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Day 33 - 40 Coast To Coast 1999 by Eric K. Andersen (click on images to see larger pictures)

Day 33 Pittsburg, KS I Left town after some morning thunderstorms passed. The wind was quiet.  After lunch in Walnut the winds blew strong from the west.  At a rest stop a woman in a van stopped and introduced herself as the former owner of the bike shop in Chanute the town where I planned to stay that night.  She and her husband had since closed down the store. I got into town and found the library.  This library limited the amount of time it allowed nonmembers to use their Internet access to 30 minutes.  Midway through my letter, the computer crashed and I lost my writing.  As I was finishing up a shorter letter, the librarian informed me that my time was up.  There was not only no one else waiting to use the computer, but nobody else in the entire library.  I continued to work figuring that they would never call the police.  When I finished I calmly told the librarian and her associate about my trip and that I communicated with my friends and family through e-mail to keep them posted of my progress and let them know I was safe.  I then told her that I thought she was the rudest person I had met so far on my trip.  There was no reason why they couldn't have let me use the PC until someone else needed it.  I returned to the free campground in town and found the TT's.   After I took a shower Hob told me that two of his spokes had popped.  We considered his options.  We went to visit "Yodeling" Katie, a well known personality on the trans-am route.  She was sick and offered little advice, but I mentioned the former bike shop owner I had met and she pointed to their old store just down the road where the owners still reside.  We went to the store and could see various reminders of the old shop still in place.  There was nobody there so we went to dinner and met the first of many Dutch couples that I would meet also bicycling across the country.  After dinner Hob went back to the store and the owner was there.  He spent a few hours repairing the spokes while Deb and I returned to camp.  Hob returned about midnight with his rebuilt wheel. Problem solved.
Total Miles: 63

Day 34 Chanute, KS It was a pleasant day riding in the Flint Hills of Eastern Kansas.  There was one hill that was so steep that I considered walking it, but there was no way that I would walk anything in Kansas. Once that first hill was behind me the countryside was rolling. When I got into the town park in Eureka there were already 7 other bicyclist in addition to the TT's camped amongst the swing sets and jungle gyms next to the community pool.  There was the Dutch couple who I rode with for a few miles earlier in the day and five people heading east.  After a free dip in the pool,  8 of us went to dinner where we shared tips on what to expect ahead and had a lot of laughs with our waitress Aubrey, named after the Bread song. That night some strong thunderstorms passed by.  So far I've been lucky.  All the storms have been late in the day or early in the morning. Total Miles: 64
Day 35 Eureka, KS The weather today was humid. The TT's and I stopped for lunch in Cassoday, the "Prairie Chicken Capital of the World" at the Cassoday Cafe, home of "good food and gossip". The cafe was crowded with farmers and cowboys and we stood out like sore thumbs in our cycling clothes. We sat in a corner and I could tell that the people around us were listening to our conversation. I asked Hob in a slightly louder voice how many head of cattle he was running this year and he replied in a louder voice "Welllll about 3 or 400 Hereford". The people next to us turned and did a double take. It was hard to hold back the laughter. In Newton we shared an extra large room at a trucker motel.  We had plenty of space for both bikes and our gear.  On TV, I saw a music video that I had edited for KISS many years ago get the "Pop-up" treatment from VH-1.  Cool. Total Miles: 73
Day 36 Newton, KS To take a more direct route to Hutchinson I took a short cut on Rte 50.  Unfortunately the wind was blowing strong from the south.  Combine that with a steady flow of fast traffic and the riding wasn't much fun.  I found the hostel at the Lutheran Church and dropped off my gear. Then I dropped my bicycle off at the shop for a halfway point check up. I ate lunch and went to the library to send an e-mail before returning to the shop to find out that I had a cracked rear hub.  Since my bike was old they had no replacement parts. The easy way to remedy the situation was by buying a new wheel. I regrouped with the TT's at the hostel and the Minister gave us a ride to the mall so we could eat and go to the movies. We took a cab back to the hostel and the driver told us he liked Hutchinson better than Witchita because Witchita had drive by shootings. Total Miles: 37

Day 37 Hutchinson, KS My bicycle was to be ready at 10am. I ate a cinnamon roll the size of a hubcap and went to the library and spent some time on the web. I picked up my bike complete with new wheel, hub, gears, and chain. $140.00 later I was back on the road. I had a tailwind as I sped northwest towards Nickerson where I had lunch.  The waitress there asked me the usual questions:  Where do you sleep?  Do you ever get scared? What do you think about while riding? I fought the strong south cross wind the remainder of the day.  I passed through the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, a large bird sanctuary. Not much to see there from the handlebars. The TT's who had left much earlier in the day said that if the wind was strong they would stop in Hudson and they were there to greet me as I came into town.  For more details on the events that took place, read the complete story. Total Miles: 48

Day 38 Hudson, KS   After eating whatever food we could find amongst our gear for breakfast we headed towards Larned.  We got to Larned around 11am and had an early lunch.  We feasted on a buffet that contained the best food I'd eaten on the whole trip. I ate too much. We stopped at the Santa Fe Trail Museum just outside of town and then on to Fort Larned.  The TT"s wanted to check it out, but I wasn't feeling very well and wanted to continue on.  We said good-bye, counting on meeting up later.  After several miles I started to feel better. I got to Rush Center and looked for a place to eat and wait for the TT's.  As you come into town there is a sign that says the town is home to the "Largest St. Patrick's Day Parade". It didn't say what it's size was compared to though. It was Sunday and nothing was open.  There were many bikers passing through town as part of the annual Bike Across Kansas (BAK).  They were coming from were I was going so I asked them what was ahead for me.  There wasn't too much.  4 miles off the route to the north was the town of Lacrosse so I headed there and got a motel room.  The owner of the Motel was a retiree from Newark, NJ. I did what was becoming a habit: ordered a pizza and watched a Knicks playoff game.  Lacrosse's claim to fame was that it was the "Barbed Wire Capital of the World".  They had a museum housing thousands of different styles of barbed wire and had an annual festival.
Total Miles: 67

Day 39 LaCrosse, KS I got an early 7:30am start this morning. I got back on the route and headed west into a steady stream of BAK riders.  They seemed to be puzzled by a rider going the wrong way.  I stopped at one of their rest stops for a banana and went undetected despite my trailer. These riders were spending a week riding across Kansas.  To many of them it will be a major achievement, but it pails in comparison to going across the country. Later that day after I had passed the last BAK rider, I met another rider going east.  Matt told me he had seen the TT's and that they were going to stay in Scott City.  I considered going another 24 miles to meet them, but that would be a 94 mile day.  As I approached Dighton the winds picked up so I stayed there.  I stopped for an ice cream where a little boy asked me where my boss was.  The work ethic is instilled in youth at an early age here in the heartland. His brother was up on a nearby telephone pole making repairs. I asked him what his brother's job was and he replied that he didn't know. As I went through town, street lights swayed and metal signs creaked in the wind. The temperature was the hottest it had been - 93 degrees. Total Miles: 70
Day 40 Dighton, KS I got up early to beat the heat and wind and was on the road by 7am. By 8am the wind picked up from the south but the temps were still cool. The wind grew stronger as the day progressed.  Large cattle trucks made the riding even more challenging not to mention fragrant.  Sometimes the wind was so strong it forced me off the shoulder. I saw the Dutch couple when I stopped for lunch in Leoti. The usual thunderstorms threatened in the afternoon.  I managed to ride between the little dark cells of clouds dropping rain and lightning in the distance.  The strikes were beautiful, but the storm was intensifying as I approached Tribune.  I pedaled harder the final miles into town and got there just as the rain began to fall. When it cleared, I found the TT's as they came into town.  They had spent some time in Leoti with a local artist. We found the town park where we were joined by Larry from San Francisco and Jason from England.   L & J were traveling separately but had met each other several days before.  The TT's had seen both of them as far back as Kentucky. We set up our tents under an amazing sky.  The clouds were like velvet and lightning continued to streak across the horizon. Local kids with nothing better to do than drive around and honk their horns were a nuisance as we tried to sleep.  In the morning I was awakened by the woman's swim club coming to use the pool and lawn sprinklers that drenched my tent.  I didn't get much sleep. Total Miles: 74


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