to Stuart, NE, 40.55 miles

Yesterday we passed a sign that said ‘Middle of Nowhere: Johnstown, Ainsworth’. So today we were on the edge of the middle of nowhere – Stuart, NE. The one restaurant in town is only open on Wednesdays (important if you’re visiting on a Tuesday) and so we went to one of the two (yes two) gas stations in town where they actually made a pretty good pizza. We drove round the town after dinner – in the 3 minute tour I was once again grateful for growing up where I did; Nebraska makes Sale look like a cosmopolitan metropolis and hive of activity.

Today the first twenty miles were a chore. All I wanted to do was go back to bed, I felt tired and a bit grumpy. Though Sean was having an even worse morning – about 20 metres after the start he had to go back and have his knee strapped; later on we heard he’d walked all day and made it to mile 18. We’ll have to see tomorrow if he catches up with us on his bike or carries on jogging. The morning was really cloudy and fairly cool but a little muggy. Mike and I felt better after mile 20 and I had a good run until about mile 35 when my right calf started to hurt – at the base. After some pills and a walk I was able to jog it in – and we finished right by our motel. Mike jogged with me – saying that Stuart’s not exactly the place you feel you need to arrive at early to make the most of!

We saw a range of wildlife on the Cowboy Trail today – including a few actual Cowboys herding their bulls. There were lizards, geckos, a tortoise, toads (one of which Mike narrowly missed treading on!), deer and a cat which looked like a skunk from distance and I got excited about then disappointed. There were also eagles, possibly. And bugs, lots of bugs. Nebraska is known as the ‘Cornhusker State’ and we’re certainly seeing a lot of corn, though the summer’s been dry so unless it’s well watered it wasn’t ‘knee-high by the 4th of July’!

[I had no WiFi yesterday in Stuart so posting this a day later, that’s Nebraska for you – cattle and corn don’t need WiFi!]

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