Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Day 30: Chetopa,KS to Miami, OKLAHOMA to Joplin, MISSOURI

Day 30
Today was the final day of riding before flying to East TN on Thursday to see Celeste and to marry Brad Jones to Laura Cantley this Saturday, so I was excited to get going. I didn't want to get to Joplin, MO too early so I decided to ride south out of Chetopa, KS to Welch, OK.

Other then the head wind I was riding into it was a nice 11 mile ride. As I turned east I saw a Road Closed Ahead sign so I stopped to gather more information. Of course while I was there I got a cold drink. I also got to listen to the locals tell stories about the recent tornadoes that hit the area. One family sought refuge in their storm cellar then was trapped there for some time before someone came looking for them and heard whistles from down below. As I started to leave one of them asked, "where you headin'?" I told them Joplin, MO and then on to FL. "Good luck" one man said.

Inside the store a young man told me that I would have to turn right before the bridge construction and the left onto a gravel road. "How long for the gravel road" I asked. "A couple of miles" he said. He did say there was a longer way around but I would have to bike south into the wind for a bit. I chose to take my chances on the gravel road. Even if I had to walk that would be fine. This was my final day of riding before the break and I had plenty of time to get to Joplin. The seven mile ride to the bridge construction was great. The wind was off my should so I covered that distance at a good pace. I made the right turn and then the left onto the gravel road. I was able to walk half and ride half. Not too bad. It was great to get back onto pavement though.

Once I did it wasn't long before I was turning north to ride into Miami, OK. Good size town with all the normal food places and lots of variations on the Taco theme. Taco Mayo, Taco Tico, Taco Bell.... After Miami I had a sobering ride through Picher. It was hit 3 or 4 Saturdays ago by a tornado and basically the south part of Picher was demolished. As one of the locals in Welch said, "it looks like a bomb went off." He wasn't kidding.

After Picher I went back into Kansas and rode through Baxter Springs. It was there that I encountered Historic Route 66. I had been on it many times in Winslow, AZ but never in the Midwest. As soon as I turned on 66 I saw that I was only 9 miles from Joplin, Missouri PTL! It began to set in more and more that this would be my final day of riding until next Tuesday. I stopped in Galena at DQ for some ice cream and then I set off for the Starbucks in Joplin that was close to the home of Jeremy, Megan and Judah Ritchie. Once there I had two venti iced coffees. I was hot and thirsty. I drank those over a one hour period not one right after the other. During that hour I took advantage of the store Wi Fi and checked my e-mail. I had also checked the GPS on my phone and found that I was less than a mile from their house. I called Jeremy and he gave Megan a heads up. A few moments later I arrived and was greeted by Megan and Judah and then the two loving dogs.

I took my Bob Bag off the trailer and the saddle bags off my bike then moved everything in. I visited a bit then got cleaned up. Jeremy had a meeting at the church and after he was done we were going to meet him at Applebees. How awesome is it that whenever I hit major civilization this past week plus I was taken to Applebees. God is good! We had a great time of visitation at dinner and then Jeremy took me to Wal*Mart so I could buy a t-shirt.

Only having one has been a problem at times. Now that I am getting ready to give Celeste all my winter clothing I have room for one more t-shirt. After Wal*Mart Jeremy took me to The Bridge where he use to work. This place is amazing. It has a concert venue with coffee bar, rock climbing, dodge ball, amazing skateboard and BMX ramps, a skate/BMX shop.... As I said, it is amazing.

Tonight we have been chilling, watching tv and talking about tomorrow. In the morning we will hit Starbucks before going over to church. I will take my bike with us so I can stop by the bike shop to get some much needed work done. I have at lease two cables that need to be replaced, a front axle that needs some attention and a little spoke turning needs to take place on my rear wheel. I also need to get my laundry done and then pack for TN.

It's been a very good last day of riding and my time with Jeremy and family has been great. I have been so blessed my so many people along the way. It is very humbling.

I look forward to sharing some different things with you in the days to come.

As always, prayers appreciated!

bob g

STATS - Mileage Today 62, Pace 13, Riding Time 4:44
Total GTD cumulative miles: 1,915