Independence DayLooking back toward Kansas from the Colorado border"Welcome to Colorado." That's what the sign at the state border should have said 15 miles into our ride today, but it didn't. There was only a sign saying, "Leaving Kansas, Please Come Again". No doubt the Kansas sign, if it could have, would have waved and asked if we needed anything.There was little else to indicate the change from Kansas to Colorado, though gradually the vast landscape changed from wheat stubble to bunch grass, sagebrush, rabbit bush, and yucca. The best part was that it smelled like sage, reminding us of home. I bet Mike that the first one to see a pronghorn antelope would be treated to a milkshake from the other.We still shared the road with convoys of harvesters finishing up the wheat harvest.We rode many miles without sight of a single structure, tree, or shade. Thanks to a tailwind, it only took us about 4 hours to make our mileage, including stops to drink and get off the saddle. We pulled into Eads (population 780) at about 10:30 am and headed straight to the first place with a milkshake, even though neither of us had spotted an antelope. The temperature was climbing into the mid-
90s again by this time.
While we were enjoying the break and debating whether or not we should try to push on, a family of four pulled up on two tandem bicycles with trailers. It was the Grant-
Perzanowski family from Vermont bicycling across the country. Kara, age 13, tandems with her mom, and Lauren, 14 1/2, tandems with her dad. They started in May on the Oregon coast and are bicycling back to Vermont. The girls keep journals and have embraced family teamwork and the challenges of this trip. We were impressed with their adventurous spirits. After enjoying their company awhile, we all agreed it was far more appealing to call it quits for the day (after all, it was a holiday), set up camp at the city park, use the city pool, and enjoy Eads' 4th of July fireworks display. Pushing on would have put us in communities without celebrations.Jen, Kara, Lauren, and DaleSo, we set up our tents, took showers, and relaxed. Around 6 pm, Lauren and Kara noticed two bicycle tourists riding past on the highway and recognized them as Jill and Jen, two young women also riding across the country, who had become their friends earlier in the trip. We flagged them down and they joined us too.Jill and JenCamping in the Eads City Park with the Grant- Perzanowski family (in the background)The truck stop was the only place in town open for dinner, so our party of eight bicyclists went out to eat together. Afterwards, we watched the fireworks across the street at the county fairgrounds. Eads is proud of its firework display with good reason. While looking up at the night sky over America's heartland, in the middle of our journey across America by bicycle, I knew I would never forget this unique 4th of July.