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…)


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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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.
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.


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.


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


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.


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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