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September 28, 2006

DAY 38-rest and birthday

Day 38 was a relaxing and fun day with the Brennens in southern Missouri. We stayed up late visiting and then had a late lunch and done a little roping out at the saw horse. As when most cowboys get together, the saw horse makes a good gathering place for all the flat hatters.
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-THE BRENNEN FAMILY, DAVID, ALLISON, ELIZABETH AND ADRIAN ALONG WITH JORDIE REGIER FAR LEFT.
I was sneaking by in my spandex in testosteron laden cowboy crowd, I had pinned a little fringe to the legs of my riding pants and I was going unnoticed for now. Lets see how long it lasts till somebody figures it out. We roped for a while then decided that we should head to town so that they could show me and my other Canadian friend Jordie Regier, who as it seems has a bit of a sweet spot for Davids daughter Elizabeth or Lizard as we call her. David figures that both of us would be better off if we had a chance to see the Bass Pro Stores in Springfield.
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-ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL CREEK FULL OF FISH FOR PASTOR MIKE????
We head in, and I am amazed at what there is in a store of this size. I didn't really get to do much shopping, I spent most of my time looking over the trophy mounts in hte upstairs Gallery. Wow, what an awesome display of mounts. They had world class critters from every continent and of every type. Included within this display was the Fred Bear Archery Trophy Mount Dissplay. All together, it was a genuine fun afternoon, and no matter what sort of out door interet you have, it will be addressed at the Bass Pro Stores.

Lizard decided that eating some Japanese Food was in order for her birtyhday, and we all headed to a fine restaurant that cooks and serves at the table, sort'a that Benny Hanna fashion. It was great, I ate steak..........which is so typical of cowboys adventure. We closed the evening off with a great carrot cake that Aliison whipped up right in front of us as we sat watching a Neubert/Wolters/Neubert video on starting colts. It was great fun, and a good time spent off the bike.

Thannk you David and Alilison and both girls, for making a smelly and dirty biker feel as if he had been adopted into a new home.
Good Night and God Bless


DAY 37- pacing Museums

I spent Friday morning In Ft.Scott, and going over the Ft.Scott Cemetary as we ll as the actual Fort from old. Noww this fFort is really gorgeous, but almost to well maintained to feel right............not sure how to explain it but at Larned you felt like you could bump into a Corporal at any moments time. Not so here In Ft.Scott.
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The cemetary located in Ft Scott is ranked the number one amongst Military Cememtarys as far as place of choice to be buried. And after that comes Arlington..........that was revealing to me, and how important the location and actions of this Fort have been over the years.
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The cememtary can boost its first victiom of an Indian engagement from 1851, one unfortunate Alexander Morrow who died that day, right up to folks that have been layed to rest from the Iraq Conflict. The Cemetary is a well kept place with rows of graves that read from every date and every rank amongst the military.
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Ft.Scott is like many other of our frontier established Forts, having been sold at one point in its history back into the citizenry of the town when decommissioned after the west was considered settled. This particular Fort, was decommissioned twice and brought back each time, at the end of the last training campaign for WW2 it was then handed over to the Kansas State Park system for complete renovation and added to Historically important sites in America.
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I had done the entire tour of the Fort, and even bought a few little goodies for my kids I have in youth group at Church. I done a little of my traveling Christmas shopping and was ready to get on the road to Nevada, for you see I had now completeely given up on getting down to Nixa on time for Elizabeth's birthday party and see my friends the Brennens. I felt really akward in getting there lay=te and then ruining the day for Liz, so all I had to due was make the call.............................................
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I was on the road under clear skies and warm weather, ripping down great roads on my way to another museum in Nevada Missouri. Over here it is pronounced "Mizourah", with no sharp E on the end. We tourists can be picked right out by our pronunciation of words. The little town of Nevada derives its name from a city of the same in Nevada, but once these folks back east get done with the beautiful Spanish word you would have a hard time recognizing it at all.
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The Bush Wacker Museum, and all that it makes famous about the bloodiest event in American History, the Civil War.
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There were serious border skirmishes between a free Kansas and a slaved Missouri, and one fellow in particular Quantrill lead the largest of raiding parties for the longest time in this soon to be Civil War. These days were known historically as the "Blleeding Kansas" days. Ther are countless books written on the subject, and every other aspect of the Civil War for that matter.
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But in it all, Missouri played into the Civil War in many fashiopns, from the raiders of Quantril, to the first real battle between the Union North and the Confederate South, it was in hte mix thru it all and then on afterwards as unsettled state line battles ensued.
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I filled my water and headed for the next stop of El Dorado, not knowing that I was being followed by a man wearing dark glasses and looking through two holes in a news Paper. Ever since I had taken my cape off from the day before, I had made a vow to travel in the dangers that all common men travel in each day, and to not use any of my finely honed skills to lessen those dangers.
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I rode like a whirlwind the 20 or so miles to El Dorado, and pulled into a small grocery Store to get a little something to drink.......................OH MY GOD< thats when I remembered the phone call to David. So I sat drinking Gator, and getting my cell phone out and cued up...................ring a ding ding Jim-bo, ya got 5 messages. So I listen, and they are Lizard telling me to be sure to ride towards Nixa, and that was at 9:30, and then 4 messages from her dad david and he was on the road hunting me. Folks, let me tell ya, David is a tough nut super spy, he makes tornadoes look like lady bugs as an adversary goes. I am on the phone "Mooey Pronto", and have David live on hte other end.......he is running the highways of Kansas looking for a biker but hasn't found me yet. "Where in the heck are ya, Jeremiah asks David? SO I tell him, and come to find out that we must have pased one another on the road when he stopped to get coffee..................I really think that he stopped to clean his Glock, he was so mad hunting for me.

David, as it rutned out was only about 5 miles down the road, and was in the parking lot in moments from the time that I called. We loaded up the bike and trailer and were headed to Nixa for the big Party. We talked about all manner of things, but for me the interest is what david does for a living. If ever you get to meet him you will be entertained, and ask him to tell you about all that he hass done in life apart from working for Shute's in Nevada and having his own saddle shop at one time. He is the father of two great girls, Elizabeth and Adrian, and the husband of Allison who makes each meal great and all comer welcome.

DAY36- rides a Tornado east

Sit back and I will tell you a tale about a man from California that rode a Tornado thru the Kansas contryside and lived to tell about it. There are some folks whom say that it didn't happen, and then there is me, the sole survivor and the man who safeguards the truth about this miraculous day. The fellow who tackled this perilous day, was no mere mortal, no siree-Bob, this was a man who knew no danger that he wasn't plumb afraid of.

The tent door was thrown back by the jaded traveler at 6:45, and with steely eyes he looked into the heavy sky that loomed up from the south. With gritted teeth he worked his way out of the nylon abode he had found shelter in from the nights abuse, and dressed in the very best rain gear that could be purchased at about any old hardware store. He quickly put on his rain pants, and thena thin top form some cycle shop called Fredricks of Hollywood, then follwed that with a blazing yellow rain jacket. Plastic bags adorned his feet as he croutched low in cat like poise doing his shoes up tight..............tight, as if he was headed into the gladiator dome to meet the weather.
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His mind was fixated on his making it too Nixa as his next leg of the journey, you could see it in his hard set jaw that nothing would change his mind in these matters, Nixa it would be. A hush fell over the crowd...............me that is, as our velo hero stood to his full wieght.......ah, scratch that make it hieght and the wind really rocked his rain proof world. Wait a minute, he can't do that, can he. The hero is climbing back into his nylon culvert much like the proverbial groundhog of that infamous day. Why, I will not be able to relate this days events to you without our HERO. Give me a minute to spoeak to him, maybe I can wrestle him out of the safety of the tent, that 10 cent hero ain't going to blow my big story telling break.

I finally convinced that cape wearing velo hero, that he could make it, and better yet he believed me. It was too easy, I just massaged his ego a little and he took a full bite of it. I had to keep him focused as he doned his climate control gear, a pair of bags were deftly wrapped on each of his lowest extremiites....................feet you fool, not the little bugs that eat wood. This was the real "coup de grass" of technical gear. I threw in a little german just fo my friend Fritz.
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The camp is rolled up and stashed with accuracy into the bag from which it hibernates. Each item packed with care and attention to detail. The bag is evacuated of air, then rolled tight and strapped up with 3 tight straps. Then he carrfully lays the bag down into the carriage of the waiting trailer................oh oh, I wonder if the hero knows he has his underwear hanging out of the bag he's packing. Okay he has spooted the problem and is cutting of the part that is hanging out................I told ya, this guy really knows his way around the survival game. He was meant to live under the hardships of inclement weather.

The leaden sky is just wating to dump a torrent of rain on our rubber clad, plastic hearted hero, he struggles to make his way out onto the highway. And leans into the bars in the low drop position, you can feel the struggle as the muscle on his back taunts into the strain of the wind. This was destined to be a day in which man and weather would battle for supremacy..................yes,yes, I know, we all knew that the weather would win, but hey don't ruin a good story.

He's leaning into the bars as I said and working thru the 27 gears available to find a rythm, a pace he can hold for some time in the wind. Hold on here, he's off the bike already, and wiping his brow..............he's only gone 75 feet. Okay, okay, its not sweat it's rain, he's going again now. We are underway, and headed due south for Nixa as the next days end. The rain is filling every low spot on the Kansas countryside and each fold and crease in his rain gear. Looks like the neck of the jacket that our hero is weauing is not quite tight enough I can see rain running out the bottom of his jacket now. Boy howdy is it ever raining now, and that wind forces the rain to slant and sting the face of our quickly wearying traveler.

We have traversed only 16 miles of the grey Kansas countrside, and it only took 2.5 hours to get it done. Our weary traveler is under a barn roof looking at a map to see if per chance he should make a change of direction at this point. His acute mathematical mind is telling him that he could be really tired in another 20 miles and would not be in Nixa. With clairty of thought he mounts his stead and takes a sharp turn to the east,................oops, dang near missed the road.......... onto a very narrow back road out across the hinter lands of Kansas. He has chosen to try and skirt this storm front that blows on an ill wind from the south.
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There seems to be no need of taking on water on this day for our east bound hereo, it seems like there is water running out of every orifice on his gear.....................I wonder if he ran over a spring by accident. No maybe not, as I watch his progress, I can see that the bulk of the water is iether running down his neck or sprayed up by his 700x23 tires and then migrating to places not so well protected. Jeremiah is passing his first intersection that could be used to travel south at this point, and opting for another road some 20 miles on down the water-logged route. Next stop is south bound number 7. Well maybe not, the rain is starting to bounce when it hits the pavement of front of this Irish Rocket that he rides, and it looks like it is maybe stinging a little more as he rides becasue he has put a spare plastic bag under his helmet on the windward side and he has donned a pair of winter gloves as well. Now hes toasty, or sweaty. A steady rythm keeps this Tornado whipper in shape as he fronts this storm that blows out of the Gulf of Texas, the wind is chilling and I can see the toes being wiggled to keep them warm while he pedals.

Hey guys, I will be back in a few minutes I am just going to run and get a cup of coffee while he pedals. Don't say anything, it doesn't take much for him to come to a stop.

The toes are cold and the fingers are cold, and our Hero has come to the last road headed south for his destination of Nixa. There is a farm truck coming up from the south and our Tornado Whipper walks over to stop the truck and speak to the farmer and his wife. Just be thankful that our cape wearing hero didn't decide to step in front of the slow moving vehicle just to show his status amongst the Hero's of the day..............he could have been run over flat! The weather prognosis is not good says the farmer, a guy dressed like you had better run for yer life cause there's fixin to be Tornados come'n this here way..........................where did he...................

You folks see that rooster spray of water headed north, that's our rubber covered HERO making tracks north towards Fort Scott, common sense is one thing that this man of heroics has plenty of. And he knows full well that if you don't put yer self in front of a Tornado, then nobody expects ya to tie it up. The last 10 miles north took mere minutes, with the gail force tail wind and a terrified cyclist on the cranks.................the country goes by in a blur.

Fort Scoot, and we pick a low life dive that was cheap to hole up in. The hero doesn't realize it yet, but his life is more on the edge inside this establishment than out in the weather. It turns out there is a real rowdy tattoed bunch just 2 doors down, and they stay that way most of the night. But it's okay folks danger, is something that this fella lives with every day of his journey..................and I can assure you that he an I enjoyed watching television from under the bed.

And so goes the tale of riding the tornado that blew in from the south all the way as far north as it wanted to take us. The weather report showed as many as 4 Tornadoes had touched down in at least two of the counties that Jeremiah had rode thru. ANd that in fact the temp for the day had gone from 56 degrees in the morning down to as low as 39 degrees during a paortion of the storm front. There was one town that had 2x6 lumber picked up on one side of the street and thrown across the street and on through both sides of a metal storage building. The was one incident of a loosened road sign being pierced through a fence post.

Rest assured that through it all, and just for you........................our HERO never so much as faltered as he hunted for a sign that read MOTEL.

Good Night and God Bless

September 26, 2006

DAY 35- its the people that make a place

There are those days, and there are those places where NICE just seems to be the order of the day, and in Woodson County which is most noted for its production of world class "Praire Hay".
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The hay from this county is bought a full year in advance, and almost all of it is shipped to the Kentucky Bluegrass country for the race horses that are raised there. But on this day, it will be the people of Woodson County that make it a place to go see for yourself.
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I had no real intent to stop in the very small town of Yates Center, Kansas it was just another small town and I was rolling.
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But the little sign that was posted to invite me to see "Historic Town Square" done the trick, and I was rolling in off the beaten path to see it all. It was fairly early, around 8:30 when I pulled in, and an elderly lady was busy hanging Halloween decorations at the local coffee and doughnut shop............Looks like the place for guy built like me.
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I head in and get a coffee and a doughnut from the elderly patron and find a place at the end of the LOCAL table, that's the one that always has a large gathering of local farmers and shopkeepers in for thier mornning brew and chew session.
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There are about 8 that make up the group at the other end of the table, and I am trying to think of something I can ask that will give me a chance to start a conversation with them. SO, I ask about MILO, which is a crop I see grown in abundance around here and one I know little about...............so, throw out the question and await a reply. Dang that aint going to work, the reply was about 4 words and the conversation was over..........." we feed it to cows" was about all I learned. So I sat and pondered my next attempt.........
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Thats when the eldest patron of this table of elders came my way, and invited me to come and sit down at his end of the table............."but I warn ya, he says, pointing to a tiny sign hanging on the wall that reads - The Liars Club" and he had a wry smile on his face as he stuck his hand out to greet me in the official manner. Then the introductions carried on around the table. So before I sat down at the chair made available to me, I warned those fellows that in 5 minutes they would be very likely to elect me as there next President of the Local Liars Club.........to which they all laughed and I knew that the ice was broken.
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From 67 on up to 93, was the age of this group of men, most of whom had been raised in Yates Center and many of these fellows had gone to the same one room school house and some even in the same grade with each other. They had shared years of toil on the farm and also in the streets of Yates Center in business. The one thing that they seemed to share to the greatest depth was a kinship for each other and the little town they proudly called home. Thier little town had none of the latest ammenities, but all of the oldest worthy attributes............no Starbucks, no Borders, and no Bed Bath and Beyond...............no, theres was a town blessed with friendship and respect that ran 3 feet deep.
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The group of men I sat with had served in WW2 and Korea. They shared in the plight of battle on soil so far from home, and they shared in the memories of fellas that they knew whom never made it home from the same conflicts that they themselves lived to tell about. They shared in the plight of the young men and women whom have gone to Iraq, to fight a battle that most of us do not understand. One asks, is this a battle of "ideology or religion" or is it a battle of oil domination. Well, none of the members of Liars Club could answer, the bottom line seemed to be that we need to win. Say, do you like Blugrass I am asked by Norman, moving us on to a lighter topic? Why yes, but I am not a musician at all. Just wondering says Norman, Kansas has a world-class Blue Grass festival. The conversation drifts from personele interests to political interests and back again, like the constant rythm of the waves on the ocean, the underlying principle is " what does the stranger amongst us think". I am rather unabashed about my opinion on most matters and so they knew when I left just what it is that drives Jeremiah. The whole process was done with humor and respect for each others feelings and values, most of which we shared very openly. The constant companion to this entire conversation was the BIKE which sat outside, idlly leaning against the wall as if it where the one tired. And each person who walked into the store was promprtly told that I was the fella whom was riding that bike across America. And from there, a knew line of questions would start all over again.
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I felt the need to get on the move, and made jsut that declaration, I told them all how much I had enjoyed the conversation and warm welcome...........but it was time I moved on I said. "Why son, you can't be goin just yet, you'll have to hang around or dinner at Frannies". Shoot I said, thats some time off and I got miles to ride yet. Well says one older fella, you ain't seen our Courthouse out in the town square yet have ya? And ya gotta take a walk around the town square anyways says another. By the time ya do that Frannie will have dinner ready, now you get on out for a walk, and we will see ya at Frannies a little later..................shoot, ya haven't even been to Kansas unless ya ate at Frannies. Okay fellas, I get the point, I will be at Frannies for dinner.
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I get the guided tour of the Woodson County Couthouse. They even unlock the actual courtroom so I can take pictures of it, and anything else that I may want to to take a picture of. Chris, is my guide and the local historian of the happenings of Yates Center, he's the local building custodian and knows all there is to know. The truth is, they are just as proud of the little town inside this courthouse as they are inside the coffee shop, and with due reason, the courthouse is gorgeous. And very interesting!
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From there I take a long slow amble around the town square, which is a little on the beleagured side today, but at one time it was a happening place. There is the bandstand that held not only musical events of all types, but boxing and wrestling on many occassions, not to mention the hot winded campaigning politicians of the time. It all used to happen on this town square, but no more. Those days have given way to television, and the Super Walmart 3 towns away..........and in each small town dust gathers on store shelves and on the benches of town squares all around the midwest. The hustle and bustle of a busy Saturday night have gave over to the slow shuffle of another slowly dying community. But there is a bright note in this little town and a spark I haven't seen in many others...............these folks love there little town and I get the feeling that they won't let go easily of what once was.
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I meet Red, a large man for his age, now in his seventies, and runs one of the local Antique Malls. Red used to be Kansas Highway Patrol and also Sheriff of Yates Center. Hello son, he says, been riding a bit have ya? Yes sir, I tell him left a good home and a good wife about 35 days ago and I am not sure why I tell him. We both have a good laugh, and continue talking. Not alot around here for the younger folks to do any more, they most all move into the larger cities or move out of State says Red. Are ya checking out our town square, you should have seen it back in the 50's-and 60's says Red, it was quite a sight back then why this place on a Saturday night was standing room only when a big band pulled into town. By the way,you don't want be missing our Frannies, says Red, you will enjoy that if ya hang around. Yup, I says, I am hanging around so I can say that I ate at Frannies. Thats good Red assures me.

I walked, and cycled the entire town square looked in all the USED stores, and peered into all the used to be stores that now collect dust and cobwebs rather than customers. It was fnally time to cross the Square to the very popular Frannies. The obscure black and white doors, mark the entrance to this dinning mecca....................but for what reason remains a mystery to me. Upstairs I go..........well at least I start until I spot the menu board. A very simple two line menu board greet all comers to Frannies, and it reads dinner $1.00 what ever we serve, and Pie $1.00 per slice, all drinks included. Folks, it can't get any simpler than that. So up I go, I cover the two long flights of wooden stairs without even working at it, and am greeted by a throng of people entering and or exiting a narrow wooden doorway.................gotta be the place I think to my self. When I enter I can spot almost the entire Liars Club and more, sitting right in front is my new friend Norman and a lady whom I learn is Norman's wife Jan. In small town fashion, they invite me to join them for dinner.

On the right as you enter is the kitchen of Frannie and her 1 staff, and a front counter over which she hands you the dinner of the day. On this day, we had a baked potatoe and a healthy helping of green beans and Ham, you can have 1 or 2 slices of buttered bread along with water/coffee and or Tea take your choice. She hands this over the counter to you and then you find an open seat and enjoy the meal and the fellowship with a local or maybe another traveller its a mixed bag. The front of the counter is lined with pies, and on this day, I think that there were 15 flavors of pie, hand made by Frannie each day. Hey folks, I will take this over Starbucks any day!!!

I sit and visit with Norman and his wife Jan whom used to be a school teacher, also a lady who's name escaped me, but she was the most amazing 85 year old women I had ever met. I commented on how well she looked considering she was that age, and she claims it is the walking, folks just don't walk as much as they should is her thought on the matter. And she may well have a point, you may well agree if you had seen her. I know its not all the food, because she sat and ate the same things that I did, including the pie..................but she stopped at one piece while I had 11. JUst kidding, I had 2 flavours. One a new one to me the Goose Berry which I loved, and the other was a Black Berry equally good but not knew to me. I learned a little something here, that there is also a womens liars club, they can hold there own with the men any day of the week.

To finish up the meal, I ask Norman for advice on what to do with the dinner plate I had sitting empty in front of me. To which he informed me to take it up, scrap it off and put it in the sink to be washed. By the time that I had done this, Frannie, yes Frannie in person had come and sat at the table where I sat. She too, had heard that I was riding that skinny contraption across USA. So now being rid of my plates, I asked Frannie if I pay her or what? She pointed to the open Cash Till, and said that I am to do like everyone else has for over 21 years and that is pay the till myself and make the proper change for myself if need be. Wow, I was amazed. Each person in turn, steps up and does just that............Frannie sits relaxed and totally unaware of what takes place at the cash till. She's feeding friends she tells me later, and has no reason to worry or consider honesty. I believe her, and considering how vocal the folks out side of the establishment where about my eating at Frannies, I knew also that she was feeding true friends as well.
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Having Frannie sitting at the same table, along with Norman and Dewey gave me a chance to ask a few more questions and to listen to just how famous this little hole in the wall restaurant really is. Frannie has been a guest on almost every television show during day time, and night time television, not to mention the same over in Britian and several other European countries. Too many magazines and Newspapers to remember, and commentary about her business and her cooking covers the spectrum. The little story that I really got a chuckle out of, was by one particular food critic from some city up north. He stated that the food was rather "farmerish" and that Frannies restaurant would not last 6 months considering the ridiculous prices. Frannie leans a little closer to me and says, have a look around there's quite a few farmers ain't there? To which I have to agree, there certainly are, which made her point about farmerish food rather well. And besides she says as she sits back to recline in her wooden chair, I think I could make a dead man climb two flights of stairs for a $1.00 dinner, and she smiles knowing that she had once again made her point...................I am feeding friends here..................and have been doing it for 21 years now since my husband passed away.

The Kansas Politicians have bought her pies to take back to Washington DC, the local politicians have taken her pies to other countries on overseas goodwill trips, and up to Witchita for sessions of State business. Frannie has had the State of Kansas Health Inspector as well as the State Fire Marshall come to work on several occasisions in her kitchen helping her to make up the required pies. In total she makes at least 12 fresh pies per day for the restaurant, and then some for orders from folks whom have ate her pies. But on the days Wed, Thurs and Fri she makes up some 20-25 pies per day and more for Saturday. She informs me that on the day before Thanksgiving of last year, she made 149 pies as orders for folks to have with there dinners.

Without any doubt, Frannie is feeding friends the BEST PIE I have ever had. I know, that is a lot of territory to take in, and yes I agree I have not had your pie or your wifes pie. I feel sorry that I have to make a statement such as this, because I know that my own Mom is out there reaading this and wondering about her own son's loyalty. So because I feel so bad making this rather bold statement......................I offer a PIE CHALLENGE.

Here is how it works, iether you or your wife can make fresh hand made pie, cool it and then ship it to my home address >>>>Jeremiah Watt, 47069 Crump Lane, HC 1 Box 34, Coalinga, CA 93120 USA.<<<<< My wife will freeze each entry until I get home and then we will have a pie tasting to declare just whom among you should wear the Pie Makers Crown. We will notify each person who enters a pie, and award something to the best pie sent in. So ladys, polish up the rolling pin, husbands get out there and pick some fresh berries because the PIE CHALLENGE is stiff competition to be sure.................YOU are going up against Frannie's Famous Pies.
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I did finally leave, and rode further east to a little town called Pique whick is now almost "no town". But at one time Pique was large enough to have a huge Live Theater building, lost to fire back in the 60's. It was a frequent stop for Harry Houdini's performing troupe. It is also the home place of Buster Keaton.
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Now about the only thing that remains of this once thriving little town along a busy railroad is the great looking Catholic Church.
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I passed thru Iola, a town of a little more size than most. I done a little Xmas Shopping on the sly at a local junk store. Hada ride around the town square, and came upon this dedication to Funston, whom must have been quite a soldier. He certainly had a huge impact on everything that he was put in charge of.
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With the best of intentions headed to the local Library to get a little work done on my blog.....................but folks, I am telling you.......we have lost control of our local Libraries. The teens here ran the asylum, and I was too fed up with this BS to put up with it.

I called my darling wife, just to let her know about the PIE CHALLENGE, and to let her know I was ALIVE. JUst in case she was trying to claim insurance early on me. She informed me that I was to change my travel plans and head for southern Missouri to visit with the Brennen's some family cowboy friends. Dave and allison, used to work out in Nevada for Larry and Toni Shutte, and we have crossed paths many times, but now that they live In Nixa Missouri, I think that I need to head there way since we are so close. And after all, it is there daughter "Lizard's" birthday...................hate to miss out on CAKE!!!!!!!!!
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So with that In mind we talked about the wheres and whys, and I made my plans. I headed out of Iola due east to Moran, and it is now about 5:30 so I stop and get a little something to drink since the bike was reading rather warm. I take on some Gatorade, and while I do so along comes Gordon. Gordon, had served in Vietnam, and was not to happy with the way the troops whom served had been treated upon return home........and he was hoping that the kids in Iraq would be treated better. "We sure can't afford to lose another of these world confrontations says Gordie, I think that we will be in a lot of serious trouble if we let this war slip by unresolved like we did in Vietnam. Say says Gordie, you better be ware of the "chigger's" around these parts.............do you know about Chigger's he asks me? Why no I tell him, I don't have a clue what you are speaking of. To that he pulls his pants up, rather than down to show me real "chigger" bites.......them little buggers will really leave you sufferin if ya ain't careful on where ya set yer tent. So Gordie goes on to tell me to avoid the fresh green grass, and try to stay in the mowed and brown grass or dirt if ya kin find it.

I turn due south of Moran, and ride about 2 miles till I spot some FALT BARE DIRT that looks chigger free, and set up my camp. Quite a wind blowing, and a lot of very heavy cloud is banked up along the southwest skies. I had a great supper of bnoodles cooked in hot tomatoe sauce and a cup of tea. The dew is very heavy on this night.

Good Night and God Bless


September 23, 2006

DAY 34- Just a great day without wind ! ! !

SO whats it like to have a day without the wind..................well stay tuned.
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Up early, its a fall feeling day, crystal clear with no wind, the leaves are really trying to turn in a few places around Kansas. It is 6:15 and I will be leaving Emporia today, after I say my good byes at GRS and do a foloow up session at Library.
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No coffee to start the day, just head strait to GRS since they are open at 7:30 I think it is. I get in and say good bye to my friend Otis, then have short but fun meeting with Kim Pember her title is Comptroller I believe. Anyways, the meeting was informative, and like DJ it was upbeat as well about engraving and the direction that it is going.
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With that done, I head for the Library. Yes, I am Praying for a better attitude over this whole thing. Well,I am informed by a new lady that all work from yesterday will be gone...............and it was and that NO I cannot work on photos for the internet.........NO SO, I worked for 1 hour and could'nt stand it any longer and I was out of there.
Rode downtown and found a baber so I could get a trim job, my hair was looking sort'a unruly and the visit with the barber was good. He was born and raised in Emporia, and had a great understanding of the dynamics of the town and area.
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I was finally heading south by southeast out of Emporia by 1:30 in the afternoon. I stopped and had a look through a great junk/antique store right at the edge of town. Nothing need, just looking is all. I hadn't road more than a couple of miles and I spotted a great looking old bridge to the right, unlike very many I had seen being entirely built of wood and of the arch type. I road south to a small town called Marion, and this was a neat little town that must have been quite the place during its busy years. Great old brick buildings, all the roads done in red brick..........just very pretty.
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The country just gets hillier as you ride in the direction of southeast Kansas, and the valleys here are solid grass. We are riding thru a very famous piece of American geographical history here, since we are in the Flint Hills district. This particular area of USA had had more cattle on during the cattle drive days than any other area of USA. And riding thru it today, there are still alot of cattle, matter of fact two points. I seen more cattle out on the land here than any place................and I seen folks out amongst them on horseback as well. That made me feel good to see.
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I would like to make a little of my intense knowledge of Horticulture known to you at this junture of my trip, it is a little piece of what makes Jeremiah who he is. I really do like trees and plants, but kow very little about them in fact. If any of you are readers of the true CLASSICS you are well aware of Hank the Cow-Dog and the reference to "BODARK" trees. That is a term that I have always wondered about. It was while passing they the corner of Canvas that it was all explained to me. The true name of the tree is of french origin and called Beau d'Ark and grows fairly common in Texas where they call it a BODARK.
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The same tree in Oklahoma is well known as a Osage Orange, while in Kansas it has come to be called a "Hedge Apple". The Kansas state had a plan from back in about 1890 to encourage windrows and fencing. To bring this about, they would pay a farmer to plant the tiny trees closely, then two years after planting, the farmer would graft the trees into oneanother forming what was known as a living fence or windrow. It worked great, but they soon found out that nothing short of a nuclear holicaust would kill the little blighters off iether.
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SO there "now you know the rest of the story", as that other great story teller would say at this point!

Once you pass thru the Flint Hill area, the country gets more trees on it, and the hills also get a little bigger. I ride on thru many little towns, but I don't stop at them all. By the little town of Gridley, I was looking to take a break and it was around 4:30pm. Very pretty little town, as so many are back here. I rode past a HIgh School, and was not really paying much attention, just looking at all the sites..............and thats when I heard this young kids yelling at me. But there was something a little different, these kids where happy and joyous. They caught me off guard, so I turned around and went back and took thier picture as a group.
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Right after I took the pic, I got to thinking, man I better explain to somebody who I am. In this day and age, a stranger taking pics of some kids can get you in trouble.

I rode on another 15 miles and called her a day, I had 50.1 miles in with 3 hours of pedalling time............all becasue of no wind!!! I had a great supper and a cup of tea. My camp was next to a wind break, and a creek on the right side so, it made for a cool camp.
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Good Night and God Bless
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DAY 33- a stop at GRS

Hello folks, we have a day off the bike to go and visit the follks at GRS , these are the folks that build all the engraving equipment, and then after that we headed to the Library to get some work on the blog done.

Its up at 6:30 and pack my stuff into the tent after I rolled my bed to keep it dry. The bike was completely free of trailer and rear seat bag, so it felt very fast under pedal.. I headed in towards town and had a cup of coffee and an order of sourdough toast...........which is something that Jeremiah lives on.
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Arrived GRS at 9am, and got to meet Otis a fellow whom I have talked to for quite a few years but not met. Then I had a sit down visit with the owner DJ, and any time you get to visit with DJ you are going to come away excited about engraving. There are alot of neat things happening today in the engraving world, and GRS has placed itself squarely in the mix of all of these events. I hung around and had a full tour of the plant, and then took my leave so I could go downtown and work in the Library.
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Now folks, I don't want to get on my soap box in regards to the whole process of working out of a library...........but honestly I think that something needs to be done. Thye have become the modern day equivalent of a pre-juvenile delinquent babysitting service. Heck of a thing to say, because I am a strong advocate of the Public Library structure wthin in USA.................and I believe that the need for a internet component within the Libarary makes each facility more dynamic for the users. But folks, our own kids are not using it for the same intent that we have foreseen the need for. I am telling you it is a bad scene in many of these Libraries.

Well, the Emporia Librarians must have been able to read my mind, becasue we got on like drill seargent and privates, there was nothing that I could do that would soften thier attitude towards what I was trying to get done on the internet.........................I should have stuck with looking up trash and IM-ing my boyfriends like all the teenies that were in the place. After 2 hours I was told my time was up for the day, and that I would have to come again tomorrow and continue. It will be here when I come back ....................oh, yes I was assured by the lady with authority. SO, I took my leave.

I was needing a new rear tire again at 1928 miles, the Specialized Armadillo tire ran for about about the same miles as my first tire a Continental Pro-Kevlar.

Not much to do, but take a ride around town and see what there was in Emporia. It was sort of along night with not much to occupy my time. I bought some ham and cheese, and a Bagel, went to camp cooked some noodles in Snap-E Tom spicy tomatoe juice and had a sadwich to go with it. Read my Bible . read my Teenage kids book and go to bed a little earlier than the night before.

Good Night and God Bless

September 21, 2006

DAY32 -Approved workmen are not ashamed

I woke up, groggy, and focused as best I could my Ocular devises on the double set of toes at the other end of my abode. Yes I thought, they were mine, and I was whole................my body was complete..........and covered in nylon............I was moist but not wet. Praise the Lord, I knew today would be good now it was time to roll back the door of tent and see what awaited me. I think that the Lord has the same sense of humor that I have....................there was not even a hint of wind from the south..............No sireeeeee Bob, it was strait out of the north now and just as frantic as the day before.
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Hey, you get what you Pray for................I asked for a cessation of all south winds..........that is what I got!!!
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I rolled up camp, and had at least 37 miles to get to a town that had a church.........or could have a church. Now I had to meet my obligation from the night before, and I bent to the task at hand and pedalled in a good steady rythm. The north wind only worked directly against me in a few parts of the ride, and for the most part it worked with me and I rode strong.............er, we rode strong. Marion was my Church destination, and I made it at 10:16.............sorry Pastor Mike, but not much different than I do in Coalinga...............and usually in my Spandex as well.
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The Pastor at this Church was a young fella, maybe 30 with a little wife and new baby. I was greeted by the whole congregation with a clap and a round of handshakes. I was then informed that just the week before, another biker had pulled into to this Church and was riding from Anchorage to the Florida Keys.........and that he to sought the fellowship of Christ on his journey. The sermon asked us all, to look inwardly at our preparedness and readiness for the secreted arrival of Jesus Christ as it is said.................."I shall come as a thief in the night!" It was good, because I was thinking about that very thing for the rest of my ride that day.
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The sermon ended, and I had time to visit a little with the new Pastor, and he was in-particular excited about the commencement of an AWANA program at the Church, and had 13 kids the first night. In addition there was a lady from Witchita, who had never met a stranger nor kid she couldn't put in line.............teaching for her was a passion not an occupation. Anyways, she filled me in on most of the history of Marion, and this Church. She photographed me, left me so awestruck I forgot to get a picture of her.
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Man the farms are so clean around here, and there is plenty of very good water since there is plenty of Limestone. The abundance of rock shows up in many downtown buildings and houses.......I just love the look of Limestone. My plan for the day was to get to Cotton-wood falls some 20 plus miles from Emporia. But, I rode so strong, and made one wrong turn on the back roads, that I missed Cotton wood Falls and was on the correct road to Emporia before I knew it.
As I rode into the outer edge of Emporia, I was sort of fretting about finding a RV Park so I could have a Shower and do some Laundry. Bingo, right there, all I had to do was cover one eye and turn right and I was into the RV park. I arrived at exactly 6am, 12 hours from when I got up that day. I rode thru rain clouds all day, felt a few drops but never got real wet. It was cold on this day, and felt like late October, the bike never got over 62 degrees, I wore all my clothes.............including my "tie" Mike.
I done up my laundry first, a good washing and full drying for everything. Camp was up and it was now well past dark as I had a shower. I didn't feel like anything with noodles in it, so I headed for the Flying J Truck Plaza across the Highway 77.
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Now for safety sake, after 9pm, I always order a Ham&Cheese Omelette and ask them to burn the fire out of the hashbrowns and the toast to be even safer. A serious mistake at this outfit, there was enough grease on the plate to have my Omellete float. SO I picked around and got enough to fill me up sort'a. Walked back to my tent, called a few friends and turned in for the night.
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Good NIght and God Bless.
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DAY 31- leaving into a Gale

I had not slept as good in the Motel, as I do now in my tent. My new pad is a full shoulder width, and as long as me and 2" thick. SO I sleep good on this one no matter what position I get into,,,,,,,,which for me can get quite contorted.
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Man, I gotta tell ya, this Library thing is really starting to put me to the test................sorry but between Librarians and these punk kids I am slowly one Library at a time turning into Freddy Krueger.
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I got out of the Motel sorta late, ate a few doughnuts and hit the road east out of Great Bend. The wind is blowing a gale form the south by southeast and staying upright is a challenge. I ride about 15 miles to Ellinwood, and decide to take a break. I get a cup of coffee at a fast stop, and walk across the street to the wind belted Country Club. I sat and drank my coffee in fair seclusion, and enjoyed all of it. What a great looking Golf Club,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but these fairways are too tight for Jeremiah to play.
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The same town, has several Antique stores and I check the lagest one out. Many nice pieces of furniture, but not that thing that I am now looking for on my Xmas list. I had a good visit with the two fellas that own the shop, and find out a little more about the town, and make my leave for the open road. On this day the bike hit 104 with a strong wind for the day. I felt like a raisin by the time the day ended.
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Aling about 2 oclock, the wind and sun had about done my old legs in so I found the shade of a tree and took a quick nap. MAybe a half hour or so, and felt good so mounted up and headed out once more. I rode on into the little Scottish Heritage town of McPhearson. I took a quite a ride theu this town, since it had plenty of neat buioldings and gardens to see. And while riding down one street I spotted a Dairy Queen, and my thoughts went into a mathematical calculation as to how long it was since I had anything in the way of ice-cream. My 4mghertz brain spit the answer out almost as fast as I could feed in the required and pertinent information...............YESTERDAY CHUBBY!
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I put useless information where it belongs in the Delete can, and headed on in. But before I could get in Eldon and his wife Ruth met me in the parking lot as I dis-mounted my bike. Now Eldon and Ruth are bot hin the later 70's and in very good shape, they keep that way by constant walking and close diatary control.................I told em, that I do the same but don't care for the walking part of it. We laughed and talked about my riding across USA, and then headed into the store. Eldon, being in front, immediatley engaged the young lady behind the counter with a few questions about States capitals, and did she know them.
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Better yet, if she didn't know 3 of 5, maybe he should get his Ice-Cream Cone for free. She played a long, and he asked five, she got 1...........her own home State of Ohio. Turns out she is ..................I am going to say this and get a lot of flack from many of my friends..............she is a second year Education Major!!!!!!!
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I order my small chocolate malt, and am getting a straw, when Eldon asks me to join him and Ruth. I warn him that I got fair sweat worked up in the wind and heat..............he assures me I am okay. SO I join him, and learn what a fascinating fellow he is. At 79, Eldon is still a fulltime teacher at the High School level, and has refused to retire till he is too old to teach......................which is what he called his banter with the gal behind the counter as well. In his own words a 2 year student should know all the States and the Provinces of Canada without fail. SO, feeling better with a little ice-cream in my belley. I ask him to give me the 5 State test. Which he does, and with pure luck I got 5 for 5................really, I was expecting 3 maybe 4 but not 5. SO I told him that I never made it out of High School, and did that surprise him at all. He told me not at all. HIs own Father had gone to grade 4, and had to quit to help with the family farm, but all the way thru Eldon's College years he could call on his father for help in his studies.
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He really feels that the larger part of a good education is in the reading which is being lost, and in practical application.........no matter whether its figuring out quantity of seed per acre, or amount of fence to do a section, or build a grainery...................kids learn it best when they see it applied. We had a great old visit, I told him that we home school, and was curious of what he thought of that principle.
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He felt that maybe in todays reality it may be the best we could offer. He also made note, and I think with some good points, that the home school of today has as its cornerstones the same tenants that made American education the greatest in the worlkd up until about 1965 if that far. It was funny that he mentioned that date, and I asked him he had read the book "Into the 21st Century", to which he said he had not. But the author of that book says almost verbatim what Eldon had said.
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I have rode in and around Kansas now enough to say that it is very impressive how clean the farms and towns are. It is just beautiful as you ride, the houses are painted, there is plenty of stone work, and the streets are clean, as it is in what I have seen of Europe, there ar planety of flowers out. I didn't do a real thourough investigation, but did dtop and get a few real-estate flyers and in general the housing is cheap by California standards. All of the city parks in town are designated NO CAMPING..........so, I rode on east.
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I didn't ride that far, maybe 5-6 miles and it was getting rather dark so I pulled over to a high ditch edge since it had a really wet look to the sky over head. Set camp up, with good drainage, and set up my little stove to cook a meal, I had a fair time getting my little fuel blocks to light up, but I finally got one off and burning. The sky was a complete blakcened mass of cloud, and I though there would be no real sunrise. Reluctantly the clouds parted as I cooked, and the color was just brilliant as it played off of the roiling thunderheads thru which it blazened with reds and oranges. It has been sometime since I have seen color like that sunset, I am sure Sally watched it knowing full well that Joelle was at work with here masterful brush strokes. Thanks Joelle.
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The wind really was getting with it as I crawled into my nylon culvert, I was really wondering if my tent would stand the test that this wind would give it. SO I doubled my Prayers, and I insisted I would find some place to attend the Church tomorrow if he would keep me covered in Nylon and not too wet. I went to bed with a constant flapping of Nylon and then along came that rolling heavy thunder..............and about an hour after I went to bed the rain set in. BUt lets not discuss today, what we may have to talk about tomorrow.

Good NIght and God Bless

September 20, 2006

DAY30 Friday runs afoul.........

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___IT GETS A MIGHT WINDY IN CANVAS________
To say it ran afoul is my interpretation, but don't let me get ahead of myself with the days events. I set my tent up under a serious threat of a night of both wind and rain. I got both, I didn't know until later that most of the area had recieved 1.25-1.5 inches of rain. But the little tent held up just fine, so no complaints at all from me.
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So the day started right off in the SLOG mode, and nothing really changed as far as amount nor direction of wind. I was determined that I would make my 60 plus miles down the road no matter what. As it was yesterday, it was also quite difficult to hold the edge of my lane as I like to do. Not only that, but there is no room on the shoulder to be running off iether since you hit soft dirt and a steep ditch. SO pedal Jeremiah, and shut-up.................alright, alright already thats what I am doing.
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I came to the Historic site of Fort Larned, and decided that I would make this a stop to learn and show some of you folks what a well preserved Fort looks like. I hope that you enjoy it, because I sure did.
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The entire Fort has been restored to its original condition and settings, each room is set up to hold a piece of what made the Fort an important stop as well as a Military outpost for guiding wagon trains and other Military guard type convoys. All totallled I spent about 1.5 hours at the Fort.
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Its only another 5-6 miles down the road to the actual town of Larned and I stoppped here and bought a qt of milk and some yogurt. I sat easting my lunch on the curb in front of a road side store. While there a fellow came along ahos name was Micheal, even though he looked very asian to me. Turns out that Micheal is the son of a Vietnam War Ex-Pat and he and his family where moved to Kansas after the War came to an end. My new friend Micheal, just couldn't believe that I would even try to ride a bike across America. We got to talking about life and what we had seen and done, and Micheal pointed to his Restaurant that he owns and operates. I was caught off guard since it is called the Peking Palace. So that made me ask the question why are you cooking Chineses food when your native culture is Vietnamese? Quite simple said Micheal, Americans are very fussy eaters. Its like this properly cooked Vietnamese food is always cooked in fish sauce and has a very strong smell to it.
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The fish sauce smells bad, but you can get past the smell, the food tastes really good and in his opinion is fresher tasting than Chinese. So, I can sell any sort of Chinese food, but not real Vietnamese. I asked what Micheal's opinion about America was now that he called it home. And was pleasantly surprised to the answer, because he touched on two facets that interested me but where not asked. America it is true, is a place where you can be and do what you want. When I was a boy in Vietnam, we used to hear it from US soldiers but always wondered if it were true. I can tell you that it is true, here in America I own a restaurant that I could not have today in the corner of Vietnam that I grew up in. I beleive today, as my family believed back then, that America pulled out of Vietnam before they finished the work intended..................and the whole of Vietnam Penninsula would be better of today if we would have stayed. Like Iraq today, we need to be there, but some in America think we should pull from there also. And I think that this will give the same results as Vietnam, which is bad.
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After the talk with Micheal, I was joined by Arty who is a truck driver in the local who was also amazed that someone would ride a cycle across America. Arty tells me that he was a machinist over in Witchita, but the product that he made and the Company for that matter have both moved off-shore. The manufacturing jobs that used to be abundant in the larger cities of Kansas are now gone, and the serviving of products are all that is left. SO I got the best job left in Kansas, and thats driving a truck. I do real well at it and don't have to work so hard iether. So Arty, what do you think of the push by many politicians to make the whole "free-trade" policy come to pass? Well thats just plain nuts, I dont know what the heck they expect our kids to do when they get out of school these days, the jobs and job selection are just not there, at least what I can see in my State of Kansas. I drive all over this State, and everyone wants to drive truck, its the last good job left. I thanked him for his insight, and explained to him that I think almost anyone can and could ride across USA if they wanted to.
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SO, with that I rode out and headed up the highway. The country is very lush at least to me being from California. The grass is so deep, and the hills not huge just a constant rolling terrain. Another thing that I noticed and am not sure that I took photo's of, is the abundance of hand cut long Limestone rocks cut to be used as fence posts and fence corner braces. Some had dates on them back to the 1885 times. It wasn't long and I was in Pawnee Rock, and there is an old sand stone looking building that was on a corner at one time, but now finds itself like many of us, sitting at rather an ackward angle to the world of today.
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It seemed like a good time to get off and check out the Antique Market of Pawnee Rock, and in I went and was promptly met by MArge and her two little Yorkies. I held my poise, stayed perfectly still till Marge could call the raveous little ankle biters back into thier proper corner. Marge had a nice selection of stuff from some nice furniture pieces to books about the west and plenty of antique quilts and glass wear. I was intent on doing some Christmas shopping while out on the road, exactly what I was doing..............but I wont say for who. Marge talked, I listened and ambled thru the many rooms of stuff, and answered back infrequently. MArge kept up the chatter I think even when I wasn't there, but today she had a captive ear. Ah ha, I think that I found what I was in search of, yes its fairly nice, not that I know much about it all...........but was being made in England the best choice and so I ask Marge. Well, folks that started the ensuing dialog that took over an hours time, but I have to say I found it all quite interesting because it revo9lved around the whole of the British Isles. Now this is pertinent to know, becasue the Watt's and a friend are going to the same place next summer, so the more information we can find the better, and MArge was certainly full of that. During the discussion, I mentioned I had teenagers and was planning on atending many of the Churches and Museums in the Isles.......................wow, said MArge! How do you get away with that? I was no entirely sure off the question so asked her to clarify, and once I understood and had assured her my own kids are equally interested in seeing the same things she was astonished. How marvelous she excalimed, since in her opinion what was missing in the youth of America today was an appreciation of the fine Arts and Music. In her opininon, and mine......RAP, was something that should be played to a Hampster if he refuses to roll his little clear plastic ball or something like that. Any ways, we had quite a discussion about education, and where it is going wrong for our kids today.......matter of fact she made mention of some statistics that I would like to get my hands on and see if they are close to true. Her point was that students who were engaged in the arts and or music are higher achievers in all levels of school and have a much lower rate of falling into drugs and crime. The reasoning was, that they are active and in a competative sense engaged with fellow class mates to make the band etc. And later on at the College level, they have an extracurricular endevour that tends to keep them away from the "bad crowd" and out with a better group of kids. It all sounded fairly logical to me, but like I say it would be nice to find some data.

I rode on to Great Bend, and on thru the town. Funny but I noticed that quite a few folks (3-4) yelled stuff at me that was not very nice, this is a first on this trip. I stopped at a Grocery Store and got a few things, plus filled my water bottles. I decided to head further east out of town and away from all these people. SO I rode on, even though the sun was already getting quite low in the sky, I thought that I could find a road side a few miles out of town that would do just fine. And sure enough, maybe 3 mile east of town, there was a simple little park on the north side the road and I pulled into it. Being the only one there, I head right to the back against some trees and under a large tree, just incase it rained as it was looking like it could.

I had no sooner than got off and unhooked my little trailer than another green car drove in, and I never really gave it much notice......................that was until it had made itssecond or third trip past me. And about that time, I thought what is going on here, there is nobody in this park why can't this fella find a spot. So I watched a little closer as he made his circuit around me, speeding up when he was past and slowing right down as he passed me. I watched but tryed to look like I was not...........young fella, Hispanic looking, shor hair, almost looked like a Miltary recruit with the hair cut etc..........car is new, 2 door and has a yellow ribbon thing on rear rt qtr panel. He made at least 6 laps past me and then parked his car about 75-100 yards from me, and facing me. He didn't lay his head back and act like he was even taking a rest..............he just watched intently.

SO, I acted like he was not hter, and went about my business very slowly and methodically. Minutes idled by, and finally I heard his engine start and he made one more pass by me and left out towards town. Whew, I breathed easier now, that was wierd I tought. I got my camp full set up, and things in the proper place. With that done, I thought I would put a new battery in my cell phone and so walked across the road in the park and sat at a picnic table. I had black wind pants and a fairly dark gray top on as I sat working on my phone. The sun had already set, and I knew that I would be making a cup of tea in the dark.............no problem. But wait a minute, theres that dang car again. He turned in and made a beeline to go past my camp, I do not thin that the driver seen me sitting where I was in the colors I was wearing. He went past at least another 6 times, and each time he slowed right down, I could see his brake lights come on each time. Then he parked, just 50-75 yards from me at the table, I was croutched real low now...................scared you say,........no, nothing had slipped out the back yet.

He sat for a few minutes, and then exited the car. And I noticed that for a new car, there were no interior lights come on as he stepped out, and the door closed with barely a sound. He was a smoker, since I could see the end of his cig in the late dusk of the evening..............he was walking on the road but around the park in my direction. SO I made my move and headed for my camp low and as quick as I could. I made one pass by my tent from behind a tree and grabbed the only DEATH instrument that I had..............a small hammer that Pine had bought me for driving tent pegs. Once I had that I slipped into the cover of trees right behind my tent................and I watched.

He walked to within maybe 50 yards of my camp, and then turned around and walked back to the car. He slipped in, no lights on a nd drove off around the loop in my direction, about half way around he put his lights on and rolled real slowly past my camp...........almost coing to a stop. then out of the camp and back towards town. SO, there I sat in what had slipped out the back. I was wondering just what I ought to do, and like every good man it hit me right then.......call my wife. I did just that, and as I was explaining to her just what all had gone on, I am still behind the cover of trees, I notice a vehicle with no headlights turn down the little creek that ran to my left. It was real strange since he had to be on the highway with lights off, and thwen just hit the brakes enough to turn into the narrow road beside the creek. Now, I can tell you without joking, that I was a little booogered here. I was talking to Mom, and thats when the car returned with lights on and hit the circle around in my direction.

I got real low, told Mom adios. He made his second pass, and I hit the 9-11 call and talked to the lady on the other end. Told her I didn't like how this was all looking out at the old Fort Zarah Park, and maybe they could send an officer. BYthe time I had walked theu the events, the car had made another 6-7 passes and then pulled out on the highway again..............I was dissappointed and told the lady the same. She assured me they would send an officer, and I gave her my number for verification...................I will tell you that I am amazed that I even knew it.............it's the Lord, I know it.
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I had not even really moved, since I was listening intently to the bush that ran behind me and to the creek to my left,,,,,,,,,I was expecting to here footsteps or twigs crackling underfoot........but nothing I could detect. Dang it all, here come those darned lights again. It is so dark that I cannot make out anything now, its well past 10 pm. I lay low, and watch, right around the loop and slow by me.............................then the darned phone rings and makes more fear squirt out. I answer expecting Mom, buts its the 911 gal. SO I tell her I am hiding in the trees, and that the car returned and is doing the very same routine.......................wait I tell her as quietly as I can, he has parked just 15-20 feet from my camp and his lights are out.....................YIKES. If some one had popped a paper bag behind me right then, you could have fertilized a garden for a month.............sorry Rob, but this sort of thing only happens at the movies for me. I told the gal I need to quit talking, since I was close enough that I thought he may hear me. She once again assured me an officer was on the way...............she made me tell her where I was hiding which I did so the officer would know to expect me.


The car did turn up, and rolled right around to the back of the park as I had told her to do. He pulled up by what was van...........not the green car. I knew and told the lady that the light pattern was different, but the driving pattern was the same. The Sherriff got the fella out and I could see from my vantage point that it was a different guy as well. This fella was about 40 and a little less fit than the guy in the green car. SO, he was hassled enough to encourage him to leave, which he did. And thats when I emerged from the cover off the tree line, and talked to the officer. He told me that this is no park for overnight camping, it is used in to many Narcotic drops and also by to many Homo-sexual encountres to make camping a safe thing to do. You can call me a conspiracy freak, but I am convinced that these two fellas were working in tandem, just too many things about driving etc were similar...............but, I will never be able to prove it.
So I told him of my problem, no lights on bike etc and 3 miles back to town. Do it somehow he said and now.
So with that he left, and I rolled camp in a hurry and headed out hanging onto a flashilight and steering the bike. I made it back to Great Bend and got a room, after I had been to 3 Motels on the outskirts of town. I was so nervous now, that I checked the rooms something that I never usually do. And each of them was a Motel wher folks meet for an hour at best and do what we won't speak off, and before they leave the man smokes a cigarette.
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I finally get a room at Days Inn, and park my stuff. From there I call home to let them know I am still alive and had not been raped or worse. For me, its as close as I need to come to the Devil manageing to run things afoul, I firmly believe that God's Providential hand held off a foul deed............I will leave you to think as you would of it all.

Good Night and God Bless

September 19, 2006

DAY 29 What did I do to deserve this??

I am up at 6:30 and there is a fierce wind blowing from the south by southeast. I am a normal cowboy who’s center of balance is derived from his moustache, somewhat like a cat and his tail. I have a thick moustache, mostly grey now, but I share it equally with both sides of my face. Well up until this morning at least that was the case, but now I am having to get accustomed to my moustache all being blown over to the left side of my face. It made what little speech I needed to do, very difficult. In order to keep my moustache centered I needed to tie the right side off to my right ear………..I did that for a while but over time the little string began to bother me so I let it go to where ever the wind would blow it.

I thought to my self, what Lord have I done to deserve this. SO I took refuge in the thought that yes there was a wind and with an hour or two of character building that the wind will give me it will surely die down and I will have a nicer afternoon. SO I resigned my self to the struggle of a mostly head wind slog over the flatter portions of Canvas.
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That’s what I done was SLOG, just a grunt a fart sort of morning all the way, I don’t think that I ever got past 10 miles per hour. I am getting low on water, and have to ask a farmer that I spot if I can fill the bottles up. SO he says, why the #@*& are you riding that thing anyways? To which my reply was, it was simply a personal challenge and a goal I wanted to attain, and I explained where I had started from. You @#$% Californians sure do some stupid things, you should just get a job. Well, believe me I had a quick retort right there on the end of my usually speedy tongue…………but from someplace in the back of my pea-brain I heard this clarion call…………..”you need water you idiot.” So I gave him his point, and told him I would have one as soon as I finished the ride and asked again where the water faucet was located, and from the there filled all my bottles and left with one full mouth full just to be sure I had all I could and had no room for a smart remark as I rode away.
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I had set the goal of getting to Jetmore as a final destination, but that little town just always seemed to be miles away as I slogged thru the wind. It was well after noon now, and my character was changing, not sure it was the sort of character that the Lord wanted to develop within me. SO I remained confident that the wind would die in the later part of the day. When I finally got to the town of Jetmore, I was so thirsty and drank a qt of Gatorade too quick and didn’t feel that great after.
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PLENTY OF CORN, SORGUM GROWN AROUND HERE.

SO, I took a break and called my older brother Neil, since he had already done a ride cery similar to the one I am doing now. I just wanted to know if there was another way to deal with the wind, different cloths etc………I even considered riding nude and rubbing Olive Oil all over myself, but thought better of it. It would be a lot of olive oil, and sort of a waste. The campground that I was told about in the town had be turned into a refuse disposal site, and so I rode on for another 6 miles.

I set up camp once again in the high side of the ditch since it really looked like rain in the sky tonight.. I was dog tired, and the stinking wind was still trying to rip my toupe off my head. I cooked up Chicken Gumbo which turned out great. I can tell you that if the Lord was working against me, I sure don’t want to spend a lifetime with him as my opponent. Sure looks like rain, and the clouds are heavy.
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Good Night and God Bless

DAY 28 leaving Lamar

Well as I had said I worked a Show in Denver for my little Bit&Spur Company, and it was alright but not great. Just not well enough attended to make it a financial gain. But no complaints, we done our deal and then had some bike work done. The crank set was giving me some fits and it turns out that the reason why is because it was not designed to be a 9spd, but rather a 7 or 8 speed max. So, it pays to not only ask the right questions of the seller, but also ask it of several sales staff at the same Company.
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HAPPY TO BE ON THE ROAD AGAIN

It was a beautiful day in Lamar, I returned my little mini-van to the rental and loaded my stuff in the Little BOB trailer and was off. A little later for me but I was off at around 11:00am. The temp is 68 degrees and the wind is mild. I am looking strait east on Hwy50 once again.

As you ride out of Lamar you are riding a subtle incline out of a very fertile river valley, and once out of that the country tends to flatten a fair amount. Once the country is flat, and the sun is right overhead well you can just about forget of having any endearing photographs of the surrounding country. But I will do my best.
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DEEP GRASS COUNTRY

Rode into Syracuse and had a little dinner. Nothing big, a qt of milk and a little yougurt along with some fruit I had bought in Lamar. The roads are good, maybe a little narrow but the traffic has not been to bad so far and the big rigs I have met in Kansas have been just great. One “atta boy” to the drivers of 18 wheelers in Colo and Kansas for that matter. The temp is now up to 97 on the bike, and we are on the way to Holly Kansas, the town is a nice little town, and not long after that the country begins to get a gentle roll to it. My God, I cannot believe how green and wet the country is, all the way from east of Denver really.

I rode thru- several very small towns and really enjoyed the richness of the grass out this way. I decided to make camp about 15 miles short of Garden City, and found a great spot along side of a secondary road too do so. Camp was simple, had a 2 bottle bath (40oz) water, so you learn to put it on in all the right places. I had one bottle left over to cook with and one to ride in the morning with. I had a great supper of Louisianna Red Beans and Rice, it worked out perfect along with a cup of Earl Grey Tea and I was looking forward to bed after an 87 mile day that started so late.
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"HEY WE ARE IN THE SUNFLOWER STATE,ITS A GIVEN

Good Night and God Bless

September 10, 2006

DAY27- greetings from Denver

Well, I wanted to take the time to put up a post to thank all of you who follow the blog and to take the time to post. I have now the time to read the posts and not the time to answer each of you in a specific manner as would seem appropriate. Let me say that this trip is only special if it can be shared. I do not believe that our Lord God wants his creation to be to be held captive by only one pair of adoring eyes.

My friend and spiritual mentor in many ways is a CHP officer back in Coalinga, and I want to share a little of what he wrote to me, that the creation of the universe is just an "appetizer" so too speak at the Lord's banquet, the main course and most important creation is "US" in God's image. And like Rob says, to not share that fact is to have gods creation hanging in a closet................unappreciated.

My trip could be called selfish and maybe even self-serving, but I assure you that the Lord has worked his will into my life on a daily basis and I have had many chances to see Prayer in action. So, the whole trip has given me a chance to come to know the Lord in a closer manner............I am fairly confident I can cross America............but I am completely confident that I cannot do it without the Lords presence in every revolution of my cranks.

If I can say thanks to those youngsters back home whom follow the blog as it goes, most of them hangout with my own kids and are wonderful presence in my home on many weekends throughout the year..................thankyou for your constant Prayers. And I know that your constant sending of Prayers towards heaven in my stead, have kept the Lord's providential hand between me and possible tragedy.........so thanks again.

For my Pastor, Mike, who is a great guy and a constant and tireless worker for the kingdom of Heaven. I know your Prayers give me a shield, and you words give me confidence. Many are the times that I have caught myself thinking, what would Pastor Mike say............and then I realized what Mike would say. Jeremiah, it doesn't matter what I would say, I am but a messenger...................what does matter is what the Lord says. I use that for myself now more often, to make myself go look it up in the Bible. MIke, I don't always know where to go find it, but I am getting better.

And to my friends whom make saddles, or engrave, build bits and spurs, or just enjoy life with horses and the open range as the canvas on which we live. Many thanks to all of you, since you are family as well. Those of us who have accepted Christ as our risen Lord and Saviour, call the collective body of believers FAMILY. But some of you are family by way of what we do and share in business and our professional carreers. We see you at trade shows, and ropings around the country, thankyou for being apart of this area of my life as well.

NOt much of this would be fun, nor possible if it were not for the worlds best wife and my kids. I can only hope that this comment stirs a rigorous debate over who has the best wife, I would like to see all of us men more thankful for the wives we have..........and all of US parents for appreciative of the children we are raising. The whole of a child is a reflection of thier parental expierience. Here again I know that I fall short, and am so thankful for the continuos stabilizing effect of my wifes personality. Thanks Mom, I really do love you.................and not to leave out Pine nor Nevada, lov'ya too.

There is a twist of irony here as well when it comes to my ability to share this entire cycling trip with you, because once again it has been the FOLKLORISTS to the rescue. Better than twenty years ago there where a group of folks headed up by Hal Cannon whom could see a day when the shared spoken word of the range cowboys would be lost forever quite possibly. And from that notion/fear sprang forth the father of a lyrical sagebrush rennaisaunce movement that we all know is the Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering. That group of folklorists have not only given life to all of the other Poetry gatherings that have followed, but they continue to plow new cultural furrow's in places that others lack the vision to percieve. It has been close to 13 years since I quit working for this wonderful group "FOLKS", and now here today the blog comes by way of those same FOLK-lorists. So, let me say thanks directly to the great gal I work with,Meg Glaser. BUt not only her, all the others behind the scenes whom have made the blog possible so that we can share "reality in real time" and in a real way.

So you guys keep it up, and let me say this. If you are a passive reader and not active with the comments, I invite you to share a little knowledge with me..................if you know of some thing. some place, some point of interest, or some interesting person whom I should endevour to iether meet or see in your State...........please share it with me. I won't promise that I am going to ride 1000 miles out of my way to make it happen. But I would like to have the option to give it consideration. I still have Canvas, Missouri, Tennesee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia to get through. I could use your help with seeing the things that matter to the folks who live there.

Its late guys, and I have to work the booth with a smile on my face tomorrow.
Good NIght and God Bless

September 9, 2006

DAY 26- an interesting start

SHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh, Jeremiah is sound asleep. HIs tent is set up facing to the east so it catches the night breeze and first light of morning, all that makes for a restfull sleep and an early start. The way into his little tent is right on the end of the tube that makes up the tent, and there is a storm flap which can cover that portion, but it is open to the screen now so that the soft night breeze can waft over the sleeping Jeremiah, assuring him of as many hours of REM sleep as he can get. One other thing, which may be more information than you wanted but an honest blog is what we run here..........JW sleeps naked a jay bird all the time and any time. There are no Barney Pajama's on this trip.

SHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhh, quiet would you, it's only 3:29 am and JW is sleeping restfully with his arms outside the bed roll as is his normal habit.........at least until they both fall asleep and then he flounders around like a Sea Cucumber to wrestle them back into the bed roll to warn\m up and share in the blood flow process.

POP..........fffffffffffwish..............spica,spica,spica,spica,spica,spica.........what the heck is this. How can you have the reliving of the Posidon Adventure on dry land in a tent. Its 3:30 am in Lamar in the city park, and I am wide awake sort of, looking to the origination of all this cold water in my domicile. The moment my left eye finally opens it is greeted by a strong blasst of water from somewhere to my right...........ouch that smarts so I look away to my left and spica,spica,spica her it comes from that direction as well. My nylon culvert is taking on too much water to survive, and the brain says...........Jeremiah get to the edge of the boatand save yourself. I instinctyivley reach for the zipper on my sleeping bag, because survival instincts run deep in my viens...............but what the heck happened to my arms................some idiot replaced them with rubber. What are you supposed to do with these stupid things they won't even come here when you ask them.....................geez, I am going to drowned if that left arm does b\not grap that zipper soon. I am starting to think to myself that these arms do not realize how precarious and cold this situation is.

Good I am finally outttttttttttttt, and NAKED! WOW is that ever cold.

What next, what a mess. Who is the idiot that hid the sprinklers just so they could get ME!!!!!
Genious, yes I am a genius, plug the sprayers................so I rummage around in a nearby trash can and find a plastic bag and jam that over the offending sprinkler................dang it is just making holes in the bag...............my god the soft breeze is cold.................double it Jeremiah???? Oh, yea, great so now its making holes two layers at a time. Fantastic you genius.

Get your water bottles Jeremiah,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,yes that will work. So I rip the two botles of my bike and take the caps off.................man its cold out here..........................I wonder if any one is watching all of this.................maybe some sadistic grounds keeper watching from the bushes..............a fellow like Gupta in the movie Terminal.
Thats it, jam the bottle down over the sprayer, thats it, now you have got it.............go top off the other one...........there you go buddy, youve beat the offending monster>>>>>>>>>what the heck spica,spica,spica,spicahow can it be spraying my in the back. I turn to look and catch a full body shot from a sprayer on a second line directly behind me and some 15-20 feet away.

More bottles Jeremiah, more bottles.

Dang, I am telling you.........I looked like a naked version of Elmer Fudd plugging bunnie holes there for about 15 minutes...........................and boy howdy am I getting cold. Its time to change focus, warmth is required here and to heck with anything else. Fortunatly for me, I had turned my big yellow trailer bag over tightly, and no water had penetrated its confines so what ever clothes I had left inside of it would be dry. And as long as the bottles stayed put over the sprayers, well I could concievably get dressed and stay dry. I found my long riding pants, then a dry short sleeve, and a wind jacket and then my fleece top and my sandals...............good................man thas feeling better already............................run Jeremiah run,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the bottle to the left is giving way, run Jeremiah.

Poochie Maggie I am fast, you should have seen me sprint out of there..............OOOOOssshhe the air comes out of me hard. What the heck, who is the idiot that put a cable 12 inches off the ground between these posts........... dang that smarts. Yup, I face planted full body shot out on the lawn , but luckily just outside the range off the escaping sprinkler spray. I feel like I have been hit by a Mac truck......................my God, my dear God, I hope this isn't on someones home video sequence. ................I need coffee, what time is it anyways?????????

I rescue my bike from the irragatin system, all I need is for it to grow and get to big for me now. Adn with my sandalled feet I do my best to pedal my clip in bike down the street and find coffee. Surely life can't get any worse than how this morning started,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,can it? Its almost 4:30 and I find the one and only convienience store open in Lamar at that time of day,,,,,,,,er morning. I buy a 240z cup and stand there drinking, and warming slowly. Er, excuse me Sir, once you have purchased you need to exit the store no loitering. Well I explain to her my plight and about how wet I got............ah, sorry Sir, but you need to stand outside of the store. Fine, just fine I say%%%**$#@@#$#@$$##@ I will just stnd right out here..............hows that?????

She actually follows me outside, and then she lights up a smoke. I find myself wishing I smoked...........well not really, I find myself wishing I had her lighter and I would set the dumpster to burning.........cowboy logic, BIG FIRE, BIG WARM!!!!!!!!!!

SO we get to visiting about the convienence store, and she is quite open about the sales and items that sell. Now I am not sure how interesting nor germain this is to my blog, but it tells a tale of what is at the core of our America. Listen to this and see what you think of it all. #1 seller per day is cigarettes, without any challenge, and sales are $2000 plus per day and much higher near holidays etc. Then #2 is Lottery tickets, running at $15-1800 per day and double that when the numbers to be won get goofy. I admit I didn't find out where the GOOFY LEVEL of payout came in. For instance milk sales ran about $125-150 per day.............but beer as a total ran about 900-1000 per day, and all forms of soda pop ran just shy of beer sales. I don't know about you, but I find these numbers amazing and informative, especially when you consider just how small this store was.

Almost 5, and another soul is walking up to the store. I wonder too myself..........I wonder, did he get caught in the spriklers too???????? No it doesn't look like it. Man is he chatty, never shuts up............he must be deaf, he can't see my teeth rattling..............he doesn't know that mentally I am right out there on the edge. He never takes a break to breath, look for gills Jeremiah!!!!!!!! Well I now know more about this man than I ever wanted to know and never even asked for the information to begin with..................DO YOU HAVE A SMOKE?????????< ah whats that I say. Do you have any smokes, he asks. No sorry, I dont smoke...............and on he prattles like I wanted to know even more. He is retired, well he is disabled.................and I think, DISABLED,SHOOT HE'S NOT EVEN WET!!!!! Yes as it turns out he is 43 and fully retired and on a $1800 per month SSI disability for being Uni-Polar. What is this uni-polar I ask? Well its a condition that leaves me constantly angry, distraught and mad ...................HUMPH, I think, so he did get hit by the spriklers!!!!!!!!!!!

HI JOYCE, he says in a rather loud way. And I turn to see Joyce coming up from around the corner of the store. Wow, no offence but Joyce is a ground pounder, she must wieght at least 300. She says her hellos to Jim, my adopted friend and heads into the store. Joyce is dressed in the Pajamas that Jeremiah will not wear, and a pair of very flattened flip-FLAPS...........too flat to even flop anymore. She comes out in a few moments and begins to visit with Jim, she barely acknowledges me with in the context of the conversation. I noticed she was at least 6 foot tall and had huge hands..............Poochie Maggie shes a big gal. Breakfast was consumed as I stood and watched/listened to the ensuing conversation. As it turns out Joyce was also on a SSI disability for being heavy and not able to stand on her flip-flaps all day at work...............You can barely live on it says Joyce, its only $2000 per month and some extra for "mobility".........thats code for taking some form of vehicle if you can't walk. Now breakfast was consumed by Joyce as I stood there, ans she barely turned my way as she visited with Jim. Joyce had 2 large bottles of Coke, and a package of some kinda Chocolate Ding Dong thingy.............yes a 4 pack. I wondered to myself if the wieght problem was self-inflicted..................man, I should'nt think that.Slap me for even considering it. What,did I hear that right, JOyce mentioned to Jim, that if she had to spend part of her time in a wheel chair that the SSI would go to $2500 per month

Well, as all stimulating conversation goes, this one closed as well and both jim and Joyce made there way back to thier respective domiciles someplace. And I was left standing alone in the pre-dawn hours. Robert steps from his car, and says hello in a civil fashion without asking for a cigarette. He buys a small coffee, and comes back out to stand in front so as not too be accused of LOITERING. Robert is a retired judge and he looks the part, nice guy, and sorta fills me in on the goings on of Lamar.....................

HEY JUDGE, HOWS THINGS, como usted amigo...................comes the loud greeting from a fellow that is the most bizarre I have seen yet on my bike trip. He sticks out a many ringed hand, and the Judge shakes it, and says just fine Princess. The new comer heads in and gets himself a coffee so that he can join us outside and visit he does. The Judge in the meantime tells me that Princess has done 2 stints in Prison, and is a bonifide Priest whom used to be with the Church in California. Out comes George and the morning takes off, George has a way of occupying all the talking space left in a room or parking lot. Withiin 1 minute, I am introduced and told by George that he is GAY, not a pedaphile. The conversation only lasts for a few minutes with the Judge and he bows out and takes his leave. Meantime our conversation gets deeper and takes a turn for the worse, the topic of religion comes up and I am being told now that Georges mission in life is to bring folks to Christ thru his GAY lifestyle. Well Sorry, and stop reading if you feel offended but I am not sure that the engaging in the gay lifestyle can be a vehicle to Salvation, at least that 's what I tell him. and he's up in my face...........Poochie Maggie he's close...............I wonder if I give him a shiort stroke if I am going to get any on me. I got a littany of reasons why I should not condemn and that I had no place in challenging his sexual prefference. Well excuse me Gerge, but I wasn,t challenging you preffernce, but only the continuation of a life style condemned by Christ himself................well that done it, george was on his feet and way too close for me............Help Pastor MIke......................I am falling short on Prayer's and close to the swatting stage.

So, I tell George that I will be glad to Pray with him....................too which he refused and used a few expletives to finalize his consideration of me.............so I tell him I will Pray for him and take my leave. Its now 7:15 and time to head to the park. In the time I spent with George, I also found out he too, was an SSI recipient of some $2000 per month for exact reasons I do not know. BUt it did strike me as unusul how many folks are able to collect quite hansome sums for reasons as are given.

I find myself pedaling my own bike......feeling rather happy that by way of strength from the Lord that I mange to get through life with out a crutch for what ails me, but I have strength through what ails me by way of Prayer and his daily word the re-builds me. Its a better cure that for sure, and It gives hope when no real hope is in sight.

I should explain, that I am running just a little ahead of schedule on my cycling trip, so I pedalled over to Lamr and rented a car to drive back to Denver for 4 days. I regularily work the fall Denver Market Show of WESA, and will take the time off now to work it for our JWP line of goods. So our next blogs will be when I commence in Lamar on Wednesday of next week.
Good Night and God Bless.


DAY25 an easy pedal to Lamar

With only 35 miles or so separating me from arriving in Lamar, which as I will explain is my final destination for this leg of the trip, I was looking forward to riding with Kevin for a ways. I was up early, about 5:15 and all packed up when my camp mate final roused. Kevin admits he is not an early riser or starter, most of his days commence by about 8:30 he said.
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KEVINS BIKE IS A PANNIER OUTFIT, AND i GUESS THE WEIGHT TO BE 4O--45 POUNDS TOTAL.
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He also eats out each day, and had at this point not cooked any meals for himself. This is an interesting point, since food is what ends up costing the most thru the day that and water if you buy bottled water. I myself will fill my bottles in the ditch if I have to, and have only bought water now 3 times if I recall, all the rest of the time I have filled at gas stations etc. When we sat and compared costs of food eating out versus cooking your own, I think that Kevin was in the mood to buy a small stove much like mine. I can tell you honestly, that I would sooner "Boonie Camp", than buy a space in the local RV park etc. I have come to that point where I love my nylon culvert and bed roll set-up.
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The night before, we had been told by a kind citizen of Eads that there was going to be a Coboy Pancake Breakfast on main street, and we would be welcome to come if we like. Now, I had not been starting the day off with a meal, so we talked it over and agreed to give it a try. It was fun, we had a great breakfast of bacon/eggs/and pancakes all we could eat that is..........and coffee by the 5 gallon pail full. The folks were indeed friendly and we had a chance to visit with several and find out what was going good and bad in thier community. Ther was the offifcial off-key but well intentioned singer to keep the crowd settled, he mastered the guitar and musical extras like harmonica and keyboard all at the same time. Pure home town fun, and all enjoyed the commaraderie.
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It was time to pedal, and off we went. BUt Kevin only went a couple hundred yards and checked out on a different road than I was riding, so our time together was over and we both stroked off in different directions.
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There was fog again this morning, but not as heavy and it only lasted for a short ways out of Eads and it was done. The country changes once again down this way, and the closer we get to Lamar the better the soil looked and the better the grass looks. Lamar is in a bowl, and there are plenty of huge old cotton-woods that dot the landscape and make the scenery interesting enough. A point for some of you folks wehom have never been over this way, is the Kiowa Grasslands area. This is a small area of Colorados extreme southeast corner in which the growing zone seems out of whack with the rest of the State. For instance, the bulk of Colorado is rated at a 2-3 climate zone, while the Grasslands region is rated as a 7 zone, which by the way is the same climatic conditions that I live in in California. It doesn't mean that they grow Palms her in this corner, but it does mean that this corner has a higher ground water condition, and less extreme fluctuations of hot and cold, making for a longer and more productive growing season. This is an eco-system within an eco-system.

I arrived in the Lamar area to find a lot of Alfalfa and corn being grown, there are plenty of cattle on feed, and I think I caught the aroma of hogs as well but never spotted the little rascals. Lamar is a Junior College town, and a cattle feeding town and an Ag based economy..............so like many other small towns it has areas that look to be hard hit, such as the downtown corridor.
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Move in one "big-box-store", and you can kiss Mom & Dad's little home town hardware store good bye. To my way of thinking it is a shame and it seems to take the town away from the town and move it over to one near edge or another. Okay, I will go out on a limb here and say something that I bet ticks some folks off. This is for those genius's that run the Wally worlds and You-Know-MArts etc.
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SInce we are talking small towns, and by comparisons the realestate is cheap by comparison to the larger communities that you also move into. Why doen't you buy right downtown, there are always blocks or portions of blocks that are blighted and for sale, buy them, and build right in the heart of what has been by tradition the business community.
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Once there is a box store there are always the fast food franchises that move along with them. I am not a city planner, but it seems to me it would invigorate rather than spread and deaden a community. Just an idea.
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I headed strait to the Library, and had to beg to be allowed to download my blog images. They really do not like for folks to be messing with pictures at a Library due to pornography. I assured the gal, that I was going too download all og\f my pornography at a different Library............certainly not here. I don't know is a bare-naked cowboy all covered with water really pornography??????

2 hours later and I am on line doing my blog thing, like I said it is really slow going for me. My chicken pecking typing skills go so very slowly. I closed the Library down, and headed out side to strap my bike shoes on a find a place to pitch my tent for free hopefully. As luck would have it 2 of Lamars finest, Sheriff's walked by while I was changing shoes, so I asked them about a place to camp. They happliy suggested the local City Ball Park right across from the Lamar College. Plenty of green grass and space.........Poochie Maggie, can it really get any better than that.

Off I went to the east end of town, and found they were right, it is all that they said it would be. I found a place with a flat lawn and a covered picnic table and set camp up, ate simple and went to bed early since I could not make my Cingular service find a signal.

Good Night and God Bless


September 8, 2006

DAY 24 to no place in particular

I had no real plans on any certain townas a destination for the day, and I knew that my final stop of Lamar was some 120 plus miles away so any place halfway of better would siffice for a ride. I awoke very early about 5:15am and there was fog to my amazement. So I packed up my gear as is usual and headed out on the bike with my tiny little tail-lights flashing there red warning " SOME IDIOT BIKER HERE". When you leave the KOA, you are on gravel for 1/4 mile or so and the exit is right beside a Flying J Truck stop, and as I road I realized just how stupid it must look to be riding a bike in that heavy fog.
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Sounds like coffee time to me, does it to you. I drank more joe that morming than I have since I left California. It was past 8am when I finaly felt it may be okay to go out and get on the road. And believe me it was just barely okay because the fog got heavy again about a mile from the truck stop. I road on for about 15 miles in that fog and it finally began to lift about the town of Hugo. The fog was replaced quite promptly by wind.............oh joy, oh joy.
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The wind was right in the face, or off to my right cheek for the rest of the day, that is the way it stayed. The country had flattened out quite a lot by now, and it was not entirely sceneic from a photographic standpoint. Even though the fog had lifted, the sky was a heavy leaden overcast grey, making the countryside flat a featureless. I road to Kit Carson which would put me at the halfway point to Lamar, but it was only 12:45 so I bought a Gatorade and headed to the park which is beside the Kit Carson Museum,
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to have Louisiana Kippers and bagels, along with a few figs to top it all of. While at the the park I met a fella with some serious medical problems . He had served in Vietnam, and had had has lungs burned by Napom. He was a talker and I didnt have to say much matter of fact I said very little. Now you would think that a fella having served in Vietnam and being injured as he was may ha\ve an axe to grind with the Government, but not the case. He was very proud of the branches of the service and how they trweat the men and woemn. but what he detested are the Polaticians that stir the military pot so to speak. It was interesting for me, to hear it from his perspective since I have no military expierience at all.

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"I seen this and just could'nt help but sing that ol song.......Its a long road to Temporary, its a long way to go!!!"

Its about 2 ands I am thinking I may as well hit the road for a few more miles, not even caring if I make it to another town or not since I had some groceries on board and can make camp any place that I like. It didn't take that much effort to get to Eads. And while riding into town I see alot of commotion going on at the local Fair-Grounds and decide to check it out. As itturns out Eads is in Kiowa County and it Fair time.
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The local ranchers were getting ready to have a team sorting and I sat around to watch what was going on. I sat until about 7:15 but it was taking forever to get the cattle neck numbered and the hoped to get started by about 8 or a little after. So, I had to bow out and find some place to camp for the night.
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I find a nice place in the rail Road campground and I am setting up my camp when I spot the colors of another bike rider going by on Main Street. BUt wait there is more, he is a loaded touring biker. All the while I am wondering if by chance we will get to meet, or he is riding off down the road to who knows where?
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I am just crawling out of my little nylon culvert when up rides the biker I had spotted. His name is Kevin, and he is 27 and from New York. BIkers don't take long to get the formalities out of the way, I guess we are starved for adult conversation by that point. Kevin is also riding across America, but on a little different route than I. Now, maybe its the age, or just the toughness........but this Kevin is doing 125-130 mile days. Yes, I am floored. I thought that some of my dasy were good ones, but 125 plus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We had a great visit, and Kevin is a real nice guy. Maybe a little lost at the moment. He had a great job working in the Mayoral Office of New York, but hated the job he had. He has a degree in Labour Relations but hates where it is leading him, and the sort of 9-5 office and commute lifestyle it brings. I didn't say anything, but I as thinking about how much I love what I do and how much I love living out in the country to do it...........how locky and Blessed am I.
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SO, its time to finally turn in and get ready for morning and more miles.
Good Night and God Bless

DAY23 leaving Parker

The place that I camped in Parker was really a pretty sight, I enjoyed the rather late time I set up because it offered some new challenges like cooking in the dark and then eating it in the dark. But now its morning and I am getting the bike packed up once again to hit the road. I had thought that the day prior was rather a slack day, but as it turned out we put in an 85 mile day.

I need to also tell you that I had seen several of these sort of signs since arriving in Colorado, but these were in the best place for me to take a picture of and so I show them here. They are statement signs concerning the war in Iraq and about the men and women who serve there. And like these folks, I agree, we should be proud of the job being done by those who volunteer to serve.
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The bike is reading 52 degrees, and I put on my wind pants and a fleece top to helpt stay a little warmer. I was expecting to hit some dead flat country and turn the cranks as hard as I could...................but a surprise awaited me in that area. Once you get out of Parker the country is really pretty with the tops of the ridges covered in Pines and the grass looks great since they have had a lot of rain in eastern Colorado this year. But whats this, a valley.........and then a hill, followed by a valley and another hill. Nobody told me that I was going to have to work that hard to leave Colorado. Man, I thought all the hard work was set up too be in the middle????
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As it turned out the rollers of eastern Colorado proved to be quite a chore for the ol'legs as well. It seems to me that you climb and get the legs warmed up, then more or less coast downe many of the grades in which the legs cool a little and the next climb has a bit of a bite since the muslces are cooled. NOt sure if I am right, but it is how it felt.
The further that I rode towards Limon the flatter the country got, and the less pronounced the hills were. The creeks no longer ran fast and clear, now they had a muddy tinge to them and grass grew over them in many places. You can't believe \how good the grass looks over here this year, I am happy for the catle producers in the region, becasue if I am not mistaken they have been dealing with drought now for some 5 years I am told.
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I arrive in Limon early enough to make use of the town Library and try to get my blogs updated. The Library closes at 7pm, and I am one of the last to leave and still only got 3 dasy worth caught up. I know, I can hear ya, I am slow on the computer I got it wrapped up and then headed back to the KOA that I had decided to stay at for the night. I was riding past the entry to the campground and decided to have some Pizza instead of noodles, it was a nice treat and bed felt good.
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Good Night and God Bless

September 7, 2006

DAY22- around Denver

Its Monday, Sept 4th and the final day of the long weekend. Like I said I am very cautious about riding on this day. Got up late for me, and the bike is reading 61 degrees at 8am.
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Hit the frontage road and a couple of different bike paths to make my way into Idaho Springs which is west of Denver a few miles. My biggest concern is getting around Denver. I decide to stop for a cup of coffee at the Exit 240 Coffee and Bike Shop.
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It was a very opportune stop for me, and I don;t think it was one that happened by mere accident. I walked in behind a young couple, of which the fella had a quite a pair of cycling legs. Not taking too looking at other mens legs mind you, but you get to a place where you can spot horsepower in a pair of calves. OI order up an extra stout cup of Mericano, and start a conversation with the couple, I find they are riding for a morning trip and headed back towards Denver. I also meet two older fellas whom are out for a day ride on their mountain bikes and they offre up a lot of help with roads etc.

I ask the young couple if I can tag along with them for as long as I can keep up, since they are riding on race bikes and I am lugging the trailer I didn't think I would last long. It turns out there final destination is Evergreen, and thats quite along ways towards where I am bound, so I have a real need to keep iup in this case. As it turns out, the young fellows name is Cody and his wife is Maleek. Cody is a cycling and Tri-athalon trainer, so no wonder he had a pair of calves on him. Matter of fact, Cody is going to the "Exterra Finals" over in Hawaii this fall, I am not exactly sure what it all is other than a Iron Man version done on mountain bikes. We hit one particular steep climb of plus 7% and I finally fell behind at that point. I can remember at that point that I would sure like to get the horsepower to catch up and get a little closer to Denver and the roads I needed.
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From someplace, I found the strenght to cover the gap and I was on the tail once again. Thanks Lord.

We finally parted company, and Cody gave me a set of directions that worked out great. Thanks Cody and Maleek for all the help.
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The road has many turns in getting down out of the hills, the traffic is hectic in most places, but the Colorado drivers are really some of the best that I have rode around so far. While I was riding I spotted the sign leading to Buffaloe BIll's Grave and Museum.
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SO I make an executive decision to ride the 8 miles over/up on Lookout Mountain and take it in. It was a fun ride, amongst the Pinmes and the winding roads that lead to the Grave site. I spend a good hour going thru the Museum and meet some folks from Florida who are totally amazed that a guy my age can make it all the way from California. So I took my teeth out of my travel cup, so I could speak a little clearer and told'em "shoot I'am going to ride the rest of the way as well"!
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Time to hit the roiads again and I was off. For the most part I skirted Denver to the south along the C-470 loop road, there is a bike path that follows along, but there are so many paths that you spend a lot of time asking where the right path is. My final destination for the day was Parker, which is to the southeast of Denver. Boy howdy is it ever getting late, and I need a few things to keep my camp working.........like a lighter to start my stove, and some water becasue I am right out. I am looking for Hill-Top road and finally find it. I ride it for about 3 miles and see a grove of Pine trees and make for it. It wasa great spot for a camp, no one around, and on enough of a hill that I can see the city lights below with a full moon to top it off it could have been right out of a movie.
I got stopped real late, 8:15 and its dark when I am trying to cook and set up camp. So it was a bit of a struggle, but I managed a Spanish Rice dish and some tes, it all went down good and the bed felt even better that night. As it turned out we had an 84.5 mile day
Good Night and God Bless

DAY21- Time for my highest Summit

It is a Sunday morning and I am getting all my things packed up in my Motel Room, and I pick up my bible from beside my bed. Of course I am feeling a little guilty since it is a Sunday, and I should go to church but there are no towns that come between me and this huge climb for the day. My thoughts are to get an early start so I can beat the winds and also the heat of the climb......so I make a bargain with the Lord. I tell him that if I am to be in Church on this fine Sunday............well, he's gonn'a have to drop a Church in my path.

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Very sorry my friends, I am not sure why this picture did not download when I posted the page.

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I talk to a fellow from Poland while dragging my junk out of the Hotel, and we visit about the state of America versus that of Europe today. He is quite offended at the heavy handed manner that the EU is placing itself into the "Isolationist " camp on tarriffs and embargoes on product. His own feelings are that it is strongly to the detriment for all members of EU, but that the political powers that be, have an iron hand in these affairs and the people really do not get to say much that has any effect. As to the children of America, he also had some thoughts. The first thing that we need to do, is get back to that time and place when a youngster could get a job. The way the laws read now, you do not dare hire a teenager, so consequently they stay unemployed till after High School all too often. The first jobs are not for making money, as many young people think today he says, these are jobs to teach more about respect and dealing with supervision and customers.
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So, I take my leave after having the free coffee and a few Danishes...........I ate one danish for each 1000 feet of elevation the climb was going to be. Loveland Pass, is right at 12000 feet. Man I am really glad the mountain wasn't much taller I was really getting full.

The road out of Frisco, takes to the side of a very pretty lake, and before very long you are able to hit a quite bike path and follow it as it winds around the serene shores of the lake, all the while you are able to look off to the right and see the tree-less mountain tops looming and waiting for all who would dare take on the Summit. The trip around the lake is maybe 10 miles total and the trees that cover the shore are for the most part Pine. The area around Frisco, is having quite a time with a rot or blight that is going thru the trees. It would appear that they are being pro-active to this problem, since you can see huge areas that have been clear cut and then re-planted.

Pastor Mike this next paragraph is for you, I am pedaling along on my bike path and not really concerned with much at all except taking in the majesty of what the Lord has created. I come thru a quite large and dense patch of Pine trees and make a sharp left hand bend and come out of the shade of the trees into an open air Amphi-theater. Facing me is a broad hillside with a lot of people sitting on it, and all cyclists have slowed down due to the folks walking at this point. I take a look over at where the stage is , expecting to see a singer or something.........and what I seen was a wooden Cross.

RULE #1, never offer up a challenge to the Lord our God. Jeremiah was going to church. It was a good message, about the commission that all who accept Jesus are then urged to complete. To tell the world about the salvation thru belief in Christs death upon the Cross, for both the Jew and the Gentile alike. I managed to bring home a copy of something new to me, the Sha'ma, which is a Prayer for Israel.

I felt good, matter of fact I felt strong.........loaded up on spiritual courage. Time to get out onto Hwy 6, and kep stroking to the top of the Pass. I rode for a ways along the road, when I noticed another bike path running ajacent so I made for it so that I would not have to worry about traffic. That ran for another 5 miles maybe and the climb started when I hit Hwy 6 again. I had been told that the climb was a total of 12 miles, so I felt that I could manage that alright. The Colorado Cycling map tells me that the pass hits 6% average with some 7% sections in it.
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I rode up the pass in 4 long pulls, yes I know Lance would have done it in one, but I would like to put my trailer on his bike and watch. If nothing else, at least he would have drug the trailer to the top for me. Yes-siree Bob, I done the climb without the aid of EPO/Estrogen Patches and or any other race enhancing drugs. All I need was a series of good ole' Fig Newtons and some water and I was slowly pulling to the top.

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The last five miles or so are the tougher part of this climb, this is where the series of "American Switch Backs" begins and continue to the top. I remark here about American switch backs, becasue in truth I have never seen switch backs as tight as we have seen in Europe, they make ours pale by comparison. I stopped about 1/2 mile from the top, since the wind was blowing in my face so bad it made a whistling noise, and it was a very cold wind and I was needing something to keep me warmer. After I dug out another jersey, I made the last charge for the Summit, as a bike rider will tell you, you hit a rythm and really sort'a zone out as you stroke away. So I was cought a little off gurad when I heard a sound of clapping from my right side. I looked over to see an elderly lady and her husband standing there clapping for me as I grunted in un-tour like composure getting to the Summit.

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Finally, I was at the top and standing next to the sign that says..........hey buddy, you made it. It reads, elevation 11,990 feet Loveland Pass. What a sight from up top, it reminds me a lot of being on top of Alpe de Huez in France a few years ago and looking down on all the valleys running out from that peak. Also the very strong wind blowing was remenisent, only this wasa gale and coming from Santa's place. I once again tore open my bag and found more clothes. I am looking off on the side I go down and I know for a fact that I am glad I didn't have to climb up from the east side. Poochy Maggie, it is steep looking to me. I made a few calls so folks would know that I had made it and was still alive.

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Time to make my depart from the top and take the many turns to the bottom of the grade that awaits. It is some 13 miles off the backside of Loveland and I take my time with plenty of brake to keep me and the bike on the road, they do not guard rail very many of the corners here. The wind will really move my bike when it hits the trailer, it can move me several feet at times if it comes in gusts. About 2/3 of the way down I see the first cool creek crossing the road and I am ready to stop and eat some dinner. I find a great little warm place on the stream bank, and have a feast. I had bought a couple of bakery bagels the night before as well as some Ham and Provolone Cheese, along with one small gatorade and a few Newtons and a feast commenced. A little nap and some warm sunshine and I was feeling alright, I am on the right side of the tallest pass of my trip.......thank-you Lord for the strength.
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Right at the base you hit I-70 and it is a quick downhill spin to Silver Plume which is somewhat of a Museum town with an old railroad setting. I hear that telltale whistle of a stem train, and see thesmoke belching from the stack as it climbs the grade into the Silver Plume Station. I hit a mandatory bike trail out of the town and am headed down a 6% grade to Georgetown.
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The bike path takes a very sharp bend and goes under the narow guage rail tracks some 150 feet over head. What a sight with the sun shing and a quick running river below, in the rocky gorge over which the tracks make thier crossing. I can't help it, just have to get a few pics of this place that cannot been seen from the Inter-State which runs to my right.Ther are several folks doing the same thing, getting a pic of the high rail tressle............but wait, theres that distinct steam whistle once again. So I wait for some 20 minutes while the train makes its way back around and over the tresele in front of me.

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Thats done, the sun is getting lower now and I am only about 5 miles oput of Georgetown.
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I am sort'a waiting to celebrate in Georgetown and also feeling rather lonesome. SO I take a stroll in this very pretty little town and find a neat little store selling hard to find items. I buy a brand of root-beer I have never seen, something my gilr would have liked if she were here. I also found a small bar of Belgian Dark Chocolate, which is soemthing that my boy Pine loves. Then I took my place on a bench out on Main Street and savored the flavors and the thoughts of my kids...........yes, there were a few snuffles and tears.......but over all satisfaction was at the forefront.
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Well, its getting later as I sit, so I better head for a camp spot now. I am headed for a small town called Lawson, and spot a great little place in amongst the Pines along the side of the road. Its some 200 yards off the road and rather secluded so thats the place for me. Get camp set up, take a 1 bottle bath and get to cooking becasue my dinner has wore off by now. I had a mix of noodles and chicken and rice and a fine cup of english Tea, what a treat it was.
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I pitched my tent over a think layer of fallen Pine needles so its soft and deep, I sleep well this night. Tomorrow is Monday of the long weekend and I am not excited about riding in it, rather I am abit afraid to be exact.
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Good Night and God Bless


September 3, 2006

DAY20 -conquer Vail Pass

Boy howdy, it was a cool one sleeping beside that creek. The bike read 34 degrees at 7:15 am.

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I rode for a ways in the shadows of the huge redrock cliffs above me, and think I am about to freeze, so I stop and get out some long pants and gloves. I am searching for a coffee shop to get some Joe, but none are open. So I pedal just for the warmth that it brings.
We are riding all along Eagle Creek here, and it is so pretty.

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I seen my first covered bridge on the trip, and several great looking old barns along the way. Plenty of beaver dams, and plenty of rushing white water. I finally stopped in Avon, and had a cup of coffee took a few minutes to look aver my map and get ready for the ascent of the Vail Pass.

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Along about exit 181, I come to the turn that sets my onto a bike path that runs alongside I-70. The very first turn is a steep incline and I think to my self, I hope I have enough legs for this????? The path is full of riders of all ages, from 6 to 80 for sure, and on every type of cycle you can imagine. I am quite impressed with some of the younger riders out covering this hill. From bottom at the bridge to the top of the Pass, I am told it is 12 miles. I confess after asking riders as I went, I never checked in on my own bike to be sure……..but rest assured it’s long enough that exact mileage doesn’t matter.
I rode for about 1/3 of the climb and stepped off to eat a little of any thing I could put Peanut Butter on, and a Bagel of relative freshness was at hand, along with 2 Fig-Newtons and a slug of water and I was pedaling again.

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At about 5 miles from the summit you make a hard right turn and decend a steep hill which crosses a creek at the bottom and then you burst out of the creek bottom to shoot under the I-70. And this is where it gets you, right after you come out from under thetunnel that goes below I-70 you make a hard left and are looking at a very VERY steep but short hill maybe 500-600 yards. Nothing to do but put it into the lowest gear and grunt and fart till you climb out, I was envious watching all the others as they went by, because they could stand into the climb and I cannot because I am pulling a trailer.

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The last 4 miles had the hardest climbs in it for sure, but I finally made it to the summit and the little rest area at the top. There is a cold mountain stream running thru by the Rest Area, so I go soak my feet for a wee bit, to cold for even a skinny dipper like myself to get in. It was so cold you can see where it froze the color right out'a my feet.

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I fill my bottles and talk to a few folks around the parking area. There are a ton of bikers up top, but since I started I have not seen another trailer, and only one fella with panniers on his bike back in Utah.

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I am ready for that long coast of the top of Veil Pass at some 10 thousand feet, down into Copper and then Frisco. It is a superb descent on the bike path into Copper, and once there I stop to get a cup of coffe and take a look at the map to see what I should do for camping.

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While I was having coffe some riders come up and also stop and have coffee. We talk for while and it is Sam who suggests that I ride down to Frisco with him and his family and stay overnight with them. Nice folks, real nice folks, so I agree to do so. It was right about then that Emily Kitching walked up from the parking lot and said hello, that really caught me off guard. Emily runs the web site side of things for Buck and Mary Brannaman. And Emily tells me that while I was at the Library in Eagle, just a day before that Buck was doing a clinic at the Eagle Fairgrounds, and I missed stopping and saying hello to him. Oh well, that’s life is it not.

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Its time to make the plunge down the hill into Frisco, and a plunge it is, you drop some 2000 feet in 6 miles they said. All the way down it was bothering me to sty with these folks, since they had all come from different parts of the country to get together for some family time, so I decided to find a camp ground with a shower………I had to have a shower tonite.
There are none to be had even with out a shower, so I opt for a Motel Room and that is where I am blogging from tonight. As it ends up, I could not get my card reader software to work in the Hotel system, and these pages have had to sit for several days until I could find a Library that would allow photographic downloads.
Good Night and God Bless

DAY19 getting on down the road

As it turned out I was camped about 1 mile from that junction where HWY6 once again joins up with I-70. But I was not going to see the road early today. Oh, I was up early enough but I started out with a flat tire on my bike, the rear of all places. This is the tire that I had put on new in Junction. The tire had gone flat the day before, and now again thie first thing before I could even get going. By 8:30 that morn, I had gone about 500 yards and had 3 flats and my tube was one patch after another in row. SO the fourth time I said to my self all right I have had enough, and put a brand new tube in place of the old. I can’t really tell what was wrong, since the new tube is holding up just fine maybe the tube was old or rotting???
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Finally back out on I-70 and was riding for 11 miles of repaving and shoulder work, by golly it was a teeth shaker. I pulled over at a rest area, and as I was walking in to take a drink I met a lady that had a broad smile on here face the moment that she seen me. I was sort of taken aback, …….I normally don’t cause that sort of reaction even with my wife. She asked me “says how’s that seat feel now???. Then she confessed, her and her husband are also cyclists and they had just moments earlier passed me out on 70, and could see my arms and jowls just a bouncing. So I bent strait over and asked her if it looked to be beaten flat??????? We both had a laugh, and talked bikes for a bit.
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I am now in Glenwood Springs, a very pretty place and quite the health spa type retreat. This is where I am to get on the Glenwood Canyon Bike Path. I had not ridden more than maybe a mile and I came up behind an obviously older fellow, so I pulled up at his speed and we made small talk and I departed. I rode just a wee bit further and stopped to take a picture looking back down the canyon.
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The elderly fella rode up beside me a stopped, now I could tell he was older than I thought at first. I introduced myself and found out his name was Jos, but pronounced Joe. He is 83, and moved over to USA from Germany after the war and has called America his loving home ever since. Jos was wanting to visit now, so I let him carry on as he wished. It was easy to tell that Christ is active in Jos’s life and thoughts, I ventured into the subject of the youth of USA. Jos feels somewhat alarmed at the state of the America these days, it is like Americans have forgotten what it is that makes America so special amongst all the other nations. It didn’t start with this generation of youth we have today, this has been going on since the 70’s. Many of us thought that it was a cycle and we would go thru it, but I don’t think so, it just gets more perverse as we go along. As for Americans in general, they have forgotten to stop and look at there own country, to enjoy it’s beauty by walking and hiking, instead of eating and sitting in the camp trailer. Jos has ridden across USA twice on his bike. And just last year, he and an old friend from Germany rode across Germany together, from the north to the south of Bavaria. Quite the guy.
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It was time to take my leave and hit the cranks again, the bike path was just great no more worries about heavy traffic coming up from behind, just ride and take pictures. The path winds along the banks of the Colorado River and is just stunning, each turn offers a new a fresh look at the river, some places calm, and others a flurry of white water tumbling over the rocks strewn along the bottom. I am not sure how many pics I took, but a lot. I am somewhat of a pic nut anyways.
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I seen many Rafts full of tourists out enjoying themselves, and a lot of Kyaker’s as well.
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There came a place where we come up along side of the Shoshone Power Dam, and down near the spill way I could see a large group of Kyaker’s. SO I decided that I was ready for a break, and grabbed my camera and headed to what was a launching sight for these water bugs called Kyak’s.
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One fella caught my eye amongst all of them, I guess because of the equipment he had on. I noticed a small camera lens mounted to his helmet, no to mention all the other trappings of a white water kyaker. The fellows name was Ron, and if all the youth of America turn out to be a nice a fella as he is, well, I guess were really not in any sort of trouble. Ron teaches Kyaking during the summer months and Snow-boarding during the winter, claims the is no better life to be had. I am really interested in the water sport of Kyaking, it looks to be quite a challenge and very fun………never know, I just may try it someday.
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I finished up with the bike path and entered onto Hwy6 once again for the slow grind up to Gypsum and then the backway into Eagle.
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I think that there is some money being put into this town, and it is going to grow a lot by the looks of it. I found the beautiful new Library in Eagle and done up a little blogging from there. Took a spin thru the heart of town and spotted a bike shop. I decided to stop by and see what they had for soft cushy seats for old fat farts like me. Found a version that I felt offered me some relief, bolted it in place and tied the other onto my trailer, believe me I look like Hobo-Joe now with the plastic bags and plastic bottles etc tied to the trailer. Decided to head on towards a small campground up near Wolcott that I had been told about, and I rode another 8 miles or so and never seen the campground, its getting nnear to dark and I want off the bike. I see a small patch of dirt down against the banks of Eagle Creek, and decide that is going to be home for the night.
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I set up camp, and start a fire on my little stove, I boil up some water and put it into my little pouch of de-hydrated chicken&rice bag, boil up a little more water and add a Earl Grey tea bag and there you have a fine meal. I am pooped and sleep does not take long to come.
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Good Night and God Bless
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DAY18- Grand Junction departure

DAY 18 Grand Junction depart

My friend Brock woke me up to coffee and “FROATCHED EGGS”, can’t explain. Brock is an Aussie, so maybe it comes from over that’a way, just not sure. I can tell you that they were good as were the fresh tomatoes I had with them.
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From left to right:Peggy, Tara, Brock and JW

I headed out of Junction on F road, which leads to Palisade, which is on old Hwy6 East. Colleen and I lived near here for better than 2 years working on a ranch, so it was nice to get back and see the town again, I was surprised at how much the city had grown. It is one of the best climates to live in that I can remember.
Hwy 6, winds its way thru the orchards that lay east of town ands along the Colorado Rivers banks, a very pleagrand-newcastle (2).jpg
sant ride indeed.
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But soon enough reality strikes and its time to be on your toes because all bikers need to enter onto the fast paced I-70. By gosh I hate riding the Interstate, it smells, its noisy and it scares the scant pants off of me. We pedal it until we get to Debeque then we can get on 6 once again.
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I pull off in Parachute and have something to eat, just to wind the mucles a little tighter is all. The bike is reading 104 and I was feeling sorts pooped a little early in the day. I think that Old Hwy 6 was resurfaced by the greater Grand Junction Proctologists Assoc., by gosh I have never had my hemroids shook and jarred like that before.
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I stay on this road till Rifle, and it is getting very busy for a small road since the Oilfield work is going strong in that area. The heavy trucks and the no-shoulder road make for a nervous ride for all. I tried calling my older brother from Rifle but with no luck, so I pedal on to Silt. This is quite a pretty little town, and I wanted to hang around a bit, but the urge to pedal took over my body and so away I went after getting just a few pics to share with you folks.
A small fire sprung up on the other side of the I-70, and I had planty of fire traffic on my little road I was on, bulldozers, pumpers and “lookie-lou’s”. I just knew I shouldn't have been messing with my Red Ranger Cap Gun in all that dry grass country.
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I am heading on to New Castle and am wanting to find a place to camp, my butt is tired but not real sore since I covered my old seat with some felt to give it more width and also a little cushion. I ride into this little town and see a sign camping to the left. So I head up this canyon and ride a mile or more and see a sign that says camping 1 mile more. So I pedal further UP this road and go 2 miles till I see a sign that says, camping right around the bend. SO I pedal again 2 more miles UP hill and the road is always going up and always getting narrower……..can you tell by now that I’am getting ticked. You will be happy to hear Pastor Mike that I prayed instead of cusse’m back to campground hades. I also got an immediate answer to my Prayer……ah’hem, Jeremiah did you ever think of turning around???
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So, I did just that and rode into town where I asked about camping places. I found out the camp ground I was chasing is 11.5 miles out of town. Non around that little town so I headed out on the road once more in search of a place to camp. I rode about 15 more miles and saw a place up by a fence line and amongst the sage that looked perfect to me.
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I had a 2 bottle bath which isn’t quite like a luxury spa, but it felt very good inspite of the situation. I had some fruit in my little seat pannier so I made a meal of that. There was a lot of grass around my camp location and I didn’t want to risk cooking something on my little stove. It didn’t take long for the sun to set, I had just barely got my tent up and the sky was being lit up by Joelle’s brush.
Good Night and God Bless
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September 1, 2006

Day 17- rest day in JW's ride across USA

Iam in grand junction, and loving the day off so to speak but there are plenty of things to do even though I am not riding.
First thing is to let you know that I am being taken care of by my gracious host and good friend Brock Lynch and his son Jason and families. Great guys these Lynch’s, Brock is a very talented saddle maker and also works on sewing machines. Son Jason, is following right along in his fathers foot steps even though Jason’s feet are considerably bigger. Brock is into something new and quite exciting. He is a distribution center for Australian Sea Minerals, the sort of thing that you buy and put small amounts of the product into water or fruit juice and it gives you health and vitality, not too mention long life. The product has just recently been found by the organic vegetable producers and it is taking off like a rocketship.
Anyways, I was using Brocks computer to catch up the blog and just generally being in the way around the office……..in some ways it is a lot like what I do around my wifes office as well. So the first priority is my obligation to Meg back in Elko and to get the blog up dated. I need to tell all of you that I know that there are comments posted to the blog and we are all thankful for having your feedback, please keep it coming. But, I say , I am not a handy enough computer runner to get my blog’s done and the comments read, so I need a few days to just answer the comments as it needs to be done. Mom and I have talked it over and come the mutual agreement that there are some folks who have placed a lot of comments and we really feel that a special gift in return should be given to our most prolific commentor, so for the person who posts comments the most throughout the ride across America, we are going to give him/her my old bike shorts when the ride is done as a token of our gratitude. Yes, I know it’s a lot, but then to have such faithful followers demands that we do something special in return. So post away Darren, they may be your’s!!
With the blog done and caught up, the next thing was the bike shop to get a new rear wheel put on while I was stopped. Also I needed to get the cables adjusted just a little so it was a needed break. Left the bike to get worked on by the nice guys at Red Canyon Bike shop, and Jason and I headed for a sporting goods store so I could find a wider camp mat too sleep on, something the same width as my butt should be safe my shoulders will never fall of that.
Then back to the bike shop, and while there I wanted to test ride a couple of seat since my had been developing a serious “TEETHING PROBLEM” and my tiny hinny was starting to revolt. I rode several different versions and none felt any better, while some did feel quite a lot worse. So plan B was put into effect but I will divulge more on that later.
I bough myself some of that fancy campers dehydrated food, so I can have a little variety in my daily eating regimen. I was about done up with my chores and Brock was done for the day and had some packing to do at his house so off we went to Brock’s home. Brock’s wife Peggy ahd cooked some pizza for us and made a great green salad so I ate better than I have for a while. One thing about being on the road, you do get to missing the greens and fruit. I slept in a bed that night and slept well.
I was fit and ready too ride for the taller mountains further east, so I departed at about 8am.
Good Night and God Bless

The opinions expressed in the Western Folklife Center's Deep West online journals are those of the online journal participants and not the Western Folklife Center. The Western Folklife Center does not moderate these journals and as such does not guarantee the veracity, reliability or completeness of any information provided in the journals or in any hyperlink appearing within them.

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