First, let me apologize for not keeping up with my blog. I post daily or more frequently on my facebook page for those interested in the daily happenings of my journey. http://Facebook.com/FiJaBAM Fiji and I have made friends all across the country for the past three months. Sept. 8 will be four months on the road, and our trip has come to a standstill in Coolidge, KS. I’ve been working at the Trail City Bed & Breakfast for two weeks, cleaning rooms, serving food, meeting horses and doing dishes. What a great place to get stranded!
Fiji hides in shower after being scolded for chasing after a skunk. I do not abuse her! She just hates it when her mommy is disappointed. She now goes in the shower to sleep!
Where we sleep, eat and work!
Lori, the B&B owner, and I go to meet B.J., the horse. The first day, we rode our bikes out with Fiji, but Fiji didn’t quite like the horses.
Although I am super fortunate to be at the B&B with amazing Lori and her mom, Larue, it’s a bit aggravating to be two miles outside of Colorado. Our town of Coolidge contains a ton of cowboy history, with an old jail, city hall, opera house and saloon. Fiji has made friends with most of the neighborhood dogs and experienced her first encounters with skunks, fire ants and feral cats.
So, here’s the simple story.
I would love to tell you the action packed story about how my bike, after four months of no flats or serious problems, was nearly destroyed. I’d like to tell you that an outlaw group of historic cowboys arose from the Coolidge cemetery and proceeded to trash my bike. But, alas, my story really begins with a stomach ache.
I stayed at the Syracuse Inn the night before, the only lodging in Syracuse, courtesy of the ministerial alliance. Of course, I appreciate the free stay! However, I stayed up part of the night swatting flies that covered the walls and ceiling and would swoop down to attack Fiji and me. It wasn’t all bad. I had a wonderful dinner with Lions Club members, Fred, Jean, Gerald and Rosemary. We told stories and laughed. The following morning, Fred and Jean planned to take me out to breakfast.
I woke up in the A.M. with pain in my gut. No appetite, I called to cancel breakfast. I decided I could not do the 50 miles I planned for the day, but could not stay in the Syracuse Inn another day. I looked up the nearest lodging on my route, and found the Trail City B&B. I thought I could ride at least 15 miles. I called Lori, booked my room and told her my situation.
“Oh no, you can’t ride over! Let me pick you up,” Lori said.
“Well, that sounds awesome, but I have a trailer, bike and my bags. I don’t think it’ll fit in your car.”
“You’re right. Hmmm…let me call around.” I disconnected with Lori, excited about not having to ride my bike with a cramping stomach. But I still packed and got ready just in case she didn’t get back to me.
20 minutes later, an officer of the law showed up with a pickup truck. I was surprised and thankful, but I also thought, Oh, I didn’t need an officer to come out.
We loaded my bike and trailer into the pickup. “I’m going to go turn in my room key,” I told him and left him at the back of the pickup. When I got back, he and Fiji were already in their seats, ready to go, so I got in on the passenger side.
We talked about my trip, and he received quite a bit correspondence on his walkietalkie which made me feel worse about taking him away from his duties.
About two minutes down the road, the officer decided to tell a ridiculous joke. “Your bike fell out.”
“That’s not funny!” I said with a smile on my face. That disappeared when I saw he was dead serious. In slow motion, I looked back and there lied my precious Kona Sutra 2013 on the U.S. 50, vultures or buzzards circling overhead. Black clouds gathered in the clear blue sky and my bike’s life flashed before my eyes. I remembered the days on the C&O trail and Great Allegany Passage, how my trusty steed raced me out of the onslaught of mosquitoes. I thought about lugging her in and out of garages, riding her up and down hills, walking her in areas a bike had no business being in. How she resiliently rode through flood waters and mudslides, how she kept my doggy and me safe through her sturdy reliability. At that moment, when I saw her lying on the highway, I felt like a friend had just been seriously injured and I was devastated.
We rushed back to my girl. I ran out of the pickup, trying to maintain a positive attitude. I lifted her off the ground, and tried to ignore the significant damage to her brake levers, tires and saddle. “Oops, it looks like we forgot to close the door.” No, you forgot to close the trunk. I left him back there when I went to turn in my key. Naturally, when I came back from the office and saw him sitting in the truck, I would assume he closed the door. But I didn’t say that out loud because the officer had come out and helped me when he didn’t have to. Inside, I silently seethed and wept tears. Despite the officer’s words of reassurance “Oh, the bike doesn’t look so bad” “I’m sure you can still ride it” I knew, as a cyclist and a girl who formed a close relationship with her bike over the last few months, that my bike was not rideable and in great need of repairs.
Long story short, Lori allowed me to stay at the B&B with no money, bless her heart. Fred and Jean heard about the incident and made my case for me. I felt too bad about the whole situation to do it myself. Hopefully, the sheriff’s office insurance will cover bike damages which total $556.50. My girl has a current hospital stay at the Bike Rack bicycle shop in Garden City, KS. She’s been there a week, and I miss her.
I’ve seen other cyclists, flying past on the U.S. 50, and I envy them. Are they headed towards the Rockies? Will they see the famed mountains I feared so much? Yes, I’ve been nervous about tackling the Rockies and desert. However, I was excited to cross the state line into Colorado and head toward them.
Shortly after my bike, my violin suffered broken string. Two days before Syracuse, I had fallen off my bike and bruised up my leg. Yes, we’re just an injured bunch. Don’t laugh!
Right now, I am lying in bed with a cold, Fiji hogging the covers, while I write this to you. In this small town, I’ve met the sweetest people, the coolest people, and I have a 90 year old male stalker (Long story, go to my Facebook page to get details).
I hear back today whether or not the Sheriff’s office will cover the cost of my bike. If they don’t, I’m up a creek! I’ll have to get on my Kona, injuries and all, and slowly make my way to San Diego. I refuse to let my journey end here.
As a side note, Coolidge is a nice little place to stop in. Next year, Lori will have revived the historic Opera House, and I will be giving a recital in it on opening day. The B&B is beautiful and clean. As a temporary housekeeper, I can swear to that! She double washes everything, even the dishes! For cyclists, you’ve got to ride the 6-mile loop through the Sand Hills. What amazingly gorgeous country. Pics coming soon!
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to play violin. The following video is at the Emporia, KS farmer’s market with Ben Stallings!
More posts coming soon! Please share, like and subscribe! It helps me to raise money for MissourI Lions Eye Research Foundation.