“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saturday - Horton to the Missouri River

The consensus in our group was that the accommodations for the tenters were primitive enough that we were truly camping. Tent city was set up in a low-lying area below the public swimming pool. We were to use the pool's showers and toilet. (No plural for the toilet--there was only one.) After a shower and a short dip in the pool I decided I'd walk the 4 blocks to the school rather than use these facilities again. I heard reports that the toilet plugged up sometime before morning.
Horton was our lunch stop for the BAK last year. I visited a store I found last year called "The Electric City Emporium". They have an assortment of odds and ends, from tools to party supplies. I found a figurine of a turtle playing an accordion. It's perfect for a "white elephant" gift.
I met up with some of the group I met last year. They were on their way to dinner & I went with them. We found a hole in the wall cafe. It was called "The Hole in the Wall". The food was pretty good. I took a risk and ordered steak. You never know how talented the cook is. Can he cook your steak the way you ordered it? It wasn't overdone, so I was pleased. "Medium rare" usually gives the cook a wide enough target to hit.
Back at tent city the night was noisy. A band played a few blocks away, making it hard to get to sleep. At 10:30 I heard the singer say they were going to take a short break. I thought, "I've got about 15 minutes to get to sleep before they start up again." But someone must have given them the word to turn the volume down. They were much quieter in their second set.
At 4 a.m. I woke up to an owl hooting. It was a pleasant way to be awakened. I hiked to the school to shave. I found that there are no lines for the toilets and sinks at 4 a.m. When I got back to my tent I decided to sleep a little longer. We only had 28 miles to the Missouri river. I didn't need to get an early start. Suddenly a dog chorus let loose a howl like I've never heard before. It sounded like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, that is if the choir were made up of dogs. I was glad it only lasted a minute or so.
BAK provided breakfast for us: Chris Cakes. They bill themselves as "pancakes with attitude". They specialize in tossing pancakes. When I went back for seconds I merely held my plate and the woman tossed 3 pancakes from 8' away and hit my plate perfectly with each one.
The Missouri river was a flood stage so the city of Atchison said we shouldn't go to the river and dip our tires in the water. Most of the riders did it anyway. I'm sure they were worried about liability issues if someone happened to fall in. The water did look treacherous, so we were careful.
A lot of people talk to me as if they think biking across Kansas is a long, slow trip. But when I get to the end, the week went fast. I'm glad to be home, but part of me feels as if it was over too quickly. Even traveling at under 15 mph I find that there are a lot of sights I miss. As I say goodbye to folks I'm sure I'll see a lot of them next year. There will be a new roads to travel, new sights to see, and new people to meet.

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