Well, our tires have been flatter than Kansas itself! We have had at least 10 flat tires in the last 24 hours!!! (Devon the happy recipient of nine of them…..).
We left Newport Monday am with a new approach to the tour, that being that we had resolved to slow down and pay less attention to our speedometers, and more to the landscape. That mindset made all the difference yesterday, as we had the most enjoyable ride yet of the trip. We met several westbound riders along the way, and all of them told us about “Becky” the legendary bike hostess of Eureka, Kansas. We pulled into Eureka about 5 pm, and went straight to the town pool where we hoped to find her (she is the town lifeguard). She had left for the day, but we were told to go ahead and use the showers anyway (a free shower at the end of a 76 mile ride through 106 degree heat is, I expect, something akin to the relief a skydiver feels when his rip-cord successfully opens the parachute); that is to say, it was one of the finer showers of my life. We were told how to connect with Becky and her family,and pedaled on over to her house. We then settled in to a 3 hour round-the-patio table talk with Becky and her two college daughters. We discussed pretty much every thing you can think of, including the demise of the world’s sharks, a topic they were very much unfamiliar with. They were all aghast, and resolved to help in any way they could. In the end, Brooke and Betsy decided to take the issue to their school, Emporium State University, and put it before the environmental club. We hope to get a chapter of Spinning to End Finning started there this fall!
We stayed the night in the parlor on the couch (Mark) and the floor (Devon). Seniority I guess. Betsy and her family were absolutely amazingly kind and wonderful, and we are so grateful to have connected with them! Thank you!!
Devon speaking now:
So now it is Tuesday, and we have spent the day repairing flats. It is now 2 pm, and we have already repaired 4 flats. The patches that I bought before the ride just don’t seem to do the trick, but luckily we pull into a town with a bike shop tomorrow so we can get some new tubes. I’ve also had a lot of trouble with my rear tire, because it came out of true yesterday, so hopefully I can get that fixed tomorrow. So far today has been quite frustrating and I’m ready for the troubles to be over, but that comes along with this ride, it’s part of the challenge. So far the ride has been beautiful, rolling hills, beautiful streams and creeks, and rolling, endless, fields of corn.
Back to Mark:
Kansas hospitality seems to know no bounds………… Because……
While sitting in front of a small deli in Toronto (small town on our route), we said a friendly hello to a couple who were picking up lunch for the day. We fixed our flats, and then got on the road, our destination the town of Chanute, still another 36 miles off. Somewhere around mile 7, a car pulls over, and out pop the couple from the deli. “Hey, aren’t you the two guys from Toronto, they asked? So we hung out and chatted for 15 minutes in the middle of the road, and then they offered a rental house for our use when we made Chanute! So, now I am sitting here in the kitchen. Had a shower, laundry is drying, and the dinner we enjoyed was made from a TON of food they set out for us!!! These folks, Nita and Leon, totally made our day! Not only by being so tremendously kind and generous, but by proving once again that there are so, so many fabulous people in the world. With people like Betsy and Jillian, Dave and John, Tony and Sara, Nita and Leon, and so many others (including Dave and Sean, two highway workers who pulled over in their truck just to offer us some of their ice water, which we desperately needed) along our route there is proof positive that there are many, many fine people in the world.
We are increasingly convinced that many of them are concentrated in Kansas.