Golden City, MO to Middle of Nowhere, KS
Total Miles: 3154
I woke up this morning at 6:00 with the intention of getting an early start to try and put some miles in before the forecasted winds began to pick up. Elijah must have had the same idea as me because he was up and getting his bike packed up as well. It’s a shame we weren’t headed in the same direction, I think we could have made a killer team, but such is life. My first stop for the day was a convenience store about 800 feet from camp. I got my usual couple breakfast sandwiches and an energy drink, I wouldn’t exactly say I’m dependent on these things at this point but it really gives me the kickstart I need in the morning.
I got going for real at about 7:00 and man was I glad I started early! The weather was beautiful, the wind was blowing gently to the Northwest and I was really in the zone this morning. It’s days like this that I kind of wish I still had my bicycle computer so I can keep track of my average speed. It took me a little under 2 hours to crush the first 30 miles and cross into Kansas. Long, flat, boring Kansas. But still. NEW STATE!!! My 10th state to be exact. And my prize for accomplishing such a feat? Not even a quarter of a mile into Kansas I see this giant turtle in the middle of the road in serious need of rescuing! I thought the last one was big but I could barely hold this guy up with one hand. My first full day on the TransAm and I’ve already rescued a Ninja Turtle. I think that’s a good sign,
Another few miles down the road I stop for my first break in the city of Pittsburgh. I was really craving some milk after I saw the picture Teres posted on my timeline depicting a cyclist hunched over milking a cow on the side of the road. A small jug and a blueberry muffin really hit the spot after doing 35 miles straight. The woman working there was kind enough to let me refill my water bottles from the hose outside, but that turned out to be a mistake on my part. As I was leaving town I took a big ol’ giant pull out of one and almost gagged. It tasted like old hose and chemicals. Blegh. I stopped and dumped it all out lest it pollute my bottles and leave that taste there forever. No bueno.
I pulled into the town of Girard, which was to be my destination for the day, at around 9:30. I ordered the next few sections of the TransAm maps a few days ago and had them sent here so my first stop was to the post office. It eliminates so much stress to be back on an established route with cycling specific maps again; it’s been a great experience, traveling the unbeaten path and figuring everything out on the go, but it’ll be nice to be able to just wake up and follow the red line all day. While I was standing outside the post office getting my maps packed away I met a fellow cyclist by the name of Garreth. He’s from Northern Ireland and is making his way West same as me. He said I was the first West-bound cyclist he’s met since he began, so it looks like I’m bringing up the rear. Story of my life, eh? EH? I gave him my contact info so we could keep in touch and maybe meet up down the trail a ways.
My next order of business was figuring out where I was going to stay tonight. I had originally planned on staying here in Girard and free camping at the city park, but it was pretty early and I still had plenty of gas left in the tank. I checked my handy, dandy map and sure enough found a cyclist only spot about 12 miles up the road in the form of a Lutheran Church. I called up their number and was informed by the lovely woman on the phone that I’d better hurry, they were in the middle of their weekly community lunch and if I got here soon they’d have some hot food for me. Right-o then, you don’t gotta tell me twice!
I made it there in record time and, as promised, was rewarded with a big plate of ham, scalloped potatoes and coleslaw. Garreth pulled in a little bit after me and was given the same treatment, he decided to press on further after the delicious meal. I made another friend while hanging out at the church afterwards. His name is Riley, he’s 5 and he felt it was his duty to feed me about half a pack of graham crackers because according to him I still looked hungry. Can you say cuteness overload?! So yeah, today was a great day and I’m really optimistic about the days to come. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!
Too Drunk; Didn’t Read (TD;DR)
-Waking up early sucks, but riding in the wind sucks worse
-James is in Kansas
-Beware hose water
-The turtles are getting larger and more helpless
-Fancy new maps. Fancy new friends
-Free church sleepover
-Belly full of graham crackers courtesy of Riley