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ADT JOURNAL: CHAPTER 43
This chapter was written and sent on the internet from the Kearney Public Library.
April 26, Sunday
35.4 miles, 10.8 mph, 3 hrs 14 min, 349 total miles
April 27, Monday
Once on the trail, we were again often on gravel canal roads. The Tri County Canal is growing to 30 to 40 feet across and large enough to have rapids. It attracts many ducks and waterfowl. To the south, irregular sand hills abruptly rise from the valley. With the nearest town five miles away, we stopped at a nearby farmhouse to ask permission to camp. To our delight, they invited us in for the night. Cheri, a state police trooper, had to leave for work so her kids, age 12, 16, and 19, plus a three year old grandson kept us entertained, made us dinner, and made us feel welcome.
Brandon, age 12, showed us around the ranch and explained to us about branding day. Neighbors get together to help each other out and in 20 seconds they can do one calf which means: rope, brand, castrate, put medical injections up the calf's nose and in his ear. It has to be the worst 20 seconds in the calf's life, but at least its over fast. Cheri's husband, Don, came in from planting corn around 8 pm. He explained how many ranchers have trouble with their cattle being rustled. Some auction houses in eastern Nebraska take cattle without checking the brands, which is a sore point with the ranchers. He went back out later than night for several more hours of corn planting by headlight. This is not an easy life!
41.5 miles, 10.6 mph, 3 hours 54 minutes, 391 miles total
April 28, Tuesday
35 miles, 10.3 mph, 3 hours 23 minutes, 426 miles total
April 29, Wednesday
At a roadside ranch, in a corral, we saw a group of men who were up to something with some bulls. We asked if we could watch and they invited us into the corral. The ranch raises bulls and they had just sold six of them to other ranchers. Prior to taking delivery, they have to do a sperm check on each bull to assure they are virile and potent. They herded them into a single file pen and then a huge hydraulically driven clamping device locked in the first bull. One man took a large round object and installed in into the bull's rectum (with plenty of complaining by the bull). Then they turned on an electrical current, which stimulates the bull to ejaculate. Another guy catches the semen in a cuplike device and then checks a drop under a microscope. If the bull passes, he gets two more injections, a medicine is applied to his back, his ear tag gets cut off, and the brand of the buying rancher is burned into the bull's flank with an electrically heated iron. Believe me, the bull is not havng a fun time here, but the payoff is the many future years he gets to spend procreating with all his female friends. The things we learn on the American Discovery Trail!
After 46 miles of riding in the winds without a single store or gas station where we could take an inside break, we rode into Kearny, a large town of 25,000 people. We had failed to understand the long distance between services today and we had very little to eat for lunch, so we stopped at the first McDonald's and chowed down. Then, to a motel, then to the library to work on the journal, and then a later dinner.
46.3 miles, 10.6 mph, 4 hours 25 minutes, 473 miles total
© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1998, Lynchburg, VA.