May 10
 Topeka, KS  to Cameron, MO  
 
 
  
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Day 16 of Lee’s journey across the U.S. Is done for the day. Several milestones were reached today: 1) we finally left Kansas after six days and five nights, and 2) we passed over the halfway mark of the entire journey, both in mileage (1,814 of 3,457 or 52%) and time (16 of 31 riding days done.)

 

Today was another scorcher, with temps in the mid-90s by afternoon. The 125-mile ride fromTopeka, KS to Cameron, MO, became an exercise in staying hydrated, with the last 50 miles past lunch through sparsely-populated farmland and no real sources of water. The two America by Bicycle support vans gamely tried to keep up with us to replenish water bottles, but our group of 21 was spread out for a number of miles, making logistics difficult. I went by one farmhouse and saw UK Steve’s bike in the driveway; he had knocked on the door in search of water. I can only imagine the farmwife’s reaction afterwards: “Honey, you’ll never guess what happened today! A guy with an English accent wearing funny clothes just up and knocked on the door looking for water! Didn’t know whether to shoot him or ask for an introduction to the Queen!”

 

The first milestone came at mile 56 today, as we passed through the town of Atchison and took the bridge over to Missouri, across the Missouri River. This bridge is being replaced by an adjacent structure, and its easy to see why. The bridge is two-lane, very narrow, with no breakdown lane or sidewalk, and the asphalt was only intermittently covering the steel grating underneath, allowing you to see the swirling, swollen river below. Add in an 18-wheeler on my ass P.O.’d because I was holding him up, and you can understand why I couldn’t stop for any photos of the river itself.

 

A minute later we all stopped for our official “Welcome-to-Missouri” photos, and then the rest of the journey was through very picturesque but hilly scenery. It’s been said that in Missouri you climb the same 100-foot hill 100 times during the day, and I believe it. Actually my bike computer showed the steepest grades of any hills we’ve been on since we left the Pacific, but fortunately most of these were not very long. We blessedly had a tailwind most of the day, making the hills a little easier.

 

I pulled into the Cameron, MO Comfort Inn and Resort/Spa around 3:30, and really enjoyed my shower. Tomorrow we do it again with another 125-miler taking us to Kirksville, MO. On Thursday we are scheduled to cross the Mississippi, and then it will officially seem like this adventure will be on the downhill side.

 

Today’s stats: 6,545 feet of climbing, avg. speed 17.9 mph, calories 10,035.

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We rolled into Missouri after crossing the Missouri River near Atchison, KS. Six states down, nine to go! 
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Missouri was very green, picturesque, with lots of well-kept farms--but lots of hills!
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Lots of tired, hot, dejected cyclists at this water stop---temps were well into the 90's today.
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This company, Sukup,  near Cameron, MO struck me as funny--must hire a lot of brown-nosers!
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The Amelia Earhart Bridge spans the Missouri River between Kansas and Missouri. It definitely needs a replacement.  Notice the 18-wheeler on my tail.