Monday, July 6

The Show Me State

Show me what? Friends.

Two nights ago I ran into a couple from London riding West. Quite an exciting moment as they were the first folks I had overtaken on the trip. Its not a race of course, but from time to time one still likes to catch someone. And besides, I had been trailing them for days. Riding a bit with them, they told me about a cyclists only lodge a bit further down the road. They were going to make the push to get there as they heard a storm was moving in and had their hopes set on some sort of pavilion or at least shelter to protect their tent from the rain.

I'll admit, even having a rain-proof tent, it's still nice to be able to pack a dry tent the next day. Though my trailer and tent keep the water out, if I put a wet rainfly into the trailer, it tends to keep the water in. Greg and Katie convinced me to ride the extra 12 miles - putting me at 90 for the day - and when we arrived at the lodging, we found the two were erred in their hopes and there wasn't any kind of shelter. Thankfully however, the Brits were also wrong on the weather, and the a.m. tent was as dry as the day before.

The extra 12 was no problem either really, it was taken with good company and allowed me to meet up with Kevin from Indianapolis. He too was at the cyclist lodging, which was really the yard of Herman Stein (of which I am still very thankful for), so we spent some of the evening swapping some stories of our younger years in Indy. The next day I was off before anyone else awoke, but sure enough Kevin caught me while I took my mid-afternoon break from the sun. He joined me a bit and we rode on together, without first stopping for a $5.95 buffet. The waitress there took to our liking and upped the value by giving us three free slices of cake and two sundaes to split. Mmmm.

Last night I rode into Marshfield, MO to find three wonderful things. 1 - A Rodeo. 2 - Grace and Ashley Ellison, brother and sister from Tulsa, OK. And 3 - The fajitas that Grace and Ashley brought.

I know Grace and Ashley from the time I worked at a camp in Minnesota driving boats, so when they said they wanted to join me for part of the adventure, I was pleased to have their presence. The plan is that Ash rides with me in the a.m. while Grace drives to the rest town, and then after lunch, a brief nap, and some good laughs, the two will swap places to bring us to our final destination for the day.

So for the next two days, I get to experience what it would be like to have a pit crew of sorts. All my gear is in their trunk (slack-riding), along with coolers of food and drinks, I get conversation, company, and even someone to take pictures of me while I ride. When I finished riding today, I was taking my shoes off when WHAM a Dr. Pepper was in front of my face. I know, soda isn't the ideal beverage for this sort of thing, but come on, you wouldn't have turned it down either.

They're pretty darn cool. My life is full of entertainment. This is definitely my favorite part of the tr... ok Grace is no longer reading over my shoulder. But seriously, I feel very fortunate. Though, I do dread the moment when the trailer is back on the bike, guessing that my body will be used to lighter weight by then. Tonight we ride into Golden City, where I hear there is a pie place with 30 different flavors of pie, each slice a dollar a piece.

Tomorrow I'll be into the flatland that is Kansas. Missouri has been an unexpected mix of terrain. The Ozark Mountains were much larger than I would have guessed, but great none the less. On the 4th, the roads through there were filled with folks traveling down to the river for canoeing and lazy-riverin' fun. The fireworks I did see were those I woke up to at 6am when a kid rode his bike past my tent, the flashes I saw on a neighboring radio tower, and that's about it. The town I stayed in had done theirs the week before (why, I have no idea).

In other news, and probably much more important, my eldest brother, Will, is engaged and to be wed August 5th! I know, pretty cool if you ask me too. Though, this poses a bit of a problem: Race to finish before August 5th or stash the bike a week from the coast and fly back for the week to only fly west again to finish the last week? OR ride through the Nevada desert instead of the Arizona desert and touch the coast in San Fransisco (avoiding Mission St. from the hours of 2-4 a.m. at all costs)? All this to decided and more. Either way, I will get to the Pacific. Regardless, if you see Will, congratulate him!

And serious, that's what Missouri calls itself: The Show Me State.


Will said...

First one to comment yey! Thanks for the wedding acknowledgment! Look forward to seeing you! Posted some pics from kayaking this weekend at the local whitewater park, check em out (facebook). Know that you are in Meg and my thoughts and prayers and we're looking forward to spending a few days with you at the lake! Enjoy the pies!

Looks Through You said...

Hey, Nate! I was wondering how you were doing navigating the Ozark Mountains! Glad things are going okay for you!

Do you know WHY Missouri is called the Show Me State. Because we Missourians never believe anything until we see it. haha!

Take care!