Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 67 ~ 2 Pastors, A Rat, An Armadillo and A Near Accident

Leaving Lindsborg we could see the Bethany College field from Highway 4. The mascot is the Vikings and Gregory got a pin for his under the seat bag.

Sunflowers reaching for the morning rays of the sun

Gypsum Next 13 Exits? I don't know about exits but the town does have 13 streets! Each street has about 5 feet of asphalt off the main street (Maple Street not Main Street) and then the rest of the road is dirt. The Country Cafe had great PIE!

Pretty Lutheran Church (The historic stone church is on the east side.)

That is quite the handyman rig! On the opposite side he was holding his door closed by wedging a section of a 2 X 4 against it! (You can see Mike and Gregory coming out of the bank behind it.)

Date: Sept. 23, 2009

From: Lindsborg, KS “Little Sweden USA”

To: Herington, Kansas

Route: Hwy. 4E to 81N to 4E


Miles Today: 54 miles


Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph

Weather: 70s and Southerly winds (The news promised CALM!)

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana plates, 8 Wyoming plates (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho plate (found in WY), 2 Colorado plates

We had our first near accident today. We’d been hanging out at The End Zone mini-mart in Hope, Kansas fueling up for the last 8 miles of the day. One conversation turned to another and then another and we were there until school got out. The kids flooded in for their “hunk” of pizza and we met several 5th graders. Later they were hanging out on their bikes out front and Gregory said, “Do you want to race?” At first they declined but then one brave lad decided that as we were taking off he'd get the jump on us and started down the main street which would quickly become the highway. We were gaining on him and as we were about to catch his back wheel he decided he’d gone far enough and went into a power skid in front of us cutting us off. I screamed, Mike swerved left and the boy stopped as we went around him. I was speechless for the next half hour picturing tomorrow’s headlines, TRIPLE TANDEM CREAMS LITTLE JOHNNY SMITH. I was a little freaked out I must say.

As to the rest of my title… Early in the morning Mike had to swerve to miss a rat in the road that was as big as a squirrel! We’ve seen a lot of things while bike touring but never a rat in the road. Another first was armadillo road kill. Gregory is actually the one who saw that one on the opposite side of the road. Yesterday we saw 2 raccoons and a possum, also road kill. Lovely I know but just part of life on the road.

We met two really great pastors today. First in Gypsum, we met Pastor Dave and chatted about his life here in this small town. He felt a calling to serve a small community and with his theology background is able to take 4 weeks worth of classes each year (2 at a time) and serve as their pastor. We got the impression that serving such a conservative community provides its challenges for him. Secondly, we met Pastor Gary out in front of the Cenex Station in Herington. He was riding a really sweet Star motorcycle (a division of Yamaha). He had recently completed a 1,200-mile tour on his bike that included a family reunion with his 6 children and 4 grandchildren. He was a heck of a nice guy and both Mike and I got the impression that Gregory wanted him to take us home. Mike pulled out the maps and shared a bit about our journey. Tomorrow we will be going through the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Whoever said that Kansas doesn’t have hills is dead wrong. Eastern Kansas is full of hills and today we saw the first of them. More hills and more southerly wind made three tired bikers.

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