Old Flying Farts Bicycling Club
Sonora, Ky to Harrodsburg, Ky

Day was pretty uneventful riding wise.  We did have the chance to visit and tour the Jim Beam Distillery.  It was a pretty interesting story of how the company started, went into 'storage' during prohibition and then came out stronger than ever after prohibition was done.  The tour even allows for a taste testing of the different versions they offer.  Although I did not participate in this activity, since a bad college party has caused me to no longer enjoy Jim Beam, we did find out that Sal did enjoy the taste and she even ended up buying a bottle 'of the good stuff."

I have been told that I must tell you about the magic water bottle (picture in week 5 pictures).  While putting my bike up on the rack for the trip to the Jim Beam Distillery, I set my water bottle down on the back bumper.  I forgot about it as we drove off.   This bottle stayed on the back bumper as we drove all over the city, into Burger King, and the 15 miles on the freeway to get to the distillery.  There were many turns, a few bumps and an irrate motorist we had to deal with but the whole time, that water bottle stayed on our bumper.  It is the small things that we are getting amusement out  of at this point:)

Once in Harrodsburg, we ran into some trouble with the hotel we were staying at  becuase there was a huge soccer tournament in town and it was overrun with little kids.  The coaches and parents did much less then  expected in regards to keeping their pre-teen kids under control, and it caused a lot of issues for the hotel staff.  We were not really happy having to carry all of gear downstairs  this morning, after the kids broke the elevator.  Thankfully, the hotel gave us 10% off the bill for our troubles.
Owensboro, KY to Sonora, KY

Our 80 mile trip today was pretty uneventful but had some beautiful scenery as we rolled through the countryside of Kentucky.  We headed into the pastures and farmlands of mid-kentucky with the hopes of easy hills and cooler temperatures and were only blessed with one of the two wishes....easy hills.  The temps continued to rise and in the last mile of the ride, the bank sign said 97 degrees.  The news said there was a heat index of 105 again today.  This is becoming commonplace and we are taking measures to made sure we do not overheat.  We are going through 8-12 waterbottles a day in addition to the fluids we take in at b-fast, lunch and dinner.  I must not forget to add that my back tire blew apart today...the tube was fine, but the actual tire split apart which makes for a bumpy ride.   I was able to put on an older tire that I had brought along for just such an incident but I do not feel comfortable riding these tires for the rest of the trip.  I called my bike store in Rochester, KLM Bike and Fitness, and bought two new tires.  They will be sent down with my sister on Sunday, so I can ride without worries to finish the trip.

We are in Elizabethtown, KY tonight since there was no place to stay in Sonora and this is the home of Abe Lincoln's birthplace.  After showers, we went and visited the memorial and log cabin of Abe's birth and then went to dinner.  I wonder if people will go visit Crittenden Hospital, as "my birthplace," after I am gone.  Maybe there will be a plaque on the wall outside the birthing room:)

We are in an area rich in history (i.e. Bardstown--The Stephen Foster Story and the Jim Beam Distillery; some other town--Maker's Mark Distillery).  As luck would have it, we actually go through Bardstown tomorrow and will be stopping by the Jim Beam Distillery.  Remember, I said it is important to keep fluids in our bodies--we will try again tomorrow:)

We ate at the Texas Outlaw resturant tonight.  They are national award winners for the best bbque ribs and pulled pork.   The trophies are all over the dining room and many of them are for 1st place.  I would have to agree that the ribs would be high on my list as the best.  I think what hit the spot thou was the Turtle Cheese cake for dessert:)  My daughter, Mackenzie, will be highly aggitated at me for eating ribs without her.  She is a true meat eater who would have dived in face first to the rack of ribs. 

Looking forward to seeing my sisters, parents and my kids on Sunday.  They are coming to visit us in Berea, KY while we take our last full day off before the final 750 miles. 
Carbondale, IL to Owensboro, KY

Today, we started the ride at 7am and it was already 84 degrees out.  It hit a high of 93 degrees with a heat index of 103---IT was hot.  Thankfully, we did not have many hills today and the ride was pleasant.  We went off the reservation again and did not use the maps.  We found that they are taking us the longest routes with few towns in between and that causes problems for getting food and hotels.  We ended up in almost the same place as the maps wanted us too but we were able to cut out 53 backroad miles and one day of riding!

We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or as Rod is saying "its probably the train!" but in a few days we will be in Berea, Ky and we have family coming to visit us for the day.  That has raised our spirits and I am looking forward to seeing my kids, parents and sisters.  After that we make the final push through the rest of Kentucky and all of Virginia. 

We did pass over the Ohio River and into Kentucky today and found that there was no "welcome" sign.  We both wondered if that was an omen or is Kentucky trying to tell the Illinois people something:)
Ozara, MO to Carbondale, IL

Today's ride was nothing special.  Both of us had tired legs today and thankfully there were not to many hills.  We did cross the Mississippi river today into Chester, Il; which is the hometown of Popeye--at least the man who created Popeye.

Don had some trouble with tires today and my gears were not shifting correctly, so once in town we visited a few bike stores and got things fixed.  My cables were stretched a bit and the chain needed to be replaced so  I hope it will shift a lot better.

Probably, the worst thing about today is the hotel..we know understand to check out the full hotel before getting rooms.  We also know no to stay in a hotel that offers 'weekly rates.'   The people staying here are at the low end of the food chain and enjoy it!

Tomorrow we ride through the rest of Illinois and into Kentucky.
Salem, MO to Ozora, MO

This was an interesting day for many different reasons. 
First, let's start with the dogs:  I am not sure if Don rubbed hamburger meat all over my bike last night or what the reason was, but today--the dogs were on the attack.  There were six different episodes of dogs running out to the road and barking or nipping at me while I rode.  I'm sorry to say that the first dog that did this was hit by a truck.  As the dog was running in its yard, I saw the truck coming and yelled at the dog to 'stay' but it bolted out in the road and was hit.  This is not a good way to start the morning.  As many of you know, I am a dog lover and I still feel bad about the incident even as I write this.  What/who I don't care for are the dog owners who do not leash their animals and allow things like this to happen!  In the five other incidents, I was able to outsprint the other dogs and seemingly made them tired enough that they did not even chase Don.  This is why I think it was a conspiracy:)

Second, the roads were very narrow and there were many semi trucks on the road.  I was run off the road twice by semi's as they blew their horns coming up the road right behind me.  Thankfully I did not crash and was able to stop in the weeds or the gravel before falling.   I was able give them the universal sign for 'my displeasure' but was pretty freaked out about getting run off the road.  Today was the most dangerous day of all the days we have ridden:(

Third, if there were no cars on the roads--I would love this route.  I am more of a climber vs. riding on the flats and this route is up and down all the time.  For you bicyclists or runners out there; this is the ultimate interval workout.  The climbs are 30 to 60 seconds in length with a 20 second downhill and then you start climbing again.  Except I am doing this for 100 miles and 7 hours!!!  Don had me totally freaked out about the Ozarks, but so far I am loving them...it is just one more thing against that state they call Kansas!

Fourth:  Miscellanous items: 
I have lost two inches around my waistline and have lost a five pounds...I was disappointed that I had not lost more weight with all the exercise I have been doing, but it was pointed out to me that I have gained a lot more muscle mass in my legs.  They look like tree trunks right now!
Rod and Sal have been doing an amazing job of keeping us hydrated with fluids.  We are going through 20 pounds of ice a day in the cooler and in our water/gatorade bottles.   I know it must be boring at times following us around but Don and I could not do this trip without them.
The longer I am out on the road, the more I am forgetting about where I have been.  This is why this blog is so important.
We have ridden just under 2,000 miles as of today


Marshfield, MO to Salem, MO

One thing that Don and I have learned over the past twentysomething days is that the maps of the route we are supposed to take, have not been updated in quite a few years from the original 1976 'BikeCentennial" route.  The problem with this is the roads have not always been kept up (some are gravel now) or newer roads have been made that make a more direct route between cities.  Today, we left the map and made up our own route to Salem, MO.  I believe this route was much nicer (roads) than what we were supposed to be on and we still had to do over 100 miles to get to our destination.  I guess it comes down to personal preference, but the hills were still challenging.

We again battled with the heat today but it was only 97 degrees, so I did not sweat as much (i.e. please read sarcasm into the last statement).  It seems that we are out of the plains and into the hills and trees which is a nice change from the desolate landscape called Kansas.   Today, I was strictly business in getting the ride done and rode alone the whole ride.  It was one of those days that I knew I had to ride the 100 miles, but my legs were tired and I missed my kids dearly.  Hearing them on the phone last night was nice but it made me homesick! 

Doing laundry as I write this -- have to do it every four/five days b

Pittsburg, KS to Marshfield, MO

Don and I got up early to try and get in as many miles as possible to beat the heat that we knew was coming today.  The problem was that Kansas is in the middle of an extreme heatwave and the temps were going to be hot.  Well, it was and we battled most of the day with 100 degree temps and a heat index of 110 degrees:(  We were able to put in 84 miles before we finally said that it was crazy and we were going to go into heat exhuastion by continuing.  It was a good thing we stopped becuase it too a few hours for Don and I to get our core body temp down but we were still pretty tired and did not updated the blog.  Sorry about that for you addicted followers:)Don was the unlucky rider of the day with two flat tires.   I felt bad becuase it was so hot out and we normally only carry one spare tire, so he ha
We  were starting to get into the ozarks and the rolling hills that we are riding on are a telling sign of what is to come.
Eureka, KS to Girard, KS

Today was a 100 mile day and the temp was over 100 degrees.  Nothing really special today on the ride; just a grind for the whole day.  We did have to ride for about 4 miles on a gravel road as we had another detour around some road work. 

Once we arrived in Girard, we found out that there were no hotels and had to drive to Pittsburg, KS to get a hotel.  While there we found out that Pittsburg was hosting "The four state Farm convention" and it was a big hit.  We have not seen so many trucks, cowboy boots/hats and wrangler jeans in one place before.  

It was suggested that we go to the #1 steakhouse in the area (Jim's Steakhouse) and it was well worth it.  I had the best filet ever. 

Short post today since nothing happened today and I am wiped out.  Tomorrow, we head into Missouri and the ozarks.

Good night!
As it turns out, two of my past students while I was teaching in Oxford, are now out here in Wichita, KS.  The family moved out here a few years ago and Josh and Aaron followed along.  It was great meeting them for dinner and catching up on the last few years.  
Hutchinson, KS to Eureka, KS

It is hard to believe that we have been out here 22 days.  Thankfully, I have the blog to go back and remind myself about the different days and what I did--it is all blurring together.

I think the way today started off should have been a warning that it was just better to keep the bikes on the van and drive to Eureka vs. riding them.  Here are just a few of the things that we can now laugh about:

Rod, my 'roommate' during the trip, decided to snore last night and kept me awake most of the night.  We tried to figure out why last night and not any other night and our only guess was that he ate spicy food at Applebee's for dinner. 

So I am already tired and go down to the breakfast in the hotel lobby only to have my waffle somehow destroyed on the wafflemaker and I end up eating fruit loops and a cheese danish.  Not the breakfast of champions when you are riding 100 miles. 

As we are going to our drop off location to start the ride, we somehow miss the turn and end up 9 miles north of where we are supposed to be...that is okay but when we turn around we miss the turn again and are now 20 miles in the hole and have not even started riding East yet. 

We finally get on the correct road only to see road construction signs saying that the road is closed two miles ahead.  We forge ahead anyways, in the hopes that we can work around the construction.   NOPE, the bridge is out so we have to travel 2 miles south, 3 miles east (on dirt roads), and 2 miles north again to get back on track. 
At this point, any reasonable person would have called it a day but we are not reasonable  people....remember we chose to pedal our bikes across this country. 

So off we start from Buhler, KS at a very quick pace since we are being attacked by Mosquitos the size of humming birds.  I have never seen such large mosquitos before and they were flying as fast as we were pedaling.

 We are finally settled in to our ride and heading East on some lonely deserted road when we hear a plane coming in pretty low over the fields.  We realize he is spraying the fields (probably to kill the damn mosquitos) when we see that he is heading straight for us.  We slow down to watch and then had a sinking feeling that he is going to 'strafe' us with machine guns by the way he is aiming at us.  He overshoots us by about 30 feet and flies back out into the fields..we laughed but kept looking back over our shoulders to make sure he did not make another run at us.

As we enter Hesson, KS, we see a fully loaded biker heading West and decide to stop and speak with him and tell him about the detours ahead with the bridge being out.  We find the guy to be pretty jovial about his trip and then preceeds to tell us that this is his second year on a bike as he has traveled around the world (Europe, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, India, etc..) on his bike and that he is finishing up here in America before he goes home to Ireland.  We wish him well, put our tails between our legs and head off.  No longer do we think we are so special after hearing what he has been through and done over the last year and half.  My hat goes off to him!

As we come into Newton, KS at 10am, we see on the bank sign that it is already 101 degrees out.  We are not sure if the sign is correct or we are just getting used to the heat, but the 90% humidty was what was drag today.

As the day progressed, I had my chance to pet a cow...I know, stupid, but I have it in my mind that I am going to pet one of these animals before the end of the trip.  I see this huge bull standing next to the fence and decide that I have to try.  Everyone on the road has stopped to see the Irish guy in bike shorts trying to convice this bull to come towards me so that I can pet it.  I can imagine the comments being made in the cars as I was standing there....Anyway, I did get the bull to move towards me but not close enough to touch.  I guess that was my "running of the bulls," experience for the year:)  You want to be close to them, but not close enough that they can get you!

As the miles progressed and we were finishing the ride, the black skies arrived.  We thought we would be able to make it all the way into Eurkea, but the lightening changed all that.  We stopped and waved for the support van to come get us, which they did slowly.  Don and I are 'having a cow' (no pun intended) becuase the lightening and rain is getting closer and our van is not really interested in saving us.  As we look closer, we see that Rod and Sal, are taking video and pictures of the storm and have become "Storm Chasers."  We put our bikes on the rack and get inside and they do not even notice.  They are so excited about the storm and the possiblity of a tornado that they decide to drive into the storm to get more video and pictures.    Well, we end up in Eureka for the night and are recupperating for tomorrows ride.  If things go well, we will end the day at the Kansas/Missouri border.

That's all for now!!