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'Let's Do It!' (Part 5) - An almost Cross Country Cycling Adventure (Adrian, TX to Hays, KS)


'Let's Do It!' (Part 5) - An almost Cross Country Cycling Adventure (Adrian, TX to Hays, KS)

Headwinds greeted us as we journeyed east out of Adrian, TX. It was mid-September and the weather was changing as we could see our breath in the morning shuffle to pack our bikes, eat, shake the tiredness from our legs and take a quick blood sugar to see where my blood sugars were residing.  Our timing for this adventure would reveal outstanding Fall colors while scrambling for warmer clothing as the temperatures began to sink.  Not matter, each day was
amazing and a true revealing of the wonderful American spirit and hospitality. 

We are joined by a overly friendly dog - Between Adrian and Amarillo, TX

We are joined by a overly friendly dog - Between Adrian and Amarillo, TX

Going through my journal from the trip, I see that on this short segment that while we pulled onto an on ramp I would grab onto a truck bumper and got a free, yet limited ride.  Yes, I have just disallowed my riding a bicycle from Tucson, AZ to Yorktown, VA. 

Oklahoma sign-e.jpg

This short Texas segment also included the dog in the photo above.  Rog had stopped to pet the Toto and soon the dog had chosen us as his new owners.  He went Crazy!  The photo must be me and said dog as he/she, for some silly reason, elected to stick by me mimicking a tick.  Rog found this to be of supreme humor.  After 3+ miles (at 14 miles per hour) Toto tuckered out and was seen no more.

One of the all-time best billboards ever created - Oklahoma

One of the all-time best billboards ever created - Oklahoma

Good fortune would see us with at Wayland Baptist University for a visit with Roger's brother, Lance.  Four walls and a roof over your head is a special highlight when you are seeing your breath in the morning. Also, managed to play some basketball, frisbee and continued our tradition of eating almost everything in sight.  

Lance drove us back to the route where a flash flood and tornado had touched the area the day before.  More good timing for the bike riders who prefer to avoid tornado's when possible. We would encounter some of the wet stuff and it was apparent that we were heading into a storm. Roger likes these rough, snotty conditions. I am not craving misery, although I have an ability to deal with most anything that is tossed my way or deluges from above.

A 109-mile day and we were into Oklahoma and pretty much out. The panhandle of OK is short by all standards and we rolled into Kansas, my birthplace and home for all of six months. This would be our third 100+ mile day.  I still think back to how incredible this was as we were carrying loads that should only be transported by something with a machine designed to convert one form of energy into mechanical energy.  Yes, an engine.

Both of us with my Grandma (Eleanor Gottschalk) in Hays, KS

Both of us with my Grandma (Eleanor Gottschalk) in Hays, KS

Kansas sign.jpg

Roger would share during this segment, "This whole thing is still novel.  If the time is right and the music inspiring, I'll get goosebumps all over my legs and my understanding will tingle with joy, just thinking about how fun this is."


Let's Do It!  (Part 1)


Let's Do It! (Part 1)

Let's Do It!  (Part 1)

Roger back in his home state, via spandex

I had met Roger Burke many years ago and the early days of friendship included cycling, learning about the fine art of coffee (our biggest sponsor on our bicycle tour was a coffee company!) and spilling stories of our lives and the goals and dreams for the future.  Being linked via the velocipede,  I had even shared my aspiration to pedal across the country.  

Ready to roll, Tucson, Arizona 

I only knew a couple of key facts about the energetic and good humored guy.  Mainly, that he was a bicycle racer, who was not showing any discernible interest in loading a touring bicycle with 30+ pounds of stuff and moving at speeds that would be terrifyingly slow for a racer.

3 days after the  cycle America conversation, I  crossed paths with Rog and all I remember him uttering was 'Let's Do It'.

Whaaaaa?????   Is it time to go get more coffee?  My observation and analysis of this bicycle racer was 100% wrong.  We were going on a little road trip.  

Our first night was spent with the Woodridges in Willcox, AZ.  Their daughter got on her bicycle the next morning to join us. 

The summer was square upon us and we would have to fly out the door asap. The calendar allowed us about 11/2 months  to prepare for this rather detailed adventure. With a departure date of August 31st, we were asking for rather cold weather and extremely short days by the time we grinded up the Appalachians, but we were game, and we had already turned in our escape to adventure slips at work.

A rather difficult camping spot on the cement-hard soil in a pecan orchard in Garfield, NM

As I write out this story, I am aware of the fact that I really should not be writing about bicycle tales from the back roads of America.  2 weeks before the journey, I had seriously injured my back at work.  Somewhere lost in the stubborn zone and sketchy optimism that it would all work out, I continued to plan and pack.  Training had stopped, abruptly.  Come August 31st I was planning on mounting my trusty 2 wheeled steed.    

Albuquerque, NM

It was about a week before the trip, amidst daily visits to the chiropracter and/or physical therapy sessions from hell,  I spilled the news of my disintegrating health, mixed with my resolve to buck up to my calendar plans.  At this point, I had not even ridden my bicycle with any of my substantial piles of bicycle gear, clothing, food, diabetes supplies, toiletries.  I did lighten the load in one area.  My wallet would be shockingly empty.  

A great sign in Oklahoma

August 27, 28, 29, riding.  Still in pain.......

August 31st, I got on my bicycle.  81+ miles to Willcox, Arizona. 

Part 2, coming. 

We had approximately 10 miles of dirt road (in Kansas).  Appropriate time to have bicycle issues.