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August 27, 2002

Across Kansas, needed break

Yesterday I bicycled into the state of Colorado after a wonderful time in Kansas. Shortly after crossing the state line I managed to find a ride into Pueblo, CO, about 150 miles west of where I was. There's a family wedding this weekend in Beaver Creek and I'm taking the whole week off from cycling and visiting family and friends. I was getting more and more tired after not having a day off cycling since Virginia. Also, I'm right about the halfway point of my trip. I hope to be back on the road next Monday or Tuesday, rejuvenated and starting from where I left off.

I'm in Denver now enjoying my first visit to this city. The drive up from Pueblo was pleasant, the mountains are beckoning. I'll see them all this week and then again when I bike through.

Posted by Dave at 06:47 PM | Comments (3)

August 25, 2002

Tribune, Kansas

Dave is in Tribune KS, now on Mountain Daylight Time; and about 20 miles from the Colorado Border. He is grinding out the miles through the heat and wind of Kansas, feeling tired but enjoying the people and the wide open prarie scenery.

Posted by Dad at 09:40 PM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2002

Wind from the East!!

David arrived in Ness City, Kansas this Friday evening, a 65 mile run on another 95 plus degree day. Tomorrow, the winds are forecast from the EAST, blowing to the WEST at 25 mph. David hopes to make a run to see if he can reach Pueblo CO by Tuesday. He reports Kansas as very friendly. He met a pair of East bound riders today, who left Seattle on the same day that he left DC. They concluded that they are just about in the middle of the country.

Posted by Mom at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2002

Wide open spaces

Part of the reason I'm enjoying Kansas is the wide open scenery. The landscape has changed throughout the journey but this is certainly one of the most dramatic changes. Trees disappearing, giving way to open prairie and farmland. Sometimes I can see a city's water tower for miles before I get there.

Today was probably the hottest so far, when I rolled into Larned here the bank said it was 98 degrees and it was already quarter to six. I ran out of water just before town and gulped down a Fanta at the first drink machine to be had. There wasn't a single store on my 53 mile ride today from Sterling. Also there were 6 miles of unexpected gravel. Still I'm here and happy in that way it's hard to be if you weren't so fatigued and worn out in the first place.

I missed out on turtles somewhat but the crickets have made up for it. They are everywhere here in Kansas. Earlier today I went through a section where they just kept hopping off the road into my spokes or onto me. I think that may be why I broke my first spoke on the new bike today...crunched one too many cricket. The heat sometimes impairs my judgement, yesterday for instance I attempted to pepper spray the first dog on the trip I thought warranted it. He was snarling and baring his teeth like one of those wolves in "The Thing". I was lucky I didn't spray myself as I didn't adjust at all for the heavy crosswind.

I've been staying at motels when possible in this heat, it's a real chance to recuperate. Yesterday I went outside my room for a smoke before bed and the motel owner and a friend were having beers outside. I joined them, accepted a beer and talked for a while. I end up having a beer about once a week on my trip. This morning I was eating a great breakfast of blueberry pancakes with eggs, juice, coffee and hash browns, getting fueled for the day. When I went to pay they wouldn't let me. They said they wanted to take care of my breakfast because they wanted me to think of Kansas as a nice place. I'll tell you I do. :)

Posted by Dave at 07:16 PM | Comments (2)

August 21, 2002

Hot, tired and happy

David called in last night from a Day's Inn in the thriving metropolis of Newton, Kansas. He was in great spirits despite temps in the high 90's. He described riding along in the open landscape of Kansas, facing heat and headwinds, feeling tired, and wondering why he was having such a good time!! Other news: Kansas is filled with friendly people.

Posted by Mom at 07:20 AM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2002

Flint Hills

Two days into Kansas and it's not as easy as I was hoping, but it's also not as "drab" or "boring" as I was fearing. First day the wind was pretty tough coming from the south, today the wind was light, but then it's hotter :) I'm in Eureka, KS at the moment in the Flint Hills region. This is one of the largest natural prairie lands in the US, in the spring and earlier in the summer many head of cattle are fattened here. It's still pretty green which surprised me. I've heard it's drier and bleaker in western Kansas.

Got my bike all fixed up and adjusted in Pittsburgh, KS just a few miles into Kansas from Missouri. The folks at the bike shop were very nice and helpful. As it was pouring most of the day it wasn't a bad day to have mostly off.

Posted by Dave at 04:34 PM | Comments (4)

August 16, 2002

Better than a hostel

Turns out I'm not staying at the hostel but at the guy's house who runs the hostel. Paul is a very friendly guy and has offered his pull-out bed for the night. We went over for dinner to a cafe that's pretty famous for its pies on the trail. Yummy! He has internet connectivity at his house so I'm putting up a few photos that just got developed.

monument.jpg
Departure

monticello.jpg
Jefferson's Home

kentuckycountry.jpg
Kentucky countryside

Posted by Dave at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

Golden City

Library's closing, just want to let you know I'm in a hostel in Golden City, MO tonight. Tomorrow Kansas! The landscape has already opened up quite a bit and it's hot again :) Having fun.

Posted by Dave at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2002

Rainy Ozarks

It's sunny now, but it was a wet couple of days and night as I rode through the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri. As reported it's been eventful, I bit it on a busy road but was lucky for both me and the bike to be mostly fine. Also I met another westbounder who I'm lagging behind again at the moment but I think we'll run into each other again. We rode together for a little while and camped out. Even in the rain the Ozarks are very beautiful. The favorite part for me is the rivers. They are clear, strong, dark. They're like rivers in Montana or something. Not for the last or first time I wished I had my rod with me, but most of the time on the hills and such I'm glad I don't :)

By the way, Missouri has more turtles than the other states, I've seen a bunch since my last post. I've got another day or so in Missouri then on to Kansas. I've heard it can be hot and the wind can be strong so I'm hoping for a little fortune from the elements, we'll see.

Posted by Dave at 04:21 PM | Comments (3)

August 14, 2002

A little rain must fall

David called in to check on the destination of his care package. He bicycled in an all day rain yesterday, dried out his gear in a motel room last night. He is in good spirits and had praise for the barrel adjusters on his brakes which have allowed him to take up the slack on his new cables. Bike performing well. He still plans to joint family in Beaver Creek.

Posted by Mom at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2002

First flat, first knock down, first riding partner

Dave had a big day.
First flat tire (a pinch flat from a divider in the road outside Carbondale).
First (and we hope the last) knockdown, moving on to a crumbling shoulder to avoid a pickup truck.
First riding partner; Dave caught up with Chris from Alaska, a TransAm rider that had been a day ahead of him for the last week. Chris and Dave were camped together last night in the Ozark Mountains. The knock down left Dave a little shaken, but fortunately only a scrap on the arm and a bent handlebar.
Mom has helped solve the closed bike shop problem by sending necessary stuff to the general delivery post office two days down the road.

Posted by Dad at 05:31 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2002

Into Missouri

After taking the ferry across the Ohio River I had a short but enjoyable tour through southern Illinois staying two nights, first in Elizabethtown, then Carbondale. I discovered that southern Illinois is quite different from the rest of Illinois. My previous experience of Illinois was limited to Chicago :) The culture remains fairly southern which I didn't expect. It warmed up a little bit over the past few days although it's supposed to cool back down.

After relaxing at the Popeye park in Chester, IL along the banks of the Mississippi I crossed into Missouri. The hills have started back up but nothing too long yet. I'm just reaching the Ozarks.

If you are curious when a local bike shop may be closed just ask me when I'm coming through town. I don't have an urgent need but there are a few supplies and adjustments I'm looking for. In Bardstown, KY the bike shop is closed on Wednesday. In Carbondale all three bike shops are closed on Saturday evening and all day Sunday. I'm now in Farmington, MO where the bike shop is closed Monday and Tuesday. Oh well. Good thing it's nothing urgent.

Tidbits from the road... Before I left on this trip I was reading some online journals of other touring cyclists. One mentioned the variety of phrases you find on the rural church signs. I'm sure you've noticed them driving in the country. Some of the more memorable for me have been:

"God answers knee mail."

"Want to avoid burning? Use 'Son' block"

Tidbits from the road... Where have all the turtles gone? I'd also read and heard that you see a lot of turtles crossing the road in addition to ones that don't make it. So far I've seen one crossing and one who didn't make it. What's going on?

I'm using Netscape at this library and can't post comments so here's my recent mileage updates.

Utica-Elizabethtown, IL
93 miles

Elizabethtown-Carbondale
83 miles

Carbondale-Ozora, MO
65 miles

Posted by Dave at 12:57 PM | Comments (3)

August 11, 2002

Across the Mississippi

Dave reports crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri this Sunday afternoon! He is in Ozora, MO tonight.

Posted by Dad at 09:20 PM | Comments (3)

August 09, 2002

Last Call Kentucky

I've had several beautiful days of riding with mild hills and mild weather. I did my first century ride yesterday. I was really excited about that but I decided afterwards that sixty miles in the hills of Virginia is tougher. I was really happy to find at the end of the day a volunteer fire station that welcomes bikers. The station has AC, shower, bathroom, beds! A couple of eastbounders rolled in pretty late, we chatted a little this morning.

In about an hour or so I should be taking a ferry across the Ohio river into Illinois! It's definitely exciting reaching a new state especially after a challenging and long one like Kentucky.

Tidbits from the road... As most of the cyclists know you should keep your mouth closed especially on descents to prevent bugs coming in. I try to do this and most of the time the bugs bounce off my sunglasses or helmet. The other day though one went right at my mouth and I guess from seeing it at the last second I closed my mouth and I caught it right on my lips and front teeth! So I spat out the bumblebee or similar sized bug without further incident. I didn't keep it in my mouth long enough for positive identification.

Posted by Dave at 04:02 PM | Comments (6)

August 08, 2002

First Century

We heard from Dave tonight. He is in Utica, Kentucky, in the Western part of that state. Dave road 106 miles today, his first century. The countryside is rolling hills, some of the most beautiful of the trip; with the bonus of mild weather. He is staying in a volunteer Fire Station that puts up TransAm riders. The only recent problem is loss of bicycle shorts to an animal that carried them away from a picnic table where they were drying out overnight.

Posted by Dad at 10:14 PM | Comments (1)

August 07, 2002

Bourbon Country

I'm having a nice early break in my day in Bardstown, KY. Just west of Berea I was pedaling through some of the prettiest country of the trip and that continued off and on throughout the day which ended in Springfield at a city park.

I toured Old Fort Harrod State Park in Harrodsburg yesterday. It's a reconstructed fort commemorating the first permanent English settlement west of the Alleghanies. The people working there were very helpful and had lots of interesting stories. I learned that Kentucky came from an Indian word meaning "dark and bloody country." Glad I didn't find that out until well into Kentucky when I'm already enjoying it.

I continue to see plenty of eastbound riders, I shared a park last night with one and we swapped stories and such. Finally, it has cooled off beautifully the last two days! Last night was almost cold. I'm really loving this change and hope it lasts a little while.

Posted by Dave at 11:28 AM | Comments (7)

August 05, 2002

Berea, KY

First of all I want to thank everyone who's left a comment on this website. You don't know how much it means to hear an encouraging word! I'm seeing wonderful things and enjoying the journey but it's also a huge challenge, it helps a lot to know people are thinking of you.

I've had some hilly days although it's been more rolling the last day and a half. The heat has been the real killer although there's a rumour it's going to cool off for a bit. I'm at the end of my third day in Kentucky. After not seeing any other touring cyclists I've now seen some eastbounders every day in Kentucky. They report that there's a guy from Alaska who's only about a day ahead of me. He also started from DC, maybe I'll run into him. I stayed with a very nice couple a couple nights ago in a hostel who started their trip in Eugene, OR. They were making some miles trying to get back in time for jobs. They have already done the Northern Tier route across the country!

I had a whole afternoon at Breaks Interstate Park on the VA-KY border. There are many beautiful overlooks into a gorge there, as well as unusual rock formations. Unfortunately the river doesn't have much water unless they're releasing. When they release though, the Russell Fork of Big Sandy is supposed to be some of the best whitewater on the East.

After hearing and reading many bad stories about the dogs in eastern Kentucky I've been pleasantly surprised. There are a lot more unrestrained dogs but most of them are not really aggressive, just coming out to say hi. If you don't yell back they don't really come at you as hard. The couple I met in Pippa Passes had it right, just say something calming like, "Want to come to Oregon? You can make it." One of them I really did wish he could come to Oregon with me. I was nearing the top of a hill out of breath and sweating like crazy and this dog was slugging up the hill also, looking about as tired as me. He was super friendly and had an intelligent look. He even tried to keep up initially with me on the downhill. Too bad I don't have the legs to pull a 45 lbs dog to Oregon.

If you see any strangers passing through your town a smile and a nice hello go a long way. People have in the vast majority been very friendly and interested in my trip, really feels good. One last note, I apologize if anyone has had trouble accessing my site. I got about 10 emails about problems with my hosting service and from some clients who are suing etc... Hopefully my site will stay up!

Posted by Dave at 05:31 PM | Comments (4)

August 03, 2002

Good by VA, hello Kentucky

David called yesterday. He was camping in Breaks Interstate Park. He reports that the roads have been steep and that his legs are tired, but he is enjoying his Thomas Mann short stories.

Posted by Mom at 02:32 PM | Comments (4)