Saturday, June 7, 2008

One Month

From my sleeping mat this morning, I could hear that the wind had not abated overnight. Tree limbs were creaking and a banner announcing Immanuel Lutheran's anniversary was flapping loudly. I had planned to cross Kansas quickly to get into the Colorado Rockies, but it seems that Mother Nature has a different plan.

Pastor John invited me over for a breakfast of fresh baked pumpkin biscuits and eggs. As we ate, he told me about one of his sons who is stationed in Iraq. After breakfast, two other Westbound cyclists, Tim and Perry, stopped by the church to fill their water bottles and take a rest. Both Tim and Perry recently received their Master degrees in Mechanical Engineering and are headed to San Francisco, where Tim is going to start a PhD program. Tim likes to stop at churches because they are the most likely places on the route where he can play piano.

Intending to use the Internet at a library about eight miles away, I left Tim and Perry with the hope of seeing them again. It didn't take long on the road to realize that it was going to be a difficult day of riding. In Kansas, services, motels, and camping are further apart, so on some days the only choice is to do either 30-40 miles or 70-80 miles. I decided this would be a 30-40 mile day.

My destination was Chanute, a town of about 9,500. On the way, signs indicated that the road ahead was closed. There was even a specific sign barring cyclists.

I started to detour down a dirt road when a guy in a garbage truck pulled beside me and told me that I should ignore the signs and continue down the main route. I took his advice. After fighting the wind for thirty miles, I benefited from a nice tailwind for the last six miles of my ride. Since the library that I stopped at earlier in the day was only open from 5pm to 7pm Monday through Thursday, I headed to the Chanute Public Library hoping for slightly more liberal hours.

When I pulled in front of the library a man walked right up to me and introduced himself. He was Marc DeLuca, a retired police officer from Charlotte, NC, who is also on the Transamerica. When I told Marc my name, he immediately said, "The lawyer from Chicago." He had been a few days behind me for several weeks and had seen my posts in various log books along the way. Marc was taking his first rest day in over twenty-five days. We discussed the last few days of our rides and some of the cyclists that we had met along the way. Marc routinely starts riding early in the morning, but I look forward to seeing him further down the road.

This afternoon I heard that a wind advisory had been issued for the area. An advisory means “that sustained winds of 30 to 39 mph and/or gusts of 45 to 57 mph are forecast. Winds this strong can make driving difficult.” If the winds can make driving difficult, what hope is there on a bike?

Chanute has a movie theater right downtown, so I went to see "Don't Mess With the Zohan." As I watched two dozen jokes involving hummus, I wondered whether you could even buy hummus in Chanute. On my walk home, I passed a health club that should only exist in the Simpsons' Springfield:


Anonymous said...

Congrats on one month of riding Brian! Loving the blog. Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Please tell me that Zohan was the only movie showing at the theater!


lisa r said...

not as diligent as i should be, i have taken my time off from the little monsters tonight to read all of your entries. your writing is wonderful to read. not a wasted word. not one. your adventure is now my escape. i have to show henry all of your pictures... he will love them. i'm gonna show him the maps too. all of us reinecks are thinking of you.

Rachel said...

Hey look! Your blog is famous(er)!

Toni Jill said...

Hi there! Just checking in on your trek! Some of your landscape pictures are amazing and I especially love the old diners and holes-in-the-wall that you always seem to find! Those are usually the best! Congratulations on your one month mark!

~Toni Jill