A Monologue with the Æther

A Bicycle Odyssey

Day Fifty-one: Saturday 18 August 1990

Ogallala, NE

A rest day because I am waiting for the post office to open to retrieve a package with AAA maps from a friend in San Francisco.

I go across the street from the motel that I am staying in to a dinner for breakfast. There is another guy about my age sitting a few seats down from me at the counter. I’ve already ordered a short stack of pancakes with bacon. The waitress asks him what he’d like for breakfast. He’s wearing a Columbia sweatshirt. He asks for bagel and cream cheese. The waitress without missing a beat responds, “how about English muffin with butter?” In 1990, we’re probably at least 500 miles or so from the nearest bagel.

After breakfast, I find a laundromat, then, the post office. Hanging out that day at the motel, I have a conversation with the owner/manager. He and his wife came out from Maine in the late 1970s and bought the motel and semi-retired. The owner told me that despite being from Maine, he didn’t know what winter was until he moved to Ogallala. He said that the first winter the snow drifted to the second story roof of his motel.

I have yet to enter the Mountain West. Snow is not unknown in early August, and it is the middle of August.