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Archive for May, 2011

Pittsburg, KS to Hepler, KS

Friendly horn taps: 1

Miles: 28

Total so far: 2,001

The cattle here are a bit more social that we've encountered elsewhere. This cow told me I looked tired.

There is a building on the grounds of the city park in Pittsburg near where we camped last night.  As they will do, some birds nested in one of the ventilator areas of the building.  I could hear when the mother bird would bring food to the young ones as they would raise a fuss.  My guess is, the ones that are the strongest, making the most noise, and becoming the most active and aggressive — they are the ones that are fed first.

No explanation necessary

If I were in that nest this morning, I wouldn’t have the strength to make much noise.  I’d probably be that last one fed, if fed at all.  I was wiped out.  I felt better after we got on the road though.  My new found energy was probably related to knowing we did not have far to go; maybe it was the short few miles we went into Girard before we stopped to do laundry.  Maybe it was the easy pace for the short day ahead.

The Emmanuel Lutheran Church - the rear building was our hostel for the night

 

We’ve come to rest at a church.  The Emmanuel Lutheran Church, just east of Walnut, Kansas leaves it’s doors unlocked to their meeting hall for cyclists to come and stay.  There is a full service kitchen here (although it was stocked with food – we brought $50 worth of groceries), and sleeping in air conditioned comfort.  Just what I needed.

We’ll hit the road again tomorrow, but for today, I am resting (just as soon as I catch up my blog, my e-mail, my gear…)

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Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Lynne Marie Polette

Lynne Marie Polette

Lynne Marie Polette was a ray of sunshine, a shooting star.  It has been sixteen months since a drunk driver took her life and her boyfriend Jeremy McGavic’s.  She left two beautiful young children and a family that is healing but will never be the same.  I know she is still with us, I hear her infectious laughter and her love and peace fill us.

Shirley Kemper, Grandmother

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Kansas!

Ash Grove, Missouri to Pittsburg, Kansas
Friendly horn taps: 1
Miles: 72
Total so far: 1,973

Entering state number 7

We pushed into Kansas today with the second day of cross-wind from the south that was gusting up to 30 miles per hour. That makes for a long day, but we’ve made good progress.  This comes at some expense however, and we’ll shorten our day tomorrow and attempt to rest up some.

Turnback Creek in Dade County, MO

Even corn that’s only a foot high has to fight the wind

A Dog-faced Squatch?

At the end of the day we were invited into the community pool at Pittsburg, and were able to shower up, get some laundry done (washing laundry in a sink is a well practiced talent) and, oh yes – we went for a swim.
We are camped in the City Park for the night and looking forward to a little bit of a later start tomorrow.  I need it, as my morale is flagging.  Fatigue is a factor as I need some rest after three big mileage days (they might even say I’ve been grouchy around the camp).  Riding is simple, it takes desire, food and rest.  I’m a little short on the last two right now, but that’s all repairable.
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Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Calvin Miller, Jr.

Calvin Miller, Jr.

Calvin Miller Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee was killed by a drunk driver on June 30, 2010.  Calvin Jr. was a son brother, uncle and a good friend to many.

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Bridge out?

Hartville, MO to Ash Grove, MO

Friendly horn taps: 3

Miles: 75

Total so far: 1,901

How high is the hay? That's a full grown cow in the center of the shot laying down with her calf.

We got word there were three bridges out for scheduled replacement on our route today.  There are extensive detours involving a lot of miles (farm country is like that – there are roads around, but nothing close and no where near direct).  We saw a man at a convenience store and he said he’d driven for an hour and a half to get to Marshfield and said it’s usually twenty minutes for him.

We'd swim it if we had to

We also got a tip from another cyclist that bicycles can go through the repair area.  It’s Sunday, the crews would not be there, so we gave it a try.  Success!  They build temporary crossings in order to get material on the other side of the water, so it was a simple matter to walk the bikes across.

Bonus today — we had sunshine all day…and wind, but I’m not going to complain about wind — not where we are going.  Bad juju.

Memorial Day weekend -- the flags in Walnut Grove were not displayed for our arrival. They probably didn't get word.

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Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Sam Streeter

Sam Streeter

Sam Streeter loved to sing and have fun with his family and friends. He walked everywhere he went and he always made time to stop by his mother’s house for a cold bottle of water. His family meant the world to him.

On August 5, 2010, Sam was hit by an alleged drunk driver. Six days later he died as a result of his injuries. The criminal court case is ongoing, but the devastation felt by his family and friends is constant. His mother, Bessie and his step-father Cornelious, want nothing more than to hear that gentle knock on the door and Sam’s melodious voice once more.

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Eminence, MO to Hartville, MO

Friendly horn taps: 2

Rude honks: 3

Brush-back passing maneuvers: 3

Miles: 80

Total so far: 1,826

Sharing the road

We moved through the remaining steep hills of the Ozark Mountains today and left them behind.  Our map information says the following:  “The Ozark Range is considered to be one of the oldest in the world.  It is a moderately rugged series of deeply eroded hills, sculpted by the rivers and the wind.  The Ozarks are the only large area of of rugged topography found between the Appalachia and the Rocky mountains.”

Looking across the Ozarks towards the Jacks Fork River in Shannon County, MO

Running the east-west ridges of Wright County, MO

We now find ourselves in more rolling country, distinguished by a series of ridges that are unusually positioned to run east-west in their orientation.  This makes for good cycling as most of the roads we were on have been constructed on the ridge tops thereby reducing the number of hills.  It’s still hilly country, and my friends in Dallas in the cycling club (Greater Dallas Bicyclists) would have some colorful comments about what I am now considering a bit of relief .  The reality is we’ve been in fairly hilly country since Alabama, and experiencing a break in that is a relief.

Julie's order of catfish tonight - maybe we are a bad influence on her eating habits. Not to worry, the plate to the right is from the salad bar.

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Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Mathew Montenegro

Mathew Montenegro

Mathew was driving home at night when a drunk driver entered the highway in the wrong direction and struck Mathew’s car head on, killing him instantly. Mathew was only 26. He leaves behind a loving family; his parents, 4 sisters, a brother, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, a girlfriend and countless true friends.

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Centerville, MO to Eminence, MO

Rude honks: 3 (two from trucks)

Friendly horn taps: 3

Miles: 43

Total so far: 1,746

I love these old barns - there must be rich stories in each one of them

Missouri - your hills are so numerous and our bikes are so few...

Current River - part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Missouri.

I’ve encountered lots of connections to this state through the years, but riding for the last two days has awakened memories of three year old Joshua. It was 1986 and little Joshua was one of those fatal crashes that will stay with me the rest of my life. I’d worked quite a few before him, countless too many after, but that was one that stays with me. Maybe that’s the way it is with the kind of work state troopers, deputy sheriffs, city police, EMT’s and others perform. May be there’s at least one that stays with all of us. There are others, but none so vividly in place.

Joshua’s aunt called about a year and a half after the collision and asked if I remembered it. I couldn’t tell her then that it was one I’d never forget. Every detail.

Joshua was with his mother, Teresa on their way back to Missouri. They didn’t make it. I’d ordered lemon meringue pie that day at Little America outside of Green River on I-80. I didn’t get to finish that pie. Now I think that I’ve never ordered it since.

I remember details as though I am seeing it now. I can tell you exactly what Joshua was wearing. Those little things never seem to gray out in the fog of memory. Not that one. Little Joshua tried so hard to hang onto life, but it slipped away from him in my arms and I could not bring him back.

The next time you see a trooper, EMT,or law enforcement officer, you can ask about such things. They won’t tell you. They can’t. But it’s there. It’s part of who they become.

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Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Adam Hosinski and Rory Weichbrod

Adam Hosinski and Rory Weichbrod

In the early hours of October 10, 2010, in Rockville, Maryland, good friends Adam Hosinski and Rory Weichbrod lost their lives after being struck by a drunk driver.  After making the responsible decision to metro home from a birthday party, a drunk driver with a blood alcohol content at nearly twice the legal limit sped into the two friends as they crossed the street to get home.  Adam and Rory lived and loved fiercely – spreading their infectious smiles and laughter to everyone they met.  The young men, their friends and family, and those whom they had yet to meet, were robbed of two outstanding people because of one person’s decision to drink and drive.

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Drizzle

Farmington, MO to Centerville, MO

Rude horn honks: 1

Miles: 46

Total so far: 1,703

Trees down from the storm in front of the old jail, but we prepare to leave

The violent storms are behind us for now, but the unsettled weather is still here. We take off in the drizzle of the day. Riding isn’t bad. It’s a little cool, so the knee warmers are back on. The high today is supposed to only reach the low 60’s and one look at the sky tells me there is a lot of work to be done in if the sun is going to burn through the gray soup above. No predicted thunderstorms though, no tornado sirens for today, so we are off.My glasses fog and blur with the droplets that won’t leave, but it’s good to get back on the bike. We are working our way into the Ozark Mountains and the mixed growth and variety of hardwoods is dramatic.

We stop for the day in Centerville, where Julie’s equipment will be shipped, but we learn it will not come in until tomorrow.

This is a small town of less than 200 residents, and we swing into the small building housing the Reynolds County Sheriff’s Office to find that we are permitted to camp in a little square on the grounds of the County Building. There isn’t any fanfare about our arrival, as this is apparently a common occurrence for the town, however they ask we not set up our tents until after 4:30. I can’t say I blame them. A bathroom is provided at the Sheriff’s office for our use through the night. I don’t really fit in the sink for a shower, but I make do.

Shirley - the owner of the 21 Diner

We set up shop at the “21 Diner”, a small eating establishment – the only one in town. They have lettuce and milk there too if needed, as there isn’t a grocery. Again, there isn’t any fanfare about our arrival. The folks there know the habits of cyclists and they know we’ll spend the rest of the day there. They offer us playing cards to pass the time, but the bonus of the day was the dill pickle milk shake they make. We cannot resist, so we order one after assurances from the proprietor that it’s not a joke, that people really do consume the things. It’s not exactly something that will start a craze in the country, but it is quite, well, not bad. Somehow the sweet plays against the dill and makes it work.

It’s a little bit like cycling in the rain. It works better than one might think, so you just have to push off and go.


Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Rudy LeTourneau

Rudy LeTourneau

My Dad was riding a bicycle when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Such a loss of wisdom, advice, and unconditional love now that he’s gone. My heart aches most for the grandchildren who will never know him. We work very hard to keep his memory as vivid as possible for them, but what I wouldn’t give to have him back here making memories of his own. We miss you Dad!

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Jail term extended

Farmington, Missouri

No miles today as the weather was too unstable.

The dedication posted last night for Kiran Rao will be continued tomorrow.

These fellows are cloud spotting outside the shelter at the Farmington City Hall

The weather in Farmington today is a series of fronts and cells moving fast across the state generating tornadoes, hail, and other unpleasant conditions.   Sallie and I find ourselves spending a bit of time in and out of shelters as the tornado sirens were constant.  The weather has been so poor this spring for the folks in this area that tensions run fairly high among the residents.  I do not fault anyone for that.

The city set up a shelter in the basement of city hall, and there are other businesses around town that opened their basement areas as well.

Julie will be joining us as her riding partner has abandoned the route.  He has their tent and some other equipment and is shipping overnight to her at our next town.  The current plan is for Sallie and I to accompany her to Pueblo, Colorado so she will not be alone on the Trans Am.

That is…if we can keep up.  Julie has two things going for her in her riding pace — she is carrying quite a bit less weight than we are.  She is also the beneficiary of considerable youth.  She has been knocking out 80 and 90 mile days in some pretty hilly country, and she’s pushing a pretty aggressive schedule to get to San Francisco thus far.  We will do what we can and see how it works out.

The weather is supposed to stabilize tomorrow and we look forward to getting back on the road and moving on to see the beautiful state of Missouri.

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The dedication posted last night for Kiran Rao will be continued for tomorrow’s ride

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