Today’s Route: Pittsburg KS to Everton MO
Once again, the scenery changed dramatically after crossing the border. From the seemingly lonely fields and zero elevation change in Kansas to the intense, roller-coaster hills, small farms, and trees in Missouri. I’m fairly confident that the reason Kansas is missing trees is because Missouri took them all – green, luscious trees as far as the eye can see. The rolling hills in concert with the abundant, flourishing trees broke the strength of the wind, making it one of the most enjoyable rides in a long time. I felt like a kid on a new bike, pedaling fast on the down to make it up the next hill…
Each day, I ride following my Adventure Cycling maps which provide cyclists a mile-by-mile view of each town across the country. Extremely valuable and highly recommended. I’ve also been tracking my progress on an atlas where I can see an entire state at one time. The former ensures I don’t miss a turn, while the latter gives me an amazing perspective on how far I’ve come as well as significant progress I make each day. When I return to the real world, I think I’ll pick my head up from the daily to-do list and look at my own atlas more often…
I met Bob (the gentleman on the left in the picture) and Justin at the Starbucks in Pittsburg. They are seasonal claims adjusters for Nationwide Insurance. Bob has been with the company 18 years, while Justin is at the beginning of his career. (Bob seemed to be mentoring Justin.) What they love about their jobs: (1) they get to be there for people at their worst times, (2) their boss gives them enormous responsibility and the freedom to run their business, allowing them to feel like they are their own boss, and (3) they own their own success.
We met Don in the RV Park in Pittsburg. He paints historic churches around the country. What he loves about his job is that he is preserving a piece of history and in doing so he is bringing awareness to beauty that once was obvious. He is quite proud of his work and the difference he makes. He said it doesn’t even feel like a job.
- The Missouri longhorns (bulls with enormously long horns – pictured)
- Missouri hills (one was 15% grade, giving Colorado a run for the title!)
- Sign: “Thieves beware of mad owner” (in front of a house inspired by Sanford & Son)
- Ivory-covered silo (pictured below)
- 3 non-smashed turtles on the side of the road (… and I saved all 3 by moving them away from the road!)
Day 38 Stats
Day 38 miles: 62.37 miles
Day 38 ascent: 2,523 ft of elevation
Total interviews: 64
Road kill count: 583
(added 42 today, but saved 3 box turtles who were dangerously close to being smashed)
New Armadillo Road Kill Theory: My friend Trish who lives in Texas and grew up dealing with armadillos sent me her theory on yesterday’s high number of armadillo road kill. According to Trish, armadillos tend to be depressed and suicidal (who knew?!), they have terrible eyesight (how did someone discover this?), and they jump straight up when frightened (that would be funny to see!) thus committing suicide on undercarriages and fenders (OK, not so funny…). Now, that makes sense. And apparently, they are not close to extinction. Thanks Trish!
Destination for Day 39: Marshfield, Missouri