July 1, 2006
I slept in a little late today and didn’t get started until around nine. I went over to the only store / gas station in the small town of Walnut, population 221. I bought three Little Debbie fudge rounds and a Mountain Dew. They had some gas station-style breakfast sandwiches, and I asked about them, but didn’t buy any. Then the lady says, “I’m gonna throw ’em out soon anyway, you can have them.” Score!
Riding this morning was really slow going, so I listened to the radio again. There was a steady wind out of the south/southwest at 15mph, gusting up to twice that speed. So I had to plow against it, and it kept trying to blow me off the road to the right, too. Add that to a temperature in the high nineties, and general lack of shade and scenery, and you can see why I took to the radio.
On the radio I heard that old 4 Non-Blondes song, “What’s Up,” and it transported me straight back to 1992, and the summer between 6th and 7th grade. That was the summer I went to Dorney Park (Sort of like a Six Flags) literally every day with my old friend Bill. I wonder what I would have thought if somebody told me back then that on July 1, 2006, I would be in Kansas, riding a bicycle across the country!
So it seemed like it took forever to get to Chanute, where I stopped for a break and some lunch. The riding was a little easier through the rest of the afternoon, after the route took a turn to the north. A guy asked me for directions to Toronto Lake, and I was headed in that direction too, so I could actually provide some assistance!
This evening I was stopped in Toronto, looking to push ahead for 20 more miles to Eureka, when a local told me they were having fireworks tonight at the state park on the lake. So I’m staying at the campground here tonight. They’ve had live music all evening! It was all mostly country music, and one guy did some Johnny Cash, some Sweet Home Alabama, and I Got Friends in Low Places. That’s all I recognized.
A lot of people and families came for the fireworks, and just a little while ago, they announced that they won’t be having the fireworks after all tonight… tomorrow instead. They had some technical difficulties or something, so that’s a bummer. But it’s a nice summertime-campground-on-a-lake-4th-of-July atmosphere here tonight, and today is July 1st. Life is good.