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DAILY REPORT: The weather was supposed to warm up back into the 90's. However the winds were supposed to be light and variable. A nice change. This would be a welcomed change.
It is 2300 and I just finished talking with Maria (my lovely lonely wife who has Spike the guard dog keeping her company) and I am exhausted. I am going to try to get six hours of sleep and write this tomorrow morning since we have a short day........
So we started out the day with a very nice continental breakfast compliments of the Grand Prairie Hotel. That had lots of good things to eat and there was a good selection. Skip was even to make himself a Belgian waffle.
We had been on Rt 50 for the last two days and would continue for another 35 miles. It was nice and cool at 60 deg. The shoulder was good for the most part and Kansas drivers continues to be very courteous to bikes giving them lots of room. It was a nice morning ride. We made it to Newton in no time and needed to jump on I135 south for several miles to get us to our next secondary road that would take us to El Dorado. Unfortunately when we getting on the freeway there was a notice that no bicycles were allowed. We held an ORM (Operational Risk Management) meeting along the road and based on the large wide shoulders, we've bike on the interstate before (I90 & I80), it was a short four miles distance and the fact our map didn't have another way to get to our next road - we went ahead w/ the interstate. No problems and a very nice road to ride on infact.
Well this was officially the end of Kansas being flat after the last 200+ miles. In fact, for the last two days I had not shifted out of my medium chain ring! So on the first rise the boys were like "What's that?" We had rollers for the rest of the day.
We planned to meet up w/ Skip in El Dorado and have lunch. On the way into town John got his second flat. This time he had a puncture in his tire so he had ridden over something sharp. After fixing the flat we found a Taco Bell in town and had Skip meet us there. We had a nice lunch and talked w/ a number of local folks about what we were doing. In fact one gentleman whose name was "Fox" and was out riding; saw us and chased us down just as we got to Taco Bell to talk w/ us.
After lunch we had another 30 miles to go. The temp was now in the 90's but still no real wind to speak of. We were heading to Eureka. This ride took us through large cattle grazing lands. It was a nice ride.
We found Skip in Eureka and he informed us that he had talked to all the hotels in town and that they had not been supportive of our cause but did find a nice hotel at our next town down the road in Fredonia. We had already biked over 100 miles so the boys were not interested in biking another 40 miles so we loaded up the bikes in the trailer.
It took a little hunting and a phone call to find our next hotel; Bacnai Hotel. What a friendly and wonderful staff. Very pro military. Pam the manager had talked with the owner and they donated the rooms for us. Pam had lost Bryant, her son over in Iraq a little over a year ago and was very supportive of our cause. We are saddened for her loss. SSG Bryant was a tank commander when his tank was hit an RPG. The town came out in full, lining the road w/ US flags for miles for the funeral procession. There is some special about local small town pride/patriotism that you don't see elsewhere. The owner, Mrs. Bacnai later that evening gave us a call when she got back in town just to make sure everything was OK and to say thanks for what we were doing. If you find yourself passing by this way, this is a worthwhile stop and saw hi to the staff. Thank you very much!!
Pam had called the local paper and after we had cleaned up a bit we met with Dale Fritz from the newspaper. We had several nice conversations and told us a lot about the community and the local folks. Very interesting. The community was hit hard He took several photos and wished us well on our cycling adventure.
Today we will be riding to Pittsburg KS (Not PA as someone asked). Looks like another nice sunny, warm day. Check back later tonight for the adventures of the Riding4Hope Cycling Team.......
Thanks for joining us.....ride safely and keep the wind to your back!!
The Riding4Hope Team
(David, John, James & Skip)
Signing out 7/23/09; 0900
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