Tom from Ft Collins, CO on 11/1/2021 5:21:38 PM:
From Oct,19 to Oct,23 five older guys rode the trail from Valentine to Norfolk. The weather was quite cold to start the days but warmed up as we rode. We stopped in at the L Bow Room as recommended on this forum, it is a fine place for a rest between Valentine and Ainsworth the first day, very friendly people and interesting story on this place. The scenery on that first section is really something special if you think Nebraska is all flat prairie. I used the info on this site to select hotels and restaurants along the way and found the information very helpful. The second day was cold and rainy so we went just to Bassett. That turned out to be a fortunate change of plan since it allowed us to stay at the Bassett Lodge. This is a real piece of mid fifties history, really interesting if you like seeing how things were then. Again the people were super friendly at both the lodge and the Range Cafe. Stayed next in O'Neill and ate a very good Mexican food meal at the Taco and Tequila restaurant. The next day on to Neligh and the Westhill Veiw hotel, again very nice and accommodating hosts, ate at the Imperial II, owned by the same group as the Taco and Tequila, again quite good. The last day on to Norfolk cold with a stiff wind in or face the whole day. All in all we were only able to average around 6-7 MPH on any of the days due to the weather and the trail condition. The trail has several areas where the maintenance seemed a bit behind with lots of vegetation coming through. The surface on 60 percent of the trail is a crushed stone that is not really compacted so the rolling resistance is quite severe. We all have pretty wide tires so that wasn't a problem and those of us with thorn resistant tires did not have much issue with the goat-head thorns. I hope the trial surface can be improved, more like the sections with crushed limestone, in my opinion that would make the trail a lot more enjoyable (I compare this with the more favorable Katy trail which I have ridden on). That said, this forum talked about the surface so I was aware of it and really got what I expected. In all it was a very fine but somewhat exhausting adventure. Really good to see parts of rural Nebraska I have not explored before. We used North Fork Outfitters to get us back to Valentine, they were prompt and efficient and very nice. We had a super celebratory dinner at the Peppermill. Good food and nice people.