Posted by: twistsoffeet | July 21, 2011

The Irish Capitol of Nebraska ?


I rode further today than I wanted or intended but things happen and I really had no choice. After rising early and packing things and filling my water bottles and getting my fill of water before I started my ride I hit the road at about 07:00. It was later than I really wanted to get started but I just refused to rush myself.
I started riding on the Cowboy Trail but after about 5 miles a bridge was out and I had to detour too the highway. I was actually glad because the trail is rough overgrown with weeds and since it is made of crushed limestone it is frequently soft and always difficult to ride on.
Out on the highway I had a nice smooth paved surface about 4 feet wide with a rumble strip between me and the traffic. Asphalt gets very hot riding on days like today but since there is less effort involved in pedaling it is still the best way to ride. I made it 8 miles to the first town and went inside a little convenience store to take advantage of the air-conditioning and ask questions about what was ahead of me. I honestly didn’t stay long because the owner was a pretty sour individual even if he did give me a banana when I came up a few cents short on buying it.
I hit the road again thinking I would ride another 10 miles to Inman and camp there but as usual the best laid plans of mice and… well you get the Idea. I made it to Inman which was a town of only 148 people and no park or much of anything else either. So off I pedaled on towards O’Neill knowing it was big enough to have a park or anything else I need such as fresh water. Along the way I stopped in some shade at the side of the road with only 7 miles to go and rested. When I decided to ride again I discovered a large thorn in my tire and a flat tire on the front of my bike. I fixed the flat and started off again. By this time it was in the mid 90’s and humid and just not pleasant for riding. It became a struggle to ride those last 7 miles, but I made it.
I went into a Cubbies convenience store and filled my water bottles after asking directions to a park where I could camp. Then I stayed there and enjoyed the air-conditioning before riding over to the park. When I arrived at the park I discovered it was not a bad place, maybe a bit sunny but not bad. The park had a tent camping area separate from the RV camping area which I greatly appreciate. It also has showers which I also really appreciate. I checked to see if fees are charged and they are not until after 3 days but they do appreciate donations.
So where does this Irish Capitol of Nebraska come in? Apparently back in the 1860’s there was a U.S. Army General named O’Neill who left the army in 1864. He was a member of an American Irish group who was fighting to throw Britain out of Ireland, what’s new there? Anyway this general was in Nebraska and knew that many Irish were coming to America and getting stuck in the large east coast cities so he decided to bring large numbers of these immigrants to Nebraska to help settle the area. He eventually fell out of favor with both the U.S. Army and this group of Irish freedom fighters but still brought 3 large groups of immigrants to O’Neill and Nebraska to settle. By bringing those settlers here it made the town large and powerful enough to become the county seat and the center of commerce in the area. He ended up dying 1 year after bringing his 3rd group out to Nebraska but the Irish were by then firmly entrenched and thus this town is now the Irish Capitol of Nebraska.
Now wasn’t everybody just dying to get this little history lesson today? See I actually pay attention to what is going on around me while I am riding.
This is going to have to do it for today because my Arthritis is back in full force and with renewed vigor. My whole body hurts so I am going to go take a nice hot shower and then a cold shower if possible.

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