Archive for the ‘Friends made on the road’ Category

Leoti, Kansas to Eads, Colorado

Friendly horn taps: 2

Miles: 81

Total so far: 2,523

I’ve ridden bicycles in areas that people hate to drive.  I’ve ridden bicycles through large tracks of land that I hate to drive.  The experience on a bicycle is so surprisingly interesting on roads and in areas where it’s kind to say it’s bone-numbing boring to drive a car, but it is.  Kansas is like that.

Crossing into state #9. Sallie and I are both natives of Colorado - but that was a long time ago, right?

We said our goodbyes to Kansas today.   As we approached the state line, I informed Sallie and Julie when we were about a mile and a half out, so they could have some time to reflect on our ride through Kansas.  Cyclists tend to be unkind in some of their impressions.  Motorists are even worse than unkind.  Bored motorists should ride a bike, because we enjoyed our tour through the Sunflower State.

What is that on those fence posts? They go back as far as I can see...










Cowboy boots!










Julie will be going her own way (not a surprise!)

Tomorrow we are also saying our goodbyes to Julie.  She’s been with us for some 18 days and an amazing 1,049 miles.  Julie’s route will depart from ours as she heads directly west to San Fransisco on what is known as the Western Express.  We will turn north and head for ski country and other latitudes.  Julie’s mother has arranged to escort her travels west via car and this will speed her to her destination much faster.  Like any young woman, she has plans and things to do later on in the summer.

Julie has proven herself to be a determined young lady.  So much so that she will not be swayed from her destination and task until it is complete.  Good for her.  She is a very capable rider and the remaining miles will tremble at her pace.  I’ve not mentioned it, but she did her first century ride (100 miles) in the mountains of eastern Kentucky – while riding with a full load of gear.

Julie is that rare combination of youthful exuberance and determined spirit that just goes about business effortlessly knocking out hurdles and other obstacles that deter more “seasoned” folks into not even attempting what she’s done.  Good for her.

Last supper? From left, yours truly, Sallie, Julie, and newly arrived, Marica Thiery, Julie'smother.


Julie can be followed at http://spokenwordsfromtheroad.tumblr.com/.

You go girl.  We are pulling for you.



Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Robert Lyle Weyer

Jessica Bentley submitted this request, and I am making an exception here for her.  I will print two images from her.  One a photograph, and one a written poem.  I think you will see why…

My father, Robert Lyle Weyer, was killed by a drunk driver September 16, 1979 in Kenton, Ohio at the age of 24. I am told he was funny, a hard worker, and a great friend. I have to be told these things and rely on others to know my father because I can’t remember him. This is the only image I have of the two of us together.


Robert Lyle Weyer


 We will stand beneath the whippoorwill and reminisce.

I will clutch you tightly sinking my face within your shirt, deep, as I breathe in that which I could not remember.

 We will dance beneath the purple hues of heaven; our first father and daughter dance;

swaying gingerly, step slide step, step slide step.

 What should we say; there is nothing to say; I love You does not suffice;

as the ache that was held within me has lifted- I am speechless.

 I breathe and you breathe- there is no breath. We gaze within this vastness.

Together we will take in the awe.

 See the stars! The same stars I had spent all my wishes upon. Wishes that you would be here before me-

Wishes well spent! Wishes well spent!


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Bazine, KS to Leoti, KS

Rude horn honks: 1

Friendly horn taps: 1

Miles: 93

Total so far: 2,442

Navigating Kansas - it's not difficult. The horizontal red line on the map section is our route, going right to left. No turns for a couple of days. Just go.

We confidently arose at 4:30 this morning, despite strong southerly winds.  The forecast had good things to promise, so we were game for the day.  Elaine fixed us each a fortifying portion of hot ten grain cereal, we packed up our gear and said our goodbyes to Elaine and Dan and thanked them for their kind hospitality at the Biker’s Oasis.

As promised, the winds died and we started out of Bazine.  The winds eventually re-kindled themselves, this time from the north, but then to our highest expectation they turned northeast, and we pushed out some significant mileage with a quartering tail wind.  Most of the journals I’ve read from riders going through Kansas have complaints about the winds, but there always seems to be a day when they can kick out some miles — today was our day.  93 miles down the road, we stopped at Leoti, Kansas for the night.

Kansas today

Not only were the winds favorable for riding due to their direction, because of the northern influence, cooler temperatures prevailed, so we were free of the 100 degree heat for the day.  All of this combined with a day off thee bikes yesterday, and the great hospitality from Elaine and her husband Dan, made for another terrific chapter in the ride we are truly grateful for.

Speaking of gratitude:  We’ve encountered another individual on this ride who has been leap-frogging us some and so we’ve seen him intermittently for the last 10 days or so.  This gentleman is from another country that I will choose not to identify because he is, by all measures, a seriously negative fellow and I think it unfair to paint his countrymen in that light.  In our very brief encounters with him, we’ve heard him complain about the snakes, the lack of a good steak, poor lodging choices in towns of less than 1,000 people, the performance of his own very expensive bike, and how much he paid for it, the wind (of course), the roads, the trucks, the lack of amenities provided in the city parks (where we are permitted to camp for free)…the list goes on.  In short, this poor fellow is having a miserable time.

The first time we saw him he rode by us as we were stopped to stretch without so much as a “hello” (it is customary on the Trans-Am for riders to stop and exchange greetings and riding information every time one encounters another). I believe that is the heart of the matter with this gentleman.  If we were to forfeit the pleasure of greeting others on this trip, we would miss 90 percent or more of the beauty we have found.  Yes, this is a gorgeous country, but the people are the rarity that makes all this work for us.

On the other hand, we have found great pleasure in meeting others, have tried our best to be open to what others have to say about things, and have purposely sought out the beauty in places where it may be often overlooked.  That is not to say we are perfect by any means – journeys like this take people to their (sometimes) ragged edges – however we’ve found great beauty and benefit and that is what touring is all about.


Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Justin Daniel Fujibayashi

Justin Fujibayashi

On December 4, 2008, Justin Fujibayashi of Valley Falls, Kansas was killed in a motor vehicle collision involving a drunk driver.  Justin was a husband and father of two children.  He will always be missed by his family and friends and everyone who knew him as a smart, thoughtful, funny man.

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Bazine, KS

Day off – no riding

The view from inside the mesh

This is the view I had from my tent this morning upon getting up…no stars, but bright sun.  Yes, I slept in.  We arose at 4:30 this morning, but the wind turned very bad overnight and it was blowing in excess of 40miles per hour well before sunrise.  There was no chance of a productive ride today and a better forecast for tomorrow.  I slept in.

Elaine of Elaine's Bicycle Oasis B&B in Bazine, KS

What to do in Bazine, Kansas?  First of all, understand we are staying at Elaine’s Bicycle Oasis Bed and Breakfast.  That means there is a local contact to help with local sights and things to do, and one nice enough to loan us a car to do a little touring (sans bikes).

Barbed Wire Capital of the World!

Once I complete

Sallie examines a ball 'O barbed wire

d chain maintenance on the bicycles, we went to Effie’s Restaurant in Rush Center for her famous hamburgers, and then went up the road to LaCrosse to the Rush County Barbed Wire Museum.

Samples from all over the world

In all seriousness, barbed wire was an extremely important advancement in the great plains, preventing large cattle drives from entering croplands.

Rock Post Museum


Then we went to the Post Rock museum.  Folks in this part of Kansas did not have access to timber for fence posts, so they used the local sandstone for posts.   These post don’t rot, and are still in use all over the area.

Rock post on a fence line corner

OK Philip - this one's for you. Elaine's is a very serious place. Cyclists behave!


Since today was an unexpected day off the bikes, our dedication from yesterday will continue for tomorrow.

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Toronto, KS to Cassoday, KS

Friendly horn taps: 5

Rude honks: 1

Miles: 60

Total so far: 2,135

The Fall River near Eureka, KS

Camping at Cassoday City Park

My tent is a modern marvel of materials and design.  It works with an inner shell of breathable material, mostly screen mesh for ventilation and then a rain fly over top of that, designed to shed water.  The design provides for a space between the mesh and the fly, essentially keeping a minimum of material from touching the fly, as that is where leaks may start.

Now, let’s talk about spiders.  Daddy Long Legs in particular (also known as Harvestmen), which are really not spiders at all.  Although they belong to the class of arachnids, they are not really spiders for a variety of technical reasons.  Here’s what is important: 1. They eat bugs — including mosquitoes. 2. They are commonly thought of being dangerous to humans, but they are completely harmless to people.  3.  Anything that eats mosquitoes, is OK in my book when I am camping.

Every morning when I awake, there are maybe a dozen of these creatures on the mesh area of my tent, usually up high, below the rain fly, hanging out, apparently having gorged themselves all night long on the variety of bugs that try to get into my tent.  That’s good stuff.

Here’s the question I have:  How do these not-so-little guys know to flock to tents in the first place (they don’t fly, they walk), and then position themselves up high between the mesh and the fly?  I presume, like mosquitoes they may be attracted to the carbon dioxide I emit when I breathe, but is that the reason they hang out on people’s screens at their houses too?  Even when the windows are closed?

Butler County Kansas today

These are the things I ponder as I cycle across Kansas.


Stan and Margie on a 200 mile jaunt from Wichita, KS to a class reunion in Paola, KS


Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Kegan Johns

Kegan Johns

Kegan Johns, Marion Illinois, was killed 8/18/2004. A night of many bad choices by two 18 year old boys went terribly wrong. My son Kegan trusted his best friend with his life. His 18 year old friend walked in to a liquor store and bought a bottle of vodka, consumed it and Kegan got into the car with him, and was involved in a single vehicle crash that killed Kegan instantly. My heart is forever broken. His shining smile, his loving touch and caring nature are missed by many.

Always & forever I love you and miss you Kegan,


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Hepler, KS to Toronto, KS

Friendly horn taps: 3

Miles: 74

Total so far: 2,075

Winter Bauer

This gentleman is Winter Bauer.  Mr Bauer came to the church yesterday afternoon to ensure we were well taken care of.  I would say so – his son brought us two dozen farm fresh eggs and a pound of sausage.  We were extremely well taken care of and our stay at the church was just what we needed.


During our conversations with Mr. Bauer, he told us that wild asparagus grows in the roadside ditches in the area.  he said people pick it all the time and cook it up.

Today, we hit the road early, well rested and had a rare east tail wind for a portion of the ride.  Sallie really enjoyed putting the chain on the big ring for a bit, as this has been the first opportunity to do so since leaving Florida.  We stopped along the road and found some wild asparagus as promised – it was a little mature.   Right now you’d almost need a chainsaw to cut it.  Onward we went – more worlds to see.

Steve Miller

This gentleman is Steve Miller.  He has 4,000 acres in corn, wheat, and soybeans  south-east of Coyville.  When we tied up to visit with him, he was in the process of planting soybeans with this very sophisticated equipment.  Mr. Miller says he works the farm with his four sons, and he has two tractors the same size and two similar planters.

Between the tractor and the very sophisticated planter, Mr. Miller was running about $350,000 worth of equipment. I told him the bank must love him.

I asked Mr. Miller if Sallie could take that tractor for a spin.  He indicated that would not be possible.  Good for him.

Starting camp at Lake Toronto, KS

We got to Toronto State Park campground and Sallie took off immediately for the lake.  We took advantage of the first opportunity to swim in waters not inhabited by alligators since the ride began.  It was the most refreshing end to a day that started with good rest and a great breakfast.



Tomorrow’s ride is dedicated to Michelle Benjamin

Michelle Benjamin

Michelle had a Masters Degree in Gerontological Counseling and was Director of a program which assisted people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s remain in assisted living in San Francisco. On January 28th, 2007 a drunk driver ran a stop sign slamming into the passenger side door, where Shell was sitting, at 75mph. She fought hard to live, receiving 102 units of blood and her heart stopping 5 times.


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