Golden City, MO
Today we rest in Golden City, MO. We’ve been riding ~100 miles per day for the last forever. At 5:30AM we were all up and ready to go, but Pacella was in the bathroom puking, as he had been all night. After Jesse and I got ready to head out, and were about to pump up our tires, put on sunscreen, and be gone we realized it would be best for the group to take a day off, keep ourselves together and enjoy a day of rest. Jesse and I then got second breakfast at Cooky’s Diner Café. I had 2 eggs over easy, 2 sausage, a biscuit, 2 biscuits and gravy, orange juice, and a great slice of strawberry rhubarb pie a la mode. Fat and happy, we came back to the house of one of the amazing people we’ve met along this trip- Paul. He had let us stay overnight indoors in air conditioning!! Thank God that we found this place, especially not knowing that Pacella was going to get sick. Being sick camping would have been miserable for all. After arriving back at 9AM we slept until 1PM! Life is beautiful. Now I’m sitting in a library ripping some random books to my computer so I can listen to some books for the rest of the trip. It costs $2 to use the computer, which is a little dumb but I’m sure a nice source of income from all the residents and bikers who use the library. I tried hooking my computer up to their Ethernet, but that didn’t work.
A couple accounts of people and businesses generosity in the last days:
Passing through a town on the way to Newton, KS I was provided pizza and salad bar as a donation from D’Angelo’s Pizza (a lovely place). Since I’ve started asking businesses for food donations this has become a daily happenstance, except when we are in small towns who get very low populations passing through. On the way out of town, I stopped at a house with a baby pool to dunk my head in because the heat was horrendous (I think this was one of the days it hit ~110 heat index). They let me soak my head and thought I was a bit funny, the grandmother told me to sit down, and I obliged. The mother was so lovely she was trying to give me anything she could to help us cool down, some Gatorade, a ride to the next town, etc. Of the many people we’ve met, they didn’t seem too well to do, but their hearts were large and the family was close. The grandmother eventually gave us a total of ~$80, ~$30 at the house and then a $50 bill as we were biking down the highway, while still offering us a ride to the next town (2 bikers and 2 bikes, as she drove a PT Cruiser). I was floored.
The night before this on my way into Alexander, KS I stopped in a Lutheran Church because I saw there were cars outside and I had enough time to spend an hour before finishing the ride with some light still overhead. I walked in and the AC condensed all the sweat on my body, so that I was a walking puddle. The pastor came by during announcements and asked what I was about and I showed him my quartersheet I show to everyone about our trip. During a break he introduced me, let me talk for a while, and took up an impromptu offering where we collected $65.
We’ve stopped in countless houses who’ve provided water, bathroom, snacks, and short indoor stays with AC.
At night, we’ve knocked a ton of different churches and most have given us a place to stay. Although, I would recommend first checking in with the “First Baptist Church” in any town because they have been the most hospitable by far. They did turn us down in Laeoti, KS (sp?) but I think that was the only town so far where a First Baptist Church has failed us. In Laeoti, we stayed at a Presbyterian Church that was then considering opening up the church as a stop for future cross-country cyclists. They donated ~$200.
I thought that this trip would be a departure from wonderful tastes and eating, but with the warm hearts of so many individuals and businesses I’ve eaten extravagantly at times. Eureka, NV was the most ridiculous, where we were provided with homemade meals for nearly every meal, that were all wonderful. I think I’ve already written about how the sunsets in Diamond Valley compared with Hawai’i and the Mennonite/Baptist food was wonderful. But there’s also been many quality restaurants who’ve donated lunches and dinners that have been outstanding, especially a bakery and BBQ place in Telluride, two recent Mexican restaurants, meatloaf upon arriving in Pueblo, CO (at the wonderful Black Eye Pea), a Chinese Buffet in Great Bend, KS (you can eat healthy at these places, just avoid the fried and overly saucy foods- rice, meat and vegetables, and plates of fruit= grand), Hamburger Goulash (that reminded of the homemade Italian gravy I had from Mrs. Harman during my summer in Columbia, MD) at the Copper Kettle (in some recent town in KS, where we might get featured in their paper, I think it was between Hutchinson and Eureka), etc. By the end of this trip, I think my taste buds will have returned from their college days of eat anything and everything in sight. Although, everyone else in the group will say my breakfasts of rice and anything within reach are a bit atrocious. I think of rice topped with granola, dried fruit, peanut butter, jelly, and honey as more like a hearty mash or a PB&J on hearty, bird seed bread.
I’m going to get to finished up some post cards! 75 cards have taken a while to write, but it’s been fun and worthwhile. I was considering sending out 2 to everyone, but it’s taken me a great while to get done just the first round.
One regret of this trip, has been the time restraint. I would have loved to have sat down and talked longer with many of the people we meet day in and out. This would probably have made fundraising easier. But, as a first cycling tour and cross-country trip it’s been a great, quick summary of America. If you have the chance I recommend self-supported touring in a group charity ride while taking your time. I’m hoping this coming Spring Break I’m able to do another cycling tour in the Baltimore- Philadelphia-Lancaster-Lehigh area for a week. I figure that would be a relaxing tour of 60-70 miles per day by plenty of interesting towns, lovely people (some people we know), etc. So if you’re interested in a tour, sign up for Papa Bear’s Bike Tours!
Pacella is doing much better and we will ride tomorrow. We'll find out how long once the day is started.