Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 27: McPherson to Abeline - Kansas shows us another side

New Pictures are here.
Miles Today: 67
Total Miles: 1998
Avg Speed: 15
Max Speed: 30.5
Total Time: 4:27
Flats Today: 0; Total flats:8
Weather: Partially cloudy in 80's. Stiff 15-20 mph winds from SE. Headwind when we went east, tailwind when going north.
Body: Sluggish today

For a minute I thought we were back in Ohio already. Green fields, slight rollers, corn about knee high, barking dogs, clumps of trees to divide up the fields, much smaller sky, cute little towns -- and, best of all, low traffic country roads where you could ride 2 or 3 abreast if you felt like it. That is, until an AbB staff rolled by and asked us if we thought this was just a wide bike path. It is good they are interested in our safety and make sure we dopn't get careless since there are so many different and changing riding conditions that emerge regularly. We need to stay on our toes.

One especially valuable piece of safety related advice today came from Gerard. Chuck and I had come upon another of those endless western freight trains paralleling US Rt. 40, the road we were on. It very slowly pulled ahead of us. Wehn we came to a dirt road south that crossed the tracks, I took a right a few feet toward the train and then a left onto a minimal two track section of dirt road that paralleled the tracks a little more than an arms length away from the rumbling train. I then began to "race" the train much to Chucks amusement who was taking pictures.

Pretty soon Gerard rolled up with his camera and began shooting some video of this tom foolery. The train had started slowing by that time -- I think the engineer saw he was fighting a losing cause and just gave up. When I got back out on US40 and we resumed our ride toward Abeline, Gerard looked over at me and said:"You know, that was irresponsible, what you did back there. That engineer could have easily missed you in his mirror and turned left right in front of you." Once again, I was grateful for the insightful and timely advice.

When we rolled into Abeline after really cranking into the stiff wind the last 10 miles, Bob, Leigh, Chuck and Gerard and I stopped into a quaint little downtown Abeline cafe to enjoy the local fare -- tasty sandwiches and some spicy pasta salad with as much ice tea as they could pour at us. Refortified and refreshed we headed over the the Eisenhower memorial library, museum and the house where he grew up all rolled into a campus like area. They had a 25 minute video of Ike's life and times along with some memorabelia. The house was the original including the furnishing. Reminded me a bit of the home Marcia's grandmother kept in her latter years.

Finally got to the Best Western about 3:30. First order of business was to replace the left cleat (my unclipping cleat) on my biking shoe, since the one I had was completely worn down. I was surprised it was still working at all. A close second order was getting the laundery done so I'd have a clean AbB jersey to wear, since we are all going red-white&blue for the 4th tomorrow as we roll over 108 miles of mostly country roads to Topeka. Dinner was a last minute rearrangement Michelle pulled off. The planned for place had shut down until July 6 even thought they had signed a contract with AbB so Michelle got us a very fancy place that served wonderful full dinner family style with fried chicken, mashed potatos, and lots of side dishes of all sorts. Scrumptious! She said "Don't get used to this".

After dinner was the highlight of my day as it is every day -- my call to Marcia to get caught up and reconnected. Tomorrow is Topeka by mostly country roads again. We are all very much hoping for some sort of westerly winds to push us along.


  1. Nice pictures---the one that looked at first like just clouds over a field actually had a bunch of sun rays shining through--neat. You really captured the small town feel, and I liked the train and horse pics. Good to have the "official" halfway point picture---AS IF any of you would think of giving up:) And yes, I got the sign that was displayed in the town of SOLOMON--anybody else get it? So you listen to Gerard---I wondered about that one on one race--and the fact that noone else JOINED you, just stayed back and took pictures. Don't try this one at home, kids!

    That was Les W. on the phone---he invited me over to an impromptu 4th gathering of neighbors---but I'm going to go to Jackie and Terry's---still have to call to confirm, bad girl that I am. And then Haide called---she could not arrange for the Monday apptmt so isn't coming after all. She's been reading your blog and said the same thing we all feel---your total enjoyment of the AbB experience is so forefront in all your writing and that makes us all happy!!

    Sleep well, and look forward to a Peak-A-Topeka tomorrow! XOX YOO

  2. This was an entertaining post. I was trying to picture how a train would turn towards you if it was on tracks. Glad to see you got to the halfway point! It seems from this end of things that the trip is really flying by.