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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Day 33: Ash Grove to Pittsburg Kansas - Welcome to friendly Kansas and midway

Wednesday June 18, 1986, 71 miles (114 km) - Total so far: 1,652 miles (2,659 km)

Fred and I slept out on the picnic tables and the night was hot. Somehow I talked Fred into not setting up his tent and to try sleeping out in the open. I awoke at 5am and asked Fred if he wanted to go. Fred gave me the thumbs up as if to say he was coming but when he rolled over and went back asleep, I gave up. Gene spent the night is a cheap motel so I set out on my own at 5:30am.

It seems these Missouri roller coasters never end, and there were a few steep climbs before Pennsboro. Shortly before Pennsboro a pickup truck slowed and two guys were yelling at me. It startled me because it was pretty early in the morning and it was one of the first vehicles that passed me. It kinda shook me up, especially because I was riding alone. I stopped to take a break and make sure these idiots weren't coming back.

I've been thinking about my safety ever since the incident at Lazy Louie's Bike camp. During today's encounter I started to figure out what things I had onboard I could use as defensive weapons. I used all my Halt in Kentucky so I'll try to buy more. My tire pump isn't going to really stop anybody so that won't really do. I had a big Swiss Army knife but it didn't have locking blade so I didn't want to cut my own fingers off. The Camera, I figure I can swing it on the strap and that might work. I started to think about how I would handle it if two people jumped me (like these 2 idiots). I would have to make a debilitating blow to one of them first and then take my chances with the other. One on one is better odds, plus being tall and athletic I have some advantages. I made sure the camera was easily accessible and continued west.

In other news: The sun already was very hot early in the morning as it was like a rerun from yesterday. The day was so hot I could see the tar bubbling on the road. I made sure I had extra water onboard today as I had no riding partners.

While taking a shade break Gene rode up and we continued together into Kansas. We arrived in Pittsburg Kansas at 11am, and looked for some lunch. A local recommended Ken's for all you can eat lunch. Yeah, all you can eat is for me.

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Welcome to State #5. That's right, midway!

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This sign was on the Colorado side, but I wanted a picture of it because it was featured in Bicycling Magazine.

Today I finally got some new toe clips, which were badly needed as one was broken completely. This is the first problem with my bike that really wasn't that big a deal as I temporarily fixed it with strapping tape. I also tried getting some Halt but they were out.

I found the city pool and did some swimming and took a nice shower. After the pool I checked out the city park and decided a cheap motel would be a good idea. The stay in the motel was nice, a shower and a real bed for a change.

Sheryl and I decided to go out to the bar and talked Fred into coming. I guess Fred didn't want to miss out this time so it was easy to convince him to come along. We had a pretty good time and I got to spend some time with Sheryl, which I haven't really up to this point. We decided to take tomorrow off so we celebrated our 5th state into the wee hours of the morning.

[Author's Note:] I had no real incidents with people until the last couple of days here in Missouri. I started being more cautious, especially if I was riding alone. I was glad to be entering friendly Kansas. ~


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