I got to bed a little later than usual due to letting my antisocial guard down and spending such a wonderful time with my new motel friends. The weather report said the wind was calm, but the flag waving out in the breeze said otherwise. For once, it at least was more southeast than east. I was going mostly northeast for the first 20 miles, so at least I wasn’t fighting it head on.
I took a detour off US 169 to pass through Greeley. It turned out to be a wasted trip. The convenience store wasn’t going to open for another 15 minutes and the only cafe had gone out of business. What remained of the downtown, looked like a ghost town.
I had better luck in Osawatomie. It was big enough to have 3 exits off of US 169, which at this point was divided highway. I had just gone beyond the first exit when I pulled far off the shoulder to double check the best route to some restaurants.
It turned out that I should have taken the exit I just passed a few hundred yards back. I was on a bridge over the targeted road below. Rather than ride on the shoulder against traffic, I just walked Hidalgo down through the grassy hill to the road, jumped on the shoulder and headed north into town. Whenever I get the chance, I try to eat at a local diner, especially for breakfast. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love breakfast. Like a hobbit, I found a great second breakfast at the Whistle Stop Cafe.
When I was done, I was talking to my server about my trip and she mentioned that she had been the beneficiary of Big Brothers Big Sisters when she had moved from Kentucky to California. It had helped her through the culture shock.
Maybe it was finally seeing the sun, or that I wasn’t going directly into the wind, but the 21 mile ride into Louisburg seemed to go quickly. I planned a lunch stop there, but just before town, I saw a cider mill. I felt strong enough to go on, but Hidalgo wanted to pull in, so we stopped for a closer look.
Maybe I forgot to turn off the flashing light on my helmet, but I got a lot of attention from the owners and the other customers. They asked how far I’d come today and how much more I planned to ride today. I gave them the day’s stats so far and they were pretty impressed. When I told them about the greater context of coast to coast and the mentoring, they were truly impressed. One of the two women working was from Colorado and was familiar with Wolf Creek Pass. Besides a sample of cider, they gave me a free donut and even came out for a closer look at Hidalgo. I guess that’s why he wanted to stop so badly. I replenished my trail mix and went on to town for lunch. Louisburg was only 4 miles from the Missouri border. I was feeling better about Kansas than I had for several days. However, as I left town and approached the border, I couldn’t wait to utter those famous words from the Wizard of Oz. “We’re not in Kansas anymore. ”
The people had been great, but the weather and wind had been tiring.
Even before entering Missouri, the terrain had become more rolling. There were more trees on my route to Harrisonville to help break the wind and my average speed was higher than it had been for days. I checked into the cheapest motel in town. They were still remodeling several of the rooms next door, but mine had fresh paint, good wifi, microwave and fridge. Pretty much everything I needed.
With almost 500 miles on my Armadillo tires, I can already see a big difference in wear between the front and rear tires. There are still hints of the extra rubber down the middle of the front tire. The rear is starting to get a little bald. Since I finished relatively early, I changed my order of operations. I got a BBQ dinner with fries and slaw, and a small 24 oz. cold beer to bring back to the room.
After eating, I got to work swapping the 2 tires. Getting the rear off and on is always a pain, especially doing it alone without a bike stand. With the wheels off, I also took some time to clean away the mud and dirt from the last few days. The small “Pocket Rocket” pump I carry takes a lot of work to properly inflate the tires to 100 lbs. It takes more than 100 pumps to get it to 80 lbs of pressure. I swear it is an exponential function. That is, the closer you get to proper pressure, the more pumps per pound it takes to get there. Sorry, the engineer had to come out sometime. At any rate, I think Hidalgo and I will be ready for the rest of Missouri. It’s all part of the adventure.
The Lone Rider