Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Freedom Machine

Old German Church circa 1900, North Lawrence
Spring in Kansas, I have learned, Gentle Readers of This Blog, comes in with Power.  The Sun is out and sometimes warm, but the wind, oh the wind does blow!  Rain is a constant companion as well.  This past Saturday it was cold and gloomy--but the forecast for Sunday was for excellent conditions.  I really needed to get outside and really, no matter what I was going to be in the saddle. 

I got the bike ready--all my clothes laid out--and to pass the time I got on my Garmin to test out the map feature where you draw out the route you want to take and you follow the map on the device as you ride--that's how its supposed to work I guess.  But pretty much I had thought about where I wanted to go--up to Tonganoxie for breakfast!

I used to go out and across the Kansas River on busy Hwy 24/40 for my rides.  Some of the Bike Club guys told me of an alternate route that's a bit safer/saner.  So I take the back streets of what they call "Old North Lawrence" for a few miles instead of sharing the road with 65 MPH traffic and a narrow shoulder.  

Liking my RUSA vest
Old North Lawrence seemed frozen in time--its on the other side of the river and has no downtown main street businesses.  There's also no"Student Ghetto" housing--just really old houses from the turn of the century--not always aging gracefully--but maybe better than busy road traffic converging on Lawrence .

The rail line ran past here and most of the old buildings are going through restoration as are some of the older houses. 

Road to Tonganoxie!

I ride on the Linwood Scenic Hwy or Hwy 32 for a few miles, then head due North on Leavenworth County Rd 1.  I have a tailwind that's pretty sweet so I'm making good time.

Even though the sun is out and its getting warm, there's still a bit of bite of cold.  The Orange RUSA vest has been a good piece of gear, mes amis.  Its just right--wind proof and rain proof.  I actually started getting hot so I was able to roll it up and stow in my back pocket.  I was also off the more busy roads so I felt okay.  I like that its very bright and high-viz--people can see me better.  Although the shoulder is narrow, there's room for cars to get past okay.  Everyone gives me room so I feel safer.

Making good time and getting hungry!  I saw lots of horses out in the fields today.

I wanted to eat at the West Side Cafe for sure, and before I left Lawrence, I did see what other places were there on Main Street in Tonga.  Main Street I have to say on a Sunday morning was deserted--and the Cafe no more--but a sign saved the day!  I just had to ride a few blocks.  Actually the other two places, a diner and a coffee shop, they were no where to be seen mes amis.

As I neared the new location, I saw about twenty Harley D's out front.  So that was the place for sure!  I leaned the Mighty Trek against the building and walked right in and sat down at the bar, where there was one last open seat, and was made to feel very welcome by the Bikers.

The Garmin was quite well received by those boys--I showed them what I was doing and how the thing worked.  The map I drew out on my computer at home and up-loaded to the 800.  The screen would show me my position, and I could zoom in and out--the thing buzzed at me and a messaged flashed "off course"  My only thing is that the road signs and the names of the roads on the Garmin where different--but that's not a big deal.

I just think that this feature could come in handy on a Brevet.  You have the course plotted and at least you can see where you are--as you know, Gentle Readers of This Blog, last year I got lost on a 300--bad weather, and cue sheet that was confusing as street signs and landmarks were not clear.

Heading home and although the sun is warm, there's a headwind for me.  I'm taking advantage of the slight descent for the way back.  Check out the toothpick.  Oh yeah, the good thing about arm warmers is that you can stuff a snot rag the sleeve.  Yeah I love Spring--and Wind and Rain and Cold do not compare to the Bastard Child of this lovely season-- Allergies!  On that Wind is all the pollen and who knows what else!  I think riding and lungs working actually helps blow that stuff out of yer lungs and nose, Gentle Reader...

The way back is okay--different than what I've taken--but according to the map the only other way South back to Hwy 32.  The road was that chip-seal stuff but there was no traffic say a few farmers and ranchers hauling hay and such.

Oh course, the hills are not on the map!  I had two very long-haul climbs each about two miles long.  Those are the killers!  You climb and climb and climb--then you're almost there--and a bit more climbing!

Finally I make it to Hwy 32 and the Scenic Linwood Rd.  This is a good landmark for me when I'm out here again--a really big show-place farm!  Right at the intersection.  The place looked nice and was for sale.  Somebody probably bought too many show horses for the Trophy Wife and well--looks like having a place like this is just too much work and expensive.  All the gas, time, and equipment to cut the grass?  Why not just grow the hay for the show horses and sell the rest?  If the Trophy Wife can ride a horse, she can probably drive a lawn mower and a hay-baler, right?

I feel real freedom when I'm out here!

Cheers!  Bruce

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I remember the good old days when if you'd walk into a joint wearing nancy pants spandex and there were 20 guys on Harleys you'd get your ass kicked.
Now they just make you welcome and wonder at your GPS.
Silly kids.
Oh, and nice ride B.