Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hitchhiking and Joy

Hoisenburg, Kansas.

Ahhhh *sigh of relief* we are finally safe and snug between the cool (air conditioned) walls of, yet another, public library. I have a feeling this post will be rather unpoetic, since today was by far our longest ride and the first time I experienced what is known in the biking world as "bonking." Bonking basically refers to a condition where your glucose reaches too low of a level your body starts eating up muscle instead of fat. Not fun. Every five miles would seem like 20. Luckily Lucy, being the keen biker lass that she is, saw my fading physique and made me stop for some peanut butter sandwiches below a "Choose Life; Your Mother Did" billboard along the road. It was fascinating though, I could literally feel the sugar hitting my blood stream. And was a delight to be fully glucosed out again. :)

Besides that, things have gotten a little bit wild, and a while-lotta-bit-awesome since I last wrote. Ranging from pseudo-hippy dancing jam sessions in park gazebos, wheat field bodily relief, and a smorgasbord of traditional farming personas. Yesterday when we were riding we saw a massive pickup truck pull off the side of the road in the distance, and a squat 70 year old man waddle his way to our side. As we neared, we could hear him hooting and hollering at himself about how he forgot his money back in his pickup. We gratefully told him we were thankful for his gesture, but it wasn't necessary. Soon after, the tenacious old man, backed up his pickup at about 50 miles an hour and made his way back to us with two dollar bills in hand. We ended up listening to an in detail narration of his family's dating history, and the fact he is the best oatmeal cook in all of Kansas. People are beautiful. When be rolled in to Ness City I bought a lemonade with the dollar. I hope the cycle of giving is perpetuated.

Last night we camped with a big group of tourers going the other way, most of them in their mid-60's. I am impressed how many elderly people cross the country on bike. They all seem to have the motto "if you don't use it you lose it." and it seems to work. This morning we decided to wake up at the crack of dawn (to be more exact, before the crack of dawn) and get going before the heat and humidity of dear Kansas decided to plague our ability to ride. The plan seemed peachy, getting out of camp around 6:00 in time for a magenta and yellow sunrise....but, of course, the universe had a richer plan in mind. Remy's tire, after an evening of fixing the first flat, decided that one wasn't enough. Usually this wouldn't be a problem, except we realized the day before we'd left our only bike pump on some abandoned highway road side. Loaded down with gear and unable to ride, we found ourselves with no other choice but to hitchhike to the nearest town. (DISCLAIMER: before you get all hot and bothered about the dangers of hitchhiking, which I of course am fully aware of and equally concerned, it should be noted the general population here is comprised of gentle, community oriented farmers. It seems like everyone leaves their doors open at night and the kids play care free. It is amazing how safe some places of the U.S. can be). To put a long story short, we made it to the next town, learned about the oil business along the way, and were able to patch Remy's tire to near perfection.

Later on today we found ourselves at the junction point of two major routes that would take us to Missouri: we could turn either North or South. If we went South, we'd stay on the touring route, but lose about a day and a half of riding. But if we went North, we'd go off the route, not guaranteeing camping, but save having to go unnecessarily south. And, on a whim, we turned our bikes North and took off. The ride was probably the hardest so far, tons of little dipping hills and strong headwinds. But when we finally arrived to Hoisenburg, we were lucky enough to stumble upon a community swimming pool. Most of the swimming pools in Kansas have free showers, and we pulled in hoping they'd take mercy on our cause. After a few jokes with the owner, not only did she let us use the showers, she also gave us free admission to the pool. It was hilarious: three totally disgusting bikers in their spandex and jerseys weaving in and out of hundreds of beach ball bouncing children. I don't think I've ever been so pleased.

Anyways...lots of love. Have to go beg Churches for a place to stay tonight. Life is beautiful. I am not sure if I've felt this alive for quite some time. Hip-hip-horay for biking and grunge!

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