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Olathe to McPherson, KS

For friends and family who need to get a message to us, please send email to Reese Lukei at We are in contact with Reese about every other day and he will relay messages to us. We will not be able to read our personal email at for several more weeks.

Monday, May 26
We said good-bye to Corky and headed west from Olathe on back roads. It was overcast all day long with a fine mist in the early morning. In Kansas you quickly get into farmland when leaving a town and we traveled on mostly gravel roads. We passed through Eudora, crossed over the Kansas River and then rode into Lawrence where we crossed back over the Kansas River. In Lawrence, we stopped for a snack and a beer and rode through the campus of Kansas University. Bill replaced his back tire as it had a slight bulge and we didn't want to risk a failure en route to Colorado with few shops along the route. We camped at Clinton Lake State Park. Bill's cousin, Roger Barnes, Corky's brother, drove over from Topeka and took us out to a nice dinner.

45.9 miles, 11.0 mph, 4 hours 8 min

May 27, Tuesday
The cool weather continued and we encountered drizzle until 11 am. By the time we had made 20 miles, we were ready for a break so we stopped in an empty garage and knocked on the door of the house to ask permission to rest there. A visiting nurse and another man came out and chatted with us as we dried out a bit. Soon after we left, Vernon Berkley, (the man at the farm) met us down the road and invited us to spend the night at his house. We regretfully had to decline because we had too many miles we needed to make. 45 minutes down the road, there was Vernon again saying he was giving us a second chance. Again, we declined, as we had planned to make it to Burlingame for the night. Then another hour down the road we stopped at a restaurant for some chocolate milk and pinball. As we walked out, who should walk in but Vernon. By now, he had plans for us to leave our bikes with friends in Burlingame, and drive us back to his home. This time we accepted and spent the night with Vernon and his wife, Shirley, in a warm house with a hot shower. We had heard of the hospitality of the people in Kansas and now we are living it. Terrific!

45.1 miles, 12.3 mph, 3 hours 38 min

May 28, Wednesday
Vernon fixed us a nice breakfast of bacon, flapjacks, and homemade syrup. We knew we were in Kansas when he served flapjacks instead of pancakes! As we left Vernon & Shirley's place in Carbondale, it was still raining. By the time we got on our bikes at Burlingame, some 12 miles away, it had quit raining. Today was physically tough even though it was a short mileage day. We followed the route of the Santa Fe Trail on gravel roads and saw many places where wagon ruts were visible. At the old community of Wilmington, we saw a falling down old stone schoolhouse built in 1870. Our route today was spectacular as we traversed the Flint Hills. As far as our eyes could see were green hills and pastures with no signs of farms or houses anywhere. This was not the flat Kansas our well-wishing friends had told us about. It was not flat and the gravel roads in combination with the stiff northwest winds made for slow going. By the time we reached Council Grove, the terrain started to level out a bit, but the winds were probably the worst we had seen since our second day on the ADT in Maryland. Council Grove is a neat historic town where a treaty was signed in 1825 giving the Santa Fe Trail the right of passage over Indian lands forever. This probably turned out to be a bad deal for the Indians! We saw the second Madonna of the Trail monument (the first was in Lexington, Missouri), stayed at the Cottage House Motel, and ate dinner at the Hayes House, the oldest continuously operated restaurant west of the Mississippi.

43.7 miles, 9.2 mph, 4 hours 42 min

May 29, Thursday
Our route this morning took us by Council Grove Lake (U.S. Corps of Engineers) and City Lake. Next, we rode gravel roads from the town of Wilsey to Diamond Springs and then to Burdick. Again, we traveled through lush grasslands with a few hills and magnificent vistas. The going was much easier today as we had no wind with small hills, but with gravel roads. As stated by the sage singer and songwriter, Meatloaf, "Two out of three ain't bad!" At Diamond Springs, we detoured to check out whether there really was a town there or not. There wasn't. But, we saw a really neat old stone barn and stone house that was just falling apart. One of Bill's favorite sayings when passing by old log cabins or other decrepit structures is "If only that house could talk; Oh, the stories it would tell." Some of these old buildings really make you wonder what life was like 150 to 200 years ago. Since we were making good time today and didn't have too far to travel, we stopped at each town and talked with people in the local store or tavern. At Tampa, our intended destination, it started to rain. We passed the time in the grocery store talking to some folks waiting to see if the rain would stop. It didn't. We planned to spend the night in a picnic pavilion in the town park when a town councilman offered to let us stay in the community hall. What a great offer! We could wash up, cook dinner in a furnished kitchen, and sleep on a carpeted floor (on our Thermarest pads) — our own private hotel. Trail magic is alive and well in Kansas.

52.3 miles, 12.5 mph, 4 hours 10 min
1905 total miles biked since Delaware

May 30, Friday
Last night it poured buckets but we kept dry at the "Tampa Hilton". We rode an easy 9 miles under threatening skies to Durham which had a Mennonite restaurant famous for its homemade sausage. Bill ordered some and it was great. Leaving Durham, in a few miles we were on gravel roads which had turned to mush from the rain. Mud stuck to our tires, gummed up our gears, clung to our brakes, and at one point stopped us dead in our muddy tracks. We endured these conditions for 8 miles until we could bail out onto a paved road. So much for following the exact route of the ADT. Sometimes it is just not practical under certain conditions. From there it was a delightful ride into Canton where we washed up our bikes and rode the rest of the way into McPherson. We dropped our bikes off at a bike shop for overnight storage. We met Steve Clark and his wife Cheri. Steve worked with Bill at Framatome in Lynchburg. Steve, however, works out of his home office in Wichita. They drove to pick us up in McPherson and took us home for the night.

42.1 miles, 11.3 mph, 3 hours 41 min

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

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