Day 17 – Ride Across America, Topeka,KS to Cameron, MO

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Good weather greeted us this morning, our last one in Kansas. An alumni from the ABB ride in 2009, who lives in Topeka, met us after breakfast and rode to the mid-point of our trip with us. (Please see photos of mid-point in video.) I had a strong ride to the first sag and then to Atchison, past gently rolling hills of eastern, KS. ( See photos of street sign in Atchison, a commemorative stone marking the site Lewis and Clark stayed in Atchison on their historic journey and trains with Santa Fe markings ) The road across the bridge to MO was closed so we put bikes on the van and drove south past Fort Leavanworth – now a prison- and crossed over the Missouri river into MO at that point.

Following north along the eastern side of the river bottom for a few miles, we turned east and began climbing the first of many hills for the day. (biker joke – what do you see from the top of a Missouri hill? The next hill to climb). In addition to the hills, the landscape was dotted with trees and forests – a significant change from most of KS. The large, seemingly endless fields of crops in KS were replaced with the smaller family farm that included crops and cattle in MO ( much like MN farms) . The fields planted on the rolling hills, outlined by trees. Many of the homes were small – but well maintained and many had gardens. Lunch was at the central square of the small town of De Kalb, pop 200. By now, the temp was in the 70s with significant humidity. The combination of repetitive hill climbing with warm temperature made for an unpleasant afternoon. Most people agreed, they were ready to stop at 100 miles.

As we drew closer to Cameron, the farm houses grew larger, the grounds more interesting. Some homes also had facilities for smoking meats or an outdoor pond or above ground pool. Cameron has a small airport with at least 6 single engine planes seen in the hanger.

I finally arrived at 5:20 pm, exhausted after riding 121.7 miles and sore at all points of contact with the bike. In addition, I had swallowed a few bugs and others remained stuck to the layer of sunscreen that I wear on my face. Biking for me, especially up hills, has never been conducive to breathing only through your nose. Just glad I haven’t swallowed a stinging insect, thus far. After a long shower and a full dose of anti-inflammatories, I ate pizza with the group. As I walk,I can feel the discomfort in my legs and I am concerned about what biking will look like tomorrow.

As I write this, it has been raining with some dime sized hail for the last 20 minutes. Fortunately, the rain will stop soon and tomorrow is forecast to be warm and dry. 6 am breakfast and load by 6:45.

The video will show both my bike ride – as well as the u shaped detour along the western side and the eastern side of the Missouri river.

Tomorrow, we ride to Kirksville.