Saturday, July 16, 2005

June 15th Farmington, MO 3,000 miles

Well folks I have to apologize. Apparently I'm an idiot and the
last update I wrote never got sent out to my lovely web meister Gordo.
I feel terrible. Sorry to leave ya'll hanging for so long. I can't
really remember what I wrote in the last one, so we'll try and do an
abbreviated version here and get ya'll back on track. At least it was
the Kansas update that got dropped, and you didn't miss anything
exciting. You;'ll have to forgive me if this is a little scattered,
I've hit a few thousand potholes since last writing.
When I last left you I was battling the winds of Wyoming. Whew,
glad to be done with that! Shortly after crossing over the Colorado
border I treated myself to a nice long day in town and a hotel room.
$40 got me four walls and even included a ceiling and a tv. I spen the
majority of the day lounged out on the bed watching bad movies and
eating. I was excited to get to see Roadhouse for the first time in a
long time. Everybody loves old Pat Swayzee. The day was also used to
put a good old spit shine on all my gear and the old paddy wagon.
After over 2,000 miles it was time. I washed everything right down to
my tent stakes.
The riding in Colorado was incredible. The high point literally
and mentally had to be Hoosier pass. This was the one I had been
waiting for. 11,560 feet easily the highest point along the entire
route, and in an amazing area. I'll have to say the climb itself was
easy, well graded and the day was cool. I just felt incredible to be
out theere and healthly enough to be making such a climb. When I hit
the top I was all smiles, from here on out it was all downhill. I also
couldn't help but think that for all this ride has given me in health
and smiles, that in the end it may also provide some of these kids with
a chance to experience similar joys. It's only a drop in the bucket
I'm raising but every bit counts. It's a good thought and a great
motivation for me to keep going.
Unfortunatelly that night would be my last in the big mountains,
and I spent it in a beautiful field around 10,000 ft. That would be
the last time I shivered through the night on this trip. I woke he
next day to miles and miles......and miles of down. Knocked off 115
into Pueblo, CO. The ride that day was like a trip down memory lane.
As I dropped in elevation I entered into the high desert country where
I spent a year working with Alternative Youth Adventures in western CO.
Beautiful country, and a lot more pleasant to experience without 12
screaming teenagers. Unfortunately as I dropped the temperature
skyrocketed. As I rode out of Pueblo onto the front range and into
Kansas the temperature went from the high 70's of the mountains to 90
top 100 every day. Oh but it's a dry heat.......
I'm betting that a lot of you out there are like me in your
perception of the prairie. The closest you've ever really come to it
is in Little House Re-runs, and Dances with Wolves. Lets see what can
I say about eh prairie? There sure is a lot of diversity. You;'ve got
corn fields, wheat fields, and my favorite recently plowed fields. In
all honesty that's about all there is out there. I don't know what IU
was expecting, maybe farmers daughters with big glasses of lemonade and
Michael Landon waving from his plow, but man was it tough going. Ahh,
but you had the wind at your back and easy pedaling right? Nope. the
wind blew in my face the entire way. All in all I'll rank kansas as
some of the toughest pedaling yet. Mentally at least, and if the minds
not in it the legs are worthless. It was just really hard to leave
behind all the beautiful vistas and towns I had passed through and
ebter into this hot and sparse country. At points there wouldn't be a
tree for 30 miles. Hot and tough, that's how I'll remember Kansas. I
did see some of the most amazing storms of my life out there though.
Hail the size of ping pong balls, and rain that belonged in a
hurricane. I even narrowly missed a tornado that touched down 20 miles
from the town I spent the fourth in.
I think perhaps one of the most interesting experiences I had on
the plains was in Ordway, CO. I got taken in by a cult. Well, not
really a cult, but as close as I've ever come. And I had a good time.
No I'm not brainwashed or anything, it was just an interesting time.
This cult came in the form of a very large, very nice family that
spends their time walking the country in wool robes preaching the word
of God. They took me into their home fed me, washed me, and taught me
all about how the world was going to explode soon and I better start
praying. The kind of situation only I could get myself into. Fun, if
not a little scary.
Let's move on though, I'm in no real rush to relive that week of
heat and boredom. I'll have to say the Missouri border crossing was
one of the best yet. It wasn't Kansas. Thus far Missouri actually
reminds me a lot of NC. Rolling hills and tons of trees. It's great
to be back in some familiar country. While I still have some pedaling
to do it makes me feel close to accomplishing this goal. I've also
come back into the land of humidity. While the temperatures are only
in the 80-90 range the humidity here is in full swing.
Things have been moving really fast these last few days. So much
has happened, and time is running short to tell all the juicy details.
I am proud to say I have crossed and survived the Ozarks. While this
is probably the smallest mountain range onmy route, more hills
actually, it's a burley one. I think yesterday was some of the hardest
work I've put in yet. One short and incredibly steep hill after
another. At times I was in granny gear, standing stright up and still
barely getting the pedals around. Tough going, and hot. If it's
possible to squirt sweat I did. The best part about the Ozarks though?
They're short. From what all the Westbounders said I thought it would
be days and days of these hills. Nope, one day and it was over. The
terrain is still hilly at this point but nothing out of the ordinary.
I spent my night last night at a place called the Johnson Shut-ins.
This is quite possibly the greatest swimming hole ever!! the river has
worn away all the sedimentary rock in this area leaving behind huge
granite formations that create waterfalls, deep pools and waterslides
on this section of the river. hat a way to end a hot day. The water
was perfect, cool and clear and just amazing. the water here in
Missouri has been some of the clearest cleanest water I've ever seen.
I've pulled into town to replace a tire, run a few errands and
then I'm off. I'm hoping to cross the mighty Mississippi today.
That's a huge way point for me. That means I am oficially in the East
again. It' funny to say, but this is really it, the home stretch. I
should be into NC the last few days of July, and then it's a hop skip
and a jump to the coast. I feel like I blinked and the country went
by. I will say I'm tired. My spirits are high, but my body needs
rest. Those pedals have done a lot of spinning since I left OR. I
can't wait for a nice big bowl of spaghetti and a nap on the couch.
Lots to see between here and there though. I can't wait for the
Appalachians. I may even get to stay at some of the hostels I hit on
the Appalachian trail, which will be really fun.
Sorry this post is a little rushed, lots to catch up on and not much
time to do it. Lets hope this one gets to Gordo.All my love to friends
and family. I'll see some of ya'll real soon. I'm a long way from
"home", but real close to homeat the same time.


Post a Comment

<< Home