For now, the ride in brief:
Prep begins: Glen in the mobile fortress.... a.k.a., zie RAAMwagen (a secret nickname I've given it, but really haven't uttered until now... muahahahaha!) No, that's not an announcement.. just a deeply unfounded and financially ridiculous pipedream... for now.
Next to it, the SAG-Delux, now with roof-carrier! Thanks, again, Badger!
|Huh? The Dude realizes how much work it is to prep stuff out of a trunk, after months of riding from home.|
|Koggy, at the ready. A perfect morning, all-around - clear, crisp, inviting|
We began our tour promptly at 6:09am, after checking in at Speedy's c-store, and headed out onto quiet St. Joseph streets. It really didn't seem like a Monday morning... light traffic, but who's complaining?
The early hills taxed my legs a bit - I never seem to get warmed up until maybe mile 20 these days, so early hills are always a bit "fun."
|Whaddayaknow? Not much, you? Face-shot, on US-59 northbound, south of Oregon, MO. A few layers still present , as thick, low clouds - almost fog - continue to blanket the morning. The scenery begins to open up, and distances between towns expand.|
|Glen, cuttin' up the countryside - the reverse angle of the picture above, US-59 - headed into the expanse of northwestern Missouri.|
|Here, you can see the new bridge at left. Unimaginative engineering, and not much higher than the old bridge.|
|A rare treat, we encounter an eastbound BNSF coal train while on the bridge!|
|Your truly, sitting atop the state line, 60 feet above the rolling Missouri|
|State line! Back in Rulo again. (Think CCR.)|
Right at the state line, at about 9:45am, the sun finally comes out in full force, and the clouds disappear!
|NE-8 highway, westbound... under blue skies! Awesome views all around, as we hammer toward Falls City, NE.|
We make Falls City, NE at 10:30, approximately. Skipping the Subway sandwiches this time, we are in and out in 30 minutes or less, swapping layers, refueling, and laughing. Its a great day for a ride!
|On NE-8, headed back toward Kansas, a smaller version of the Rule Bridge gives another visual treat. Glen on point!|
|After a much-improved performance from me on NE-8's last few miles, Glen and I pause at US-75 and NE-8, and consider riding to Omaha - just because. Unfortunately, it would have added 300km to our trip. Next time...|
|Glen, pausing at the NE/KS border on US-75 southbound. There's still construction about, but it's a much better road than we rode in November '12|
|Pause for the cause, at Morrell, KS. The only services, a pop machine and a bench in the shade -- which is all I really need!|
|Glen, feeling good and fresh on 310th Street, east of Reserve, KS. Compared to November, the monster chip seal is manageable, the light winds perfectly cooling, and the legs feeling strong.|
|Another great shot - the road looks almost like gravel, and feels about like gravel - but we don't have a care in the world!|
|...feeling good enough to screw around with the camera, to try out a couple of panoramic shots!|
After the fun of the camera, we checked off the remaining miles to White Cloud, KS., and the Tee with K-7, marking our final run back to the finish. In November, I managed to recover from the chipseal pounding and up my pace to a degree that would help salvage a decent, though difficult, finish. THIS day, we had been planning on the same, yet the difference lay in how fresh we'd been compared to the November version. I felt strong, fresh, ready - and Glen and I both knew we were on-target for a sub-12 hour finish, perhaps. It had been a near-perfect day, nutritionally, and it reflected in our riding.
Until we hit White Cloud.
This is where the pictures stop, and the tale begins... a reversal of fortune neither of us saw coming.
Arriving at K-7 and Main street at White Cloud just a hair before 4:00pm, with light winds and hot - but bearable - temps, Glen and I said "hello" to the river once again, and turned south.
Stay tuned....to be continued...