Friday, 13 April 2012
A Tough Decision
I spent a wonderful night in the motel. Took my time stretching and showering before I laid down in a warm, comfortable bed. I woke up the next morning well rested and headed across the street to the meat market for breakfast in Unionville, MO. After a tasty western omelet, I got on my bike and headed west with the nice wind somewhat at my back coming from the northeast. I had hoped to get at least a hundred miles without having to fight the wind, but that turned out to be a lofty goal. The hills in northern Missouri took quite a bit out of me. It seemed as though they never ceased. Finally after about ninety miles, I decided that I was getting too hungry and tired to continue riding. I had just finished climbing a pretty big hill when I noticed a group of people sitting outside a house. It was a little earlier than I normally stop, but I figured why not give it a shot. I stopped and had to catch my breath. I got to talking to them and as it turns out, the owner of the house was not present among the group of people. I talked a little bit longer and got on my way. I rode over a couple more hills until I saw another gentleman in his driveway. I approached him and gave him my spiel. He was quite interested and said he did not mind if I slept in his barn, but he would have to call his wife and ask. His wife was not comfortable with a stranger sleeping outside with their daughter, and I understood. I kept on riding until I came to a home that had about three barns out back. Walked up to the door and a very nice elderly gentleman answered the door. He said he did not mind at all. We walked to the back to see which one would be the best to sleep for the night. He invited me in for a couple roast beef sandwiches and dessert. I greatly enjoyed talking to Bob. He was very kind and had done quite a bit with his life as a farmer and honest worker. I stuffed myself and even took a shower. Two nights in a row! I said I did not wish to impose to long on their evening, took the blankets he gave me for extra padding and headed to the barn to rest for the evening on the back of the hay truck that we agreed would be the best place to sleep. I had only been out there about ten minutes or so when Bob came out with a bag of popcorn, an apple and a bag of leftover Easter candy. He was too kind. I was greatly appreciative. I slept quite well on that hay truck with two blankets underneath me giving me extra cushion. For as tired as I was that night, I felt great the next morning. Got all my gear in order and headed outside. Bob popped his head out and invited me in for breakfast. Twila cooked me some scrambled eggs and toast, and I sat and talked to them for over an hour. Bob even said if he had known his son wasn't going to come home last night I could have slept in the basement. I will admit throughout the journey, I have lost a lot of time to the loquacious side of my personality. People usually seem pretty interested, and of course I never mind a little break. I was making pretty good time and then the rain came. I had planned to ride through the rain for my trip, but I had never ridden a road bike before. I had not considered for whatever reason the lack of grip that one might experience with tread-less tires. I was cruising down a hill going about 25 maybe 30 mph when I figured I needed to slow down, so I tapped my brakes. I pinched them too hard and my back wheel locked up, and I started fish tailing with the 45 lbs on the back of my bike. The bike nearly went sideways, but I managed to save it somehow. It gave me a pretty good scare though and made me realize that the whole biking in the rain deal was not worth the broken arm, leg or neck that could result. The goal at the end of the bike ride is to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, not get injured on the way. I rode for about an hour and a half in the rain until I made it to St. Joseph, MO. By the time I got there, it was pouring. I made the decision not to ride in the rain anymore, and I figured I would work my way down to my aunt and uncle's house in Emporia, KS via a truck driver or two. I called my dear aunt Nikki to make sure it was alright, and she did not like my idea of getting there. She came and picked me up. I have been hanging out here the last couple of days helping them out as much as I can and playing with my little cousins. They have offered to provide transportation to San Diego if I stay here and help them out for the next week or so. I have been reluctant to accept, but feel it is a pretty good idea with tornadoes and hail in the area. It seems as though I may be taking them up on the offer after I looked at myself in the mirror. I was by no means a large person when I set out on this trip, and the number of calories I have been burning has surely been exceeding my consumption based on my budget. I looked in the mirror and was not pleased with the scrawny person I had become. I think it would be wise to stay here and save some money, possibly make some money, help them out and try and fatten back up before I go burn a bunch more calories with my friend Matthew and recent addition of Zach Durnell on the hike. I have registered for a triathlon in Emporia for tomorrow. I took today off to let my body recover a little and am going to go see how I can do. I have not been in a pool since at least August, so we will see how the swim goes. I look forward to it since it will be my first triathlon. I will be sure to let everyone know how it goes and what my final decision on staying ends up being. I was having a great time biking, meeting and talking to new people and the adventure of not knowing where I was going to sleep. We will have to see what the future has in store.