Life On A B-I7

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TransAm Journal - Sat June 17, 2023

Day 39

Emporia KS, 71 miles

You’re never sleeping alone when you sleep in a cemetery…

I skipped the cemetery last night and I slept outside the Franklin County Visitor’s Center. I was at the “Not Lost Brewery” in Ottawa and met the owner of the bike shop in town. He gave me the tip about the Visitor’s Center. I like the brewery name, “Not Lost.” One can only hope I suppose. I spent the evening looking over my ACA maps and calculating when I will complete the second stage of my journey…

I’m viewing the ride in three stages. The first stage brought me to the end of the Katy Trail. The second stage will take me from there to the ski resorts west of Denver. This will get me over the highest pass on the TransAm Route, Hoosier Pass, over 11,500 feet. The third stage will take me through Yellowstone, the Rocky Mountains, Idaho, Central Oregon and on to the Pacific Coast. That’s a lot of riding yet to come, but I’m looking forward to it.

There are many rewarding aspects to touring by bicycle. Not knowing what is around the next corner is one of them. The thought of what lies ahead is both intimidating and exhilarating, full of discovery. Once the question of what lies ahead is answered and you get off the bike, the discovery continues. It’s a great way to live each day.

There are some aspects that are less rewarding. Like the blow-out on the Flint Hills Trail today. I tried to fix it with a dart but the gash in the side-wall was too big for a dart. So I then took the tire off the rim and put some dart material inside the tire over the tear and remounted the tire. The sealant tried its best to take care of the leak but it didn’t hold. I carry one spare tube for emergencies and I deemed this an emergency, so I folded a bill and put it between the tube and the gash, remounted the tire and was on my way. I’m still nervous about the whole thing so I decided to reroute to Wichita for another set of tires. That’s over 100 miles but at least it’s going in the right direction. To finish the day I rode to the town of Emporia, my total mileage for today was 71 miles. When I got to Emporia I discovered to my surprise that there is a bike shop. It was closed, but I called the owner and he is going to open up for me tomorrow morning. Another great example of how helpful and accommodating people are out here.

They still have some work to do on the Flint Hills Trail. I left the trail at mile 56 and diverted to the town of Emporia.