Bike America 2K4 Diary - June 9-14, 2004
Baylor University sophomores Chad Anderson and Drew Mitchell are spending more than half their summer bicycling 3,700 miles across the United States to raise funds and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.
Their journey, called Bike America 2K4, will take the business majors through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia. By the time they complete their trip in mid-July, the students hope to have raised $37,840 - or $10 a mile - for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, where Anderson serves as a Big Brother. For more information or to donate, go to Bike America 2K4.
As they pedal across America, Anderson and Mitchell are filing a diary from the road so fellow Baylor students, faculty, staff and alumni can keep up with their progress. Alums along the way are providing support and lodging for the students. (See their route here.)
To reach Anderson and Mitchell, e-mail them at Chad_Anderson@baylor.edu or Drew_Mitchell@baylor.edu or contact Lori Scott Fogleman, director of media relations, at (254) 710-6275 or Lori_Scott-Fogleman@baylor.edu.
Wednesday, June 9, 2004 - Benton, KS
Well, today I woke up with Chad saying, "Drew, we gotta get up, come on, we gotta bike." But, we didn't for once. Today was our first, and only, day off from the trip. We woke up around 10:30 a.m. and were able to eat some of Mama Page's amazing breakfast casserole. Chad drank a lot of orange juice and we both chowed down on the amazingly good coffee cake. The rest of the day we were just able to relax.
I had a good time talking on instant messenger for a little while and got to see what was up with our roommate Cheston, who is becoming bilingual down in Mexico this summer. It was good hanging out with Emily all day, finally getting to see some people our own age for once. Mama Page cooked amazing treats for us all day as Chad and I ate...and ate...and ate. She also did our laundry so it was good to have clean smelling clothes again. Anyway, we also ran down to the bike shop and got some new tubes after all the flats I've been having. Chad did a call-in with the Wichita radio station as well.
It was sad when it was time to go to bed because we were enjoying just relaxing, but we ended the day with a chicken dinner and some strawberry shortcake. We're sure gonna miss Mama Page's home cookin' when we get back on the trail, and the wonderful hospitality of Mr. Page. It was a perfect halfway point for our trip. It was also good getting to talk to Ballard on the phone tonight, but he kept me up until 1 a.m. when we had to wake up at 6 a.m., but it was good chattin'. Night.
Thursday, June 10, 2004 - Benton, Newton, Eureka, Yates Center, KS
Well, today Emily came in and woke me up at 6 a.m. I did NOT want to get up with only five hours of sleep. Chad was already awake and moving around, and we had to make it to Newton, Kan., quick because the Wichita news was gonna be there. We ate some coffee cake for breakfast with grapes and sausage and packed our bags, and loaded them into the truck.
We met the news at Wendy's, and they interviewed us and filmed us riding our bikes. We said bye to Emily and her mom and headed off, followed by the news camera. As we were biking and they were filming, I got ANOTHER flat tire and they caught it on TV. They filmed us changing it, and luckily we had two times to practice before that, so it looked like we knew what we were doing.
We then biked on, as today was not nearly as windy as it had been, only about 10 to 20 mph winds today and a lot of heavy mist in the air. It was nice riding today, as we finally enjoyed Kansas for once. We stopped every once in awhile to eat some of the roast beef sandwiches that Mrs. Page had packed away for us. We biked about 105 miles today making it into Yates Center, Kansas. We stopped for lunch at about 3 p.m. in Eureka, Kan., at a sandwich cafe, had sandwiches and malts. So good.
As we rode, we had an encounter with one big diesel truck that decided not to get over and was about an inch from Chad and me. We also ran in to two other guys on bikes, who were trailering their stuff, about 160 pounds worth, and going extremely slow, biking from Denver to the Florida Keys. One of bikers names was Larry and he said he was gonna write a book when he was done and mention us in it.
Anyway, we bike on, making it into Yates Center where we found a hotel and got a room donated. We then ate at a little BBQ place next to the hotel, and were waited on by the cute waitress there. Imagine this, somehow, Chad found a way for us to get to watch Game 3 of the finals. Lakers lose again, Pistons up, 2 games to 1. Can we find a place to watch Game 4? Probably, Chad is determined!
Friday, June 11, 2004 - Yates Center, Chanute, Pittsburg, KS
Today we started in Yates Center and biked 90 miles to Pittsburg, Kan. We work up at 8 a.m. at the hotel, packed our gear and headed over to the Woody's Restaurant and got omelets, cinnamon rolls, and biscuits and gravy, with chocolate milk. Very nice restaurant. We were on the road by 9:30 a.m. As we biked it was nice out, winds out of the southwest at 10 to 20 mph so not too bad, and about 85 to 90 degrees outside, but pretty humid. We saw lots of dead turtles and dead armadillos today. All over the roads.
We made it to Chanute and found a neat restaurant, where we got our usual double cheeseburgers and malts. We stopped and ate lunch there, then called Brent and found out he wasn't gonna be able to make it up to Missouri to see us, so we were kinda bummed out, but it was probably good so Chad and I could keep on movin'. Just as we left Chanute, for the next 15 miles or so, we ran into about 14 bikers, all going toward Oregon, starting in different places on the east coast. They were with an adventure cycling group doing about 50 miles a day. We got some advice from them about the Appalachians and then we told them they weren't going to fly through Kansas like they thought they were.
We then biked on, finally making it to Pittsburg, Kan., where we would camp for the night. We also found a Pizza Hut and got dinner donated there. One kid yelled "Lance Armstrong" as we walked in, so that gave Chad and me a little pride in what we were doing, since Armstrong has become a big inspiration to us. We are now in the Lincoln Park, about 10 p.m. and are sleeping outside tonight under the stares but getting bit up by mosquitoes. There are a bunch of baseball games being played around us so we have lots of cheering going on. Tonight should be a great night under the stars! Night.
Saturday, June 12, 2004 - Pittsburg, KS, Golden City, Everton, Ash Grove, Walnut Grove, MO
Today we woke up in Pittsburg, Kan., after a crazy night. We slept outside the tent last night and about 2 a.m. woke up to non-stop lightning strikes in the northwest skies. We decided it looked like it was moving our way, so we picked up camp and moved all our stuff in the middle of the night, which took a good 45 minutes. We then went back to sleep, but we had a tough time waking up at 6:30 a.m., so instead we woke our lazy selves up at 9 a.m. and went and packed our stuff up. We then biked over to the donut shop and the guy donated us each one donut but that wasn't enough to get us going, so we stopped at the Burger King and got some sausage biscuits donated.
We then biked on, cloudy at first, then clearing up and warming us as we got into Missouri. We did our traditional state exit and and biked on. We stopped in Golden City, Mo., and got lunch at the famous bike restaurant "Cookies" and got malts and double cheeseburgers and apple pie. We signed in the book that all the bikers sign and write a little about their trip in it. We wrote our little piece and gave some advice to those going westward.
We then headed into a lot of head winds today, but most side winds were about 20 mph. It was rolling mountains, up and down pretty much all day, some steep grades too. But most of the downhills were able to push us enough to get us up the next hills. Right before we stopped at Everton, Mo., there was a detour. We decided we didn't have time for the detour though, so we went through it. The bridge was out, so we took off our socks and shoes and went through the river, walking our bikes across. It was about ankle high with water but lots of fun little sharp rocks to go across.
In Everton we stopped at the restaurant and bar called "The Dip." Such a great place, probably the coolest stop yet. We got our dinner donated and the lady in there kept feeding us more and more. She was awesome. We then biked on to Ash Grove, Mo., where we met and talked with a bunch of other bikers going the opposite way as us, but to Oregon. We made it to Walnut Grove, Mo., for a lousy 75 miles on the day. Got in a little after dark, so a police car found us and guided us in from about a mile out. He told us some of the places to camp, so we made it to a little pull-off that was part of a bike path. Lightning is in the northwestern skies, probably just heat lighting though, and lots of cool lightning bugs are out, lighting up the area. Night.
Sunday, June 13, 2004 - Walnut Grove, Marshfield, Houston, MO
Well, last night was another bad night here in Walnut Grove, Mo., with hard sleeping. About 10:30 p.m., the "heat lightning" that we saw woke us up, only it wasn't heat lightning, but a massive storm with thunder and lightning, heavy winds, and lots of rain. Three more storms came through the night, drenching our tents, getting a lot of water inside as well, soaking our mats and our sleeping bags. The thunder was so loud that it kept us up most of the night and lightning striking everywhere but our tent it seemed like.
We woke up at 6:45 a.m. while it was still raining and decided we need to bike on because who knows when it will stop. I threw on my rain jacket for the first time on the trip and we biked through the light rain. We biked about 30 miles into Marshfield, Mo., where we got lunch at the Dairy Queen. The usual double bacon cheeseburgers and Blizzard was our meal.
We then ran into a few more Oregon-bound cyclists, Jim being the first one and then two older German guys. They were only doing about 50-60 miles a day, so Chad and I figured that we had to be the fastest cyclists out because we were averaging almost twice as many miles as everyone else we've run into.
We then biked on, eating one at a Subway and then making it into Houston, which was weird because it is in Texas County, at 7 p.m. We got dinner donated at McDonalds and then somehow, being a Pistons' night, made it into a hotel. The guy was really nice and even offered to let us to our laundry for free. So we threw in the laundry as we watched game four of the NBA Finals. The Pistons dominated the Lakers, taking game four, making it 3-1 in the series. Could Larry Brown be the first coach to coach a NCAA championship team and an NBA championship team? My basketball knowledge has really increased on this trip, thanks to Chad. We dried our sleeping bags, took showers and went to bed. Night.
Monday, June 14, 2004 - Houston, Summersville, Alley Springs, Eminence, Ellington, MO
Well, today makes four weeks on the trip so far. We woke up in Houston, Mo., where we didn't get any storm problems for once. We woke up around 7 a.m. and biked over to Hardees, where we got breakfast donated. We then started biking and about 20 miles into it we stopped at Summersville, Mo., and got omelets and the whole works to get us up the steep climbs we had today. The owner couldn't see how we could bike on a full stomach and offered us to play a game of pool before we headed out, but we had to pass it up because we had a lot of biking ahead of us and knew little about how hard the terrain would be.
Biking was tough today as we went through the Ozarks which were very hilly. Steep uphills, more than what we remember the steepest in Utah being. We biked until we reached Alley Springs, Mo., where there was an old historic city museum with the Flower Mill. Chad and I found a nice river where we jumped about a 7- or 8-foot bridge, landing in the ice cold river. It felt very refreshing though.
After that we had some steep climbs to Eminence, Mo. When we got there, there were thousands of people with tubes and rafts. We had a hard time looking at them because we wanted to be out of the hot and sweaty job we had to do and out there floating on the river. But, we found an awesome little BBQ place to eat at, where we got brisket sandwiches donated. The place was so cool, probably my favorite restaurant style so far. Very western - as you walked in, the rock gravel continued all the way in, with haystacks all around and a table in the middle that, instead of stools around it, had Saddle Seats to sit on.
Anyway, we left there and biked to Ellington, Mo., another good 25 miles of climbing and downhills. We ate at the Hall Restaurant there. I got the chicken fried steak and Chad got the double cheeseburger, and both got shakes. That gave us the energy to bike to where we are now, camped just outside in someone's yard after we knocked on their door. There is a little cat climbing around all our stuff. We are just outside a mile or two of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Missouri. A nice evening, hopefully no thunderstorms comin' through tonight. We're out.
Drew and Chad