Eureka, KS to Erie, KS
by John de Figueiredo
After having had a good night's sleep in the cool basement of the Lutheran Church, the Crew perfected the4:45am wake up routine, departing at 5:35am into the warm darkness. The heat wave in Kansas promised another heat index of 106 degrees today that would make afternoon riding difficult and fighting dehydration a challenge.
As we rolled through southeastern Kansas, we encountered an obstacle--a four foot wide, six foot deep ditch spanning the entire road. A construction crew was laying drainage pipe. They allowed us to cross if we could "figure out a way to get our bikes across." Faced with a 10 mile detour in the high heat, the Scouts put their heads together to solve the problem. They eventually developed a bucket brigade, with one scout on the other side of the ditch and two scouts in the ditch, passing the bikes and panniers across.
We pulled into Erie, KS at 2:30p, famished--eating at the local air-conditioned pizza restaurant. The Scouts found the local pool to complete the cooling process. We were hosted by the First Federated Church who graciously allowed us to sleep in their basement and provided us with bottles of very cold water.
Biking 8 hours a day can get a bit monotonous, and all kinds of crazy games and challenges are invented by the Crew to pass the time. Counting armadillo roadkill, guessing the make and model of cars approaching from behind (looking through the bike rear view mirror), and playing "triangle tag" are all pastimes. My favorite, though, that the Crew has perfected is the group "moo" where we moo at passing herds of cows to create a stampede. Two successes were recorded today.
And now for the crew profile...
Brian is the youngest and one of the smallest members of the crew, but his riding is incredibly strong and powerful. He also seems to really enjoy the ride because he has a smile on his face at all times. Although he has the smallest panniers, whenever anybody needs something--food, water, socks, shorts, zip ties--Brian always selflessly volunteers his "extra" set. He is also great at playing Hearts.
The oddest thing that has happened is that Brian lost his cell phone in the high grass on the side of the road while riding under circumstances that are still unclear. A Kansas State Trooper stopped and actually helped us find the phone. Fortunately, no arrests.
Next time, Will.