Day 11 – Historic Oregon Trail by Bicycle

April 16, 2022

Kearney to Kearney, Nebraska

Miles/total: 6/354

Weather: 28-57 degrees, Wind NNE 13 mph


We spent the day exploring Kearney by bike and on foot. We started by riding the BIke/Hike trail out to the University of Nebraska, Kearney. The trail is an amazing facility for walkers, runners and bicyclists. It allows alternative forms of transportation to travel on a beautiful multi-use path from southeast of the city to the northwest. The trail pretty much follows the Platte River and then its tributaries through the city.

We also spent time in old downtown Kearney, which has lots of little shops, restaurants, and of course, breweries. We had a beer and lunch at Thunderhead Brewery. The beer and lunch were very good. After lunch we checked out the downtown shops and then stopped for another beer at Platt Valley Brewery. I definitely enjoyed their Peanut Butter Stout. Peter liked the Scotch Ale.

We bicycled a bit of the Lincoln Highway today too. It was the first paved coast to coast roadway in the United States – even before Route 66. It ran from New York to San Francisco. From Kearney it heads west towards Cheyenne, Wyoming.

As you have probably figured out, this trip has been a tough one for us, mainly due to the extreme weather conditions. Physically and mentally, Peter and I have been doing really well. Road conditions have been good and Kansas and Nebraska drivers have been amazingly considerate. Unfortunately, the nasty head and cross winds have been taking their toll. We have only traveled 350 miles in ten days, and feel like we have been off the bike more than on. (Normally we would have ridden 540-675 miles in the same amount of time, with only one day off the bike.) Ouch!

After lots of conversation, checking our route, and weather predictions for the next 7-10 days, we have decided to end the trip early. We have been thinking about this for several days, and even checked into renting a U-Haul van/truck in Hastings. None were available. It appears they don’t do one way rentals because the trucks are hard to get these days. So, with no other options, we decide to continue 60 more miles west to Kearney. We thought this would give us time to think more about ending the trip and check the weather, a few more times. Kearney had a few more U-Haul providers and we thought we would have a better chance to find a vehicle to rent to head back to Topeka if needed. Unfortunately, we had to wait two more days in Hastings for the weather to change (wind to shift) so we could possibly/safely make it to Kearney. (The windchill was 16 degrees when we left Hastings, yesterday.)

We were able to locate a ten foot U—Haul truck this morning and picked it up, by bicycle, early this afternoon. We will pack up the rest of our supplies and head back to Topeka, Kansas tomorrow, Easter morning. Although we are disappointed to end our journey early, we feel this is a good choice. We are proud that we were able to ride in some really challenging winds and temperatures. I am also excited we were able to pick off one more state – Nevada. Colorado and Wyoming will have to wait for another day!!

We greatly appreciated all the comments and support we have received on this trip. Your support was so motivating and truly kept us moving. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Monday and Tuesday we will be driving back to Wisconsin. We look forward to seeing some of you again soon.

About Tracy and Peter Flucke

We inspire people to explore the world by bike and foot through our cross-country bicycle adventures, and our book, “Coast to Coast on a Tandem.” This blog details our past trips and provides updates on our current adventure. Enjoy the ride! Tracy and Peter Flucke

7 responses to “Day 11 – Historic Oregon Trail by Bicycle”

  1. daleshu says :

    Good decision. You don’t wanna be that guy!

  2. Judy Schroeder says :

    I enjoyed your post but again better safe than sorry in regards to ending your trip
    It has been wicked in Ashwaubenon as well very windy and cold brrrrrr
    A lot or rain and even hail crazy weather
    Happy Easter Tracy and Peter
    At least the Beer was good!
    Have a safe return!

  3. Ruth says :

    Mom and Rod know you made the right decision albeit a difficult&incomplete ride!
    There will be many new opportunities coming your way and in the future there are many successful rides to be ridden.
    As you ride into the future please remember how much we appreciate and love you both and how glad we can follow along!
    You have more great stories to tell and share!

  4. Mom says :

    Thinking of you today! Is the Big Box truck picking up the wind? In a few days the car in your garage will look particularly good!

  5. John Trester says :

    Good for you guys. It takes a lot of smarts to know when to cut your losses. A truly Valiant attempt. Bravo, Bravo, Bravissimo!

  6. Vickie says :

    This was interesting to follow your trip. I live in Wisconsin but am originally from Kansas. Im sorry you had weather problems. I

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