|Passing the 100th Meridian in Cozad|
A tasty bacon and cheese omelet courtesy of Kathy brightened my morning. My excitement was tempered as the moment of goodbye grew near. The journey would be a whole lot less grueling physically and psychologically if there were more trail angels like the Fowlers, but their rarity does allow me to appreciate them all the more.
I shan't grouse further or even talk in much detail about that species of bird, which ambushed me only a couple of miles past the lake. The trail dragged me on as usual, lollygagging, dilly-dallying, and tomfoolery will never get me to the Pacific and they would have gotten me a demerit in Ms. Draw's first grade class.
Thirteen miles in I parted company with the American Discovery Trail. Those who kept up with my travels last year will wonder what took me so long. We will be apart for a few days as I seek exposure in the towns along Highway 30. People seem to be more receptive to the Wounded Warrior Project than the farm animals who make up the majority of the population on the ADT route south of the Platte.
I am still tracing the path of the pioneers. Many wagon trains forded the Platte here and to the west. The river splits into two channels and sometimes more here, resulting in a shallower depth to wade through. In fact, had I not chosen the drier bridge option I would have been unlikely to dampen my knees. The reservoirs and canals which irrigate the surrounding area have sucked much of the volume away.
I should relate one other event which happened shortly before I reached the Platte. As I walked on Highway 21 a truck pulled up a hundred yards ahead. The driver dropped a bag on the ground, hopped back in, and drove away. When I reached the spot I found a Whopper value meal from Burger King. I had become the willing victim of a random act of kindness.
Upon crossing to the north bank of the river I entered Cozad. At Meridian Street I reached the 100th meridian. I have now traveled 25 degrees of the earth's surface since Delaware. If everyone could donate one million dollars for each degree I have trod I could reach my fund-raising goal by yesterday.
Cozad's other claim to fame is the painter Robert Henri of the (tr)ashcan school of art. His original last name is actually Cozad - his parents founded the town in 1871 after leaving Cozaddale, Ohio. Clearly in love with himself, Robert's father John was not as fond of fellow rancher Alfred Pearson, whom he shot and killed. Things got hot and John took off for Denver. Henri sounded a lot better, than son of the murderer, so the young painter changed his name, along with other family members. The young town, on the other hand, chose to stick it out as Cozad. If you'd like to see what kind of art resulted from this insane background check out some of Henri's work at the site for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
My original plan was to visit an Italian restaurant here recommended by the Fowlers. The late lunch I was gifted, combined with a later trip to Dairy Queen to combat the 90 degree heat left me without further appetite. I retired to Muny Park on the west side of town for a quiet night - and I actually got one.
18 miles/2139 total miles