Jume 25, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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Jume 25, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Kansas

Greenfield, MO to Pittsburg, KS. (52 mi.) Mile 1647

We wobble into Kansas

We have had four different types of breakfasts on this trip:

1) The small town country cafe breakfast - high fat, predictable menu
2) The grocery store breakfast - fresh fruit, bakery items, juice, milk, yogurt
3) The convenience store breakfast - when there are no other options - coffee and donuts
4) The McBreakfast - a small step above the convenience store breakfast

Our motel was located between a convenience store and McDonalds, and since there were no other choices close by, we had an early McBreakfast and headed out for Kansas.

Kansas Welcome: flat land at last!

Cooky's in Golden City, Missouri
We'll remember Missouri for the rolling hills of the Ozarks. We'll also remember special hospitality, like that shown us at Cooky's in Golden City, where we arrived this morning after about an hour of riding. Golden City is another small Missouri town that looks like it was booming in the 20s-40s, but today, the downtown buildings are largely closed and boarded up. However, this is home to Cooky's Cafe, with a reputation for the best homemade pie on the Bikecentennial Trail. Unfortunately, Cooky's is closed on Mondays and today is Monday.

While we were outside Cooky's making a phone call to the Houston post office, Carol Eldred, who runs the cafe with her husband Jim, noticed us and invited us in for some coffee and free custard pie. She said she always hates to see the bicyclists come by when they are closed. She also wanted us to sign the guest book for cross country cycle tourists. We signed our names behind a number of other tourists whom we have met so far. Carol and Jim enjoy visiting with the variety of bicyclists that come through. They let us use the phone, wanted to know about our trip, and gave us special attention, even more special considering they were closed.

It was good news when we phoned the Houston, Missouri post office. They had our box of camping gear. I was beginning to feel pretty stupid for trusting the post office with our things, but was still in the denial stage of loss and felt it would show up eventually. There was no choice but to arrange to have the box sent ahead to our destination in a few days. We may just play tag with our camping gear across the country.

After Cooky's we set out to outrun the heat, stopping briefly to talk to John, a retired lawyer from Denver, bicycling eastbound. He said that he had heard of five other stories where owners of Cannondale T2000s had problems with their rear rims too. John's advice for Kansas: "You can see the city water towers at 7 miles, the tower legs at 4.5 miles, and the support struts at 1 mile." The terrain has now flattened out, the sun is hotter, there are fewer services, and less shade.

Back on the bike, drafting behind Mike, I noticed his rear wheel start wobbling. We stopped to confirm two broken spokes. We decided to pick up the pace and wobble on into the bike shop in Pittsburg with the wheel as it was.

After another 30 miles of hard, hot, hammering, Mike wobbled on into the bike shop while I stopped on the outskirts of town to become the first customers of the day for Ashley, Rebecca, and Shane; Pittsburg, Kansas entrepreneurs capitalizing on their location along the bike route with their Popsicle stand. They told me to "tell everyone about us." I promised I would, and gave them this website address so they can see that I have. They have had success selling to bicyclists in the past. They also mow lawns.

The sign reads:
Come See Us For Cheap Prices
Popsicles - red, green, blue, orange, pink - 25 cents
Chips - Ruffles (original) - 25 cents/bag
Ice tea - Sweet and unsweetened - 50 cents

When Mike left his bike at the shop, the shop gave him a loaner bike for the day, because our bicycles are our only vehicles. We checked into a motel and returned the emergency camp gear that we had bought at Wal-Mart in Missouri, to the Wal-Mart here across the street, optimistic we will connect with our own camp gear soon.

As I write this, Mike has just returned from the bike shop where they spent over 2 hours on his bike, tuning, truing, and adjusting. A total of 5 spokes were broken, some indicating they may have been over tightened in Carbondale. We've arrived here early enough in the day to be able to kick back and enjoy things, once we're done with the daily ritual of hand washing clothes. Mike is particularly upbeat about the attention his bike received. Tomorrow, we'll try to outrun the hot part of the day again.

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