Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pueblo, CO to Time Off: Spotting a BEAR, Spotting a FOX, Delicious Balls in My Mouth and Other Stories

Miles Per Day: Day 49=REST; Day 50=58.00; Day 51=59.34; Day 52=48.92; Day 53=49.55; Time off to rent a cabin and explore Colorado via car.

Total So Far: 2,401.82

Inspiration: Lynyrd Skynyrd; heading down past Hoosier's Pass listening to Beethoven's 9th (Karajan); Howard Stern; Cat Stevens; Jane's Addiction (mostly Ritual); Into Thin Air; and, of course, John Denver.

Spirits: intensely emotional; happy; amazed; insignificant in the face of so much natural beauty.

Things Seen On the Road/During Time Off: a BROWN BEAR!; a WILD FOX!; a buck and a doe; discarded antlers; a deer carcass that had clearly been eaten recently; the Rocky Mountains.

Favorite Quotes: (1) girl behind the counter at an ice cream shop after I asked for yet another 3-scoop cone of vanilla and chocolate ice cream: “You want ANOTHER one?” (2) my response to the girl behind the counter at ice cream shop: “I'm kinda biking across the country and need all the calories I can get. You know what, can I actually get two?”

I just can't believe it. Just yesterday I saw a brown bear. AND a wild fox. All within 3 minutes. Unbelievable.

It started innocently enough. The guy who owns the cabin I rented here in central Colorado mentioned that he likes to leave dog food right outside the cabin so he can photograph wild foxes. The cabin is, in fact, filled with photos of foxes and elk taken right outside the cabin door. Intrigued, I decided to leave a bit of dog food on the ground every so often in the hopes of spotting a fox or two.

One day this week, as I was grilling some pretty tasty steaks in the back of the cabin, I noticed an unmistakable furryness underneath my rented SUV. Sure enough, it was a wild fox staring longingly at some of the dog food scattered on the ground. He was tentative, but he eventually gathered the courage to approach the food and began munching away. Here's video of the fox munching for your viewing pleasure:

NOT THREE MINUTES after the wild fox had finished munching and had walked out of sight I spotted something much larger and furrier out of the corner of my eye. It was a BROWN BEAR. This beautiful creature was walking slowly along the edge of the tree line, not 25 feet from where I was standing. My jaw dropped as I scrambled to find my camera. I will treasure this video for the rest of my life:

Here's some more video further down the mountain. Notice the excitement of some of the locals who gathered around to see the bear:

[for the record, I am now aware that it is not a good idea to leave food out for wild animals. In my defense, (1) I am a total city boy and generally don't know any better; (2) I was following the advice of a local]

You would think that seeing a wild bear and a wild fox would top the list of things that have happened on this leg of the trip. What's really amazing is that they probably don't.

*Ascending the Rockies and Crossing the Continental Divide: The moment I left Pueblo I knew this part of the trip would be special. There is nothing like seeing the snow-capped Rockies off in the distance and realizing that with every revolution of your pedals they are getting closer and closer. By the time I reached Currant Creek Pass at 9,400 feet I just couldn't contain my emotions. Something happened to me on that pass. I don't want to go into it, but I will say that it was very powerful and I will never forget it.

Later on, the sense of accomplishment when I reached Hoosier Pass at 11,542 feet was palpable. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I had gotten to the top of the continental divide. On a bicycle.

*Stealth Camping: I don't know what it is with Colorado ski towns but by the time I got to Breckenridge I realized that a guy on a bike is persona non grata. Brechenridge, in particular, does not allow public camping of any kind and when I was there not a single church allowed me to camp on their grounds. I basically had no choice but to go further north to look for public lands and/or a secluded place to camp for the night, AFTER having made it over Hoosier Pass. But, hey, there could have been worse places for me to stealth camp:

Here's some video I shot the morning after. Notice that the area is surrounded by brush and trees. I would be surprised if anyone could have spotted my campsite:

*I love balls in my mouth: Nothing like heading to the Buckhorn Exchange restaurant in Denver to try some delectable dishes. On the menu was the following: Porterhouse steak, ostrich, buffalo, elk, Rocky Mountain Oysters (bull testicles, for you philistines), and alligator. For the record, the elk and the rattlesnake were just awesome. Oh, and those balls were delicious:


The beauty of Colorado:


Monday, June 22, 2009

State of the Blog

Just a quick note from beautiful Colorado.

Those of you who are following via Twitter and/or Facebook know that I've decided to rent a cabin and explore Colorado via car for a week. Expect a trip update with new photos and videos very soon. In the meantime, I wanted to remind you that there are other ways to follow along:

1. Twitter Updates: I've added an application on the upper-right hand corner of the blog that streams updates from Twitter. This way, you can keep up with what's going on even if the blog hasn't been updated. If you want real-time info on the trip and what I'm up to feel free to add me on Twitter.

2. Facebook: Adding me on Facebook is also a great way to access real-time photos, updates and other information. At this point, there is probably more activity on Facebook than even on the blog itself.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reflections (1): I've Been a Selfish Asshole

How can I put this delicately...I've been a selfish asshole.

I've been a selfish asshole to certain people in my family.

I've been a selfish asshole as a lawyer.

I've been a selfish asshole to countless anonymous and not so anonymous women.

I've been a selfish asshole to people I have loved.

I've been a selfish asshole to people I love.

I've been a selfish asshole to complete strangers.

Even when it looked like I was anything but selfish the asshole in me was, somehow, being selfish and self-serving.

[Reflections introductory post]

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ness City, KS to Pueblo, CO: One Night Stand and Other Stories

Miles Per Day: Day 43=REST; Day 44=57.66; Day 45=50.20; Day 46=60.99; Day 47=64.17; Day 48=54.35

Total So Far: 2,186.01

Inspiration: Pink Floyd (have a new understanding and appreciation for the “Uncomfortably Numb” track); Billy Joel; of all things, Handel's Messiah (ECO); the unbelievable kindness and attentiveness of some of the readers of this blog (fur ball a.k.a. Fluffy thanks you all); Family Guy on Hulu; public libraries; Plato's Republic

Spirits: emotional; pensive; heartbroken; absolutely inspired

Things Seen On the Road: tons of snakes; wild onions; cacti; rabbits and probably some prairie dogs(?); more and more cyclists passing me on the road going East towards Yorktown, VA.

Favorite Quotes: (1) sheriff of Eads, CO after asking him to help me find the owner of the stray dog that crashed in my tent in the middle of a thunderstorm [paraphrasing] “listen, I've been doing this for over 11 years now...what you need to do is to just go and leave it alone,” (2) operator at sheriff's office who answered the phone the night a stray dog crashed in my tent: “do you mind calling back in an hour? We have a tornado now on the ground and all available resources are occupied at the moment.”

Meeting Fur Ball
I was finishing my dinner at a pizza joint in Eads, Colorado when the waitress mentioned that the county was now in the middle of a tornado warning. I gulped down the rest of my dinner, paid my bill and rushed out to the public park right in front of the sheriff's office.

The rain had already started by the time I took out my tent poles. As I was staking down my rain fly I spotted a fluff of fur out of the corner of my eye. I turned and saw the cutest and saddest thing I have seen on this trip thus far: a small, wet, shivering, smelly ball of fur trying to stay dry underneath a bush besides a tool shed. She looked very scared. As soon as I spotted her, our eyes met and it was love at first sight. She rushed over and followed me as I finished setting up camp. All the while I looked around to see if her owner was nearby. “Maybe she got loose while she was being walked,” I thought. But there wasn't a soul in sight.

At this point I considered my options. I could leave fur ball out in the middle of a huge thunderstorm and a possible tornado in the hopes that her owner would find her. Or I could let her in the tent, at least until the storm passed. The latter seemed like the only real option. I quickly got inside the tent and fur ball followed me without missing a beat. Within a minute she was curled on my lap, tittering and asleep:

Reaching Out
Those of you who are following this trip via twitter and facebook know what happened next. I first called the sheriff's office to see if they could find fur ball's owner. The operator who responded basically asked that I call in an hour because a tornado had touched down in an adjacent county. Perturbed, I called, emailed, texted everyone I could think of. In the end, there was nothing to do but hunker down for the night and wait out the storm.

And what a storm it was. It was, by far, the strongest thunderstorm I have ever experienced. There was hail, lightning, thunder, and winds so unbelievable one side of my tent almost came out of the ground. Here's just a taste of what fur ball and I experienced that night:

Doggie Beer Goggles
The next morning I awoke to the sounds of birds overhead and a bright, blue Colorado sky. I immediately started packing up. I figured the quicker I could gather my stuff together the faster I could figure out what to do with fur ball. As I was putting away my sleeping bag it became clear that fur ball was having second thoughts about our one night stand. Gone were the snuggles, the hand licking and the search for warmth on top of my bare chest. She was suddenly more cautious and not all that thrilled about being near me. I guess all that rain and thunder had give her some serious beer goggles the night before. She probably awoke to find that my condo was made of plastic and my Ferrari was actually a Surley touring bicycle.

But hey, all was not lost. I immediately took out a couple of pizza slices and our romance was back on track. Say what you will about Jack...he always takes care of his one night stands:

Decision Time
After breakfast I got a call from the sheriff who basically said that leaving would be the best thing. He felt fur ball would gradually make her way back home now that the storm was over. I now faced a pretty stark decision. If I left I could get out on the road fairly early and make a ton of mileage before the hot sun made riding unpleasant. On the other hand, could I handle the heartbreak of seeing fur ball follow my bike out of town? Besides, who's to say she would even make her way back home? What if she got hit by a car? What if she was picked up by someone who would mistreat her?

In the end, I grabbed fur ball, cradled her in my arms and spent the next hour or so walking the streets of Eads, Colorado, looking for her owner. Eventually, a very sleepy 12 year old girl said she thought the dog belonged to a family who lived two blocks away. Pretty soon fur ball's tail began to wag and I knew I as onto something. I knocked on a door and a very relieved mom answered the door. “Fluffy,” a.k.a fur ball was back home:

Temporary dog napping aside, the stories keep on rolling:

*Setting up my tent near a public swimming pool in Tribune, Kansas I experienced something truly magical. The day had been particularly overcast, something that had made riding all that much easier. But as soon as I stopped to set up camp I noticed that the clouds were parting out towards the west. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. Right along the horizon, cumulus nimbus clouds were bunched together in a chain of white and gray. Above was a sea of dark, ominous clouds. And through these shone the setting sun. Check out the Photo Roll and Wish You Were Here sections of this post for a little taste of this amazing moment.

*About half an hour after crossing into Colorado I noticed that the vegetation along the road had changed dramatically. Grasslands had been replaced by cacti and other desert plants and flowers. It is amazing how a change in altitude and terrain can completely alter the landscape. Check out samples of the vegetation I encountered in the Photo Roll section of this post.

*Right on the edge of the Colorado border I noticed several funnels south of the highway. These were localized dust funnels that were probably less than 10 yards in diameter. Throughout I kept hoping that they wouldn't grow into something much bigger.

Watching a sunset in Tribute, Kansas. This video does not do the experience justice. Note that the background sounds are from a girls softball game nearby.

Colorado terrain.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This month marks the one year anniversary of Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity. As explained in an earlier post, this anniversary has given me the impetus to draft a series of summary posts that I hope to publish over the next several weeks.

These so-called Reflections represent an attempt, however flawed, to summarize certain truths I have embraced over the past year. Some emerged unspoiled and resplendent as I packed up the remnants of a life of excess I no longer desired. Others materialized in fits and starts as I stared out into the darkness of Washington DC from a drab office window, my only respite from the madness of billable hours, office politics and canceled vacations. Still others were plucked from the smile of a poor Virginian farmer, the kindness of a Kentucky waitress, and the gentleness of a small turtle I found on the road somewhere in Missouri. These Reflections are not conclusions per se. They are something more precious and fragile: they are the beginning of genuine understanding.

For me, the most important Reflection of all is that while the road is nowhere near it's end, I'm closer to reaching my destination. And that's what's important.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garnett, KS to Ness City, KS: The Beauty of Kansan Skies, Meeting Kermit, and Other Stories

Miles Per Day: Day 36=REST; Day 37=50.13; Day 38=66.2; Day 39=67.51; Day 40=47.22; Day 41=45.93; Day 42=65.89

Total So Far: 1,898.64

Inspiration: Johnny Cash singing a duet with Bob Dylan on “Girl From the North Country” [current favorite song? Jury is still out]; the christe eleison on Bach's Mass in B (Karajan); the skies of Kansas; the Facebook iphone ap (amazing how quickly I can connect with people at this point); Amish/Mennonite sausage and pie; Rescue Me (just finished season 4; totally bummed there are no more Netflix disks for the series)

Spirits: excited; amazed; patient; mischievous; unstoppable.

Things Seen On the Road: frogs and toads galore; some of the most beautiful cloud formations I have seen in years; more and more bike tourist (at least since I rejoined the Transam trail); a dust cloud that covered the entire sky in South Western Kansas.

Favorite Quotes: (1) a college geography professor who started in Phoenix and is heading East after I told him I was heading West, AGAINST the Western winds: “Yeah...good luck with that;” (2) waitress after I told her I was camping at a local church [paraphrasing] “well, they are forecasting 60-70 mph winds and hail tonight. Did you know that that church is right below the flood plane?”

There is something so beautiful about Kansan skies. It is a beauty borne out of the flatness of the terrain, the openness of the horizon and the slow, deliberate march of white figures across the sky. Riding a bike Westward provides a person with an unparalleled vantage point. You get to see the first formations right over the horizon at first light. They emerge in all sorts of shapes and sizes, hugging each other tightly at first, then exploding over your head like an army of cotton candy fluff balls ready for battle.

Do check out a sampling of these formations in the photo roll section of this post. While they don't really do the experience justice, just a fistful of Kansan beauty is enough to cure even the most dreadful Monday-morning-I-can't-fucking-believe-I'm-still-working-at-this-mind-numbing-job blues.


The collection of stories continues unabated:

*It's Not Easy Being Green: While camping on the grounds of a Methodist church in Stafford, KS, I made friends with a small frog. Let's call him Kermit. This little critter sat on my Goretex rain jacket while I set up camp and did not move until I had to physically grab him and put him on the grass next to my tent. A half hour later while inside my tent I looked up and to my surprise I spotted Kermit's shadow through my rain fly. Kermit kept me company until I fell asleep that night.

*Bonds of Brotherhood: Getting into El Dorado, KS, I stopped at a McDonalds to fill up my water bottles and access the internet. I set up my laptop on a large, circular table off to the side and quickly got into a conversation with an elderly veteran who wanted to know where I was going. One by one, elderly guys came into the McDonalds and sat down at my table. Very quickly I realized that I was interrupting what was clearly a daily meeting of local veterans and their friends. They all come and sit at the same table every day at around 4pm to talk, laugh and otherwise maintain their bonds of brotherhood. I have to say that it was a real privilege to talk to these guys, even if it was just for one hour.

*Heaven: Heaven, quite simply, is Yoder, KS. Quite by accident, I had designated that small town near Witchita as a convenient stopping point. Turns out that the town has very active Amish and Mennonite communities and, by extension, establishments boasting some of the best food on earth. I spent approximately 8 hours at the Carriage Crossing restaurant where I had the best sausages I have had in years and 3 helpings of fantastic cherry pie with vanilla ice cream. In between, I took in the horse and buggy scene, dudes with some pretty developed beards and the sounds of spoken German in the air. BTW, Amish women in traditional dresses are just hot.

*Outrunning a Thunderstorm: Those of you on Facebook and Twitter might remember how I scrambled to set up camp before a pretty serious thunderstorm hit near Yates Center, Kansas. I had originally been given permission by a local Methodist church to camp on their grounds but when I sat down for dinner at a local diner I was basically told that Armageddon was coming our way. The forecast called for a series of severe thunderstorms with 60-70 mph winds, hail and flash floods. On top of everything, my waitress told me that the Methodist church was below the flood plain. At that point I rushed over to the sheriff's office where I got an emergency permit to camp in the local park. I have to admit that I got a little worried when the officer pointed out where I could go inside the park in case of a tornado. I left the sheriff's office, picked up my dinner to go and rushed down to the park ASAP. I think it took me 7 minutes to set up camp and that's when the winds started to kick in. And YES, it is true. I set up my tent right underneath a couple of big trees and a power line.


Inside my tent as a strong thunderstorm rages outside:

Biking on a highway in Kansas. You can definitely hear the strong headwinds any biker heading West has to contend with. Notice some grasslands off in the distance:

A thunderstorm approaching in the distance:


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lessons Learned (4): On Being Wrong


I am wrong. On a regular basis. Like everyone else.

It still amuses me to see how difficult it is for some people to admit that they are wrong. I guess it's just a fact of human nature. To uphold a specific choice, to articulate a particular belief, to lay one's ego on the table and declare to the world “this is right because I say it is right,” are all variations of one of the most fundamental expressions of the human condition: the need to reinforce one's world view in the face of another.

I don't think I have this problem. At least not anymore. In my personal life I do my best to keep an open mind and to admit when long-held views are no longer sound. I am convinced that this attitude has facilitated my embrace of voluntary simplicity as a lifestyle. I also believe it has also helped me remain even-handed when it comes to drafting, editing, maintaining, and managing this blog. But nobody is perfect. Looking back, there are definitely things that I wish I had done differently.

The following are instances in which I was just plain wrong. Would love to hear your thoughts on these and any others you can scrounge up:

*People's Values Matter: In retrospect, you could see it coming a mile away. At the time, I thought that sharing my thoughts on burning my law school diploma would be as simple as holding a camera and uploading a video on YouTube. I thought the message was clear: “this piece of paper, indeed, any piece of paper is, ultimately, meaningless; it is so meaningless that I can live my life without it.” I was wrong. I failed to see that, for certain people, burning a diploma appeared to be a rejection of education itself. If I had to do it over again, I would have flushed out my post further to include a more thorough discussion of my motivations. Better yet, maybe I should have burned that fucker and have never told anyone in the first place.

*Family Stuff Can Be Heavy: When I drafted a literary piece regarding my relationship with my mother people had all sorts of opinions. Some people felt the subject and the content was inappropriate for the blog. Others seemed to relish the opportunity to share their own horror stories involving members of their family. And then it got a little weird. More than a few people actually thought that I hated my mother with venomous rage and seemed to pass over that first “Rational Jack” section. These people seemed to have never been experienced (let alone expressed) anger at anyone in their family. More than a few failed to understand the literary bent of the piece. Looking back, I was wrong in that I did not include an introductory section explaining the purpose and underlying structure of the piece.

*Sexism Can Be Fun: Something similar happened with the “On Sexism: Women Should Know Their Place” post. Most people totally “got” that the cover photo and the title of the blog were efforts at tongue-in-cheek satire and appreciated the opportunity to express their views on the issue of sexism as it pertained to the blog. But there was definitely a segment of people who were outright upset and offended by the post. Some, I fear, would have been offended, regardless of the content of the post. Others, I think, recognized a fundamental problem with the post itself: the juxtaposition of the issue of political correctness (and corresponding sexist jokes) in a post purporting to be about sexism. I was wrong because I should have either (1) flushed out my thoughts regarding political correctness in some fashion, thereby providing a more solid introduction to the corny jokes at the end; or (2) not have included the jokes at all and left the issue of political correctness for the comments section or a separate post.

*Pictures of Hot Chicks Make People Angry: Or better yet, being frivolous with language and imagery is a recipe for misunderstanding. A good example of this was the “Girls Riding Mechanical Bulls are Hot” post. As some of the comments pointed out, the photos and some of the language used was overly provocative. Looking back, I still stand by my blog comments and would not change the overall presentation of that post. But I recognize that I was wrong in one respect: I should have limited the number of photos and should not have included the sentence “Seriously, my dear reader, can life get any simpler?” The multiple photos and that sentence in particular were unnecessary and trivialized the larger point I was trying to convey: Jack had a fun night in Memphis and it involved half-naked women riding a mechanical bull.

Monday, June 1, 2009

St. Mary, MO to Garnett, KS: Acting Like a Total Asshole and Other Stories

Miles Per Day: Day 27=43.36; Day 28=REST; Day 29=REST; Day 30=69.84; Day 31=60.94; Day 32=64.06; Day 33=47.38; Day 34=58.35; Day 35=46.30

Total So Far: 1,555.76

Inspiration: the humming and silent grunts of Glenn Gould in the Goldberg Variations recording; Dairy Queen ice cream; Johnny Cash's guitar in the Folsom Prison live album; Wilco; the instrumental in Dire Straits' On Every Street.

Spirits: calculating; inspired; fired up; strong; understanding.

Things Seen On the Road: more and more snakes crossing the road; a perfect rainbow; a replica of the General Lee car from the Dukes of Hazard; more Amish caravans.

Favorite Quotes: (1) female resident of a small town in MO to me at 6:15 am while drinking a beer: “Turn around...I want to see your ass!” (2) Gloria who was doing her laundry next to me somewhere in Festus, Mo: [paraphrasing] “I've had a hard time recently, but I'm going to keep on going. No matter what.”

I've had my first bad moment on this trip. All things considered, it wasn't such a big deal. If anything, it showed me that I can still act like a total asshole on a moment's notice.

It was at a cafe/bar somewhere near St. Mary, MO. I entered as I always do, wearing my bike helmet, biking shorts and a tight biking t-shirt. I was disheveled, sweaty and totally out of place. Usually, if I even get a reaction from locals it's because they are merely curious. Almost always someone comes by and asks where I am going, where I have been, if I have a place to stay, etc...It's these conversations that have made this trip so amazing and memorable.

Things didn't go quite as smoothly this time. The place was pretty empty, save for the waitress and some guys sitting at the end of the bar. As soon as I walked in, the waitress looked up and stared at me with some derision. I sat down on the bar and in a courteous, cheery manner asked for a menu. She seemed annoyed but slowly walked over with a menu before going back to talk to the locals at the other end of the bar. She never asked me if I wanted something to drink and since I was totally dehydrated I walked over and asked if I could get a glass of water. She rolled her eyes and said she would get me one in a minute. Twenty minutes later I walked over and asked for a glass of water again. With a pained look in her eyes she grabbed a glass and filled it with sink water. I took the opportunity to order food right there and then.

After I was served (about 45 minutes later), I looked around and realized I didn't have any utensils. Once again, I walked over and asked for utensils. The pained look on her face returned as she gathered a knife and fork and put them down on the bar. After I was done eating I asked politely for the check. “Huh?” she asked. “I was just wondering if you could give me the check?” She looked deliberately confused and very annoyed. “What?!” “Could I please get the check so that I can pay,” I said very slowly. “Check? Oh, you mean the bill.” She had a slight grin on her face as she wrote up the check and gave it to me.

By this point, I was pretty pissed. I got out just the right amount of cash for the bill, walked over to where she was standing and talking to the other locals. She looked up at me with a slight grin on her face. I put the check down on the bar with my cash and said: “Thank you very much. The food was fantastic.” I then took out a $20 bill out of my pocket and put it down forcefully on the bar so that everyone could see it. “And this is just a little something for you.” The grin on her face disappeared instantly as she looked down on the $20 bill. She looked completely shocked. I felt everyone else at the bar stare at the bill as well.

Without missing a beat I turned around and walked to the door. As I was walking out, a sheepish voice behind me yell, “thank you sir! Have a great trip!” I said nothing as I slammed the door behind me.

Being an asshole aside, I am still collecting some pretty amazing stories:

*Being Sexually Harassed: It was about 6:00 am when I walked into a diner looking for some breakfast. Two women were sitting by the bar nursing a beer and laughing uncontrollably. I sat nearby and we started talking. Turns out that one of them is battling breast cancer and has 5 kids that she hasn't seen in years. We talked about family, death, travel and everything in between. As I was leaving, she asked me how old I was. When I told her my age she said that I was only one year older than one of her sons. She then demanded that I turn around so that she could touch my ass. Somewhat nervously, I complied. After a good amount of sexual harassment I asked for a photo:

*Perfect Rainbow: It had been raining off and on for most of the day. I was heading down to a public park near Jefferson City, MO to camp when I spotted the most perfect rainbow I had seen in years. It ended over a lake right next to the park. What an amazing moment.

*Turtle Rescue: Turtles seem to cross the road on a pretty regular basis and more often than not become roadkill before they get to the other side. The sad truth is that I see at least a dozen turtle shells on the road each and every day. On my way to Sedalia I actually spotted a turtle slowly coming out of the brush. I hit my breaks, picked up the critter and deposited him on the other side of the road. I hope you guys would have done the same.

*Dehydration Danger: Somewhere near Sedalia, MO I lost the cap on one of my three water bottles. Heading to the Kansas border I found myself in a pretty scary situation. The terrain was surprisingly hilly, the dreaded Western winds started picking up, and the heat was unbearable. Within two hours I had run out of water and still had to bike 15 miles in order to reach Drexel, MO. It was tough, but I eventually reached Drexel where I had about a gallon of Gatorade at a gas station. I swore to be better prepared the next time around.


Crossing the Ohio River into Illinois [this was a video I wanted to include in my last trip post but didn't have the bandwidth to upload when I finalized that post]:

Biking on an Interstate. Don't try this at home:

Marshlands in Western Missouri: