|Sunny days are here again – on two counts|
Poste on 22 Sep by John
Monday 19th September I wake to the great news that I have a new granddaughter, Tiggy May, born to Toby and Samantha overnight; and then I look out the window to see not a cloud in the sky and the trees are motionless. No wind at last. This is going to be a good day on all counts and I am on the road by 7a.m (Still only 1/2 light) and decide I am going to catch Stuart sometime during the day.
The scenery is changing and becoming much more interesting with hedges, trees and even some minor hills and all the while I am smiling both inside and outside . Sorry no photos as I was just too damned busy enjoying myself. Even after stopping to make a series of phone calls to inform everyone about the new granddaughter, I still cover 200klms to reach Pittsburg (the last town in Kansas before passing into Missouri). A good day but still no sign of Stuart. Surely he cannot be ahead of me still.
Another great sign of American hospitality. I am having an evening meal -another good steak buried under a pile of veggies- and talking to a young couple in the bar about the ride etc and the next minute as they get up to leave they tell me the meal is paid for. I did not even get to know their names but hopefully they will get to read this and realize I really appreciated it.
Next morning I am about to pull out for an early start, when this guy holds the door open for me with the comment “Another crazy cyclist – like my mate. Are you doing the transcontinental?” I start to respond and he says ‘Oh you are that Australian I have heard about”. He is Stuart’s mate and they had been sleeping in the room next door to me. Somewhere along the way I had overtaken Stuart previous day – maybe he had slept in!
Now for a long story made short.- They are going to visit the town of Joplin that had been devastated by the Cyclone 4 months ago and I am invited to join them. Stuarts friend (John Smithies) drives us there and the photos are below. I am not sure how the community will recover or how long it will take. Whole segments of the community just gone- Where they are blocks of houses and estates there are now just empty space. It took mansions as well as smaller homes and wiped out a major hospital building.
On the way back to pick up our bikes John and I are talking and it transpires that he knows my small home village of Brixworth in England very well and often visits friends who still live there. Scary how small this world is!
Stuart and I have now agreed to be riding buddies for the rest of this trip – his original mates are at least 2 or 3 days back. We will ride at our own pace – especially up hills but the company will be good.
We are now in Missouri and the route via all the safe back roads is lots of rolling hills but some are quite sharpe. For my colleagues in WRCC it is a bit of a combination of West Mount Cotton (the nip at the top) and the 7 Sisters but more like the 70 sisters,. Challenging and definitely need to be on top of your gear changes but so much more interesting that Kansas!
Also because we are in the smaller farm areas where the homes etc are much closer to the roads we face new hazard that provides us with some moments of entertainment and or even trepidation. Farm dogs that love to come out and chase us. The most at one time so far has been three. Most times if we yell at them they beat a hasty retreat but one Boxer dog proved very persistent and almost had me off the road and off the bike but for the help of a van driver who happened to be following at that moment. A loud blast from his horn solved the problem fore me. Start is quite hap[py fo me to lead the way because when he comes through a few minutes later the dogs rarely bother him! Never a dull moment
Last night we camped in the city park at Everton a small town. The police come by and give approval on the condition – No Alcohol! Well I suppose that is what ater bottles are for though first time I have drunk beer out of one.
Then today we rode about 105 klms or 60 miles to Marshfield. On the way we stopped at this eatery for lunch. We thought the name was appropriate!
Lets hope the weather holds because the last few days have been perfect riding conditions