Currently I am sitting, sunburnt and haggard, in between two crayon hypnotized children at the kid's corner of the Tribune public library (yes, at one of those mini desks with the mini plastic chairs). It is quite the sight. Welcome to Kansas!
Although we've only been riding for three days now, I feel like months have passed. So much to take in at once. Lucy told me that the areas we'd be going would give me a taste of culture shock in my own country of origin. And....she was right. These little towns astound me that they are standing. The largest town we've passed through had a total population of about 9,00. Most of them have only a quarter of that. It really does seem like we've gone back in time. Rarely can we find a store open past 4:00 in the afternoon, a drugstore, grocery store and or a place with Internet access are all diamonds in the rough. It is as if some of these towns catalyzed in the 1950's and then froze in their tracks only 5 years later. Quite literally, nothing has changed. It really makes me think: this must be how life used to be. No corporations, only locally owned businesses, no Internet, rarely phone service. Although bizarre, it is almost comforting to me. I feel like I am more in touch with reality. Not sucked up in to a web of computer oriented existence. Last night (in Eads, CO) I sat under a tree and watched the moon move slowly, yet persistently, through the brilliant sequences of stars. It was placid. I am relishing in the rawness of this all. We go to bed when it is dark, wake when it is light, eat when we are hungry, and live according to the elements. We've come to the conclusion that living on a bike is much like what it was like to live as a nomadic hunter/ gatherer. We move for food, work in tribes, have temporary homes, and exist in tune with the world around us. It is dangerous how very appealing this way of life is. :)
I guess I should talk about bit about the events that have taken place so far. We started out in Boone, CO...which is just about the most fascinating place I've ever been in my entire life. Hahaha. Wow. A three block strip of deserted buildings with an hourly coal train that runs parallel (which, as we discovered the during the night, might explain the profound abandonment). After only about 5 minutes of avocado sandwich munching, we were accosted by an overly friendly man named Larry (who proved to be our entertainment for the next day and a half). Someday I want to come and write a book about this man's life (as well as his compulsively beautiful lies). He took us on a tour of his house, clad with the finest random auto parts, trinkets, and sand floor, as well as the rest of the 1/3 of the town he had bought since wrecking his motor home there 5 years ago (which adds up to about a block of property). We found ourselves hunched over peanut butter jars listening to our new friend Larry expound stories of personal Korean concubines, miles of king catered food, and hitchhiking across the country in a wheel chair. Each story morphed in to something stranger. Like I said, this personality was beyond book worthy.
The next day we headed off to Sugar City, where we were greeted with a tornado watch, Christan picnics and blaring rap music. Welcomed with open arms we were handed bags with far more nectarines and potato salad than is feasibly possible to consume/carry on a bike by enthusiastic Latino women. We put up camp, played Frisbee and strummed guitar and we watched the clouds for the alleged tornadoes. Luckily the weather passed and we watched the sun set behind a massive yellow caboose haphazardly placed in the middle of the city park.
The next day we rode to Eads, CO (our first 60 miles day) and ended up sitting in a gas station philosophizing about the world for four hours (which if you know me at all was quite pleasing).
Today we passed in to Kansas and at the end of a 60 mile ride were greeted with a (much needed) cold shower and public pool. Kansas thus far has proved every stereotype I had about it wrong. For one thing: it is gorgeous. My breath is taken away by how multifaceted grass can be. The hues are dynamic. We've seen a slew of wildlife, including gazelles, turtles (I named Milton), rodents, and several falcons/hawks (note: sam legrys). It's been beautiful. I love being able to see the curvature of the earth collide with colbalt sky. Simplicity.
Tomorrow will be a shorter ride, and I am not sure the next time I'll have Internet. But I miss you all and will try my best to stay in touch. In 4 days we meet up with another large portion of the group...which will be wonderful. It is actually amazing how many bike tourers you meet up with (but interestingly enough very, VERY, very rarely women).
Welp...I am almost out of time. But hi from the plains, alive and ecstatic.
Check out our homepage at www.fromthesaddle.org to see some awesome videos of us so far. We're able to record them from Remy's phone and send them as text messages to the sight. There is already a few posted so far. :) Love to all.