Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eudora the Explorer

Making a big Kansas Climb in the early morning.

One of the bike shop lads told me about a quick loop through the little village of Eudora that he often does. So this morning I thought I'd give it a go--do something different--which is what I try to do every ride, mes amis.

Lone Rider on back-coutry roads.

I'm seeing plenty of deer and turkey out here, oh and the cows are fat and the roosters cry as I glide by the farms. I went out "15 - 15" which is East on 15th Street right out from the Little House, and then South down Haskell Ave. On the grid of the county, mes amis, Haskell is 1500 Rd North. This means at 15th and Haskell I'm 15 miles East and 15 miles North of the very Southwest corner of the county... 15 - 15 just saves me from having to back-track. It's a straight shot and I'm on my way.

Down hill for a few miles.

Out here I see no one, and a few times I've seen this Triathlete chap on 1100 Rd coming the opposite direction--he never waves or says hello. Seems his arse must be hurting so much that he can't enjoy the morning. Anyway, I'm going to head North on 2200 Rd where I usually turn South. I'll ride through Eudora and eventually hit Hwy 32, I road I know well.

A mammoth barn of some sort! Time to explore!

This looks like an old county building, or maybe all the Eudora farmers got together and built this building long ago. Eudora was a German immigrant community in which the Germans bought the land from the Principal Chief, and land owner, Pascal Fish--he was a Shawnee.

Several old tractors under restoration inside, and a handful of vintage cars.

This place is gigantic--that big combine in there is huge!

I'm wondering what the story behind this old building is about? Again, probably built by the Germans of Eudora, as it is practical, beautiful, and retains a sense of duty. Good feelings and spirits are around, and I am welcome just for a visit of a few minutes.


The Germans that bought the land from Fish and put in their town were quite taken by Fish's sweet young daughter, Eudora, and so the story goes they named the town after her. I'm approaching and I can see that Eudora has become a bedroom community of Kansas City.

Lawrence is too expensive (mostly slum lords and riff-raff) so Eudora is less expensive, not a bad commute from KC--and you don't have to have a bunch of greasy college bros living next to you with empties in the front lawn from the night before.

Unfortunately I got a cold reception as I pedaled into town up there. Some young spoiled white girl in a fast expensive car came out of no where right behind me and laid on the horn for no fuckin' reason. Her's was the first car I had come across all morning, Gentle Readers of This Blog--I hope she wasn't of the original German stock that probably still live in these parts--that would be a shame...

Old Main Street of Eudora, KS, from the 1850's.

Believe me, there was nothing happening here in Eudora when I arrived. I was looking for a cafe or someplace to get a cup of coffee. The only business that seemed open was the Antique Shop. There was another place a bit down the road that looked like it was a bar at night and then a greasy spoon for breakfast next morning. Parking lot full of big farm trucks covered in mud and full of tools and crap in the beds. These people are always very considerate on the Kansas roads--they wave when they drive by too. Maybe next time I'll belly up to the bar for some grits.

Maybe I could find a cool old bike?

Oh yeah, these were German farmers I'm sure. They build stuff that lasts.

Vieux Rouler sur les rues du Vieux Lawrence.

So I rode North through Eudora and on up 2200 Rd. It was new country for me, winding and rolling through green forests--I was near the Kansas River. I rode over the "Kaw" on a narrow county bridge just big enough for a farm truck--and wanted to take a picture--but best to move on as the bridge is narrow with no side rails--oh but the river was serene and still. Those few moments were worth the ride, mes amis!

Soon I was right up on Hwy 32. I was a bit surprised to see that I was in a place where I'd come down from Tonganoxie weeks before. So this is how the roads play out I thought to myself. I would have bit of a long ride home so I found a good spin and kept it up, and soon I was coming into Old Historic Downtown. Still everyone at my house was asleep. I went and got a cup of coffee at the Starbucks--I was the only one there so I didn't have to get the Lycra stare. Just got smiles from the young girls working their morning shift. I found some shade and watched Interzone start to wake up.

Cheers! Bruce

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Summer Ride

Early morning ride with Little Egypt on the Levee.

I was all geared up to do my usual road ride, Gentle Readers of This Blog, when to my surprise Little Egypt was up--and she wanted me to go on a levee ride with her. I said okay but we had to stop for coffee was my only demand. I don't usually see Little E until I get back and I've ridden 50 miles--so it is a surprise to have her awake and ready for a trip!

About six mile out from Lawrence, on the levee trail along the Kansas River.

The levee system surrounding the farmland around Lawrence has been transformed into miles of flat straight trails for running and biking. I believe the levees were built as WPA projects in the 1930s, and the running, walking, and biking paths built on top of them in the early 1990s.

Finishing up that cup of coffee.

We can ride about a mile and then be in the heart of Old Downtown. We made a quick stop at Starbucks, and then in a few blocks we're over the river and onto the levee trail. This is more Little Egypt's speed; no cars and no hills--just straight out and back, and a chance to get some sun and exercise.

The Kansas River on one side, and the farmland on the other.

On the trail with the wife.

We ride out about six miles to where the levee dead-ends by the rail road tracks. I know the roads out beyond here quite well now, as I can see Hwy 24 heading East to Perry and Lecompton--the Hwy follows the bluff, or the breaks of the river. The ancient river you can tell from the geology is about 10 miles wide. I think this accounts for the rich farmland we're riding through. Back in the day, probably well worth building a levee to save the land for producing crops.

A mountain bike trail runs just on the bank.

It's one way so you have to be sure you start at the right place and go the right direction, otherwise you won't see people coming back and you'll crash. Runners take both the levee and the mountain bike train as well.

River City--we'll cross the bridge and be back in Old Down Town.

Many of the 1858 buildings remain on Mass Ave as we come back into town.

Very humid out as the morning dew burns off in the warm summer sun.

Old East Lawrence Neighborhood Street.

Almost back to the Little House.

Just haven't had a chance to post all the photos from my rides lately but I'll be back on that soon, mes amis! Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Cheers! Bruce

Monday, August 15, 2011

Clinton Lake Ride

A wrong turn and a big climb.

I went out for what I hoped would be a short and quick ride out to Clinton Lake. It had been a few weeks since I'd gone out to Lone Star Lake, so when I took the wrong left turn, a little too early it seems, it just meant some added miles--and trying to get home before dark, mes amis!

Evening Summer Sun is setting on the Horizon.

The light this evening is spectacular! I'm used to getting out in the early morning, having everything ready the night before--this time I scrambled to get everything together for an evening ride--which meant the Sun was way ahead of me, calling it a day.

On top of the hill and the East end of Clinton Lake, with the Dam coming into view.

Although I made the turn too early, I still got to see the lake, and I knew where I was at on the map (which I didn't bring or look at before I left) so it was okay with me--I'd just have to climb back up the hill again to get back to the right road.

Mt. Oread about 8 miles or so out from the Dam--click on to see a bigger picture of the KU Campus...

Climbing and climbing to get to the town of Clinton, on the Lake.

This was supposed to be a recovery ride...

The town of Clinton is kind of out on a the edge of the lake where the land juts out into the water. I haven't been there but I sorta know how to get there. It's further than I thought, and the sun is going down and I'm climbing. I also just brought water and no cliff bars or anything to eat--I kinda messed up.

Right turn here--finally made it.

Lots deer watching me from the corn fields. Their heads would pop-up for a moment to give me a look, then they'd sprint off.

Hey this is nice as I start getting into town!

Not open.

I had been riding pretty fast I thought, with a very high and steady cadence--but I had no idea how far I'd ridden. Maybe I should have turned around because it was about 7 pm. The Clinton Store was closed up, as it was Sunday Evening and I had been seeing a steady stream of people leaving with boats in-tow back to Lawrence.

Well, made it to the Lake--one photo for you--now got to turn around!

I did bring a flicky tail light but no head light.

There were only a few sail boats left on the lake, taking advantage of a good wind; I wanted to get out here today because the forecast for the rest of the week is rain. The breeze was picking up, the Sun setting, and I felt an urgency to be outta there. I sent Little Egypt a quick text telling her I'd be home by just before dark (hope so anyway)

Home stretch with some down-hill to get me back! Still have some miles to ride before dark!

Football Team practices at Haskell--a sign Summer will soon wane.

With little water left, and cramps creeping into my legs, I make it back into Interzone. Luckily I had some down-hill rollers to make up some distance. I took my back road route through the Haskell Campus to stay off the city streets and students-getting-back traffic.

Little Egypt and Rico had gone to Taco Bell and had left me a Burrito Supreme and a few tacos. I was starving, mes amis, and shoved 'em into my face. It was 8:45 in the evening! Dark outside now--but was a fun ride. Best to do on a Sunday morning next time don't you think?

Cheers! Bruce

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Super Chief

Hwy 24-40 a.k.a Chieftain Highway.

I was going to meet the Leavenworth Bike Club up in Tonganoxie, then ride back down to Lawrence with them to a spot for breakfast. Instead of taking Hwy 24 up to Tonganoxie I took the very mellow Hwy 32, also called Linwood Rd, East to County Rd 1.

These corn fields are part of KU's experimental farms.

Getting Ready to head East on 32.

Hwy 32, my kind of road, mes amis!

Spinnin' up the road.

My computer is not working right, Gentler Readers of This Blog--not sure why but I've messed with it quite a bit--the cadence feature is okay but I can't get the MPH to show. So I don't have speed or mileage. I tended to be a masher--that is, I rode in big gears and rarely shifted. Boss got me training with a heart-rate monitor (which has since stopped working as well) and riding at a faster cadence. So for the 17 miles or so I'd go to Tonganoxie, I'd try to keep up between 88 or 95 RPMs. I headed out the door pretty early to give my self plenty of time to meet the Club Riders.

The Big Herd on Honey Creek Rd.

I know I'm getting close to the end of Hwy 32 and where I need to hop onto LV County Rd 1--the road changes it's name to Honey Creek for a few miles at a big turn, and then I see the large herd of those big cattle. They "moo" at me to announce my passing by their pasture.

Straight shot up LV County Rd 1 to Tonganoxie!

I got up to the Casey's Store and rested and ate a snack--and chatted with local farmers as they gassed up and got coffee before heading out to work. I'd ridden pretty hard and with a bit of a tail wind. I made it the 17 miles or so in just over an hour. After a few minutes, the Leavenworth Club showed up.

I rode back with the Club to Lawrence down Hwy 24. I was a bit surprised because last time I went up 24, there was a lot more traffic going down--mainly big trucks--so I thought for sure we'd avoid this route. But we took off in a fast pace-line, single file--everyone taking a turn pulling up and down the smooth rollers.

This was cool for me because I've not ridden in a pace-line much. You have to stay focused and alert. We rode into town fast in what seemed no time at all. Everyone took a turn up front but me, as when it was mine turn we were in downtown. So, sorry I didn't get some pace-line action photos for you this trip, mes amis. Maybe later when I prove myself a worthy rider, and I get permission to take a few photographs.

We stopped in at the LBS where the Club was warmly greeting by all the lads--and we got to leave our bikes parked in the shop while we walked around the block to a little cafe that I didn't even know existed!

Cheers! Bruce

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Tonganoxie via Chieftain Hwy

The heat wave has been quite severe here in Kansas the last few weeks.

This weekend I had Friday Saturday Sunday off--I was ready to set out Friday but thunderstorms keep me in all day. With a heat wave that had temps up to 114 degrees, there was little to do but stay indoors and try to keep cool. Rain and much needed rain, Gentle Readers of This Blog came and gave some relief!

I got this feeling someone was creeping up behind me.

I set off early--Little Egypt had Nat'l Guard drill, so I waited for her to be out the door before I took off myself. While I stopped to adjust my new brakes a bit--caught this curious fox checking things out.

Old Downtown in the morning rain. Thunderstorms were on the way but I really needed to get out and ride--you know the feeling mes amis! Rain or no--I'm on the road.

Slumlords have been getting things ready for the students, their main customers, whom will be arriving in a week or so.

The Kansas River.

Point of no return!

I'll be riding up to Tonganoxie via Hwy 40/24 or the Old Chieftain Hwy. It's the most direct route and I want to see how fast I can go--intel was that it was not the best road as traffic zooms past at 65 mph. There's a bit of a shoulder but as I got on the road, there was little traffic and I was okay with the shoulder.

Chieftain Hwy heading Northeast

Rain in the Face.

As I got going the rain and wind picked up. It's been so hot here I didn't mind. The air was cool--but I could taste the sweat on my lips--although it was raining, I was working pretty hard. I also noticed a lot more traffic coming back into Lawrence on this Hwy--that's what people told me--so I will opt for another route back like they suggested.

Farmland mostly between here and there.

Tonganoxie--obviously now turning into a suburb of Kansas City.

West End Cafe, and breakfast with the Leavenworth Bike Club!

I look for a place to stop at a cafe or somewhere to get out of the rain. I'm soaked and dirty from the storm I've ridden through--by chance I see a group of cyclist just going into a cafe--I quickly follow them in. They let me sit with them and I get intel about my route out to Basehor (where I have a job interview at the public library) and we have a nice chat about cycling and my route home. They are from the Leavenworth Bike Club, and a hardy bunch as well! They have missed out on the rain as they're dry and clean, whereas I'm still dripping wet. The hot coffee warms me up.

A fast seven miles to Basehor from Tonganoxie with the pack.

The group decides to guide me to Basehor, Kansas to the library where I'll have the interview. I'm glad they did because my planned route on Hwy 24 would have been a bit dangerous. They'll go the back way through Basehor and then on back up to Leavenworth.

Members of the Leavenworth Bike Club.

It was my good fortune to meet these riders. They were a great bunch of people and they invited me to ride with them again soon. Two of the gentlemen, Ted and Ted (there's Ted, Ted, Bill, Mike, and Rosie) did the recent Ride Across Kansas. They actually rode out to Colorado--across Kansas--to then do the Ride Across Kansas. Allure Libre! These are guys I want to ride with, mes amis!

On my way for a great ride home on good roads.

At the Basehor Library, where I hope to gain some part-time work as a Librarian, I went in and looked over some detailed county maps for my ride back. Some bridges were out so I had to be sure I got on the right road heading West then South, back to Hwy 32 to head West to Hwy 24 and back into Lawrence.

On county roads.

Muggy and now getting hot, mes amis!

I climbed into Tonga--now I have a fast descent--time to hammer and get some speed and distance.

I ride 22 mph for about six miles back to the Chieftain Hwy--

I'm glad the sign was still up because I did not want to miss this turn.

I'm back on 24 for just about a mile then I will turn left on County Rd 1. This road will take me South and over Interstate 70--then on to Hwy 32 which I'll ride West back to Lawrence.

The cows are coming home, and so am I


Gentle Readers of This Blog by now where you see I'm about to head West on 32 it's well over 100 degrees! And very muggy too! I spent a lot of time having breakfast with the Bike Club, and in the library--which was brand-new and very nice. Wish me luck getting a job there, mes amis!

That was a ride! Fast and with a tailwind--but so hot! I make a left and then I'm about seven miles North of Old Downtown.

Bone-Shaking Ceremonious Finish.

My ride ended up being right at 57 miles--and to tell the truth, I felt pretty good after despite the climb, the wind, the rain, and the heat at the finish. I drank plenty of water--but should have taken a bit more food. I felt like I was going to bonk as I was getting hungry.

At the tail end, to avoid busy morning traffic, I took the back way through Old East Lawrence.

Yeah, I know--over the bricks back to the Little House.

Cheers! Bruce