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Franklin, MO to Olathe, KS

May 21, Wednesday
We got back on the trail today after attending our daughter's graduation from the University of Virginia. (Some of you may have heard about the tragic accident of the balcony collapsing just before the ceremony there. We were not near the site at the time and were initially unaware anything was amiss.) There are special times in a parent's life when you can reflect on who your child really is and what their future holds for them. Graduation is one of those times and we were immensely proud and have total confidence in Chrissy. Although it was hard to leave our home and friends in Lynchburg, getting back on the trail just felt GOOD. Laurie had been sick with a cold and flu practically the whole week we were home but she was feeling much better except for a residual cough.

Ann and Bill, our ever helpful cousins, met us at the St. Louis airport and drove us back the 2 hours to Franklin where we had stored our bikes. John came by to see that we had safely gotten our bikes back and after farewells, we were off to complete the last three miles of the Katy Trail into Boonville. Franklin is the eastern end of the original Santa Fe Trail and our route out of Boonville had street signs so named. After being back on our bikes for a few miles, one of the first things we noticed was the quiet — tires riding smoothly on the road, no hum of an engine, only the hint of a wind, and the soft chirping of birds. The ride to Arrow Rock passed through green farmland and the 70 degree temperature and gentle hills were a wonderful welcome back to the ADT. Arrow Rock State Park has a beautiful campground with plenty of hot water in the showers. Bill commented that he couldn't remember a nicer day on the trail.

24 miles, 10.4 mph, 2 hours 10 minutes

May 22, Thursday
After leaving the campground early (6:18 am), we rode through the town of Arrow Rock which was historic and attractive. Since Franklin is on the north side of the Missouri River and the Santa Fe Trail crossed the river at Arrow Rock, there are a number of historic homes located here, many of which cater to tourists as Bed & Breakfasts. We ate a second breakfast (Poptarts was our first) at Hardeman and then the trail was on mostly gravel roads. One memorable gravel road became an abandoned dirt road. First weeds grew in the middle, then there was a wide section filled with water, then the weeds spread to cover the entire old roadway, and in places the tracks became deep ruts. We pretended we were on the original Santa Fe Trail as we pushed our bikes along . We soon were through the rough spot and the road became solid gravel again as we made our way into the town of Marshall which is the home of Missouri Valley College. The roads were through gently rolling hills all day which made the riding pleasant. When we reached Lexington we rode past its courthouse which has a cannonball from a Civil War battle still lodged in one of its pillars.

68.2 miles, 11.4 mph, 5 hours 57 minutes, 1625 miles total biked since Delaware

May 23, Friday
In the morning we rolled along Missouri 224 through Wellington, Napoleon, and then into Levasy on county roads. We had hoped to find a restaurant to get some breakfast but no such luck in these tiny towns, so it was back to Poptarts. Our first stop was at Sibley where we visited Fort Osage, which was built in 1808. The stockade, blockhouses, and the home of Mr. Sibley, the first merchant, had been restored and there were several characters in period costumes. This was the first fort on the Missouri River to be built after the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806. It was developed for both defense and trading. Leaving the fort, we crossed a bridge closed to cars over a railroad track (who said biking doesn't develop your arm muscles as we lifted the bikes over barricades once again.) For the rest of the day, we rode numerous tedious ups and downs and they began taking their toll by early afternoon. Luckily, we had an afternoon of sightseeing planned. We stopped and toured the Vaile Mansion in Independence and within a mile also the Harry Truman Library and Museum. The museum contains many gifts that he received as president. He and Bess are also buried at this site. Next, we rode past a large silver spiralled Mormon Temple. (The Kansas City area has one of the highest populations of Mormons outside of Salt Lake City.) Our last stop was at the National Frontier Trails Center which described the pioneer routes to the west including the Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, and the Pony Express route, all of which passed through or very near Independence, Missouri. It was interesting to study the route of the Santa Fe Trail as we will be following it for the next 600 miles across Kansas and Colorado.

50.2 miles, 10.5 mph, 4 hours, 44 minutes

After a big breakfast at Shoney's, we continued our ride through suburban Kansas City. Being the Saturday morning of Memorial Day Weekend, there was little traffic and the ride was pleasant. We followed a parkway along the Blue River and entered Kansas after about 20 miles. This concluded our 8th ADT state and 1959 ADT miles according to our data book. Entering Kansas was particularly meaningful to Bill as his mother was born and raised in Valley Falls, Kansas. Many relatives live in the area within 50 miles of Kansas City, so it was sort of like coming home again. Not only had we never ridden bikes in Kansas before, now we have ridden them to Kansas! We detoured from the official ADT route to ride directly to Bill's cousin's house in Olathe. Keith (Corky to us) Barnes decided this spring to retire from the school system after 35 years of teaching high school biology. It just so happened that his friends were throwing him a big retirement party at his house tonight. After arriving at Corky's house, we immediately washed our bikes and took them to a shop for a quick check-up and bought more chain lube. It will be 850 miles to Denver, the next large city on the ADT — we need our bikes to be reliable for the distance. By the way, Bills's new rear wheel is faring well with no broken spokes as yet. By the time we returned to the house, several friends had arrived and the keg of beer had been tapped. Throughout the night, we met perhaps 50 of his closest friends. They all seemed interested in our trip, but better yet, they brought lots of food. One snack was Bill's favorite, as it contained each of the three basic food groups, which are, of course, sugar, peanuts, and chocolate! We didn't stay up to see the end of the keg, but we heard it was finished around midnight.

42.7 miles, 11.1 mph, 3 hours 48 minutes, 1718 total miles biked.

May 25, Sunday
We spent our day off writing and posting the journal, going out for breakfast, doing laundry,and having a super get together and dinner with Bill's 2 aunts, an uncle, and three other cousins.

© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1997, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet

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