Erie, KS to Golden City, MO
by John de Figueiredo
Another predicted 104 degree misery index for the day led us to depart Erie at 5:45am. By 11:00am we had completed our crossing of Kansas, having reached the Missouri border. The Crew really loved Kansas. In their words, "the people were so nice, the churches were so hospitable, the cars and trucks were so polite, the roads really good, the food was so cheap, ...and it had the best Mexican food on the whole trip." Thanks, Kansas! You will be missed.
Crossing into Missouri, we noticed two topographical features largely absent in Kansas; trees (good) and hills (bad, for me at least). The trees provide desperately needed shade for our 10 minute breaks. The hills....well the hills separate the men from the boys. Literally. The boys cruise across these hills with ease. Like a choreographed ballet, the boys approach a hill and, in unison, a simple "click" is heard as all the boys downshift one gear to take the hill effortlessly. When they crest the hill, another "click" echoes across the landscape as the boys upshift one gear for the downhill. Let it suffice to say the men struggle with the hills with the elegance of a clown at the circus. (Well, it is not that bad, but you get the idea.)
We arrived in Golden City in time for a late lunch at an excellent restaurant, Cooky's, which also hosted us for dinner. Mr. Billings tracked down the local sheriff who kindly opened up the local recreation room for us to spend the night.
A couple of people have asked me "What do you eat each day on the bike trip?" The short answer is "whatever you want." Today is a good example. Breakfast is a dry bagel with peanut butter, pop tart, Gatorade, water, and banana. Ride for 50 minutes. Eat multiple 30 cent honey buns and drink water. Ride for 50 minutes. Eat a gas station biscuit, Scoobies, and Gatorade. Ride 50 minutes. Eat Scoobies, Pringles, and chocolate milk. Ride 50 minutes. Eat pop tart, Scoobies, and Gatorade. Ride 50 minutes. Eat power bar, Scoobies, and Gatorade. Ride 50 minutes. Late lunch (2p). Eat three pieces of fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, huge milk shake. Four hours later eat dinner. 16 oz T-bone steak, baked potato, salad, mac and cheese, homemade pie, ice cream. Four days on this diet, lose a pound of weight.
Some boys do have food idiosyncrasies. Andrew, for example, carries two 16 oz. cans of beans, a bag of shredded cheese, and a stack of tortillas, ready to make a burrito at a moment's notice should the opportunity arise. Max had strapped to his back rack a two pound bag of Lucky Charms, ready to eat it dry. David, as has already been noted, carries enough Scooby candies for a large orphanage. He is also developing his cooking skills while riding, grilling frozen pancakes on his back rack.
Now to the Crew profile....
WILL. Will is a strong silent type. His riding is excellent on the flat, but he is really known for his hill climbing abilities, which comes in handy in Missouri. He has a "let's just get there" attitude which means nothing interrupts his focus when riding--except an available basketball court. In fact he is carrying a full size regulation basketball.
When not riding, Will is usually found in a pool, attempting front flips off the low board (with varying success) or engaging in chicken fights with the other boys. He accomplishes all this with the least sleep of all the members of the Crew.
Next time, Max....