May 28, 2001

5/28/01 Osage Lake State Park

77.9 miles

Even with an extra day, I still seemed to have a ton of errands and more people to see. But at least I wasn't as hurried.

So, last night I was home for dinner and tried to spend some time with mom between packing. Later I called to talk to Mike, the Australian cyclist, in Pueblo, Colorado. He was taking a few days off in a motel to avoid the Memorial Day drivers. But because of the holiday, he wasn't able to replace his stove or get his bike fixed. Also got a message from Bubba, the St. Louis rider, that I might run into 2 guys from Arizona. Ended the night trying to satisfy my TV and computer habits (alas, not much luck on either).

The weatherman called for a chance of early morning showers, so I wasn't in any hurry to get up. (He was wrong.) After 6 weeks of breaking camp, I can get the bike ready pretty fast. Tried to get mom to sit for a picture, but she said it was too early. I just want everyone to know how special she is. It sure helps with my peace of mind knowing she's always there for me, despite these crazy adventures.

Again, it was kind of fun to ride my old training route, especially because of the light holiday traffic. At one point, though, I wanted to turn back. It was so easy to fit back into "home" life. It's nice to have a roof over your head along with all those modern conveniences like a kitchen, TV, computers, and a real bed, not to mention a car. And there are my family and so many friends that miss me and I really miss them. It's almost harder leaving KC on a bike than it was flying away to start this adventure.

But just like how easily I slipped into my "home" persona, Jim the cyclist quickly emerged as the miles added up. The sun was up and it was looking to be a warm one; but not a cloud in the sky.

Trains, trains & more trains...

Kansas City might not have as many people as some other cities, but it sure is spread out. I had to ride almost 25 miles from mom's house, which is in midtown, just to start seeing some farm fields. But that was after I waited for two trains in Olathe. And I only got lost once. What are a few extra miles on a day like this?

Stopped for an early lunch in Gardner, mainly because I didn't know what would be available down the road. For these next couple of days, I designed the route to take me from KC back to the TransAm, so I don't have all the information the maps and guidebooks provide me.

Wheat fields of Kansas...

A historical marker said that a good portion of the Santa Fe Trail was ahead of me from Baldwin on Hwy-56. I can't even imagine what hardy souls took on THAT adventure.

Remember that clear sky? Well, it doesn't last long here. The locals called it "breezy," but it didn't compare to those heavy headwinds I had coming into KC I felt the wind, but it didn't bother me. The terrain is easier here, too, than western Missouri. I saw three highway patrolmen today on my road. Hadn't had that before and I kind of liked it. Sometimes I had a little extra shoulder, but mostly it was a bunch of outer white line riding. Only a few semi's today and most of the cars are heading east.

Got to Overbrook a little faster than I thought. Stopped in "Casey's" to ask a few ladies about Osage Lake State Park. They knew it had outhouses and camping, but they were unsure of drinking water. The Boy Scout in me filled up 2 water bottles, my 2-liter backpack bladder, and another 2-liter container, just in case.

Found the lake just like they said (even found the good campsites like they told me). There were still a lot of people camping, but you could tell they'd be breaking soon for home.

I was tired, but satisfied with the day's cycling. The legs still were strong, despite four days of using a car at home. The new bike seat and seat-post shock will take some getting used to, but they seemed to work OK. And even thought the new backpack was heavy with the 2 liters of water, it was pretty comfortable.

After that big mileage day last week, I'm in no hurry now. I'd like to avoid the rain, but I also want to see a little more of Kansas instead of just driving through it. Tomorrow is a short day to Council Grove Lake and the next day I'll be stopping off in Matfield Green, Kansas to meet a friend of one of the nurses at work. Skies look clear tonight, but that will probably change.