Fields of pain..

We have ridden through what seems like endless agricultural land.  I’ve been joking that often on the left we might have corn and wheat on the right. Or vise versa but I’ll comment and say Wheaties on the right and corn flakes left. Well today it was pain on the right and agony on the left. Our 86 miles felt like a hard 100. We took the winds of the rolling plaines of Mossouri right on the nose. Reverse headwinds we call them, headwinds is a dirty word. Ouch it’s an Advil night 

Today we were greated by the locals at a very small town of 1200 called Mayville. Every year they gather to great, cheer and meet the Crossroads riders. They make quite the big deal about it. In fact apparently they plan it all year long, it’s even discussed at town council meetings. They love the owner Tracey of Crossroads as she’s come thru for 22 years with her riders. One guy, Buck gets up at 4 am and bakes his scrumptious cinnamon rolls. We were treated like celebrities. The mayor was there, the newspaper and they open up the historical society museum for us to tour Etc. It was classic, everyone was so amazing and genuine. One cattle rancher I talked  to was a former Mo. state senetor. After being told by the mayor that Mayville has 1200 residents, another woman corrected him. It seems it’s now actually 1182. She says the town is getting smaller with folks kicking the bucket !   See photos 


So it finally happened today I had to shift down to my small chain ring ! I’ve been in the big ring for 8 straight days ! The headwinds and hills painted me into a corner and I conceded. So much for the flat lands of the Midwest. We are now starting the climb some hills 

I’ve almost completed my survey of yard displays and themes. We’ve seen the whole gamut from, bird houses, bird baths, wagon wheels, hand carved animals, Disney characters, farm tools and equipment, cow hides, wild animal statutes, gnomes, wishing well collections, highway and road signs, etc. So what’s my top of the list favorite, the redneck junk by a landslide. You’ll see the usual collection of washers, dryers, lawnmowers, engines, rusted cars trucks. You know, you’ve all seen them. But today’s best was a gigantic rusted Army helicopter!! Only in America. 

How are our meals, you ask ? Tonight was another back to back Applebee’s. Shoot me if we eat at one more please. Oh and hotel breakfasts, for 3 more weeks !!! Help 

My favorite game of what’s that, is trying to guess what each enormous piece of farm equipment does. The size and shapes of them and the huge variety ! When we pass big yards selling all these mystery rigs I can only identity a plow !! After that I’m at a total loss. And they constantly are driving on the roads in the behemoth things. All the good old boys wave when they go by and I want to stop  them and ask what the heck does this thing do that they are driving and towing.  Threshers, thrashers, chopper uppers, seed throwers, disc grinders, huskers  ? I don’t know. I have to start taking photos.  

One of the guys was asking the lads from overseas last night if they have microwaves? The reply, ” yes but they’ve only recently converted from coal microwaves to electric ” ! 

I think I’ll be brave tomorrow mornings finally try the biscuits and gravy. 

Lets get out of Kansas already. 

After our rest day we all showed up wearing fresh legs. So we leave in a big pack and draft behind a giant front end loader driving down Main Street Abilene. Then we spend the rest of the 106 mile day on the most gorgeous country roads. It was spectacular, except for about a 3 or 4 mile stretch where the asphalt was ground and under under repairs. It was like riding cobbles- horrible but we got through it. The road surface then was perfect silky asphalt. We came across roaming coyotes, grazing buffalo, giant hawks and a random donkey or two. 

So we reached our official 1/2 way and took some pictures. The highlight of the day was a stop at a country general store that features amazing pies. In fact the pie maker gal was voted best pie maker in America by Good Morning America. Inside we meet about 8 sweet old grandma ladies who all meet once a month there to play dominos. They were so cute and friendly. 

The only problem today was I had to ride the final 45 miles without being able to clip in my left cleat. My cleats worn out and I need to replace them. Fortunately Richard is traveling with spare Shimano cleats which I’ll borrow until I can buy new ones. 

We just passed the $10,000 mark in donations. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated a huge special thank you to Bob & Bonnie Seimer, thank you very much you are so kind. 

Please also if you would share the blog and tag your friends. It will be greatly appreciated. 

Tomorrow we say adios to Kansas and cross the border into Misouri. 

Tonight we had a hotel reservation mix up so we got shuttled to Lawrence, the home of KU. It’s late so I’m going to scoot like a Jaybird. 

Day 26 – I Like Ike 

Finally a much appreciated day of rest as we got the opportunity to enjoy Abilene, Dwight Eisenhower’s home town. We took a shuttle and toured the museum and original Eisenhower boyhood home. It was fascinating to say the least. The home was really interesting as 6 boys were raised there which required 2 room additions. Other than a few glaring building code violations I really enjoyed seeing it and learning about how the family was raised. The museum was really terrific and informative both about his life but also about WW11. I liked the plague that he kept on his desk in the Oval Office, ” Gentle in manner, strong in deed”.  Ike was truly a man who brought the values of Americas heartland to the nation and the world. See photos of the 129 year old house 

Yesterday we departed McPherson in a very quiet peleton. People pretty much just wanted to get the 62 miles done with and begin to rest up. So it’s a single file no chatter line rolling along at a pretty mellow speed. One group of 2 or 3 was quite a ways up ahead but within sight. So up pulls Howard along side of me a quietly says, ” I’ll give ya $20 to bridge the gap and pull me up to em ”  jokingly.  I cracked up, and told him first I didn’t need the money and second I couldn’t catch them. So we ride in a bit and Howard rolls up to Sabine and says the same thing to her !  It was hysterical as he’s the top and strongest rider and he’s always getting us to rise to an occasion and ride FAST. He’s an inspiration as he’s the quintessential strong British gentleman cyclist. We are lucky to have him along as he brings you to another level of riding. We all love it, thanks Howard. 

Yesterday we passed so many beautiful homes and barns all of them now much closer to the road. Some were large ag farms but the houses and grounds were manicured to perfection. Beautiful huge green lawns and many had the state flags and old glory flying for Memorual Day. Every one was an Andrew Weyeth painting in itself. Boy that was a beautiful ride. Each year, we are told the Crossroads riders vote Kansas as their favorite state, I can see why. Even the road side bull frogs sing a chorus as we glide by. 

We passed a handful of cemeteries along the way and most grave stones had American flags. What a special Memorual day. Thank you to all of those who served our country and those who sacrificed their lives for our country’s freedom. 

More news from the road. Since we’ve not ridden on interstate highways for about 7 days the number of flat tires has dropped to just a random few. What’s the common road side hazard you ask ?  Steel belted tire strands of metal. They cause almost every flat. Tiny steel strands  that many require removal with tweezers. The second most seen obstacles are bungee cords galore. Watch out for the metal hooks. 

Add to the road kill and hazard list Possums, porcupines, and car mufflers !  

Yesterday we headed directly East again but for the first time I think we turned and went straight North. We are starting to pinch diagonally now as we are gaining latitude. Tomorrow is another straight east ride and it might be a bear. It’s a 105 miler with 6,000 ft of elevation climbing. Hey if your going to be a bear, you might as well be a grizzly! 

Last night we hit  hit a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed some margaritas and brews. Afterwards we picked up a few sixers and watched the NBA semi final game in the hotel breakfast room !  Big night out on the eve of rest day. 

Photos 

Many of small town Abilene and Ike’s house. Antique shop tricycle, dinosaur on an old gas station roof

Long horn statue and Cowboys saddle at the Hitching Post Cafe

The Abilene train where Ike left as a boy to attend West Point, used for his campaign, and then returned to be laid to rest at the memorial. 

A shoot out reinactment, and old stage coach and 

Just 1 beer please 

There’s no fear in McPherson

I asked the convince store clerk what’s interesting or noteworthy about McPherson when we arrived today. Her reply, ” well there’s no fear in McPherson” apparently it’s pronounced Fer- son not Fear-son     Ok duly noted, thank you. She laughed and said the best thing is we don’t live in fear here. Nice gal and fun conversation. 

Yesterday at another convenience store in a tiny town of 300, I was behind a big burly farm hand guy and his son. The clerk asks if he wants anything else before ringing up his total. ” no mame I reckon just the two suckers” referring to the 2 lollipops his son had. Cute and fun to hear the accents. Kansas is a hoot and so fun. 

Another cool thing is seeing in the wheat, corn and alfalfa fields the gigantic farming equipment. Also the many farm equipment sales yards. Some of these pieces are monsters. Every other truck is pulling a trailer of some sort. Pulling horses galore and cows, Hogs, and all kinds of farm equipment. 

Today we pulled  out of the hotel under a warm light rain. But the entire group was flying their new American flags and it was really inspiring. Everyone really liked the idea and it’s a nice addition to our traveling circus. I took a rolling video behind 3 of the ladies as you’ll see. It’s quite tricky riding and filming especially with my new 180 degree maneuver. Enjoy the clip 

​Today wasn’t the flat like a bowling alley terrain as we had some welcome mini rollers. Tomorrow we ride to Abilene then the next day is our first rest in 9 days. 

Today we got into a dead breakaway full on race and it was pretty epic. I went off the front with the big boys, Howard and Chuck and held on until they dusted me with 4 miles left. It was a classic run I’ll never forget. 

I finally got my first real cup of GOOD coffee since leaving my house Saturday May 7. The hotel coffee just isn’t cutting it in the morning. Finally we made a coffee shop stop when we got here to Mcfffuyurson. Another thing missing is alcohol. I’ve told the group I feel  like I’m on some modified alcoholic anonymous tour. Man barely even a beer and the few times I’ve tasted the sweet hops I can hardly finish one tasty brew. It’s like this tour is sponsored by the Betty Ford Clinic.  I’m getting pickled tomorrow night on the eve of rest day. 🍻😳

Enjoy your holiday and God Bless America. 

Once upon a time…

Today was a fairy tale, straight out of a story book. The type of day that Humpty Dumpty couldn’t have fallen off the wall if he tried. In fact Cinderella couldn’t have lost her slipper today. It was Kansas on her best behavior. 86 miles under perfect sunny sky’s, moderate temps and a tail wind again. Our weather luck is unprecedented. We’re now in Great Bend which I’m not sure why they say it’s so great. I asked a waitress what GB is known for or famous for or even interesting history. She was speechless and had nothing, seriously. 

We are still loving the people and friendliness of the mid west. People are so genuine and super nice. The wheat fields are green and the apple pie is warm and fresh out of the oven. 

One thing people don’t do here, is drive a foreign car or truck. I’d say almost 99 % of the cars and trucks are all made in the good old USA. In fact we’ve ridden past 2 junk yards and I couldn’t see ONE foreign car or truck. Not a single one. It’s really refreshing. I have to say the mid west is really awesome. Rolling through small towns people wave and wait a long time at stop signs and driveways for us to roll through. We haven’t ever had anyone hurry to pull out in front of us. Also a huge majority of drivers will switch lanes or cross the yellow line to give us room . It’s refreshing and appreciated. The best drivers are the pros, the big rig long haulers and local semi truck drivers. They haul ass ! But will almost always switch lanes for us. The worst, that’s a hands down, the fat daddy big RV dudes. Especially the big coach diesel pushers  and almost all of them tow cars. Your know the type, big ego to match the big coach, he won’t move over an inch. His bored wife talking to the twin Pomeranians laying in the cushy doggie bed on the over sized dash. 

Speaking of awesome. The tour company we are with, Cross Roads Cycling Adventures is incredible. The owner, Tracey Liener is along on every tour ( for 22 years ) and she is so awesome. The attention to every single detail is beyond belief. The entire staff is fantastic and always super enthusiastic. They are on top of EVERYTHING and it’s so impressive day after day. I can’t tell you how fantastic they are making this adventure. Thanks Tracey, I tell her every single day that she’s the best of the best. 

So today we roll out and it’s slightly crisp. Here’s a typical roll out and day. The group leaves and some times rolls along slowly two by two if the road allows. It’s fun, fresh and everyone’s ready to warm up for a good days ride. The group is full of chatter usually to the person  riding next to you. Then ever so slowly the pace starts to pick up. The it ramps again and people start thinking about the job at hand, especially on rides of 80 miles or more. Then it happens, the group splinters as the top boys move off the front, then the next wave. That’s the time you see what should be the groups for that day. Hammer up front with the boys, play conservative and mid range or wallow in between ?  It’s a fun transition and on long days or bad weather days it’s all about getting to the hotel with enough time to relax, do your chores and then make the 5:30 ” route rap ” meeting, then dinner. Along the way your analysising how your butt is holding up !! It’s really all about the butt !! 

Road kill update list. Here’s a current list, squirrels, hawks and various birds, deer, dogs, cats, various snakes, fox, coyotes, baby calves, yep , and my favorite armadillos. You have to watch for them as they’re dangerous speed bumps. We’ve seen lawn furniture, bikes, pretty much everything except barbecues and kitchen sinks ! 

Tonight I surprised everyone with an American flag to fly on their flag poles. No one likes these flags and poles but they do add to our safety. I’m the bad boy bandit of the group as I had mine cut down lower when it was in a bike shop back in Precott. But to make up for that I’m flashing 3 bright tail lights. The  American flags will be a nice touch especially on this Memorial weekend. 


That’s a wrap today and stay classy San Diego   

Lets get outta Dodge

We had to break our routine this morning because breakfast wasn’t until 6:30. I’m telling you everything is pin point routine like the Swiss Army. Before you ride, and after, you are always preparing. My hotel room ritual is wired down to the tee, each duffel bag is unpacked and the contents laid out EXACTLY the same and replaced the same. It’s pretty amusing, the identical ritual every day. Even the 2 “rest” days we’ve had, there’s no rest, do the laundry, haircuts if needed, and constantly picking up supplies. 

So I wake up extra early today so that I’m now dressed and ready to ride before breakfast not following   In fact I walked into the breakfast room with my helmet on to the amusement of other riders ” boy you sure are ready to ride” so, what the heck I keep the helmet on. 

I first glance out the window when I wake  up and oh boy things changed overnight. I see a lone tree in the parking lot below bent over like a pretzel. I glance at the horizon and the whole sky is black as far east and west as I can see. I don’t have to wipe the sleep from my eyes, it just falls out ! Then I do the check the temp walk outside, jumping catfish, it’s flipping cold !!! 

So off we launch on today’s 82 mile sprint to make it to Dodge City before the reported 2 PM storm watch ! It’s a full Lemans start and all the sub groups of riders put the hammers down. The wind is now our foe and no longer our BFF of the past 5 days. As we leave town we start passing and smelling the pig processing plants, sinus clear check complete. The stench almost makes you eyes water but the winds blowing so hard you can’t think about it. Welcome to the Kansas breeze. I look at my Garmin at mile 26 and can only think, this is going to be a long day. Paul in our group gets the first flat which turns into bus stop 45 minute tire change. We are now the last group. Another flat on Jims front tire, ( FYI flat tires almost always happen on the rear tire and take longer to change ) but this time we are back rolling in about 10 minutes. 

We pull into our first sag stop at the Dalton Gang Hideout. We visit the museum and walk thru the escape tunnel they built in case the law shows up. The history is fascinating right down to their final double bank robbery attempt only to be ambushed trying to ride out of town. The towns people apparently had knowledge of the D gang coming and they all prepared arms and took the bad boys out. This is after something like 150 marshals were hot in their trail. Thus their escape tunnel back at their sister Ema’s house. Ok history class dismissed 

Let’s go back to breakfast for a minute. So as I said I’m eating my Captain Crunch all dressed in my biking garb. And a really nice man who I greeted getting off the elevator comes over and starts to ask about Bike 4 Mike. The conversation starts as it often does, ” so are you Mike? “. We talked for quite a long time and it turns out one of his relatives lost the ALS battle. The conversation was very uplifting and rewarding as I’ve had very few meaningful conversations about the disease and our TGF foundation It helps reinforce one of the missions of this undertaking. I’ll remember this fine gent from Arkansas for a longtime. I loved his accent and before we left we were both sharing grandchildren photos. 

Back to the ride, by the time we leave tha sag stop, the suns out and its warming up. But, you guessed it the winds building!  We stop for our last sag in a town the size of a dime, Minneola. We’re at a corner gas station – old market. Well every single person coming a going is greeting us and each of them repeats almost the identical thing. ” watch out for them tornados boys and be careful”. 

So I check my watch, it’s 1 and the storm watch starts at 2. Crap, we’ve got an hour and we’re 20 miles out and we now have to turn and ride north. It’s now a vicious cross wind on a 2 lane road and the cattle trucks are barreling along at 65. Oh and we’ve now got less shoulder so I have a plan. Keep checking the sky and the minute 3 clouds look like they’ll circle I’m stopping at a farm house and making new friends. There’s only one problem occasionally you can see a distant farm house. Most are a good 3/4 of a mile back off the road. But I notice one thing, none of them have driveways on this road. By the time I see the first driveway it’s exactly 11 miles into the 20. There’s no chance of seeking shelter at the farmer in the dell !!! We’ve got no out, it’s wheat as far as you can see every stinking where. It’ll be stop, drop and roll before you buy the farm !! All we can think about is hammer. This is a type of riding I don’t  think I’ve done before. It’s a mix of emotions for sure, scary yeah as the big rigs rattle you silly at times but also kinda fun. Anyway we pulled into Dodge and the next thing we are sitting eating Thai food for a late lunch. Yesterday 7 or 8 tornadoes swept right thru where we just rode thru and tonight’s warnings are up. Hello Kansas. 


Tomorrow we ride 84 miles to Great Bend and it’s a sunny forecast 

Photos 

Yesterday’s twisters taken from our new local friends house. Thanks Rachell for sharing these 

The long horn cattle statue 

Welcome to Didge City

The Daltons Gangs escape tunnel 

The Yellow Brick Road

We were greeted by a technicolor sunrise this morning as we prepared to sadly say goodbye to Oklahoma. Our Oklahoma stay was too short as I really enjoyed the vibe. As we rode today you could feel the calm and easy slower pace and lifestyle. We passed true amber waves of grain blowing gently in out tailwinds. Also evident is the change in humidity. A stark change to the dry, harsh, and rugged mountains and high deserts on NM and Az. Before we crossed the border into Kansas, we stopped in the town of Hooker Oklahoma. Our sag stop was right next to a gift shop selling tee shirts with a variety of Hooker slogans. We rode slowly out of Hooker as today is the shortest distance of the tour, 41 miles. So we also stopped at the Midwest Air Museum when we reached tonight’s destination of Liberal,  Kansas. 

Liberal claims to be the official start of highway 54, the Yellow Brick Road. I’m told some of the filming of the Wizard took place in and around Liberal. Our lunch waitress told us the munchkins used to frequent their restaurant. 

She also filled us in on some details of being dead center in tornado alley. In fact the news right now has an enormous area around us under tornado watch. Also on the alert are high winds flood watches and hail and thunder storms. Never a dull moments. A news story covered a live interview of yesterday’s tornado and in addition to the damage, they showed the wind pressure also ripped the wallpaper off his walls. One tornado was on the ground for 26 miles. Another one was an EF 4 and on the ground for 20 minutes and 1/2 mile wide.  The news is intense as they are everywhere ! 

After a face time call to our family birthday party for Kristen last night, today was my biggest bout of homesickness  That call along with a short easy ride kept me thinking about home and family. 

So speaking of home, awhile back I asked who signed up for our Team Godfather Nine Wine& Dine golf event ?  Who signed up? Who’s playing, text or reply please. Come on ladies get your golf on!  This is another great time, fun TGF event for our humble cause. Smack a golf ball to smack a disease. Play with our team to defeat ALS. Sign up before the holiday weekend at http://www.teamgodfather.org. 

Tomorrow we ride 82 miles to Dodge City. 

Photo comments

My hall of fame photo line up on the top tube of my bike. The Godfather, my father, and my whole family. 

Tonight’s hotel window view, I’m seeing America one car wash at time 

Our Crossroads lobby board showing our daily progress, they add a black highlight each day of our journey 

Grain mill in Hooker OK. Debbie and I have driven across the country 5 times and back then the state license plates slogans were ” Oklahoma is OK”. We always kept saying that every time we drove across this state. And it is indeed ! State border  crossing, note the ever present 18 wheel big rig. 

Oklahoma is OK

Our stay in Texas was short, like 24 hours and Oklahoma will be almost identical. Both states, have us just clipping the panhandle regions. In fact we are right now in what is officially known as the No Mans Land region, honest. It’s origin goes back into the Louisiana Purchase between Texas, Oklahoma  and Indian territories. 

Both of these panhandle regions are rich in Railroad origins. Railroad stops, the Bever River,  and cattle ranching have brought commerce to the town of tonight’s stay, Guymon OK. Corn, wheat, and Milo contribute to the cattle feedlots but the biggest business here is the pork processing plant. They process 16,000 hogs a DAY ! Now that’s some serious bacon. 

After riding each day we’ve been told to carefully wash and sanitize the outside of our water bottles. The cattle and hog trucks are everywhere as you can imagine. So the road bacteria issue is present. The last thing I want to pick up is Mad Cows Disease from my water bottle. I will say the drivers here especially the truckers go out of their way to be courteous. Every one of them will yield a full lane over to give us generous room. I can’t compliment Oklahoma enough. It’s super clean, friendly, great roads, and enjoyable. Even the railroad engineers lean out their windows, wave and blow their horns. It’s funny everywhere we go we constantly have people coming over asking where we are going and where did we start. And boy do they take their rodeos serious around these parts. One lady told us yesterday that during the summer there’s a rodeo every night Thursday – Sunday. And when the Professional rodeos come to town it’s huge !  

So an update on yesterdays bike shop mention. The owner came out of the tittle company he owns next door , opened  up his ” bike shop” for about 13 of us. His shop was funky but a very nice guy. It seems between his law business and his tittle company the shop is a hobby. Just before we left he told us, he sold more today than ALL of last year !  People in our group were buying his shop jerseys that have been there for sale for over 2 years ! Fun story and he was stoked we called ahead yesterday. 

I’ve picked up that this ranch, farm, truckers region doesn’t really emphasis personal cleanliness or hygiene. Yet anything with hunting, fishing or Duck Dynasty is worn like a badge of honor. Boy I’ll  tell you some of the caps I see probably have never had an encountered with a washing machine. Not to mention the hairstyle of choice is desperately shampoo starved. But the people are really nice and friendly for sure. 

I still haven’t mastered labeling my photos so here’s a guide in no particular order. 

The statue of Tex. The locals seemed to have shot him in a sensitive area. 

Oklanhome state line photos. Which include some of The Lads from the Uk and Scotland in left to right order, Chris, Kevin T, Sir Richard, and Ian. 

 And our gang which is pretty much the group I ride with daily give or take. I also tend to spend some occasional solo riding time as well at times. It’s been great doing some occasional few hours of solo rides so I can try and process everything going on. It all moves fast when every mile and every town, farm, mountain etc are new. It’s a whirlwind trying to ride, and remember everything you are experiencing, but it’s truly amazing. 

Also a pub stop for our after ride lunch today in Guymon Ok. This is the second or third town we’ve ridden in where they have true red brick streets. It’s really cool and as we slowly ride into these towns it’s like a Paris to Roubaix cobble. Very cool old streets. 


Today we rode 73 miles, in ideal to perfect tailwind conditions. We’ve been truly blessed with awesome weather. It was hot again at 98 degrees but could have been worse. 

Tomorrow is like a short rolling rest day, just 39 miles and we’ll be in Liberal Kansas our next circus stop. 

I got screwed today

More on the screw saga later. We left this morning in a pace line group of 9. Without a whisper of wind and the next town, Logan 24 miles away I set our pace at a snappy clip. We held 22-24 mph very easily as everyone’s legs felt fresh even after yesterday’s 110 mile. It was almost no effort at these speeds as I kept my heart rate around 95 -97. It was like cheap Aunt Jemima syrup flowing over a buttered flap jack. Look out Texas, here we come, man it’s flat here ! Like a band of misfit Spandex Cowboys we rode. All day long the drivers were great yielding over to the middle lanes giving us plenty of smooth delicious shoulder. It was a Merle Haggard, George Jones kind of day. 

We stopped at the bullet ridden Texas State monument. I carry my I-pod and remote speaker in my top tube bag for entertainment. I know playing music isn’t cool to some cyclists but in the right place and time our group is having fun with it. So I cranked up some Dylan in honors to Bobs birthday and off we go. 

So all is back and we’re still grinding along around 18 with some tailwinds. So then WHAM, a grotesque metal on metal loud mashing sound and a loud blow out. My rear wheel blew up! Luckily I’m the last in line. I stop and see a screw imbedded in my tire but can’t take the tire and tube off cuz it’s completely embedded IN my rim !!! This ones a first, and I have to work to just remove this ugly spike. It was a mind blower I have a hole inside my rim like a spoke hole with no spoke. So our sag van stops and I throw on my now 3 rd new tire and 10th tube. Everything is back ready to go and before I straddle the bike, pppassss it flats. So our sag truck now pulls up and they give me a staff members rear wheel and off we go, back in the saddle again. 

Outside of Dalhart, our destination for today we start to smell the famous XIT feed lots. We were told we’d smell them before we saw them. So now we begin  to see what at one time was 3 million acres !  Of cows in feeding parcels. Dalhart is all Texas and all about cattle. I was now pretty sure we wouldn’t see Tofu of Condor burgers on the menu tonight.  Talk about cow central, this is where they are feed before they get trucked elsewhere to meet their maker.

Every night at 5:30 we have a group route rap meeting to go over the next days ride in detail. We are told in Guymon Ok tomorrow’s destination there’s a bike shop. BUT it might be open or it might be closed. It seems this bike shop owner is also a lawyer so if he’s in court the shop is closed !  You gotta love small towns. 

So here I sit in Texas tonight and without a DVR I can’t decide what to watch, Green Acres, Hee Haw, or the Beverly Hillbillies. Or I could take a walk and count cows. Boy Texas is another planet for sure. 

Several days back we’re at a sag stop and up walks Richard a really great guy from the UK. He spots a basket of scones, which it seems he really enjoys at home. But to his dismay, he sees no cream. He asks me where the ” cottage cream is”. So I ask, “do you mean cream cheese or cottage cheese? ” no cottage cream, it goes nicely on scones with jam”. Yep you guessed it Sir Richard as I call him is the same guy who hadn’t ever eaten a PB&j. Then we smell a skunk odor coming for the forest around us. Richard gets excited as he says he’s never smelled a skunk ! You gotta love the Brits. It’s so fun having them along on this trip, never a dull moment. So we go about eating our scones sans ” cottage cream”. 

Tonight walking to dinner you can see the storm cloud formations to our east. We are still in the dry famous Dust Bowl but those clouds look mean. Tonight’s weather is nothing but 100% tornado information and stories. We ride towards the wetter weather tomorrow. Today was a 97 mile ride with only 2400 ft of climbing. Tomorrow is 77 miles and the elevation profile looks like a ton of flats and decents. Oh boy tomorrow’s going to be a party. Unless the winds change. I honestly can’t fathom doing these distances INTO headwinds. We’ve been blessed by the weather gods so far 

Lucy in the sky

Although know for extraterrestrial sightings, I can’t say New Mexico has delivered those goods yet. But talk about wide open spaces. Hey that’s a Dixie Chicks song title. No space ship sightings but incredibly vast, open and beautiful. As we rolled out of Las Vegas headed through the plains and mountains I couldn’t help but feel like a pony express rider. My photos or descriptions can’t do justice to the feelings you experience riding along on your iron horse. We had some favorable winds to strong cross winds which helped our 110 mile ride somewhat. Some guys had the temps up at 98 degrees and bone dry. We climbed 4,000 feet but all in all its was a fairly quick easy day considering. It’s incredible how stunning scenery can help melt 110 miles. We probably saw 30 cars all day. 

One highlight stop (photo) was an old closed up gas station used as a set for the movie, No Country for Old Men. We had a scheduled sag stop there as our tour group owner Tracey knows the property owner. That was the location also of our 1000 mile photo 

So I’m becoming interested in asking more about the local history of towns we stay in. So lets go back to Las Vegas NM did you know this town harbored more disreputable gang of desperadoes and outlaws than other famous bad ass outlaw towns like Dodge City. Get this list of bad boys who lived or traveled thru. Seriously not made up Doc Holiday, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Cock Eyed Frank, Rattlesnake Sam, Webbed Fingered Billy, Big Nose Kate, Handsome Harry the Dancehall Rustler, Studdering Tom, Durango Kid, and Hook Nose Jim. Honest look it up, I did. Most of these towns started because of the Santa Fe railroad. Google Doc Holidays gunfight in the street. And when an angry lynch mop formed they chased him back to Dodge City only to find that he’d gone on to  Tombstone Az. So there’s you history lesson kids. The true wild Wild West. Today’s it’s mostly Comache Indians and Cowboys round these parts but it’s rough and tumble.

Tonight we are in Tucumcari so I asked out waitress what place Tucumcari held in history or interest. She told us that a guy named Tucum and a girl named Cari were forbidden to see each other. So they went on top of Tucumcari Mt and built a house to live in. We are sure the sweet cute girl with over done eye make up feed us a load of goods. We googled it at dinner and found its a  derivative of a Comanch Indian word. Long history lesson over, class dismissed. 

Tomorrow we cross  into Texas and enter the central time zone. It’ll be a 96 mile ride but only 2400 ft of climbing. My tender bottom is a little sore after today but I’m hoping I hold strong. Today left me  feeling again so very privileged to be on this amazing journey.

We crossed our 1/3 mileage mark today. Please help us reach our 1/3 goal of fund raising. Your donations really help motivate us to keep this train rolling. Thanks very much. 

Oh hang on, the local news just flashed an alert. 2 towns east of us right now. Tornado warning for 7 miles east of the town of Clarendon in the air. And one very large one on the ground and not moving for 25 minutes near another town. Both east of us so no worries but I think  I might sleep with my helmet on tonight 


Wow another update alert the big one just turned northwest ! and they are telling the residents of a town called Turkey ( yep honest ) they are saying they have 5 minutes to seek shelter. It’s an EF 1 or 2. Holy crow. 

Update, the Turkey tornado warning was just lifted. Man these weather people are accurate with really detailed info on locations and strengths. In fact they reported 25 storm chasers in that area. So interesting compared to San Diego’s weather alert warnings of light to moderate sprinkles