May 23, 2004

5/23/04 Weston Bend State Park MO

42 miles (448 total)

What a great Sunday morning, not too hot and skies are clear. Said my goodbyes to mom, again, and headed out. I was meeting up with a regular group of people who meet in the Brookside area every Sunday morning that rides north towards the River Market area, just where I wanted to go. So about a dozen of us had the roads almost completely to ourselves this Sunday morning.

In front of the JC Nichols fountain on the Plaza

Took a break down at a little coffee shop in the River Market. Decided to splurge and get a bagel-egg sandwich with cheese. Mmm good. As I was getting ready to leave, they all decided that they could at least accompany me to Parkville, MO. That was good because I'd only ridden that way once and I was still hazy on how I was going to get across the Missouri.

Where the Kansas River joins the Missouri

But first we had to stop off at the Lewis & Clark statue in downtown Kansas City. I didn't even know we had a statue commemorating the Expedition. The pleasant surprise was the people featured in the bronze were not only Lewis & Clark, and Sacagewa, but also York, Lewis's slave. I'm glad York gets some recognition of his participation and contribution to a successful expedition.

By now, the sky has turned a murky grey as we look down upon the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. I put on all my rain covers just in case this ride turns nasty. It's always good to travel with other cyclists who really know the city. I would have never found my way along this peaceful, hardly traveled route that takes us across the Missouri near the Argosy Casino. The only downside of the whole ride was that the winds were definitely pushing from the north, creating fierce headwinds. I seemed to struggle to keep up with the group. From there it didn't take us long at all to reach Parkville.

The Lewis & Clark statue in KC

Usually, when the group rides to Parkville, they always stop at the American Legion Hall for breakfast. Even though we all had something to eat in the River Market, Doug decided we needed a second breakfast, just like hobbits. So, we piled all the bikes in the hall and had a hearty, inexpensive breakfast. Finally, finally said my goodbyes around noon, as they used that wind to push them back towards KC, I dipped my head into the wind and headed north. On the bright side, the grey had given way to bright sunshine again.

The group eating a hearty breakfast

There must have been a supported ride to and from Weston because I saw a lot more cyclists on this rural road and a few support vans. At one point I stopped under a bridge to get a break from the sun, I talked to a few of those riders. They loved the idea of biking the Lewis & Clark Trail. One woman saw my bike license plate with my name and told me she worked with one of my younger brothers. Small world isn't it.

Once I got off the county road, it was back on the highway which follows the river. Seemed pretty busy for a Sunday, as I had to get off onto the gravel shoulder frequently because of heavy traffic coming from both directions, I guess because of Fort Leavenworth on the Kansas side.

By the time I reached Weston Bend State Park, I think the sun had done a number on me both physically and mentally. I could barely get around the campground. Picked a spot and headed down to get a cold shower. When I returned, found one of the guys from this mornings ride had driven up. We checked out the Lookout Deck but you could hardly see the river because of all the trees. After paying my camping fee, he dropped me off back at my campsite. At the time I didn't know that my wallet fell out of my pocket into his car. He wished me a good adventure ahead.

I couldn't think of anything that I needed to do more than take a nap, so that's what I did. Later, much refreshed, I was putting everything away so I could do some exploring of the park when I discovered that my wallet was missing. Everyone who has had that happens knows the deep dread that you feel in your stomach when you think your credit cards, ATM cards, drivers license are all gone. I tore the campsite apart but no wallet. The only place it could be was in my friends car. But I didn't know how to contact him, having neither his phone number or email address.

Pocketmail, my email device, to the rescue. I did have one of the other bike riders email address and wrote up a quick note telling of my problem and was there anyway he could help me track down the other rider with the car. I checked every couple of hours, eventually getting a couple of email addresses. Later I found out they found him and told him to check his car for my wayward wallet.

Needless to say, I was still pretty distraught at not knowing. I only ate half my dinner and ended up just going to bed early. One thing that you will notice in the Lewis & Clark journals is they complained about the mosquitoes constantly. Even though there were steady breezes in the campsite, the pesky buggers were thick. I retreated back to the tent but it was like a sauna. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. [smile]