Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 24 - Toronto, KS to Belle Plaine, KS - 100+ miles

Holy S@!T, it was windy today.

I was up early and riding, stomach on empty, wind coming from the south. After a fairly long 20ish miles I wound up in Eureka. All i wanted was food and the first spot I saw was a Sonic. I'm pretty sure that was the only food establishment in the town. I actually see Sonics everywhere, but you won't catch me drinking those fruity bevs they serve. No thank you. As you may notice, Sonic is set-up for the automobile, not a bike. I had to park the bike on wall and then stand next to one of those ordering walls, just as cattle does next to a feed trough - awkward. Just before pushing the little red button and placing my large order, a woman, Betty, in the car next to me asked "you traveling across America?"

"You better believe it" i replied. "Well, can I give you something?" she asked. She handed me a business card. In large, red, commercial style font it read 'Jesus Loves You.' "Awesome" I said to her. "Thanks." We than began talking about the ride and she dove right into the 'Do you believe in God lesson?' Naturally, I gave her a casual "Nah, I'm not really sure. But it's all good to me. Either way." She kept on with a long story of why she did, which by the way, was remarkable. Turns out her husband was fighting some horrible disease. Doctors determined he was done-for but through some miracle, he pulled through. Dude, was actually sitting right next to Betty in the drivers seat, though during this whole interaction he just ate a sandwich, never speaking a word. "Can I pray for you," Betty asked. "Sure, why not." Actually as casual as my response was, that kind of support is incredibly heart-warming. Betty grabbed my hand and went on for nearly 3 minutes and boy, was she into it. Eyes closed, head moving around, hands in full swing - wow - intense prayer. When our conversation was all said and done, she offered to pay for my breakfast - uh, sure. Thank you Betty.

I went back to my ordering trough and ordered a cheeseburger with onion rings and bacon on it, fries, sausage breakfast burrito, dr. pepper and a large ice cream dealio. Yup, it was bomb. 6000 calories later I was back on the open road, the traffic growing busier and busier. I mos def have a love hate relationship with those semis out there. If they pass me coming from the other direction they bring the mighty wind of a greek god down upon me, which hits me in the face like a brick wall, killing all momentum. But, they are far away from me, so I am safe. On the other hand there are the semis that pass me going the same direction. These truckers bring a mighty boost, sending me forward, actually allowing me to kick it up a notch. But damn they cause me to wobble to-&-fro as if I just consumed a bottle of whiskey. Guess it's all part of it.

I stopped into a small convenience store to fill up on water before beginning my trek south to my Aunt's place in Belle Plaine. The dude sporting a cowboy hat and running the store wanted to charge me 10 cents per cube of ice. I thought this a joke but that cowboy never cracked a smile and was colder than the ice i yearned for. Water from the bathroom sink it is. Thanks, chief.

I headed south into a 25mph headwind. 25 miles and 3.5 hrs later I found myself at another town watering hole. These small Kansas towns are incredibly run-down. There is nothing to them any more, nothing. I kept on truckin', the sun setting and with only a few miles to go, night sat in and I rode in darkness.

Suddenly a big Dodge diesel rolled up next to me, "need a lift?" a voice said from the inside. At a second glance I realized the woman to be my Aunt Diann, out to escort me in on the country road. "Nope, I gotta finish this out," I replied. She sat behind me for the last 3 miles and lit my way, protecting me from the speedy motorists.

We arrived at her place about 9:30, and caught-up on life over some spaghetti and home-made meat sauce. I love meat sauce. It was great to be with family again.

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